Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, and happy end of autumn (or spring) to the rest!

cornucopia

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Farewell, Dmitri

Dmitri Hvorostovsky has died, of brain cancer, at 55.  Here is his New York Times obituary. I had the privilege of seeing him perform at the Met several times, in Un Ballo in Maschera, Rigoletto, and Il Trovatore. He was a fine performer and a very gifted singer. He is gone too young. Below "In loving tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, one of the greatest and bravest artists to ever grace the Metropolitan Opera stage. Watch excerpts from some of his most memorable performances at the Met."


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Uncle Vova

Here's something that leaves me fairly speechless. Lyrics, quick translation, and notes below.



Uncle Vova (by Vyacheslave Antonov)

The 21st century is here, the globe is tired of wars
A leader has won the people
In the EU there’s no consensus, the Middle East is drowning in poverty
Across the ocean the president is losing his power

chorus:
For us, from the northern seas all the way to the southern borders
From the Kuril Islands to the shores of the Baltic,
We would have peace in this land, but if our commander in chief
Calls us to the last battle, Uncle Vova We are with you

And what will we gain, my generation,
By refusing to see, we will lose our whole country
Our true friends are the Navy and the Army,
The memory of the friendship of our grandfathers, and the Red Star

The samurai will never take the ridge,
We will defend the amber capital,
Our Sevastopol and our Crimea we will preserve for our descendants
And back into the haven of the motherland we will return Alaska

A few quick notes:
гегемон does not mean hegemony, but rather hegemon, "one who possesses dominant power or hegemony, i.e. a strong leader, i.e. Putin;
The reference to a president losing power is the Russian view that Trump wants to cooperate with Russia but is prevented by Congress from doing so;
"the last battle" recalls an iconic WWII song;
дать слабинку is to have a blind spot, but here I think it means more to turn a blind eye or refuse to see what's in front of you;
the reference to grandfathers is to WWII;
the Amber Capital is Kaliningrad;
Uncle is a term of address for an older man from children;
and Vova is a nckname for Vladimir - Putin, in other words.

Дядя Вова - Вячеслав Антонов

Двадцать первый век настал, шар земной от войн устал
Населенье шара гегемон достал
В Евросоюзе мненья нет, Ближний Восток стонет от бед
За океаном лишен власти президент

прирев:
Нам от северных морей, вдаль до южных рубежей
От Курильских островов, до Балтийских берегов
На земле сей был бы мир, но если главный командир
Позовет в последний бой, дядя Вова мы с тобой

А что достанется тому, поколенью моему
Дать слабинку, потеряем всю страну
Наши верные друзья, это Флот и Армия
Память дружбы деда красная звезда

Не достанется гряда самураям никогда
Грудью встанем за столицу янтаря
Севастополь наш и Крым, для потомков сохраним
В гавань Родины, Аляску возвратим

http://slavaantonov.ru/

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1 Comments:

At 8:29 PM, November 22, 2017 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

It's a little unsettling. It sounds like something the North Koreans would sing.

 

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Volcanoes

I'm in Bellingham, Washington, for a few days. Since I'm not in Washington, I didn't take the same flight I used to take to Seattle. This one came from Dallas, and it came by a different route. We saw three of the Cascade volcanoes and passed very close to a fourth.

The first picture shows Adams and Hood behind it. The second is the ruined cone of St Helens. And in the last two is Ranier.





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At 9:34 PM, August 01, 2017 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

Nice shots. My wife and I flew into Seattle on our way to Alaska on our honeymoon in 2005. We got to see Mount St. Helens. Once when I flew into Seattle for work, it was clear enough to see Ranier from the airport. I didn't look real. It looked like a fake backdrop in a Star Trek episode.

 
At 11:19 PM, August 01, 2017 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

It does. It absolutely does

 
At 5:59 AM, August 03, 2017 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Try to keep cool! "Pacific Northwest threatened by hottest weather ever recorded; Seattle could hit 100":
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/08/02/pacific-northwest-threatened-by-hottest-weather-ever-recorded-seattle-could-hit-100

 

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Barsa on Sunday


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At 8:05 PM, July 25, 2017 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Barsa sez, "Look at me. See how adorable I am!"

