Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The City of Lost Vowels

Got a postcard from mum today. She's busy doing a tour of obscure Eastern European countries. You'd think she'd be able to choose a country where they spoke a language of Indo-European (or at least Ural-Altaic) derivation, but no. She just has to be different.
The city she's writing from is called 'Ljubljana'. Far too many consonants in that name for my liking. Never trust a city that has fewer vowels than it has consonants; you just don't know who you'll run into.

Of course, last time Mum went overseas, she was going to Russia. I asked her, very specifically, to get photographs of Soviet triumphalist architecture. I have quite a thing for gigantic cubes made out of crumbling concrete. She ignored me. All I ever got was pictures of the Hermitage, St Peters, and the Hotel Kosmos. Then again, she did get a picture of some Russian bums begging in the park, so her trip wasn't entirely wasted.

She ends her postcard:

Have been trying to buy a brolley but am assured rain will disappear tomorrow.

While she's about it, she'd probably better get some vowels. Where she's going, they'll be in pretty short supply.


daisythelamb said...

Slovenia! Woo!! Last fall I met a pack of Slovenes who were here on some kind of campus tour deal. They were all very snappy dressers. And they had such good hair. But, they were weirdly in awe of our hooded sweatshirts. Like, they didn't have hoodies over there, or they're a rare commodity or something, but they thought it was so crazy that we all had them. Those Slovenes... they were damn cute.

coffee and cigarettes said...

c'moooooooonnnnn, Slavic languages are cool! And mad props to your mum for touring random and obscure Eastern European countries, it's great fun. I love the look on people's faces when I tell them I lived in Lithuania for a year, concealed surprise at first and then usually 10 minutes later politely asking me where exactly it is. I had a friend visit me when I was living there and we went up to Finland via the other Baltic states, when I said we would be stopping in Estonia he was surprised and revealed he thought it was a made up country from the movie Encino Man

TimT said...

You know, Mum told me she and Dad were going somewhere in Hungary, and now from this postcard I find she's somewhere in Slovenia. Bloody hell, parents, you just can't trust them. Next thing I know, they'll be hanging out with the Tocharians in China...

I just looked it up on the net, and I found that Slovakian actually is an Indo-European language, which means that not only is my post a whinge, it's an inaccurate whinge. Oh well.

If my parents had stuck in Hungary, none of this would have happened.

I guess the snappy dressing thing is a way of making up for the lack of vowels (and hooded sweaters) in their country. Eastern Europeans are hot, gotta admit that.

Incidentally, I plan before I die to travel to Europe. Also the moon, Jupiter, and some solar systems on the other side of the galaxy. No joke. If I can do it, I will.

coffee and cigarettes said...

Slovak might be Indo-European, but Slovenian is most definitely Slavic!

coffee and cigarettes said...

but you were probably testing all of us on that one, right?

TimT said...


TimT said...

I have consulted the Mighty God Google, and am informed that both Slovenian and Slovakian belong to the Indo-European family of languages. Also, Hungarian is a Ural-Altaic language. Which makes my post even less accurate, if that's possible.

Oh well. When all else fails, you can rely on the Basques to speak a totally bizarre, obscure language.

Did you know, Maurice Ravel was part Basque?

rachy said...

Slovak I don't claim to know about, but it could well be Indo-European. As for Slovene I could almost swear it is a south Slavic language (I'm fucked on the details) but alot of Slavic languages were derived from the Indo-European so I need to check my details before I can be certain... thinking. too. hard (and you're probably right anyway!)

As for Hungarian I could also have sworn that is a finno-ugric language (that is most likely another term for ural-altaic, dunno, you tell me! all I know is that when I hear Finnish and I hear Hungarian it sounds the same to me, as well as having friends who speak both)

I did not know that Ravel was part Basque, but Bolero makes me tingle in my giblets so I guess pretending to care where he came from would be futile! Hmmmmmmm, Boleeeeeeeeeeero... and as for the violin and cello sonatas, let me sign off now thinking about them

Yes, I am a nerd.

vague said...

Slavic languages are Indo-European, I thought. Just in general. Also, Finnish and Hungarian are the only two languages in their group, whichever group that is. That is all I know, or think I know, on the subject. (that was vague indeed)

Also, vodka.

TimT said...

I was under the impression that there were more than two Ural-Altaic languages (Estonian, anyone?) But what the hell do I know? I'm speaking about these language groups as if they're old friends.

"Guten tag, sprechen sie Indo-European?"
"Jolly good show, then."

And who knows? Maybe there was a time when the Indo-European language family was actually a family language?


(Enter Mr Proto-Indo-European)
Hi Honey, I'm home!

Ewgh, you smell of soma! Have you been drinking with the Proto-Finno-Urgics again?

What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?

No, I had the crusades in mind, actually. But have you?

Well, actually ... I was chatting with the Dravidians.

How many times do I have to tell you, I don't want you to go near that lot? They're almost as bad as the Minoans! And those ...

... Etruscans, yes, I know, you just can't trust the Etruscans.

Well ...

Alright, I'll stay away. Honey, I was thinking ...


I was wondering if we could ask old Mr Basque around to visit? Just have a little dinner party?

But he lives on his own! NO ONE goes near him! He smells!

I know, I know ... but there's just something about him that tells me he's a stayer. A REAL survivor.

He's a freak!

Yes, well, that's true. ....

(Cut to ad break)

Fuck, what a ramble. Serves me right for posting at this time in the morning.

Ooh, vodka, where?

TimT said...

Not to mention - this comments box has hit double figures YEAH!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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