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Lithuania

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Jenny
614462.  Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:50 am Reply with quote

Thanks jdean - good to know I'm right even if I wasn't entirely confident why!

 
jdean
614465.  Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:56 am Reply with quote

Prašom, ne problema

 
suze
614471.  Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:10 pm Reply with quote

I'd certainly read it in much the way you two have done. I'm not a Russian (spit, how could you think such a thing?), but a German. OK, so a German from Lithuania, but German all the same (thank you very much).

The form of the line is perhaps a nod at Eliot's friend P Wyndham Lewis, who had had a character use the line "I am a Russian, thoroughly Russian" in his novel Tarr, which was published at about the time Eliot started work on The Waste Land and which Eliot had reviewed (favourably) for a magazine.

 
jdean
614474.  Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Good point.

I read an account by a young Russian civil servant sent to Vilnius in the 19th century (don't remember the name or the date, I'm afraid) who was possitively proud of the image of Russians as wildmen. The attitude of German-civilized, Russian-barbarous was so ingrained that it was his very first impression of life in Vilnius.

His second impression was the state of constant drunkeness of the locals and the loose morals of the women!

 
Jenny
614987.  Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Interestingly I'm reading a novel set in 1906 (called The Ordeal of Dr Perlman by Brooks Hanson) in which the protagonist, a Jewish doctor from Vienna, is an enthusiast for music and distinguishes sharply between the tight motif-bound style of the Germans and the looser melodic feel of the Russians.

 
jdean
615438.  Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:47 pm Reply with quote

During the First World War both the Germans and the Russians spoke in terms of "rescuing" Lithuania. I am sure the poor Lithuanians caught between them were very greatfull.

 
jdean
620103.  Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:45 pm Reply with quote

For anyone interested, here you will find some beautiful aerial pictures of Lithuania:

http://www.fotoskrydis.lt

 
nitwit02
620379.  Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:39 pm Reply with quote

Beautiful photos!

 
Sophie.A
620441.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:52 am Reply with quote

The Lithuanian language contains this letter: ė (the letter e with a dot on top). It represents the long closed sound of the letter e (namely /ɛ:/) and is quite interesting in that it is unique to Lithuanian. No other language uses the letter e diacritically marked in this way.

At least I don’t know of any other language that uses the letter ė. If there is, hopefully suze can enlighten me on it.

Lithuanian also contains four vowels with ogonek (a diacritical mark like a cedilla but with the tail pointing the other way): ą, ę, į, ų. Traditionally these were nasal vowels, but in modern Lithuanian they are simply long vowels (in particular ę has the long open sound /e:/). The letters ą and ę are also found in Polish (where they are nasal); I was thinking that į and ų might also be unique to Lithuanian but while composing this post I have found out that they occur in Apache and Navajo as well.

 
jdean
620464.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:18 am Reply with quote

The letter ė is always pronounced air.

It is very hard to hear the difference between the letters ą, ę, į and ų as spoken and the normal a,e,i and u vowel sounds.

The are also the letters ū (pronounced oo), č (ch), š (sh as in shame) and ž (as the s in leisure).

One of the beauties of the language (for the poor stundent, such as myself) is that, apart from a handful of dipthongs and digraphs, the letter sounds are constant. A is always a as in art and never as in pack.

It makes life easy enough for pronounciation. And then you get to the gramma.... my god, thats hard.

 
Sophie.A
620498.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:40 am Reply with quote

There is a Lithuanian shop just round the corner from where my sister lives. It’s got the word “shop” in four languages put up on its sign outside, including the Polish SKLEP and the Lithuanian PARDUOTUVĖ. The name of the shop is “Vasara”, which I gather means “Summer” in Lithuanian. (In Finnish, vasara would mean “hammer”.)

It’s a nice little shop, selling a range of Lithuanian food & drink. My sister once bought a bottle of birch-flavoured vodka there.

 
suze
620511.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:28 am Reply with quote

Sophie.A wrote:
At least I don’t know of any other language that uses the letter ė. If there is, hopefully suze can enlighten me on it.


I believe you are correct here - I don't know of any other language which uses ė. Yoruba (West Africa) uses to represent /ɛ/.

As you note, Polish uses ą and ę, and Lithuanian uses these two and also į and ų. Navaho and a few other indigenous languages of North America add ǫ, while Tutchone (spoken in the Yukon) completes the set with y-ogonek (not in Unicode except by using combining characters, and it looked rubbish so I spare you it here).


Closely related to Lithuanian is Latvian, and that language uses 4˝ letters which I think are unique to it. In Latvian, g, k, l, n, and marginally r can all bear cedillas. The lower case g-cedilla is unique in that the cedilla goes above the letter - ģ. (Yea, it does look like an acute accent there - that's a weakness of the font used on these forums, it really is a cedilla!)

 
Sophie.A
620522.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:48 am Reply with quote

That’s really fascinating. I looked up Latvian on Omniglot and found that the cedilla on the g in Latvian is written above the lowercase letter but below the uppercase one, the marking changing its sound from /g/ to /j/.

suze wrote:
Navaho and a few other indigenous languages of North America add ǫ

I know that ǫ is also used in Old Norse.

 
jdean
620748.  Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:24 pm Reply with quote

Sophie.A wrote:
It’s a nice little shop, selling a range of Lithuanian food & drink. My sister once bought a bottle of birch-flavoured vodka there.


I have tried it! It's definitly an aquired taste. Usualy aquired after the fourth glass.

The Lithuanian version of mead is interesting too. It starts as ordinary mead, then is distilled (50% bv!) then sweetened with more honey and flavoured with various berrys and herbs. The most popular brand is Suktinis.

Definitly worth a try!

 
Feroxas
632341.  Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:13 pm Reply with quote

As a lithuanian I can tell you the drinks you are talking about a quite unpopular and are rather a nice quirky souvenir that has some connections to the old drinking culture than an accurate represantation of what lithuanians drink today. :)

 

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