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2003-12-18 17:21

Don't! You! Dare!

I mean it:

Heavy snow and severe weather is expected in much of the country at the weekend, forecasters have warned.

Snow and gale force winds are predicted as far south as East Anglia and the East Midlands on Sunday and Monday, prompting fears of traffic chaos.

If you wait till I'm out of the country and then pig out on snkaos without me, I will find out, and I will be very upset.

That is all.


2003-12-18 darkling (utc)

Merry Twinkletree, one and all!

I'm heading off tomorrow to London, then Helsinggrad on Saturday very early, and then on to Riga and Vilnius. I will, as ever, make every effort to blog from the road, but first I have to Get Stuff Done here. (The Guestbladet salon continues, but of course, to be at the disposal of my Varied Reader.)

Vi ses!


2003-12-18 aprs-samwidge (utc)

Effing Effle, innit?


Effle is grammatical English which could never be uttered because it has little meaning and could never be put into a sensible context. There is lots of Effle in textbooks of English for foreign learners and in sets of exercises.

The name presumably comes from the abbreviation EFL ("Engleesh as a Foreign Language", although I've never really understood that because it isn't, is it?)

Perhaps the most famous Effle sentence was one used by Pit Corder to illustrate the concept (though he didn't use the term Effle):

The farmer kills the duckling.

I am not sure if there is a verifiable source for that one [...]

I am very sure that the source for this is Edward Sapir's classic book Language, and it is thus not real Effle at all. The Language Log also gets in on the act, and with the season of seasonality upon us, I have raided my own collection of genuwine malarkies to bring you the Desbladet pantomime (Oooooh, yes I have!):

Skulle ni vilja stta p mig den hr postischen/peruken?
Would you put on this hair-piece/wig for me please?

Humanitre Gesichtspunkte werden wohl stets den militrischen Notwendigkeiten weichen mssen.
Humanitarian considerations will probably always have to yield to military necessities.

Let's take a walk around the botanical garden.
Lt oss ta en promenad i botaniska trdgrden.

Guarda com' alta la giraffa! E che aria impassibile ha il cammello!
Look how tall the giraffe is! And how impassive the camel looks!


[via Transblawg]


2003-12-18 samwidge (utc)

Yoorp, Various

1. Yoorp, Jewish:

Jewish people around the world are getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah. Edward Serotta, director of, an institute specialising in Jewish history and culture in Central Europe, has been documenting and photographing Jewish life there since the mid-1980s. He explains why the "festival of lights" is particularly symbolic this year.

(Go read, as they say, it all.) A menorah in Riga. We like our Yoorps multicultural around here, as is well known, and we also very much like saying "Central Yoorp".

2. Yoorp, Responsible:

An MEP's salary will now be set at half that of a European court judge, at just over 100,000 euros ($127,000 or 72,000) a year.

In return, they will only be able to claim what they spend from now on, ending the practise where members travelled economy class, but claimed for a business-class flight.

It's been a long time coming, for sure.

3. Yoorp, Clueless:

There was talk of four different compromise formulae for the voting system and, on the eve of the summit, Mr Berlusconi had suggested he had a secret plan in his pocket.

When the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern asked him what it was, Mr Berlusconi dramatically reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. It was blank.

Berlusconi, isn't it?

Among the duggery of skulls at the recent Unconstitution, the claim that France stitched up the failure of the talks. We note that the double majority (at least half the states and 60% of the population) proposed would have disadvantaged France, which has up to now voted in parity with Germany, despite having 20 million fewer inhabitants.


2003-12-18 morninge (utc)


1 Cool!

Via Opie, a superb photo of some Proper Weather - the Gulf of Finland completely upfrozen last year.

2 And the bananas are suddenly more inexpensive.

I get by with a little help from my fish
Yeah, I get high with a little help from my fish.

"With a little help from my fish," Lemon/McPeartree

Deep joy, slightly fishy:

Who learns a foreign language, the strange language system must beside new Vokabeln and that can differ much from the used German. In order to make that transparent, in all KAUDERWELSCH volumes all sentences word for word are translated. An example from the Indonesian volume:

Berapa harga untuk kamar ini?
How much price for room this?
Is this room how expensive?

If one is now on the market and wants to know, what the bananas to cost there, one needs to replace the word for rooms in the sentence specified above only through "pisang" (= banana), and everyone already understands, for which it goes, and the bananas are suddenly more inexpensive.


A proverb: "What's good for the lobster may not be good for the lobstee."


2003-12-17 darkness, but not sn falls (utc

Finns det ngra snlla snkaos dr?

[In Sweden, Tomten ("Santa") traditionally turns up on julafton ("Christmas eve") and bursts into the house with the question, "Finns det ngra snlla barn hr?" ("Are there any nice children here"). Whereupon the little childrens burst into tears and wet themselves, which is considered great sport by one and all and most traditional, at that. The post title is an adaptation, the nature of which is left as an exercise to the reader.]

As Birgitte has mentioned, Finland has weather predictions online. It is looking, currently, changeable and in flux, but there has been and is currently sn cover.

