Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh, Romanian, Arabic and more

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Bakunin
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Bakunin » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:10 pm

In Zurich, it’s actually possible to find some Romansh here and there. Zurich may very well be the biggest Romansh-speaking city in the world (in numbers of speakers). Off the top of my hat I can think of four colleagues at work who speak Romansh as their mother tongue. One of them used to work in my team, so I occasionally heard him speak Sursilvan on the phone; he’s recently moved on. This colleague chose to pass his language on to his kids. Another colleague is pretty pessimistic about the future of the language and has decided to switch to Swiss-German with his kids. The usual story of language death. It’s not all bleak and Romansh has a positive image I’d say, but overall the language is under a lot of pressure.

As you certainly know better than me through your studies, it has already been like this for centuries. The many Romansh place names in nowadays entirely Swiss-German speaking regions are testimony of this. I’ve read that basically with the ‘fall’ of Chur the fate of the language was sealed. Without an urban center the battle was lost.

If you have the opportunity to visit Grischun again, make sure to spend some time hiking. The Surselva is a beautiful area with relatively few tourists. Last month, we stayed in Mustér in a hostel which had a few rooms for CHF 35 per night. Very affordable for Switzerland, I’d say, and right in the center of the Surselva. I’m less familiar with the Engiadina, it’s just too far from Zurich, but it’s certainly one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:20 am

I am sure there are many Romansh speakers in Zurich, and probably also in other Swiss cities. It is quite natural that people move from the valleys to the cities to go to university and to find work. Actually this fact makes it very difficult to know the real number of native Romansh speakers. The figures for Graubünden are more or less clear thanks to the census, but it is less clear in other cantons. I read in the Romansh newspaper La Quotidiana this summer that the organisation Lia Rumantscha is organising a campaign to get Romansh-speakers in other parts of Switzerland, as well as abroad, to register with the Lia, so that they can get a more realistic picture of how many Romansh-speakers there actually are in the world.

Obviously Romansh is under a lot of pressure, but at least there is a strong movement to preserve and develop the use of the language, and maybe thanks to existing in a decentralised and economically stable country as Switzerland, Romansh stands a better chance of surviving that some other minority languages in Europe. Here in France, the situation for the local "patois" or regional languages is much worse in the sense that they have no official status, and the centralised system of government does not help.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:29 am

Russian music I like: Константин Бубнов

I mentioned earlier that I have spent the summer with Russian song lyrics amongst other things, and I thought I would share some of the songs I've been enjoying. I will start with one of the first Russian artists I discovered last year, Konstantin Bubnov. He stands in the tradition of Russian "chançon", and his lyrics are sometimes profound, sometimes quite "banal", e.g when he sings about celebrating his daughter's birthday, or buying flowers on 8 March, or spending New Year´s Eve on a plane.

I decided to share one which covers two substances I guess many people associate with Russia: snow and vodka. The title is "Захотелось водки вдруг" - I suddenly wanted vodka, and this urge for drinking comes upon him early in the morning of the first snowfall. The video is from a live performance of the song, and I have added the lyrics below.



Как в том анекдоте, Выпал первый снег.
Дворники не ждали, Не ждал и горсовет.
Белым стало всё вокруг, Чистым и хрустальным.
Захотелось водки вдруг. Этим утром ранним.

Слава Богу – выходной. Никаких преград.
Мой сосед порой больной, Знаю, будет рад.
Просыпайся старый друг, Я бываю странным:
Захотелось водки вдруг Этим утром ранним.

Горошек и селёдочка, Репчатый лучок.
Запотела водочка, Грейпфрутовый сочок.
Я по бульбушкам, на звук, Разолью со знаньем.
Захотелось водки вдруг Этим утром ранним.

За любовь, за красоту, За прекрасных дам!
За невинный первый снег, И удачи нам.
Мой сосед простой хирург, Отнёсся с пониманьем:
Захотелось водки вдруг Этим утром ранним.

