Romanian

Yesterday I went to my friend Alexandra’s house for lunch with her, her father, and her grandmother, where she cooked up a storm — the heartiest lunch I’ve had in a while. Afterwards her father made some Turkish coffee in an Ibrik, which was quite tasty. He told me that he had some mp3 samples of his music on his homepage, which I’m listening to at the moment. I really need to go to CNMAT more often — I miss the computer and contemporary music scene.

After lunch we helped Alexandra with her Romanian flashcards. Romanian orthography is very complicated — in the 19th century they switched from Cyrillic to Roman letters in an attempt to assert nationalistic pride in their Roman heritage (Romanian is a Romance language). When they were under Soviet influence, the orthography was changed to make it more Slavic, although they stopped short of moving back to Cyrillic. Now that they are out from under the boot, the orthography has switched back to the pre-Soviet spellings. As as result, the contemporary student of Romanian must learn alternate spellings for many words, and many words have interesting stories behind them, like cerneala, which means ink and comes from the Russian word for “black.” Or so I was told.

It’s fun to learn new things, even if they are of dubious use…

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