Some surprising things about Turkish and English


I thought I’d note down a couple of things which have arisen in the course of my learning Turkish, which strangely reflect certain aspects of English. Some people might regard as completely coincidental such items appearing between languages from completely different groups — my question is how many such coincidences can there be before it becomes more than a coincidence?

1) adjectival suffix -LI

In Turkish, an adjective derived from a noun can be formed by adding -li or one of the equivalents of -li in vowel harmony. Example – ev (house) gives evli (having a house – ie married, compare the Spanish “casado”), tedbir is caution – having caution, ie “prudent” is “tedbirli”. Resim is picture, and resimli means illustrated. Interesting how this reflects the -ly of “shapely” in English.

2) Past tense in d or t. The suffix -di or -ti in Turkish closely reflects the way in which English forms past tense from most of its verbs

3) In English, the “geographicals” such as “where?”, “Here”, “there” all have a -re suffix. Same in Turkish, although you have to bear in mind that because of vowel harmony the suffix often appears as “ra”. “Where” is “nere” plus “de” making “nerede” if you mean “where at”, “nere” plus “ye” making “nereye” meaning “where to”, while nereden is wherefrom, “burada” means “here”, “orada” means “there”, etc.

This is in addition to the numerous similarities which can be explained by the fact that they appear in many languages because that’s what languages do, and also the later borrowings.

Turkish also gives us insights into the Russian language and into Ukrainian. The Russian expressions “my s toboy” or “soviet da lyubov” can be traced into Turkic, along with a sizeable amount of that vocabulary which Russian does not share with, for instance, Polish.

And of course for the Westerner Turkish offers an ease in to languages such as Arabic and Persian, given that in learning Turkish you will learn a certain quantity of loan words which you will recognise again coming to those languages.

If all this was not enough, and the logical, quite delightful structure of Turkish and the pleasantness of its sound were not enough, and the way it opens a route to a large country to explore for business or pleasure with about 80 million people, Turkish is also the best-known language and in a sense the mother ship for learning other Turkic languages, 4 out of the 5 Central Asia countries and also Azerbaydzhan as well as peoples found in many other countries, the Qirimtatarca and Tatars of Russia, the Uyghurs of China, among others. Turkish is a silk route into a very interesting, cross-continental linguistic adventure.

Chicken soup – super natural medicine?


Some people swear by chicken broth as a cure-all. Certainly Jewish traditions make a lot of it, and from them also Polish cuisine makes a big deal out of rosol, as they call it. It is a useful pick-me-up while on a liquids only fast, and it is very useful to tide oneself over between meals as an alternative to tea or coffee.

For those eating chickens, the best chickens to use are older ones, like an old rooster who has served his days making hens happy and waking your neighbours up in the morning while you blithely sleep through it. He has tough meat and is unpalatable. His Chicken Kiev would be more of a Chicken Maydan, but boiled into broth he gives you more microelements than Mendeleyev himself wrote about in the song “On the road to Mendeleyev, where the flying fishes playev”.

The Mexican recipe for chicken soup is rumoured to start with the same four words as every recipe in the Mexican recipe book, accordingly to the old joke. If you don’t know what those four words are I will not ruin the tone here by mentioning them, but maybe someone will show their knowledge of the history of comedy by mentioning them in the comments section below. (Come on, I have to do something to encourage readership participation round here!)

Something topical …


The disturbing thing of course is the way Westerners have acted with so little demonstration of understanding of what Crimea means to Russia. If they have not read Pushkin’s “Bakhchisarayskiy Fontan” in the original or Lermontov’s “Hero of our Times” then they will never understand why Crimea simply cannot be given up by Russians to a regime that outlaws the use of use of the Russian language.

We could as soon tolerate in London a bunch of Muslims telling us that English wouldn’t be allowed in Bloomsbury anymore, the home of so much of the English literary culture. Western politicians haven’t even taken this into account.

V. D. Huliganov

Should Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reporting be mandatory?


The interesting thing is, if we were to ask individuals doing business to report on all the good they do, they could with justification point to the high ethical standard of the Sermon on the Mount and other western Christian-derived ethical ideas which make it at least in bad taste and at worse a prideful thing that would deprive you of your “reward in heaven” to boast about good social works that an individual has done.

