Monday, 30 January 2017

Toomas Karmo (Osa A/Part A): Maakeeleõppimise tegelikkus/ Practicalities of Studying Estonian

Kvaliteedihinnang ---- Quality assessment:

Viiepallise süstemi kohaselt, mis kehtib Eestis, ja vist ka naaberriikides, ja mis on küllaltki tuttav neile, kes on vaadelnud akadeemilisi tavasid mitte-küll-tagantigatsetud NSVL's (siin rakendades need vähenõudlikud, lõdvad normid, mida Kmo võtab kasutusele oma nii räpases, ettekujutatud "Aleksandr Stepanovitš Popovi nimelises sangarliku raadio instituudis" kui ka oma räpases, ettekujutatud "Nikolai Ivanovitš Lobatševski nimelises sotsialistliku matemaatika instituudis") - kus, nende vähenõudvate normide kohaselt, 1/5 on "eepiline läbikukkumine", 2/5 "läbikukkumine, mis pole siiski nii hull, et ta eepose tasemeni jõaks", 3/5 on "keskpärane", 4/5 on "hea", ja on 5/5 "kiduväärne"): 3/5. Põhjendus: Kmo leidis aega piisavalt põhjalikuks kirjutamiseks, kuid ei osanud oma võimalikke eestikeelseid keelevigu kätte leida ja parandada. ---- On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitš Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitš Lobatševski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 3/5. Justification: Kmo had time to do a reasonably complete job, but lacked the skill to track down and correct his probable breaches of Estonian linguistic norms. 



Variandikroonika ---- Revision history:


  • 20170131T2156Z/variant 3.2.0: Kmo lisas materjali Põhjala kultiirisfääri teemal. Ta hoidis enda käes õiguse teha siinjuures pisikesi, puhtkosmeetilisi, parandusi järgmise 48 tunni jooksul, siin mitte-dokumenteeritud variantide 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, ... näol. ---- Kmo added material on the Nordic cultural sphere. He  reserved for himself the right to make tiny, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, ... . 
  • 20170131T2044Z/variant 3.1.0: Kmo lisas tänuavaldusi Winifred Oseri, Tiiu-Ann Salasoo, dr Hugo Salasoole, paater Vello Salole. Ta hoidis enda käes õiguse teha siinjuures pisikesi, puhtkosmeetilisi, parandusi järgmise 48 tunni jooksul, siin mitte-dokumenteeritud variantide 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.2, ... näol. --- Kmo added words of thanks to Winifred Oser, Tiiu-Ann Salasoo, Dr Hugo Salasoo, and Father Vello Salo. He reserved for himself the right to make tiny, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, ... . 
  • 20170131T1955Z/variant 3.0.0: Kmo lõpetas kondikava ümberkujundamist loetavatesse lausetesse. Ta nüüd alustas lihvimist. Ta hoidis enda käes õiguse teha siinjuures pisikesi, puhtkosmeetilisi, parandusi järgmise 48 tunni jooksul, siin mitte-dokumenteeritud variantide 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.2, ... näol. ---- Kmo finished converting his outline into coherent prose. He now starting polishing. He reserved for himself the right to make tiny, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170131T0033Z/variant 2.0.0: Kmo tõi oma kaootilise kondikava paremasse, loogilisemasse, seisundisse, peamiselt vaid eesti keeles. Ta nüüd alustas kondikava ümberkujundamise loetavatesse lausetesse, kirjutades mõlemas keeles.---- Kmo brought his chaotic outline into an improved, more logical, form, albeit largely in Estonian. He now began converting the outline into coherent prose, writing in both languages. 
  • 20170131T0005Z/variant 1.0.0: Kmo koostas kaootilise esialgse kondikava. Ta lootis seda ümber kujundada järgmise nelja tunni jooksul loetavasse vormi, nii eesti keeles kui inglise keeles. Ta aga kartis, et tal tuleks seda tõõd alles järgmisel päeval, s.o. 2017-01-31 Ontario päevaajal, lõpetada. ---- Kmo produced a chaotic provisional outline. He hoped to transform this over the coming four hours into readable prose, both in Estonian and in English. He feared, however, that he would have to finish on the next working day, i.e., in the Ontario daylight hours of 2017-01-31. 


