reede, juuli 28, 2006

Mis Giustino ei õpi ...

Sometimes I have the odd feeling that I am doing things that are actually quite difficult, but achieving them just by being oblivious to the obstacles they present.

Fatherhood is one of these things. Everybody tells you that, "it's so hard" and "you'll never be the same." Yes, it is pretty demanding sometimes, and yes, I am different, but high school was demanding sometimes too, and I was definitely a different person at the end of high school from the fellow who entered high school three years prior.

And, in a way, isn't life one big challenge that never leaves you the same? One time I went to Cancun, Mexico. I drank lots of tequila, ate lots of quesadillas, kissed dangerous and borderline psychotic women (most fall into this category), and imagined that I could lead my life like this - one big party. I'd get wasted everyday, live in my hotel room with its barely functional toilet, and write novels with short punchy words, just like - that's right - just like Ernest Hemingway. Papa. I'd be he and he'd be me. Together we'd tango in the night enjoying life as one big party free of responsibilities.

But even when you are trying to circumvent the things in life that are "so hard" and trying not to be "changed forever" you still succumb to the reality of life. It is hard and it does change you. Imagine that I had stayed in Cancun. It would have been great until a) I ran out of money; b) I got my Mexican girlfriend Esmeralda pregnant and was beaten nearly to death by her traditionalist brothers; c) I drowned in a puddle of my own vomit. See what I mean? Life is always full of surprises. You just can't avoid the great ones, no matter how hard you try to skirt responsibility and inevitability.

And so it is with the Estonian language and it's many cases. It's supposedly hard. Some sort of "cave language." An ancient language of slanty-eyed reindeer herders and berry picking peasants who - despite thousands of years of separation - still have some common words with their distant Hungarian cousins - important words like "ver/veri" (blood) "sarv" (horn) and "kutsu" (dog). These are the words that Conan the Barbarian needed in his daily life. This is the base of Finno-Ugric languages.

Estonian is the language I am learning, despite the fact that most of its speakers have poor diction and prefer to mumble their sentiments rather than pronounce them loud and clear. This is why many Estonians have a hard time with English because they are not used to opening their mouth enough to make the American 'r' sound or to negotiate their 'th' sounds with an agilen tongue. The Estonian mouth is about this --> ( ) <-- big. That's how big my mouth has to be to master these words.

And I have been making progress. I made it through a whole comic strip of "Bertli Päevik" in the TV Ekspress magazine with limited questions. Some of my new words are - limpsima, which means 'to lick,' eeskuju, which means 'role model,' and jagama - which is what Sting was doing recently in Tallinn as he signed autographs.

The sentences come - Epp limpsis jäätist, Oleg oli halb eeskuju, and Sting jagas autogrammi Tallinnas.

Then there are the ones that don't immediately come to mind, like esitama, which means a whole bunch of things, including to 'bring forth' and eelistama which means 'to prefer.' So we can try something like Joonas esitas asja kohtus and Endel eelistab oad. Isn't the word for 'bean' great? One bean is uba but many beans are oad. I have no idea where this word comes from. The Finnish word for 'bean' is papu which is the Estonian child's word for 'shoe'.

Another word that has popped up recently is hoopis, which Epp says means 'suddenly' but the online dictionary says means 'quite.' This comes directly from Nuktisamees. Võib-olla pahed on hoopis hea!

Võib kull.

9 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

But Endel eelistab ube :)

Eppppp ütles ...

Speaking about "Conan the Barbarian" words.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have the same (more or less, a few vocals are different) for:
RATAS - wheel
PUDEL - bottle (actually "pudelis" in Latv-Lith, or something like this)

Three most basic words! ;)

Ok, and your words

Epp limpsis jäätist. OK

Oleg oli halb eeskuju. OK. (But maybe: kellele? oma pojale?)

Sting jagas autogrammi Tallinnas. - autogramme või autogrammisid (plural! you used singular. You can say "andis autogrammi", singular. But "jagama" means there must be plural.)

Joonas esitas asja kohtus. OK perhaps.
But it also means perform. Eg: Justin esitas oma lemmiklaulu.

Endel eelistab oad. - Thats tricky. Endel eelistab ubasid või ube. (osastav kääne, mitmus)

Võib-olla pahed PAHAD on hoopis hea! - It actually means: but what if the bad are good?

The song goes:
Kurjus on ilmas - The evil exists in the world.
Headus on ilmas. - The good exists in the world.
Pahad on pahad ja head on head. - The bad are bad and the good are good.
Aga võibolla pahad on hoopis head?-but what if the bad are actually good?

"hoopis" makes the suprise moment in the sentence.

Giustino ütles ...

Endel eelistab oad. - Thats tricky. Endel eelistab ubasid või ube. (osastav kääne, mitmus)

When I saw the word uba I immediately heard that song karu mõmm sings about grinding kohvi.

Anonüümne ütles ...

"Võibolla pahed on hoopis HEAD" can make a sense with "pahed" = sins. "Maybe sins are good actually."

Uba and oad - supposedly initial plural was "ubad" or something similar, but "b" softened in the beginning of a closed syllable - kind of general rule in our language history - until it got totally lost. And then it took another while for uad > oad (BTW, in some dialects it is still "uad"). I learned it once, but have forgotten what all those reconstructed ancient forms are based on. Other finno-ugric languages probably.

Eppppp ütles ...

Yes, this is true.
PAHE, PAHED - sin, sins.

(In the song they say PAHAD and thats what I followed)

Anonüümne ütles ...

;-) Try to say as fast as you can: MUSTA LEHMA SABA KIRJU LEHMA TAGA, KIRJU LEHMA SABA MUSTA LEHMA TAGA with a mouth this -->( )<-- big, and several times in a row :-D
(itsitab omaette)
Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian languages may have some words that have mixed in but they do belong to totally different language groups - Lithuanian is a language group in itself.
Good luck in Estonia, Justin!
Life in US has changed my perspectives and the distance between Tartu and Tallinn is becoming smaller and smaller.

Eppppp ütles ...

I think Latvian and Lithuanian are in the same language group? The Baltic.

Anonüümne ütles ...

You are absolutely correct Epp, and I was mistaken! Yep, checked it out - Lithuanin and Latvian are Baltic languages, it's a Balto-Slavic branch grown out of Indo-European languages. I guess I was having a temporary memory loss :-p

Kaur ütles ...

We were walking around in Supilinn with a well-travelled Japanese gentleman in the group. Suddenly he stopped and pointed at a house number sign: "well I haven been in many places, but never have I seen a house with number zero A!" We had reached the Bean street...