Maybe your reaction to the above paragraph is, “ok, but we are talking about companies, companies don’t have souls, they should report”, but the point then is: should we be applying to legal entities doing business requirements that we would not be able to apply to non-legal entities (sole traders and partnerships) if these are in direct competition with them?

I would like to suggest that the requirements for CSR reporting shouldn’t be a one size fits all even when by “all” we mean “all companies over a certain size limit”. It should be applied on a sector by sector basis, with sectors which have a larger environmental/social impact being asked to address specific points in CSR reporting selected for their industry or service sector.

The standards for CSR should contain a table with industries in the column headers, 100 CSR report questions in the row headers and 20-30 mandatory ticks as well as 10-15 secondary ticks where answering these questions in the CSR report is either mandatory or strongly advised, and each industry would have a tailor-made profile. Then unincorporated businesses in the particular sectors should also answer at least the mandatory questions, which would be tailored to address the particular adverse social aspects of the particular industry.

Obviously this needs to be done on an international basis, as business is international and these days more and more companies are “born global”.

Does that not sound reasonable?

New etiquette dilemmas.


There are etiquettical situations that affect us in these days of ubiquitous oriental cuisine which our forefathers did not even realise. They didn’t have to worry about which way to point the teapot in a Japanese restaurant, or remember not to stab the sushi with the hashi, and to put them back on the hashioki. Or that it’s OK to say the “n” word if you mean a slice of raw fish perched punningly atop a blob of rice. Or that the soy sauce is not for the unaga, which has its own sweet sauce.  O tempura, o morays!

“Emerging Europe Mega Mission 2014″ – Urgh!


http://www.britishchamber.cz/data/1392646968497MegaMission-Overall-Programme.pdf

The above link shows an initiative by the UK government. However well-intentioned the aims might be, and however good it may do, and I hope it will, nevertheless whoever decided what to call it needs to be given a special edition framed gold-leaf P45 form (that’s a “pink slip”, by the way, for the benefit of my American readers, which my stats say are in the majority, and who are always welcome).

“Emerging Europe” and “Visehrad Four” was the term applied to these four countries way back in the end of the last century while these countries were the focus of attention, we didn’t know much about them other than that they were neighbours and that they emerged from behind the Iron Curtain at about the same time. In the mind of most Westerners Poland and its southern neighbours were expected to be quite similar and the major differences in culture between them which stretch back into the very different histories of these two areas over hundreds of years before the period of Soviet hegemony. Everyone had in their family people who knew life before, people were mentally prepared to spring back, and that is exactly what they did, with year after year of growth outstripping Western Europe and most of the rest of the world over a 20 year period, with legislative reforms and international consultation enabling unprecedented transfer of administrative know-how. These countries also had the advantage of computerising to a much more advanced level immediately than we had – their offices were not littered with massive green or amber screen monitors, most business people went straight onto Windows with its Word and Excel and cannot even remember the MS-DOS antecedents we struggled with and the hardware and software we clung too even when it was superseded in order not to waste the earlier IT investments.

The countries we are talking about avoided many of the errors made by a number of Western countries, problems now very apparent in the banking systems, education and health systems of western countries, problems with housing, transport, etc which are not so problematic in the more easterly countries.

On top of that these are countries which, apart from a very short period of forty years which is now 25 years over, were in the central current of European culture and thought, and had been for hundreds of years. When Luther nailed his 99 theses to the wall and they were being discussed days later in Oxford University, he did it in what was to become the German Democratic Republic, a country which, but for the existence of a larger brother constitutionally committed to reuniting with it, would also today be in the group you are calling ‘Emerging Europe”. If I mention the list of literary, musical, philosophical, artistic and other gems of this region the list (or should that be “liszt”?) would be very long indeed. These are not cultures which are only now emerging as Europe. You might call them rediscovered Europe, but emerging? Scarcely.