[HOIATUS: Viga blogger-i serveritarkvaras on viimaste nädalate jooksul kippuud insereerima soovimata valgevahet niimõnda minu siinpakutud esseesse. Kui tundub, et kuvar lõppeb tühja ruumiga, tuleb minna hiireratta abil veel allapoole. Lõpp ei ole käes, kuni paistab tavaline blogger-i "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at". - Blogger-i tarkvara on ka kippunud tootma HTML'i, mida kujundavad erinevatel viisidel erinevad kliendipoolsed brauserid - kusjuures niimõnigi brauser ehk ei loe sisse oma täies ulatuses need "Kaskaadlastikud Stiililehed", mis mitme brauseri juures määratlevad äärevahede, kõrvalveerude (jne) paigutamise. Kui Teie aimate Kaskaadlastike Stiililehtede eksimuste olemasolu Teie brauseris, olge  kannatlikud: on tõenäone, et kuigi sisu on tõugatud mingisugusesse veidrasse paika (näiteks, brauseri alumise ääre vastu, kui ta peaks pigemini parema ääre vastu istuma), siiski on terve sisu Teie brauserisse kuidagiviisi laaditud, ühes või teises kummalises asendis. - Igaüks, kes sooviks aidata lahenduste otsimisel, või ka muid tehnilisi nõuandeid pakkuda, võiks julgesti mulle kirjutada, aadressil Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com. ---- CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]





0. Käesoleva ajaveebiessee kohta üldiselt ---- About This Blog Posting

Praegune ajaveebi, ehk blogi, essee kujutab endast jätku möödunud nädala ingliskeelsele ajaveebi esseele, mille pealkirjaks oli "Why Study Languages?" ---- Today's blog essay is intended as a sequel to last week's blog essay, entitled "Why Study Languages?" 

Minu tänased sissejuhatavad tähelepanekud, essee alguses, pakuvad mõnel määral huvi neile, kes ei ole oma eesmärgiks seadnud eesti keele õppimise. Mõnel määral aga pakuvad need lõigud ka midagi eesti keele valdajatele, kellel on mingisugune üldine huvi kultuurinähtuste vastu. ---- Today's introductory remarks, at the beginning of the essay, to some extent will interest people who have not set themselves the goal of learning Estonian. But to some extent also, they will be of some use to Estonian speakers interested in general cultural phenomena. 

Neid sissejuatavaid tähelepanekuid ma koondan kahe alapeatüki alla, esse alguses: esiteks "Enne formaalsete õpingute alustamist: (A) eesti keel  oma laiemas kultuurilses kontekstis", ja teiseks "Enne formaalsete õpingute alustamist: (B) heliline taust laulusõnade abil". ---- I will assemble these remarks under two section headings, at the beginning of the essay: first "Before Starting Formal Studies: (A) Estonian in its Wider Cultural Context", and second "Before Starting Formal Studies: (B) The Auditory Background, via Song Lyrics".  

Edaspidi praeguses ajaveebiessees (seda ma kavatsen alles tuleval nädalal edasi kirjutada), kolmandast alapeatükist alates, tulevad minu peamised konkreetsed soovitused - peamiselt õpikute ja sõnaraamatute soovituste näol. See edaspidine osa vist huvitab ainult seda lugejat, kes tõesti kavatseb keelt õppida. ----Subsequently in the present essay (I hope to write this, in whole or in part, next week), starting with the third section, are my principal concrete suggestions - for the most part comprising specific textbook and dictionary recommendations. This subsequent writing will perhaps interest only the reader who actually plans to study Estonian. 

****


Minu siinnäidatud koostamise kroonika ei peegelda praeguse ajaveebiessee täie, keeruka, tekkeloo. Ma juba koostasin kaks lühikest varianti 2015.a., elektronpostiliseks levitamiseks. See oli ajal, kui mul veel polnud http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com-i serveriruum. ---- My revision history, as displayed here,  reflects the unusually complex gestation history of the present blog essay. I already constructed two short versions in 2015, for dissemination by e-mail. This was at a time at which I did not yet have the server space http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com.

****


Täna ma mõtlen ja kirjutan pigem eesti kui inglise keeles. Kirjutamine tehtud, ma siis sõnastan oma lauseid ümber inglise keelde, suhteliselt vaba (s.o. mitte piinlikult sõna-sõna-pealt täpse) tõlkena. ---- Today I am thinking and writing in Estonian rather than in English. The initial writing finished, I then turn my sentences into English, in a rather free (as opposed to a painfully literal) translation.

Ma vabandan ette, et ehkki ma siin mõtlen ja kirjutan kodukeeles, mu kodukeel jätab soovida. Minu pagulaskonna 1960. aastate Nova Scotia piirkonnas puudusid need eestikeelsed koolivõimalused, mis olid olemas Torontos - ja võib-olla olid veel paremal, jõulisemal, kujul olemas Stokholmis. Loodan, et kunagi tulevikus (võib-olla mõne aasta pärast) suudan oma keelelisi vigu kätte leida ja tänast puudulikku esitlust parandada. ---- I apologize in advance that although I am here thinking and writing in my home language, my command of my home language nevertheless leaves something to be desired. My 1960s-era Estonian-émigré region of Nova Scotia lacked those Estonian-language schooling opportunities which existed in Toronto - and existed perhaps in a still better, stronger, form in Stockholm. I hope that at some future point, perhaps some years from now, I will be able to find my linguistic errors and improve on today's occasionally defective expression.

