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Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821 - 1890)

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30 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
William Camden
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 Message 17 of 30
12 October 2007 at 8:01am | IP Logged 
There is an anecdote about Burton which is amusing. He had just started learning Arabic and proudly showed a friend what he had written. The friend laughed and pointed out that he was writing from left to right, while Arabic is written from right to left. Even such a distinguished Arabist as Burton started off with such a howling error. But he didn't let it stop him going on with his studies, which is one of the traits distinguishing successful language learners from unsuccessful.
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apparition
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 Message 18 of 30
12 October 2007 at 9:14am | IP Logged 
William Camden wrote:
There is an anecdote about Burton which is amusing. He had just started learning Arabic and proudly showed a friend what he had written. The friend laughed and pointed out that he was writing from left to right, while Arabic is written from right to left. Even such a distinguished Arabist as Burton started off with such a howling error. But he didn't let it stop him going on with his studies, which is one of the traits distinguishing successful language learners from unsuccessful.


How did he manage that? Was he also trying to read Arabic left to right???
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William Camden
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 Message 19 of 30
12 October 2007 at 9:26am | IP Logged 
apparition wrote:
William Camden wrote:
There is an anecdote about Burton which is amusing. He had just started learning Arabic and proudly showed a friend what he had written. The friend laughed and pointed out that he was writing from left to right, while Arabic is written from right to left. Even such a distinguished Arabist as Burton started off with such a howling error. But he didn't let it stop him going on with his studies, which is one of the traits distinguishing successful language learners from unsuccessful.


How did he manage that? Was he also trying to read Arabic left to right???


Probably. If the incident actually happened, and it might be an apocryphal story, it would have been when he was just starting to learn it. Burton was the kind to dive in feet first and perhaps miss out on an important detail in his enthusiasm.
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William Camden
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 Message 20 of 30
05 November 2007 at 3:39pm | IP Logged 
A recent biography of Burton mentions that British soldiers in India often learned local languages from Indian mistresses or concubines. This sometimes had comic results - one officer scandalised the sepoys (Indian soldiers) he commanded by addressing them with the female verb forms he learned from his mistress. I don't remember which language was involved.   
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Marc Frisch
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 Message 21 of 30
22 February 2009 at 10:12pm | IP Logged 
For those who read German: There are two very interesting books about Richard Burton written by Ilija Trojanow.

The first, "Der Weltensammler" is a novel about Burton's life.

The second, "Nomade auf vier Kontinenten" is about the author's travels he undertook to learn about Burton.
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seldnar
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 Message 22 of 30
23 February 2009 at 1:11am | IP Logged 
"Der Welltensammler" is due out in English next month. It's called: "The Collector of
Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton."
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William Camden
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 Message 23 of 30
27 February 2009 at 7:59pm | IP Logged 
seldnar wrote:
"Der Welltensammler" is due out in English next month. It's called: "The Collector of
Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton."


I look forward to reading it. Burton was a fascinating individual.
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coyote
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 Message 24 of 30
01 July 2009 at 10:32pm | IP Logged 
William Harrison has written a novel about Burton: Burton & Speake. It was made into a move called Mountains of the Moon.


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