Furthermore, if we are going to continue to use the “Emerging Europe” label for successful, thriving European Union member states all fo which are in Schengen (unlike the UK) and one of which uses the Euro already (unlike the UK) and whose remaining currencies except for the HUF of late have proven to be just about as buoyant as the GBP for the last dozen or so years or better ( – take the Polish zloty for instance. 10 years ago precisely a pound would buy you 7.24 PLN. Today it will but you only 5.06 PLN. It has lost about 30% over those ten years against the zloty. Incomparison to the zloty, I’m afraid our currency looks like a soft currency against the zloty. Fact. Sorry, but fact) then what term are we going to use for countries which remain outside the EU, which continually have GDPs per head lower than 10,000 USD, which continually seem unable to introduce the reforms required in the Acquis Communautaire?

Let’s maybe have a poll as what what we can call those countries, if the likes of Poland or the Czech Republic is called “Emerging Europe”:

In summary, please for goodness sake stop referring to Central European EU members as “Emerging Europe”!  The term is dated, was patronising even when it was current, and just makes the British look out of touch when it is used by us, and in my experience more often than not only serves to offend the people from the Region, although, being highly cultured and European, they are usually able not to show it.

So I thought I’d show it for them.

Slavery and restitution


The problem in my view is that some white folk who learned about all the evil stuff that, for example, the British ruling class did around the world until we all gradually woke up to the fact that it was not sustainable, they think that the onus is on them to redress the balance in some way.

To an extent we did redress the balance – we have given a lot back to the descendents of the folk who had a rough deal before, both in terms of historical reparations and also by inviting many of them to join us as equal beneficiaries of whatever these things are supposed to have given our country. But anyway often it was because of their own leaders that they had a rough deal. We didn’t go chasing slaves in the jungle, we simply bought them in the port from those African leaders that we were trading with, and those guys had only kept their defeated enemies alive so that they could trade them as slaves with us. Once you get into individual details things are not necessarily as cut and dried as people could imagine – for every noble Kunte Kinte you might discover someone much less noble, someone whose most apt description sounds similar to that old fictional African only without one vowel.
I personally don’t come from the ruling class – in all the lines of genealogy I am able to trace I come to miners, before the industrial revolution simple farmers, and on some cases naval people. There is only one line with “blue blood” but it is not legitimate, so I have no claim to be an Earl of Warwick even though I am probably a distant genetic cousin of the earls of Warwick.
As far as the working class of England was concerned, we didn’t get an easier time really because of the things that our elites were doing elsewhere in the world. We were in many cases treated worse than slaves, because a slave is property whereas when a miner keeled over with lung disease the master of the mine called out for the next desparate man in the queue to work in the mine. And such was the lot, I fondly imagine, of some of my ancestors.

On that basis, I should be getting reparations from the Third World at the rate of one Mango a month in perpetuity plus the occasional sexual favour from one of those black ladies you see on all the music videos, which I will pass on anyway in the interests of my family and my soul. But anyway that’s nothing to what I’m owed by the Queen of Denmark for excesses perpetrated during the Viking invasions.

So in short, even though I can say that it was shameful it’s not MY shame that the British, for example, tried to make China a drug addicted slave colony and then smuggled out their tea plants to mass plantations in India and decided we didn’t need the Chinese so much any more, at least we gave back Hong Kong honorably. Certain others didn’t give back Vladivostok, ceded at the same Peking Convention, because they are not leveraged by the same soft conscience that seems to weigh us down. But it’s not MY shame that “we” had a past with China that isn’t glorious but it isn’t MY cost that “we” gave back Hong Kong (I didn’t own any of it anyway) and it isn’t MY pride that “we” gave it back – nobody asked for my opinion about it, they just did it on my behalf and on the behalves (?) of another 58 million entirely unconsulted British people.

Two Sides, Two Brides


First Adam had a wound in his side
When the rib was taken for First Eve,
So the Second, for His longed-for Bride,
From His side blood and water gave.
Along the length of Longin’s spear
Flowed that wherewith the Church is cleansed
Which lets the Second Eve appear,
Which, from the first, God did intend.

Copenhagen giraffe gaffe and how the Daily Topheegrill’s mods are in a world of their own.


Greetings from a nice warm spot by the window with a blizzard going on outside, here in Moscow.