****

Praegu tuleks veel tänada need mitmed, kes on kuidagi oma abi andnud essee kokkupanemisel, eriti selle 2015.a. kahe varavariandi puhul: tähestikulises järjestuses Argo Mund (Eesti Keele Instituut,Tallinn), Piret Noorhani (VEMU-Toronto), Marju Toomsalu (Toronto Ülikool) ning Korp! Vironia pere Torontos. ---- It is time now to thanks those numerous people who have given their help in the compiling of this essay, especially in its early (2015) versions: in alphabetical order Argo Mund (Estonian Language Institute, Tallinn), Piret Noorhani (Museum of Estonians Abroad, in Toronto), Marju Toomsalu (University of Toronto) and the Toronto family of the academic fraternity Korporatsioon Vironia.

Ma sooviksin veel eriti tänada minu keeleõppimise ergutajaid 1980-date aastate Austraalia Metsaülikooli peres, ja siinsamas 1980-date aastate Torontos - Austraalias Winifred Oser (neiuna Vunk) (1920-2013; tuntud mu armsale emale enne Teist maailmasõda: emagi õppis filoloogiat Tartus, kui prl Vungi tolleaegne kolleeg), Tiiu-Ann Salasoo (1932-) ning dr Inno Salasoo (1929-), ja selleaegses Torontos paater Vello Salo (1925-). ---- I would like also in a special way to thank some individuals who have encouraged me in philological studies, both in the 1980s Australian Metsaülikool ["Forest University"] family and here in 1980s-era Toronto - in Australia Winifred Oser (née Vunk) (1920-2013; known before the war to my dear mother; my mother herself studied philology in Tartu, as Miss Vunk's then colleague), Tiiu-Ann Salasoo (Jalak) (1932-) and Dr Inno Salasoo (1929-); and in past-days Toronto Father Vello Salo (1925-).

1. Enne Formaalsete Õpingute Alustamist: (A) Eesti Keel Oma Laiemas Kultuurilses Kontekstis ---- Before Starting Formal Studies: (A) Estonian in its Wider Cultural Context


Neile, kellele eesti kultuur on veidi võõras, tuleks ehk toonitada kahte olulist tõika. ---- Two relevant points should perhaps be stressed for those to whom Estonian is somewhat exotic.

(1)  Eesti rahvalaul, ja ka eesti viimistletud ilukirjadnuslik korpus, peegeldab mahasurutusut ja vastupanu - nagu seda teeb ka (veelgi dramaatilisemal kujul) heebrea keel. ---- Estonian folk song, and also the corpus of polished Estonian literature, reflects a history of repression and resistance - as does (in a still more dramatic way) Hebrew.

Juba meie termin "maakeel" sisendab vihjet raskele minevikule: eestlastest sai linlaste-ristirüütlite poolt anastatud maarahvas alatest 1208.a., millte tõttu nad kippusidki ennast alistunult "maarahvaks" hüüdma kuni 19. sajandi ärkamisajastuni. --- Our term "maakeel" ("countryside language") itself embodies a reference to a difficult past: from the year 1208, the Estonians became a "countryside people" conquered by townsfolk and crusaders, and in consequence tended to call themselves the "countryside people" until their 19th-century national awakening.

Ka eesti keele tõus euroopa kultuurkeelte hulka 19. sajandil leiab kaudset parallelli Iisraelis. Kui meie keeelpäästjateks osutus väike, kohati küllaltki sangarlik salk filolooge-literaate (esialgseks üldtuntud kujuks oli F.R.Kreutzwald (1803-1882); tema nii-öelda sõiduvees võttis hoogu süstemaatiline teaduslik keeleuurimine, näiteks Jakob Hurda (1839-1906/1907) ja Mihkel Veske (1843-1890) näol), siis analoogselt leidub Iisraeli rahvaelus sangarlik heebrea keele ülesehitaja Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922). ---- Further, the rise of Estonian into the family of cultured European languages in the 19th century has its distant parallel in Israel. Where the rescuers of our language were a small, in some instances rather heroic, band of philologist-littérateurs (the first generally known figure was F.R.Kreutzwald (1803-1882); in his so-to-speak ship's wake, systematic scholarly philology gathered momentum, for instance through Jakob Hurt (1839-1906/1907) and Mihkel Veske (1843-1890)), analogously Israel has its heroic Hebrew philological revivalist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922).