 

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Saxon genitive ... a confusing little construction


Ukraine Today, an English-language paper from Ukraine, had this headline today ... er quite a while ago
Ukraine Today: Russian Ambassador's in Ukraine party goes off course
The party was not, of course, an "in Ukraine party". Not even "a party in Ukraine" - well, sort of, I suppose, as it was at the embassy. It was a party thrown by the Russian Ambassador in Ukraine (or "to" as we'd probably say).

But that curious possessive construction we have in English - the "Saxon genitive" it's sometimes called - actually attaches to the end of the whole phrase. Weird but true! It's "the Russian Ambassador in Ukraine's party" that went off course.

Once upon a time, I had a native Ukrainian speaker tell me that I had mistranslated a Ukrainian phrase as "the president of the United States' speech", because he wasn't the president of a speech that belonged to the United States. But Ukrainian grammar does possessives differently from English, and you really can't say "the president's of the United States speech" or "the president's speech of the United States". Those things don't mean what "the speech of the president of the United States" (which is how Ukrainian does it) means.

All those textbook examples - "the king of England's crown", "the boy next door's old jalopy", even something like "my neighbor I haven't met yet's dog"- look deeply weird to non-English speakers. But that's how English does it.

Put that 's on the last word in the entire phrase that describes the possessor.

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At 3:11 PM, July 22, 2017 Blogger Peter Threadgill had this to say...

That Saxon genitive must have driven the Latinizers bonkers

 
At 7:12 AM, July 23, 2017 Blogger ctirip had this to say...

The natural work-around, of course, is simply to rearrange the sentence in a less confusing format (confusing even to English speakers), as you intimated in the first paragraph:

"Party held by Russian Ambassador to Ukraine goes off course."

But the real unknowns remain: (1) what was the original destination of the party? (2) who was driving to party? (3) what caused the party to go off course? (4) and where did the party stop?

 
At 10:13 AM, July 23, 2017 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I don't think it is confusing to native speakers of English; the original was written by a Slavic speaker (don't know if Russian or Ukrainian). Your questions are good ones, though!

 
At 8:34 PM, July 27, 2017 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

And yet plurals in English are the opposite: Attorneys General, daughters-in-law...

 
At 10:13 PM, July 27, 2017 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yep, plural markers go on the head noun. I think that's one reason this construction confuses people.

 
At 9:34 AM, July 30, 2017 Blogger Adrian Morgan had this to say...

What's especially odd about the English genitive is that it has some characteristics of a clitic and some characteristics of an inflection. The property of attaching to the end of phrases invites a clitic interpretation, but The Cambridge Grammar rejects this on the following rather pedantic grounds (my paraphrase). Comparing "the child feeding the ducks' happiness" with "the child feeding the geese's happiness", we observe that in the former case (attached to a regular plural) the clitic is not pronounced, but in the latter case (attached to an irregular plural) it is. The Cambridge Grammar argues that this sensitivity to the morphological structure of a word disqualifies a clitic interpretation. I am more inclined to take the view that grammatical categories are convenient fictions and to accept it as a hybrid situation.

 
At 11:39 AM, July 30, 2017 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

But that's the same with plural possessive anyway. The ducks' food versus the the geese's food. And I think you're right.

 
At 8:39 PM, July 30, 2017 Blogger Adrian Morgan had this to say...

Right, but to consider only simple examples like that (what CGEL calls the head genitive as opposed to the phrasal genitive) would leave open a few loopholes, so in my summary I skipped straight to the phrasal examples. Ref: pp 480-1.

 

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Oh. What. The. Hell.

Here's a lovely book I ran across: For Such A Time. How could anybody think this book was a good idea?
"Lovely blue-eyed, blonde Jewess" gets fake papers but still ends up in Theresienstadt where she ends up falling in love with the SS-Kommandant, Arik von Schmidt. (Yeah. "von Schmidt".)

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Three more young uns

A Blue jay, an American crow - looking particularly gangly and teenagerish - and a Song sparrow.
blue jay

blue jay

blue jay

crow

crow
song sparrow

song sparrow

song sparrow

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At 11:02 PM, July 20, 2017 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

That's a lot of young birds. We have a lot of the same birds here, but I never see the fledglings, except for the unfortunate one or two that is run over on the road.

 

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