Иногда накроет грусть, В первый выходной.
Побурчит любимая. Спросит: «ну что с тобой, родной?
На душе завис недуг Со странным осознаньем.
Захотелось водки вдруг Этим утром ранним.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby iguanamon » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:48 am

Chanson? I'm thinking MPB (Música Popular Brasileira)! Seeing all the fun you and Cristina are having with Russian, well.... I've got enough on my plate already! Thanks for posting this, Ogrim. All the snow makes me feel cool on this hot, tropical September day :)
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Expugnator » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:17 pm

I wouldn't be so far as to think of MPB, but it does remind me of some Italian cantautori, some Georgian bands I've listened to with a pop-folk flavor and the string instruments much higher than the drum and also some stuff I've listened to from Bulgaria. Nice to see you are having fun with Russian, Ogrim, I need to learn that myself. I have already started to enjoy TV series, next step is probably getting some Russian penpals at the many language networks I've signed up to, so I can let go of the blockage for speaking/writing with cases.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:04 pm

I am far from being an expert on Russian music, but Russian chanson seems to be a genre which covers different types of songs, but in particular songs by "singer/songwriters" (what the Spanish call "cantautores") and a particular genre in Russia called Блатная песня - roughly translated as the song of criminals. There is a (not very good) Wikipedia article about it in English.

By the way, I now see I wrote chançon, that is Old French spelling. Not sure why, I haven't read Old French for many years, but maybe it is because I've been reading a lot of Catalan lately, where it is written cançó.

Russian music I like: Sad love songs, here represented by Александр Серов
Songs about lost love and heartbreak is common in popular music all over the world, and Russian pop music is no exception. I could come up with lots of examples, but I decided to post this vido of Aleksandr Serov. I really like this song, and I find that Serov has a voice which suits the song perfectly.

Aleksandr Serov is a very well known and much appreciated artist in Russia, from what I've seen, and he has been awareded the title "People's artist of Russia". This is his official website.

The song is called Курортный роман, which may best be translated as "Summer Love". Here is a live performance, and below you find the lyrics. This time I have also added my own translation into English. It is rather prosaic, and not word-for-word accurate, but hopefully I have got the meaning right. (I wanted to put the translation next to the Russian text, but it became really messy - not sure the site allows for columns.)

A point of information: The song refers to Белый Орёл - White Eagle. This is the name of a Russian pop group with lead singer was Aleksandr Yagya, and I will probably come back to him in another post.



Курортный роман

Закончилось лето у нас с тобою,
Ещё один час, и нам не будет покоя.
Взмахнула еловая ветка прощально,
Она сохранила любви нашей тайну...

Последние минуты курортного романа,
Последние минуты... и две душевных раны.
Но как остановить их - беспомощно не знаю,
Ведь ты сейчас уйдёшь, и всё,
И я тебя теряю...

Бросаю я в море на счастье монету
А ветер хрипел вслед: "Не нужно всё это".
Уныло глядела скамейка сквозь дождь,
Она виновата скрывала нас в ночь.
И "Белый Орёл" пел для нас в ресторане,
Нет слов и нет сил, только слёзы в бокале,
Но раны в душе нам ничем не залить,
Ведь нам этих дней никогда не забыть...

Последние минуты курортного романа,
Последние минуты... и две душевных раны.
Но как остановить их - беспомощно не знаю,
Ведь ты сейчас уйдёшь, и всё,
И я тебя теряю...

Последние метры любимой аллеи,
Зачем же так быстро прошли две недели...
Шлагбаум разбил весь наш мир неземной,
Но ты оглянулась и взмахнула рукой...

Последние минуты курортного романа,
Последние минуты... и две душевных раны.
Но как остановить их - беспомощно не знаю,
Ведь ты сейчас уйдёшь, и всё,
И я тебя теряю...

Такси умчалось прочь. Мне не вернуть тебя...
Я это точно знаю.

Summer love

My summer with you is over,
Just one more hour, and there will be no peace for us,
The tree waved its branch in goodbye,
She kept safe our secret love.

The last minutes of a summer love
The last minutes… and two wounded souls.
But how to stop them, I really don’t know.
You see, you are now leaving, and that’s it,
I will be losing you….

I throw a lucky coin into the sea,
But the wind wheezed thereafter: “All that is of no use”.
The bench looked sadly through the rain,
It was guilty of hiding us in the night.
And “White Eagle” sang for us in the restaurant,
No words, no strength, only tears in the glass,
But nothing can cure our hurt souls,
Because we cannot forget these days…

The last minutes of a summer love
The last minutes… and two wounded souls.
But how to stop them, I really don’t know.
You see, you are now leaving, and that’s it,
I will be losing you….

The last metres of my favourite path,
Why do two weeks have to pass so quickly…
The barrier breaks our unearthly peace,
But you glance back and wave your arm…

The last minutes of a summer love
The last minutes… and two wounded souls.
But how to stop them, I really don’t know.
You see, you are now leaving, and that’s it,
I will be losing you….