Nagu heebrea keel on olnud Israeli riigielus, Palestiina Mandaadi ajast saadik, kultuuriliseks võistlemistriistaks, nii on seda olnud ka meie keel - meie puhul eriti kahes eri sundvenestamise ajajärgus (esiteks viimaste tsaaride, teiseks 1991.a. tühistatud NSVL okupatsiooni all). ---- As Hebrew has been in the national life of Israel, from the days of the Palestine Mandate onward, a cultural-defence weapon, so also has been our language - in our case most notably in two different periods of forced russification (the first of them under the last tsars, the second under the USSR occupation which was annulled in 1991).

Nagu Iisraelis, nii on ka Eesti kultuurilisel arengul olulise osa mänginud mandritevaheline diasporaa, oma filoloogide ja kirjanikkudega. ---- As in the case of Israel, so also in the case of Estonia's cultural development, a significant role has been played by an intercontinental disapora, with its philologists and authors.


(2) Võõrastele, võib-olla koguni eestlastele endile, tuleks toonitada, kuivõrd märgatav on meie kultuuri asümmeetriline geograafiline suunitlus. Vaistlikult eelistatud on just meie põhja ja loode vaatevinklid, üle merevoogude - põhja suund meie hõimlaste, soomlaste, pärast; loode suund aga kui see laiijem põhjala, kuhu me sooviksime koos oma võimsama soomlastest hõimurahvaga kuuluda, kõige meie ajalooliste ida- ning kaguraskuste kiuste. ---- To foreigners, and perhaps to Estonians themselves, it is worth underscoring how perceptible is our culture's asymmetric geographical outreach. Instinctively favoured are our northern and norhwestern aspects, across the waves - northward because of our ethnic relatives the Finns; and to the northwest, on the other hand, because of that wider Nordic world to which we would wish, along with our stronger relatives the Finns, to belong, in the teeth of our various historical eastward and southeastward difficulties.

Me vahest kipume unustame kuivõrd lai on kultuuriline Põhjala. Sinna kuuluvad mitte üksnes Soome ja Rootsi, aga veel Taani (kui maastikulisest sarnasusest Taaniga kõrvale jätta, jääb ikka see tõsiasi, et taanlaste käes oli  mõneks ajaks Tallinn, ehk "Taani linn"). Kui rääkida Taanist, siis tuleb silmas pidada veel Faroe saari, Islandit ja Gröönimaad. Kui juttu juba Gröönimaast, tuleks veel märkida, et nagu Narva jõgi on Põhjala idapoolseks piiriks, samuti ulatus Gröönimaa seiklejate võim kunagi Newfoundlandi põhjatipuni välja - l'Anse aux Meadows'i 11. sajandi lühiajalise koloonia-asula näol. - Siis on veel norra, kelle kultuurilisi jälgi leitakse tänapäeval Shetlandi saartel. Viimane teadaolev norra "Norn"-i emakeelena valdaja Shetlandites suri alles 1850.a. paiku, nagu me seda inglise keeles loeme veebilehelt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Sutherland_%28Norn%29. ---- We sometimes tend to forget just how wide is the Nordic cultural sphere. To it belong not Finland and Sweden alone, but also Denmark (leaving aside the similarity between the Danish and Estonian landscapes, there remains the fact that in Denmark's power lay for a time Tallinn, "the Danish linn"/"Danish town"). When Denmark is brought into consideration, then one has also to keep in view the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland. But so far as concerns Greenland, then as the Narva River marks the easternmost extreme of the Nordic cultural region, equally Greenland's 

adventurers reached out to the northern tip of Newfoundland, through their shortlived 11th-century l'Anse aux Meadows colony-settlement. - Then again there is  Norway, whose cultural footprints are discernible in today's Shetlands. The last known native Norn speaker died in the Shetlands as recently as 1850 or so - as we read in English from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Sutherland_%28Norn%29.



Šotimaa ise, kui Norra naaber, ja kui Norra vestluspartner keskaegses diplomaatias,  ei ole Põhjalale võõras. ---- Scotland itself, as Norway's neighbour, and as Norway's partner in mediaeval diplomatic dialogue, is not foreign to the Nordic sphere.

Mida iganes tuleks Inglismaa kohta öelda, on tõsiasi küll, esiteks (a) et anglosakside kultuur enne Vilhelm Vallutajat oli tunduvalt Taaniga seotud, teiseks (b) et anglosaksi Wessexi kroonikakirjutajatele tuntud seiklejad Ohtere ja/või Wulfstan külastasid ka meie merelõiku.  ---- Whatever is to be said about England, it is at any rate the case first
(a) that the Anglo-Saxon culture before William the Conqueror was perceptibly linked with Denmark, and secondly (b) that the adventurers Ohtere and/or Wulfstan, known to chronicle-writers of Anglo-Saxon Wessex, visited even our own stretch of the Baltic Sea.