I had a comment squelched by the Daily Telegrumph Moderator today, but that’s fine. I saved it, and can reproduce it here, where there is freedom of speech.

It was all about the fate of the Danish giraffe, Marius, who got ethnically cleansed for not being good enough for the ScandinAryan giraffe gene pool and fed to lions in Copenhagen Zoo as shown below (photo taken from Tumblywhump as compensation for wasting my time – that’s after all what it amounts to when a moderator squelches one of my finely-crafted commentaaages).

MARIUS-DEAD_2816345k-460x288

This was sad because a billionaire in America had offered to take Marius to a retirement home for giraffes in Beverley Hills and given a load of money even for him to Copenhagen zoo, but the director of the zoo was adamant that Marius was for the chop. So unceremoniously they killed him and carved him up and fed him to lions in front of the parents an children visiting the zoo.

That’s the background.

My comment was as follows:

  • Where are the so-called “Islamic fundamentalists” when you need them? When the Danes draw some funny pictures of a bloke in a turban, they come out and make a terrific fuss, but now, when they really is something rotten in the state of Denmark, as in rotting giraffes being fed to lions, they keep as quiet as a mouse and have nothing to say? Haven’t they read the verse where it says “انت سوف لا اذبح خاصتك الثيران الأسير، بقرات، وغيرها من البهائم الطاهرة وتتغذى منه إلى الأسود، لم يكن أي من خاصتك حمار وحشي والزرافات والإبل والحمير وإلاند. ولا رئيس ولا ذيل ولا قدم ولا الأسلحة ولا أرجل ولا أجنحة ولا الجسم منهم انت سوف يسبب إلى أن تستهلك من قبل قط كبير “, “Thou shalt not slay thy captive oxen, kyne, and other clean beasts and feed thereof to lions, neither of thy zebras, camelopards, okapis, quaggas and elends. Neither the head nor the tail nor the feet nor the arms nor legs nor wings nor body of them shalt thou cause to be consumed by a large cat” (Sura 345.6)

Evidently there is little freedom of speech in the UK these days as I noted that this gem of mine was quickly removed even though the readers of the Tellygrump had managed to vote it up quite strongly in a short time and retweet it around the internet a bit. None of their readers disagreed or wanted to take issue with it, or vote it down, only to support it or vote it up. So how come their moderators are so out of synch with the tastes and opinions of their readership?

Junkalists are the first ones to weep and wail and gnash their smelly teeth when anyone curtails their freedom of the press (which they rarely take proper advantage of anyway) but they will happily curtail that of their own stakeholders the readership with never a care. Thankfully I have my own blog and can have my say anyhow without the by-your-leave of some wannabe Fleet Street hack who got confined to the backroom moderating the online version of the Tuffygroll.

Airport shops – a Poll


I sometimes think that airport shops are simply there to prey on the captive audience which is standing around, bored, waiting for a plane. I always laugh when they ask me to show my boarding card – even if I tell them I’m not leaving the EU and therefore have to pay the VAT, not that it makes any difference most of the time if you are leaving the EU – it’s like you’re getting privileged treatment to be able to pay a few dozen percent more than you’d pay on the highstreet.

It works a bit like hotels. The posher they are, the more they rip you off with overpriced minibars, extra for internet, and nonsense like that. The same Cialdini-ism seems to be used in reverse by these airport shops, in that they think that if they treat you like rubbish and overcharge you, then you’ll feel like you are in a privileged setting and that it behoves you to shell out for things you probably didn’t even want or need in the first place.

Some places are worse than others, but the airports that will actually give you some kind of bargain seem to be in the minority, an increasing small minority.

One time in Prague airport I wanted to buy a deodorant as it was a hot day and I didn’t normally carry a toilet bag as I had a flat in Prague with that job. I was asked by the sullen saleswoman if Warsaw was my final destination. I quipped that I hoped not, as I hoped to go to heaven one day. At this her eyes clouded over, she just took the purchase out of the bag, placed it on a little shelf in her booth and refused to serve me.

Evidently I had offended against the culture of the Czech Republic. I knew they were the most atheistic country in the world, I just didn’t realise they were so religious about it.

What’s your experience with airport shops? Do you tend to use them or not?

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