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Iversen’s Multiconfused Log (see p.1!)

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aldous
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 Message 2625 of 3959
26 September 2011 at 7:11am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
The last placename in the letter is "Khafa" - I don't know where that is, but he apparently died during the last leg of the travel.


Could that be Caffa, in the Crimea?
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Iversen
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 Message 2626 of 3959
26 September 2011 at 11:13am | IP Logged 
Caffa in Crimea would be positioned near the place where Volga runs into the Black Sea, and Nikitin would have been travelling back along Volga if he had been alive, so I buy that identification.

Кроме этого: я читал немного больше в путевой Никитина вчера вечером, включая проезд, где он проходит через Азербайджан - и это было интересно для меня, потому что я также был там. Например он упоминает земли, которая горит, и я видел, что земля все еще горит!

Btw. I read a more of the travelogue yesterday, including the passage describing Nikitin's stay in Azerbaijan (including Baku), and this was particularly interesting for me because I have been there myself. For instance he writes about continually burning earth, and yes, it is still burning - the whole area around Baku is soaked in oil, and there is a place to the North of the city where there is so much oil in the soil that it can burn with a visible flame.


Edited by Iversen on 14 October 2011 at 11:11am

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Марк
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 Message 2627 of 3959
26 September 2011 at 11:27am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Caffa in Crimea would be positioned near the place where Volga runs
into the Black Sea, and Nikitin would have been travelling back along Volga if he had
been alive, så I buy that identification.

Кроме этого: я читал немного больше в путевой Никитина вчера вечером, включая проезд,
где он проходит через Азербайджан - и это было интересно для меня, потому что я также
был там. Например он упоминает земли, которая горит, и я видел, что земля все еще
горит!

Btw. I read a more of the travelogue yesterday, including the passage describing
Nikitin's stay in Azerbaijan (including Baku), and this was particularly interesting
for me because I have been there myself. For instance he writes about continually
burning earth, and yes, it is still burning - the whole area around Baku is soaked in
oil, and there is a place to the North of the city where there is so much oil in the
soil that it can burn with a visible flame.

Volga runs into the Kaspian sea, not the Black one.
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Iversen
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 Message 2628 of 3959
26 September 2011 at 12:39pm | IP Logged 
Arrgh ... you are (of course) right. I remembered a map where Volga comes thundering from the Northeast towards the Black Sea, but even before it reaches Volgodonsk it turns to the left and passes Astrakhan on its way to the Caspian Sea (Astrakhan is mentioned by Nikitin, but I have never been in that area myself). The river I was thinking of is in actual fact Don - Don runs into the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea. And near Volgograd you need a magnifying glass to see that it isn't Volga that just runs onwards towards the Azov + Black Sea. Nikitin may have intended to follow Don to near Volgograd, and from there sail along Volga back home to Tver. But alas, he died before he could do this.



Now I was studying geography I also checked Caffa and couldn't find it - but Google found it under the name of Feodosiya. This is what the English Wikipedia has to say about this town:

Feodosiya (Ukrainian: Феодосія, Russian: Феодосия, Greek: Θεοδοσία; sometimes spelled as Theodosia) is a port and resort city in Crimea, Ukraine, on the Black Sea coast. During much of its history the town was known as Caffa (Ligurian:Cafà) or Kaffa (Crimean Tatar: Kefe).


Edited by Iversen on 27 September 2011 at 7:20pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2629 of 3959
27 September 2011 at 6:35pm | IP Logged 
Believe it or not, but I also read things in Danish, and today I found an article in Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten (its supplement 'Erhverv' p. 16) about a case brought before the European Court at Strasbourg. It is about a Dutch company which has been accused of manipulating some kind of stock quotes, and the question came up: if you somehow manage to manipulate the quotes, is it then necessary that the effect lasts for a certain time or not? I quote from a Danish text, but to ease the reading for some of you I'll translate the article - but all quotes from the relevant directive will be left alone:

In particular the court had its doubts concerning the renderings of the directive in different languages. The court concluded that it was impossible to reach an unequivocal conclusion. In the Dutch version the word "houden" is used (in Danish "holdes"), and the court found that it possibly could mean that a condition for being subject to a ban might be that the quotes be kept at an anormal or artificial level for a certain amount of time. (...) Thereafter the court analyzed the other language versions. The Spanish version - "aseguren ... el precio", German - "den Kurs ... in der Weise beinflussen, dass ein ... Kursniveau erzielt wird", English - "secure ... the price", French - "fixent ... le cours", Italian - "fissare ... il precio", the Portuguese version "assegurem ... o preço", the Finnish version - "varmistaa .. hinnan" and the Swedish version "låser fast priset"

OK, let's have a look at these versions. I had to consult a dictionary to find out what the Finnish version says, and according to my Finnish-Danish dictionary "varmistaa" means something like "confirm, corroborate".

The Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese and English versions use words that means something like 'secure, confirm'. Without an explicit indication of a process that might be safeguarded or guaranteed I would take this to mean that a certain level be kept rather than reached. Or in other words, I would expect an expression like 'bring about' or 'make certain that' if the process of getting there was intended.

The Italian and French version use expressions that are even clearer in pointing to the conservation of a level of a level rather than achieving it, and the Swedish and Dutch can only be read like that ('firmly lock the price' in Swedish is about as unambiguous as anything written by lawmakers can be). One and only one version runs counter to all the others, and that's the German one: "erzielen" clearly indicates a process and an endeavour.

So what did the honoured and learned court conclude?

The court concluded on the basis of the analysis that none of the other language versions can support that only the behaviour be prohibited which would result in keeping the quotes on a certain financial product on a anormal or articifial level for a certain amount of time".

My conclusion is that the court has established a new rule (or reestablished an old one?): if just one aberrrant version of a directive can be construed to give the meaning which the court wish to promote then it doesn't matter that all the other versions say the opposite, including the version targeted to the country of the supposed malefactor. So in principle I can be judged by the European court on the basis of a translation error in the Greek version of a directive.

NB: I only know this case from that newpaper article, and I do NOT condone manipulation of stock quotes. I just wish that the powers that be write what they want in a clear an unambiguous way and that they then stick to those formulations. Is that too much to expect?


Edited by Iversen on 30 September 2011 at 9:41am

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Iversen
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 Message 2630 of 3959
29 September 2011 at 10:36am | IP Logged 
Bad bad me - I'm not reading a great book right now (although I reread the introduction to Saxo's Gesta Danorum a few days ago). One reason is that I have been listening to my nine cassettes with great works of Пётръ Ильичъ Чайковский (Tchaikovsky*) - at least 850 or so minutes of music - while writing down the main themes therein instead of listening to speech from my TV or internet podcasts. I can't do both at the same time. So the extensive part of my language studies has been cut down for the last couple of days, leaving the intensive part intact. And in this field I have just continued working on new excerpts from things I have mentioned earlier (including my dictionaries).

Yesterday evening I first read/copied/studied two short articles about a museum on the Greek island Kythira plus an article about the Byzantine museum in Athinai. Afterwards I could have transferred the new words to wordlists, but I did something like 30 words from a dictionary instead (words beginning with κατα-).

After Greek I read/copied/studied the middle section of Nikitin's Russian travelogue, where he describes the monsoon in India which turns everything into mud for several months. He also describes food in India, using several words which I can't find in my dictionaries (luckily there are notes).

Even later I read/copied/studied two short passages from my Bahasa guides to Singapura - about a couple of bars which I wouldn't dream of visiting even if I was there. Descriptions that are meant to entice readers into flocking to a place for drinking, socializing and inhaling the local ambience + atmosphere have a tendency to become euphoric bordering on manic, and this is also the case here - which in more sobering terms means that the frequency of new words rises dramatically. I discussed this phenomenon a few months ago in relation to an Italian travel magazine for epicurean readers. But then I just have to slow down - this is not extensive reading, where it is essential to find materials that are comprehensible.