2. Enne Formaalsete Õpingute Alustamist: (B) Heliline Taust Laulusõnade Abil ---- Before Starting Formal Studies: (B) The Auditory Background, via Song Lyrics


Kes tahab heebrea keelt õppida peaks esialgu mitte grammatikat tuupima, vaid selle keele konstantiderikast ilu tundma õppima, ja seegi pigem vaistlikult kui intellektuaalselt. Selline hingeline tajumine võiks minu  meelest sündida juba paari laulu näol - näiteks peolaul Hava Nagila, ja siis veel Ofra Haza (1957-2000) lööklaul "Jerušalaim šel Zahav" ("Kullast Jeruusalem"). Kes, olles kord kuulnud "Hava Nagilas" "uru ahhiim", suudaks unustada, et "vend" on, nii piibli kui ka tänapäevases keeles, mitmuses "ahhiim", nii vägeva h-ga? Kellele, olles kord kuulnud Ofra Hazad, ei tuleks peaaegu et pisarad silma, mõeldes samasuguselt konsantiderohke sõna "homaa" ("seina", siin õiteti "leinamüüri") tähendusele - ja see nii iidse piibli kui ka tänapäevases keeles?  Kui alustada oma heebrea keele õpinguid lauluga, on tee kuidagi silutud. ---- One who wishes to study Hebrew ought to begin not by cramming the grammar, but by forming an acquaintance with that language's so-consonantal beautry - and even this more at the level of the instinct than of the intellect. Such an emotional appreciation can in my view by acquired easily, from just a couple of songs - for instance from the celebration-song Hava Nagila, and secondly from the Ofra Haza (1957-2000) popular hit "Jerushalaim shel Zahav" ("Jerusalem of Gold"). Who, having once heard the Hava Nagila "uru ahim", could forget that "brother" is, both in the Biblical and in the contemporary language, in its plural "ahim", with that so-strong "h"? Who, having once heard Ofra Haza, is not reduced practically to tears upon pondering the significance of that similarly consonant-heavy word "homa" ("wall", more accurately in this context "Wailing Wall") - and this equally in the ancient Biblical language and in contemporary speech? Those who start studying Hebrew through song find their path somehow smoothed.

Sama kehtib saksa ning prantuse keelte kohta. Hea oleks saksakeele tudengil juba esimesel nädalal ära kuulata näiteks "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus", või laulja "Lolita" (Edith "Ditta" Einzinger; 1931-2010) "Seemann, deine Heimat ist das Meer", või siis jälle mõni "die Fledermaus-i" aaria või koorikatkend. ---- The same point applies for German and French. It is desirable for the German student already in the initial week to listen to, for example, "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus", or to the vocalist "Lolita" (Edith "Ditta" Einzinger; 1931-2010) rendering "Seemann, deine Heimat ist das Meer", or again to some aria or choral excerpt from die Fledermaus.

Pranstuse keele esimese nädala jooksul, kui grammatika on veel hämar, tuleks lasta kõrvaklappidesse niimõnigi Edith Piafi (1915-1963) klassik - näiteks "Milord", "La vie en rose" ja "Je ne regrette rien. ---- In the first week of French studies, when the grammar is still obscure, it would be appropriate to convey into the headphones some classics from Edith Piaf (1915-1963) - say "Milord", "La vie en rose", and "Je ne regrette rien."

Et mitte liiga palju korraga pakkuda, ma siin soovitaksin vaid kaks eestikeelset laulu, mis siiski kuidagi lasevad aimata eestlaste hingemaailma üldkonjunktuure, ja ühtlasi toovad piisavalt esile eesti keele foneetilise omapära. ---- So as not to offer too much at once, I would recommend here just two Estonian songs, which nevertheless allow the student to appreciate the general contours of the Estonian emotional inscape, and at the same time display in an adequate way some  features of Estonian phonetics.