Last year, the Baltic was frozen solid from Helsingfors (which is Swedish for Helsinggrad) to Tallinngrad, where we were staying. This year you could probably swim across, if you didn't mind dying of hypothermia before you'd made it half a kilometre. Unpredictable thing, yer weather, is it not? (Do they have weather were you come from, Varied Reader? What's it like?)


2003-12-17 aprs-samwidge (utc)

An endorsement

From Diana, whose Field Notes are much missed in these parts:

Could I just say here how very very wonderful Kauderwelsch phrasebooks are? They have grammar explanations and morphological glosses as well as long lists of colloquial expressions and obscenities. They are the O'Reilly books of phrasebooks. Anyone who is serious about languages should make sure to learn German just in order to be able to take advantage of the series. I have about 20 of them, including Mongolian, Armenian, Irish Gaelic, Yiddish, and "Hochchinesisch." The Finnish one was the single most useful Finnish learning aid in my first year here.

I missed my goal of knowing enough German by now to use the Litauisch and Lettisch ones in Baltiwegia, and in a rare fit of good sense I accordingly didn't order them from, where they have snuggled together on my wish list for a no little while.

They really do have an astonishing range, which encompasses Canadian French, Jamaican Creole and PNG Pidgin (presumably Tok Pisin), separate volumes for British, American and Australian slang, and the Saxon, Bayern, Cologne and Plattdeutsch dialects of German, and Galician.

One of next year's most pressing language-flavoured tasks will be to get into a position to pit these head-to-head with Assimil's not inconsiderable range (Catalan, Picard, Walloon, Guadaloupean and Haitean creoles, as well as Icelandic and plenty more).


2003-12-17 samwidge approacheth (utc)

How to learn German without learning any German.

A sentence from my current bedtime reading:

"Der Lohn fr deine Arbeit liegt im Boot!"

Given that Scandewegian sticks articles on the end of words, so that "a payment" ("en ln") turns into "the payment" ("lnen"), we arrive at the following morpheme-for-morpheme transcription into Swedish:

"Lnen fr ditt arbete ligger i bten!"
("The payment for your work is in the boat!")

Except, of course, I didn't actually bother with the transcription. So I ask or enquire of you, Varied Reader: which language was I actually reading?


2003-12-17 morning (utc)

Of wackos and wirelesses

As everyone knows:

In France, everything is permitted, except what is explicitly forbidden.

In Germany, everything is forbidden, except what is explicitly permitted.

In the Soviet Union, everything is forbidden, including what is explicitly permitted.

And in Italy, everything is permitted, especially what is explicitly forbidden.

And in Denmark, everything that isn't explicitly forbidden is subsidised by the state:

C'est une triste exception danoise : Radio Oasen (Radio Oasis) est la seule radio nonazie autorise mettre en Europe. Et, aussi incroyable que cela puisse paratre, elle est subventionne par l'Etat : elle a reu, en sept ans, pas moins de 400 000 couronnes danoises (54 000 euros) d'aide publique.

It's an unfortunate Danish exception: Radio Oasen (Radio Oasis) is the only neo-Nazi radio station permitted to broadcast in Europe. And, as incredible as it may appear, it is subsidised by the state: it has recieved, in seven years, not less than 400,000 DEK (54 000 EUR) of public aid.

This is what you get from combining an unwavering commitment to free speech with an automatic subsidy of non-commercial radio, together with a very nuanced ability to distinguish racist propaganda (which is legal in Denmark) from incitement to racial hatred (which is not) and a flamboyent disregard for the opinions of the UN, of whose Convention on the elimination of racist discrimition Denmark is a signatory.

Anyway, the loophole is to be closed as of next January, so from then on any Danish radioistes wishing to bring jolly Nazi chants and extracts from Mr Hitler's Mein Kampf to the Danish people will thenceforth have to seek other sources of revenue, which there is every reason to think they will not get.

My heart, it must be said, does not especially bleed for them.


2003-12-16 fika (utc)


1 Is this funny?

A comedy German lesson:

... Und nun bilden wir den Konjunktiv durch Umlaut aus dem Imperfekt des Indikativums und ueben das bisher Gelernte.

SIE. Wenn Viktor eine Monatskarte haette, kaeme er um 18 Uhr 45.

ER. Wuerde ich vier Cousinen haben, woegen sie 312 Kilo.

Probably funnier if you don't have to infer the German as you're going along.


Lord of the Rings! It's the greatest book ever written, according to yet another UKish plebiscite (sigh) and also now a very long film indeed, set in the mystical land of Noo Zillun, where elves are elves and sheep are understandably nervs. And the Danish premiere was duly attended by Dronningen og hendes snner og svigerdtre (i.e., Queen Margrethe, Kronprinsfred and Knudella). Troopers, the lot of 'em.

3. Sn.

Frbered dig p en snfattig jul - om du inte bor i Norrland eller lngs stkusten.
- Det blir troligen vldigt lite sn, sger Daniel Fredriksson, meteorolog p SMHI.

Beready yourself for a snpoor Yule - should you not live in Norrland or along the Eastcoast.
"It becomes rilly rilly little sn," says Daniel Fredriksson, meteorologist with the Met Office.