The taxi drives away. You will not be returned to me…
And this I know for sure.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Via Diva » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:20 pm

If you want to challenge your knowledge of Russian, Russian history and to enjoy some good contemporary poetry, check this:

Here's a different version, which is quite popular because it's Сплин:
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:51 pm

Thank you for this Via Diva. Certainly a challenge! I did not understand much listening the first time, but as "Google is your friend" I quickly found the lyrics - so now I've got another song for my "lyrics translation project".

Also I had not heard about Aleksandr Bashlachev before (I think that is how it is transcribed), but now I will read up on him, starting with the Russian Wikipedia article. I see I have a lot!!!! to learn about modern Russian culture. I am afraid that here in the West we know much more about culture in pre-Communist Russia than we do about contemporary literature, art and music.
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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:25 pm

I just realised it's been over a month since last time I wrote anything in my log, so it is certainly time to do an update.

Russian
My weekly Russian class has started again, and there are just three of us in the group, so that gives ample opportunity to practise. We are supposed to be a B2 group, but I think only one of us is near a B2 level, and it's not me :( . However, the speaking practice I get from this course, although limited, is still of great help, after having spent a summer with mostly passive input. Now that has paid off in the sense that I read more fluently and my vocabulary keeps increasing, so now I can get through the pages of a book a little bit quicker than before. Still a looong way to go before I read Russian as easily as I read Catalan or German.

Romontsch sursilvan
Jeu vul buca che quei seigi nur in blog da musica, aber oz less jeu cumpartgir cun vus in videoclip da rap romontsch che senumna “Mira sin tei”. Igl ei ina canzun dal giuven rapper sursilvan Ivo Orlik alias Giganto, che ha presentau siu emprem disc “G-punct” nel 2013. Quella canzun ha in messadi da critica sociala: ins drova mirar sin sesez e ses atgnas fleivlezias avon da giudigar ils auters. Il vido ha suttetels sin romontsch.

(I don’t want to turn this into a blog about music videos only, but today I wanted to share with you a Romansh rap video called “Mira sin tei” – “Look at yourself”. It is a song by the young rapper from Surselva Ivo Orlik aka Gigano, who presented his first album “G-punct” in 2013. The message of this song is one of social criticism: you should look at yourself and your own weaknesses before you judge others. The vido has subtitles in Romansh, so you can follow the lyrics.)

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Re: Ogrim's language experiences - Russian, Romansh and others

Postby Ogrim » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:52 pm

I am back from a few days in Ireland, more specifically in Daingean Uí Chúis, or Dingle as it is called in English. The Dingle peninsula is part of the gaeltacht, so I had the pleasure of a close encounter with gaelige, or just Irish, as the locals call their language.

I went to Dingle because my wife is part of a "singing" community mainly consisting of Irish and Scottish people, but with participation also from England, Belgium and, in the case of my wife, Spain. So this was a musical weekend, and music is indeed a big part of Irish culture. I was amazed to see how many songs the Irish participants knew by heart. Somone would suddenly start singing a traditional tune, and all the Irish would join in. It was great fun, and sipping the local brew while listening to Irish folk music is not a bad way to spend an evening or two.

We were also lucky that a local, Irish-speaking lady took us around the peninsula, and the nature is just stunning. Apart from admiring the green hills, the mountains and the sea, I also learnt a lot about Irish history and culture. We had an interesting talk about the role and status of Irish Gaelic in the Republic, and how most Irish people seems to have a rather ambivalent relation with the language, with a rather low "success rate" in making Irish a vernacular for the majority of the population. The lady in question is a teacher of Irish, and when I pointed out that the Catalans and the Basque seem to have had a lot of success in promoting their languages while still being part of Spain, she blamed the situation in Ireland partly on bad teaching, partly on Irish youth being "lazy". I am not the one to judge about that,I know far too little about how the language instruction works in Irish schools, but it was interesting to get the perspective of a native speaker.

I would love to study Irish, but I really don't think I can find the time to start from scratch on a new language right now. So many languages to learn, so little time :( Still, I hope to be back in Ireland in the near future. We made great friends in Dingle, some of whom live in other parts of the country that I would also like to visit. It is a beautiful country with warm and friendly people and a fascinating history and culture.

I'll end my Celtic excursion for now with this Youtube clip of the song Trasna na dtonnta (Over the waves), which I kind of learnt to sing while in Dingle.

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