* I have always wondered why "ий" is transliterated as 'y' instead of 'ij'

Edited by Iversen on 30 September 2011 at 9:42am

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Iversen
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 Message 2631 of 3959
29 September 2011 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
DA: Jeg har været på biblioteket i dag, og udover at låne bøger læste jeg også et tidsskrift ved navn Kvant. Heri stod at der er fundet spor af liv i magnetit fra Vestgrønland, der er 3.700.000.000 år gammelt. Men hvordan ved vi nu at det er organisk stof? Jo, blandt gennem en analyse af forholdet mellem kulstof 12 og kulstof 13. Der er et enzym ved navn ribolose-1,5-difosfatcarboxylasedecarboxylase (alias RuBisCu) som organiserer optagelsen af kul i levende organismer. Dette går imidlertid nemmere med C12 end med C13. Det vil sige at resterne af selve de levende organismer forventeligt vil rummer mere C12 end man vil finde i omgivelserne, mens deres umiddelbare omgivelser tilsvarende vil rumme lidt mindre C12. Og denne difference skulle åbenbart kunne påvises i de der klipper fra Grønland.

For øvrigt har jeg lånt en "Håndbog i Grønlandsk Grammatik" (af Estrid Janussen). I en anden tråd viste det sig, at mine forventninger om gennemskueligheden af affikser/endelser i polysyntetiske sprog ikke svarede til de virkelige forhold. Jeg har altid lært at syntetiske sprog har endelser der hver har flere funktioner og ikke kan reduceres til uforanderlige elementer via simpel kombinatorik, mens affikser og endelser i agglutinerende sprog skulle være mere gennemskuelige. Så ville det være naturligt at antage at polysyntetiske sprog havde poly-mange ubegribelig affikser og endelser. Men det var åbenbart ikke tilfælde i visse sprog, der normalt regnes for polysyntetiske. Så nu vil jeg se hvordan sådan nogle sprog egentlig ser ud, og det mest logiske for mig som dansker er at kigge på grønlandsk - naturligvis uden prætentioner om at lære sproget.


This afternoon I went to the library to borrow some books, but I also found time to read a popular science magazine Kvant. One article herein told about 3,000,000,000 years old rocks from Western Greenland which contain traces of life. Well, only bacterial life at that early time in the history of the Earth, but what can you expect? However it can be difficult to separate bacteria from other structures in the rocks, so one of the tricks used by the scientists was to look at the Carbon isotopes. Apparently an enzyme called ribolose-1,5-difosfatcarboxylasedecarboxylase (alias RuBisCu) is essential for the absorption of Carbon in modern living organisms, and apparently this enzyme works better with C12 than with C13. Therefore you will expect living organisms to contain a high proportion of C12 compared to their immediate surroundings, which would then have less C12 than expected. And lo and behold, this discrepancy could be demonstrated even in these extremely old rocks.

And now we are speaking about Greenland: in another thread I found out that words in polysynthetic languages may consist of endless chains of morphemes or affixes or whatever. I had however expected these elements to fuse into something totally unanalyzable - not least because I have read about Northamerican Indian languages being very difficult because the words are immensely long and totally impossible to analyze. But I also expected this because the endings in synthetical languages are seen as basically unanalyzable entities with several roles, whereas those in agglutinating languages should be chains of basically unaltered affixes - almost like an oldfashioned train with separate waggons. And now it was claimed that the elements in polysynthetical languages behave like those old trains. I have to see that for myself, so I have borrowed a Greenlandic grammar which I will read through in the coming weekend. Given that Greenland is part of Denmark its language should be the polysyntetical language which is most relevant for me as a Dane, and it is possible to find books about it even at public libraries here. But it is also said to be difficult to learn, and I don't intend even to try - I already have enough things on my agenda, and as a non--Indoeuropean language it is totally outside my scope.


Edited by Iversen on 30 September 2011 at 9:39am

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Iversen
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 Message 2632 of 3959
30 September 2011 at 12:41pm | IP Logged 
I'm behind schedule with my multiconfused summaries, but I have just added August. Well, actually I forgot about August because I discovered that I had forgotten to write the summary about July, and then I wrote July and forgot about August, and now I have to find time to write about September before I forget that too.


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