Esimeseks sissejuhatavaks palaks võiks võtta kajastus tänapäeva ühiskondlikest muredest - kus 1944.a. on oma reaalsuse kaotamas, kus isegi 1987-1991.a. Laulev Revolutsioonist on saanud pigem kooliõpiku peatükk kui tegelikkus - nimelt, "Mis maa see on?" Siin minu soovituseks oleks Siiri Sisask, nii nagu ta seda laulu ette kandis spontaanselt või pool-spontaanselt (rahvamurru võib-olla peaaegu ootamatul, harjutamatul, saatel, Tallinna lauluväljakul). Pala on esitatud YouTube'i tarbija "Ringtee" poolt, pealkirjaga "Siiri Sisask ja Ühendkoorid | Mis maa see on", kuupäevaga 2011-07-03, kestvusega 6:03. Minu internetikvartalis on selle materjali veebiaadressiks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmmUOpLQnLs. Ehkki mujal maailmas võiks veebiaadress teistsugune olla, peaks YouTube'i ostingumootor andma vajaliku tulemuse, kui kasutada otsinguterminina 2011 Siiri Sisask Mis maa see on. ---- As the first introductory piece, one might take a resonance of today's sociopolitical concerns - today, when 1944 is losing its reality, and when even the 1978-through-1991 Singing Revolution is becoming more schoolbook chapter than actuality - namely, "Mis maa see on?" ["What country is this?"]. Here my recommendation would be Siiri Sisask, in her spontaneous or semi-spontaneous performance (with the perhaps almost unanticipated accompaniment of the crowd, at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds). The piece is made available by YouTube user "Ringtee" under the title "Siiri Sisask ja Ühendkoorid [Siiri Sisask and Combined Choirs] | Mis maa see on", under date 2011-07-03, for a duration of 6:03. In my corner of the Internet, this material has the URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmmUOpLQnLs. Although elsewhere in the world the URL might differ, the YouTube search engine should deliver the correct result when duly supplied with the search term 2011 Siiri Sisask Mis maa see on.

Siin on siis laulusõnad. Keeleõppimise algaja peaks neid jälgima pigem emotsionaalselt kui sõnaraamatu ehk kaine mõistuse abil: ---- Here, then, are the lyrics. The beginner should follow them more affectively than with the dictionary, in other terms more at the level of emotion than of the intellect:

Mis maa see on? Siin pole ühtki mäge,
vaid metsad lõputud ja laukasood.
Kuid siinne rahvas täis on imeväge
ja kummalised nende laululood.

Mis maa see on? Kord öö sööb ära päeva,
siis jälle päev on nõnda pikk, et neelab öö.
Ühtmoodi mõlemad siin mööda lähevad -
kui võõras puhkab, kohalik teeb tööd.

Mis maa see on? Kas tõesti üksnes orjaks
veel ainult kõlbab inimene siin?
Ja kes selle valu ükskord kokku korjaks,
et tuleks armastus ja lõppeks piin?

Mis maa see on? Kus halastus on ohus,
mis maa see on? Kus vabadus on maasse kaevatud -
Kus on siin õiglus, kus rahukohus,
kust õiglust otsima peaks vaevatud?

Mis maa see on? Kaastunne siin on roostes,
on roostes häbi südameta rind.
Ma siit põgeneda võiksin lausa joostes,
kuid miski hoiab tagasi veel mind.

Mis maa see on, mis saab mind kinni hoida? -
ja millega ta seda teeb ei tea.
Ta ju ei kata mind, ta ju ei hoia,
kuid ometigi endaga mind veab.

Mis maa see on? Kas suudan seda mõista?
Mis maa see on? Kas suudan enam olla temata?
Mis maa see on? Kuis ometigi võis ta
kõik oma lapsed jätta emata?

Mis maa see on? Siin pole ühtki mäge,
vaid metsad lõputud ja laukasood.
Kuid siinne rahvas täis on imeväge
ja kummalised nende laululood.


Minu toortõlge: ---- The following is my raw translation: 

What country is this? Here is not a single mountain,
But endless woods and bog-pools.
And yet its people are filled with odd power,
And their songs are strange.

What country is this? Now the night swallows up the day,
And then again the day is so long it swallows up the night.
Both of them pass in the same way -
When the foreigner rests, the locals toil.

What country is this? Is it really true that here
People deserve only slavery?
And who could for once scrape together all that pain,
So that love might come and the misery end?

What country is this, where sympathy gets put on the chopping-block? 
What country is this, where freedom gets buried?
Where in this place is redress -  where the court
From which the oppressed might seek justice?

What country is this? Here fellow-feeling is rusted,
The heartless bosom rusted in shame.
I could flee from here, racing,
And yet something holds me back.

What country is this, which can keep me bound -
How it does it, I do not know.
It does not clothe me, it does not look after me,
And yet it drags me along with it.

What country is this? How can I understand it?
What country is this? How can I live without it?
What country is this? How ever could it
Leave all its children motherless?

What country is this? Here is not a single mouintain,
But endless woods and bog-pools.
And yet its people are filled with odd power, 
And their songs are strange.