Suppose I'm in Baltiwegia, does that count as eastcoasterly? The BBC Yoorp pressure and precipitation map is still encouraging...

4. Yoorp, Unconstitutional


French President Jacques Chirac said the failure only strengthened his desire for a 'pioneer group' of countries moving towards ever closer political union - leaving reluctant partners including Britain to form an 'outer ring'.

I would like to create a closer union between the toe of my boot and Mr Chirac's arse. Wouldn't it be nice if history came to see this latest debacle as the moment when Yoorp lost patience with the baffling insistence of French and German leaders that they should decide what's going to happen in the EU, and everyone else can like it or lump it?


2003-12-16 tisdag morron bitti (utc)

The B-Team

Baskets! Get your freshly woven baskets!

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. They promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

No, hold on, that's not it. Let's try again:

In spring 2003, the Museum invited Lisa Telford and four other Native basket-makers and one Native basketry scholar to a two-day seminar to review this exhibition in its early stages. All of them expressed their strong wish to present basketry as a living art, with strong links to cultural history. To help illustrate this continuity, Ms. Telford chose these four baskets from the Museum's collections and paired them with baskets from her own and other Northwest Coast basket-makers' contemporary works.

They're top quality baskets, for sure. I pity the fool who settles for lesser baskets.


2003-12-15 post-samwidge (utc)

Tense Tests

After ten days of cricket and two Test matches, the tally in the series between England and Sri Lanka (oh stop whining, it's only a little civil war) stands at nil-nil.

It has been, as you will appreciate, gripping stuff:

Michael Vaughan hit an inspirational century as England batted through the entire final day for their second successive drawn Test in Sri Lanka.

Vaughan batted for six-and-a-half hours to make 105 - his first ton as captain - and Chris Read and Gareth Batty saw out the last 86 minutes.

Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan bowled 40 overs in the day, claiming 4-64, but could not complete the job.

Six-and-a-half hours! Impressive, although a mere cameo compared to the most bloody-minded innings by an England captain during the time I've followed the game, Michael Atherton's 11-hour brick-wall impersonation to save the second test of the 1995/6 tour of Seth Effrica:

The second Test has become known as Atherton's match, the epic which, though only a draw, felt like an England victory.

With South Africa 477 runs ahead, Hansie Cronje left himself five sessions in which to bowl England out and seemingly complete the most straightforward of victories.

But almost 11 hours later, Michael Atherton was still there, holding fort on 185 not out.

I watched some of that innings on TV, and I assure you that it was as gripping and tense an occasion as the spectacle of nothing happening can possibly be. Cricket at its absolute best, for sure.


2003-12-15 samwidge (utc)

The Parochialiste International

Marvellous thing, your InterWebNet, is it not? Today, the Swiss, Swedish, Danish or Dutch quiz. You may well struggle, as I did, with the baseball and basketball players, since this is a quiz for the FDRUSA market. (In attempting to congratulate me, it remarked that I must have a passport.)


2003-12-15 samwidge (utc)

[Review] Grabben i Graven Bredvid, Katarina Mazetti

Newly-widowed and hypereducated childless thirtysomething librarian Desire spends her lunch breaks at her late husband's grave, where she encounters salt-of-the earth farmer and forest-owner Benny tending the grave next to it (his parents') and they fall in love.

With! Hilarious! Consequences!

Aftonbladet Kvinna endorses it. Desbladet lacks a Kvinna section, of course, and I do not make a particular habit of reading ChickLit but if you ask me it was OK.

I got it thrust on me at Swedish class, as an alternative when I refused yet another opportunity to borrow one of Henning "Hilarity" Mankell's jolly accounts of dismemberings and mutilations. It would have looked churlish to also decline merry tales of biological clocks and romantic, and I don't want to seem churlish. And anyway, it was OK.

And since it was lightweight fluff, I wasn't going to get all philological over it, and since my beloved fickordbok was hiding (it's since turned up HOORAH!) I just made do without, and made it through in a handful of sittings, because reading is a thing I know very well how to do and reading in Forren is pretty much the same only for some reason they often use different words for things, which can be a little confusing until you get used to it.


2003-12-15 kaffedags (utc)

Of Success and Succession

Norwegian ingrates, isn't it?

Kongens sykdom og fokuset p kongefamilien har frt til strre oppslutning om monarkiet i Norge, viser en ny mling. Men tilliten til kronprinsparet er rekordlav.

The king's illness and the focus on the royal family has led to increased support for the monarchy in Norway, a new survey shows. But support for the kronprinscouple is at a record low.

Bah! Point de Vue said it was at a record high!

23,5 prosent svarer at kronprinsparet vil bli et svrt godt kongepar, mens 50,5 prosent svarer at kronprinsesse Mette-Marit og kronprins Haakon vil bli et ganske godt kongepar.

23.5 percent answered that the kronprinscouple will be a rilly t'riffic kingcouple, while 50.5 pernent answered that kronprinsess Mette-Marit and her husband will make a quite good kingcouple.

So that's a record low of a 74 percent endorsement. We should be so unpopular.

[Takk to acting prinsess reporter Anna ("one of the other 26 percent") K for the linkage.]


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