Teiseks filoloogiliselt sissejuhatavaks lauluks võiks valida Juhan Liivi (1864-1913) luuletus "Ta lendab mesipuu poole", nagu ta on näiteks laulukujul pakutud YouTube'i tarbija "Piirikaitse" poolt, kuupäevaga 2009-07-18, kestvusega 3:10. Minu internetikvartalis on selle kooriesitluse, saadetud osavalt valitud kinoklippidelt, internetiaadressiks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tncbZWVwn4 - kuid igal pool maailmas peaks siiski YouTube'i otsingumootor andma õiget tulemust, kui sihiks anda Piirikaitse 2009 Ta lendab mesipuu poole. ---- As a second philogically prefatory song, one might choose Juhan  Liiv's (1864-1913) luuletus "Ta lendab mesipuu poole" ("They fly to the hive"), as it is for instance presented, as song, by YouTube user "Piirikaitse" ["Border Patrol"], under the date 2009-07-18, for a duration of 3:10. In my corner of this Internet, this choral performance, accompanied by skillfully selected ciné clips, has the URL  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tncbZWVwn4. But everywhere in the world the YouTube search engine ought to give the correct result when duly supplied with the search term Piirikaitse 2009 Ta lendab mesipuu poole.

Siin on Juhan Liivi sõnad: ---- Here are Juhan Liiv's words:


Ta lendab lillest lillesse,
ja lendab mesipuu poole;
ja tõuseb kõuepilv ülesse -
ta lendab mesipuu poole.

Ja langevad teele tuhanded;
veel koju jõuavad tuhanded
ja viivad vaeva ja hoole
ja lendavad mesipuu poole!

Hing, oh hing, sa raskel a'al -
kuis õhkad isamaa poole;
kas kodu sa, kas võõral maal -
kuis ihkad isamaa poole!

Ja puhugu vastu sul' surmatuul
ja lennaku vastu sul' surmakuul:
sa unustad surma ja hoole
ning tõttad isamaa poole!

Hing, oh hing, sa raskel a'al -
kuis õhkad isamaa poole;
kas kodu sa, kas võõral maal -
kuis ihkad isamaa poole!
Kuis ihkad isamaa poole!

Siin on ligi-toortõlge, mille jälgimine kui laul ise mängib kõrvaklappides annaks aimata midagi keele olemusest: ---- Here is a nearly literal translation - the following of which, when the poem-cum-song itself is playing in  headphones, would give one some impression of linguistic essences:  

They fly from blossom to blossom,
And fly toward the hive;
And the thundercloud rises -
They fly hiveward.

And thousands fall by the wayside;
Still, thousands reach home;
Bearing their labour and care,
They fly hiveward.

Soul, o soul, in a harsh time -
How you yearn for your homeland;
Whether at home or in a foreign land,
How you yearn for your homeland!

And let the death-wind assail you
And let the death-bullet fly to meet you:
Oblivious to death and care,
You speed homeward.

Soul, o soul, in a harsh time -
How you yearn for your homeland;
Whether at home or in a foreign land,
How you yearn for your homeand!

[In strict accuracy, admittedly, "isamaa" is "fatherland". But this has in English unhappy 1930s-Berlin connotations of das Vaterland, in other words of an unreasoning mob cheering some torchlight parade. Further, "ta lendab" is in strict accuracy singular: "he/she/it flies". In English "he flies" is biologically inaccurate, as a reference to the workers in the species Apis mellifera. The gender-accurate "she  flies", on the other hand, is to my ear untrue to Juhan Liiv's gender-neutrality. I have similarly had to take other small liberties, so as to make even my near-literal translation readable.]

Vastandina esimesele palale, räägib Liivi ennevabadussõja-aegne luuletus vähem aktuaalsetest kui ajatutest teemadest - eeskäatt surmast ja igavikust. Nagu saatus on seda pärast luuletaja oma surma korda saatnud, manavad ta luulesõnad ka ennatuslikult ette eestlaste tegelikke kogemusi 1944.a. võitlemisel ja põgenemisel. Need tänapäeval lehtpuumetsaga kaetud mäed, mis mainitud YouTube'i etenduses on linnulennult näidatud, on Eesti Termopüülid - Sinimäed, Narvast natuke lääne poole, läbi sajandite idast sissetungivate vägede ainsa kerge tee ees. Seal toimus Teise Maailmasõja ägedamaid lahinguid (rinne sellel paigal ei murdnudki), võimaldades kümnetele tuhandetele oma mereteel põgenimise lääne poole. ---- In contrast with the first piece, Liiv's poem, composed before the 1918-1920 War of Independence, engages less with contemporary than with timeless themes - foremost, with death and eternity. As fate arranged things after the poet's own death, the words additionally prove to have in a prophetic way fitted the actual experiences of Estonians in their 1944 battle and flight. The slopes today covered in deciduous woodland, appearing from an avian perspective in the cited YouTube upload, are Estonia's Thermopylae - the Sinimäed, or Blue Hills, a little to the west of Narva. They have through the centuries lain across a would-be eastern invader's sole easy westward path. At this place was fought one of the fiercest battles of World War Two (the front did not break there) - a holding operation, enabling tens of thousands to escape westward by sea.

Silmatorkav on paralleel Soomega: ajalugu ka seda soovis, et Johan Julius Christian Sibelius (1865-1957) varaselt, s.o. juba Juhan Liivi veel-vaiksel epohhil, kirjutatud "Finlandia" manaks oma keelepillide madalatoonilises lõigus ennatuslikult ette 1939-1940 talve õhurünnakute mürinat. ---- The parallel with Finland is striking: history likewise saw to it that the "Finlandia" of Johan Julius Christian Sibelius (1865-1957), written early on (during the still-placid era of Juhan Liiv) should in its bass-register string-section measures faithfully depict, in a prophetic way, the noise of air assaults during the 1939-1940 winter.

Asja võiks ilmselt veel venitada. Võiks veel pakkuda algaja keeleõpilasele Veljo Tormise (1930-2017) "Raua needmine" (sõnadega, kahes keeles). Või siis jälle võiks välja valida Lydia Koidula (1843-1886) "Mu Isamaa on Minu Arm" Gustav Ernesaksa (1908-1993) viisil (sõnadega, kahes keeles, kusjuures kuuluks ka seletus Koidula laulu osast Lauluväljakul, NSVL okupatsiooni aastakümnetel). Aga minu meelest paarist laulust piisab, kui (nagu siin) on meie peamiseks huviobjkektiks keel ise. ---- This operation could clearly be dragged out further. One could additionally offer to the philological beginner Veljo Tormis's (1930-2017) "Raua Needmine" [The Cursing of Iron] (with the lyrics, in Estonian and English). Or, again, one could select Lydia Koidula's (1843-1886) "Mu Isamaa on Minu Arm" [My Fatherland/motherland/homeland is My Love] with the music of Gustav Ernesaks (1908-1993) (with the lyrics, in Estonian and English: this could be accompanied with an explanation of the significance of Koidula's song at the Song Festival Grounds, during the USSR occupation decades). But in my view a couple of song suffice, when (as is the case here) one's primary interest is in the language itself.


[Jätkub loodetavasti tuleval nädalal, UTC ehk maailmakella ajavahemikul  20170207T0001Z/20170207T0401Z./ ---- To be continued, it is hoped, next week, in the UTC (Universal Coordinated Time) interval 20170207T0001Z/20170207T0401Z.]





Monday, 23 January 2017

Toomas Karmo: Why Study Languages?

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 4/5. Justification: Kmo had time to do a reasonably complete and (within the framework of the version 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3,  .. process) reasonably polished job.



Revision history:


  • 20170128T0453Z/version 2.2.0: Kmo made some small repairs, for the most part more cosmetic than substantive (but one of them rendering his critique of English Novus Ordo translations a little fairer: not the good, recent translation alone, but also the shaky old one, correctly renders dicere as "say").  - Kmo reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, ... . 
  • 20170124T1817Z/version 2.1.0: Kmo added some remarks on the 1990 Estonian publication of the Novus Ordo, with an accompanying quotation from the Magnificat Companion (regarding the Novus Ordo in Swedish, German, and Italian). He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, ... . 
  • 20170124T0513Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo finished converting point-form outline into coherent prose. He hoped now to embark on polishing. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170124T0001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time only to upload a point-form outline. He hoped to convert this outline to coherent prose in multiple successive uploads, finishing this process at some point in the coming four hours.


[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]


0. Prefatory Remarks



In the past few days, I have found myself in the position of advising a young member of our local Ontario Estonian community, "ABC", on Estonian-language studies. Our situation seems to me about to ramify, since

  • I am likely to meet ABC socially again this Friday.
  • In the course of meeting ABC, I am also likely to meet "DEF", with whom I have already discussed Estonian-language studies, and who seemed to me in a brief encounter ten days ago to have made progress.
  • It may well prove advisable to bring ABC and DEF together, perhaps suggesting that they additionally meet with me, to form a threesome, about once a month, say for forty-five minutes per session in the Tartu College foyer on Toronto's Bloor Street. 
  • I am continuing to ponder not Estonian alone but also three ancient languages. 
The time has come, then, for this blog to address Practical Philology. 

On 2016-12-05 or 2016-12-06, I did an upload under the title "Remarks for Mathematics Students and Teachers, Including Individuals Possibly Seeking Tutoring". I had to start my posting with something not fully agreeable - namely, with a discussion of what I would have to charge if, hypothetically, I were to be approached by someone desperately anxious to purchase tutoring. I shall have to start the present posting along the same lines. 

It largely suffices to recall my remarks from the earlier posting: 

An initial, mildly comforting, answer is that the question of fee need not come up. If I am approached by someone poor enough to be either homeless or verging on homelessness, or by someone who has not approached me before and needs just an hour's help, or by someone who can ask questions through e-mail or telephone in such a way that I do not in answering have to spend more than 20 minutes on any one day, then there is no point in my exacting a fee. 

What, on the other hand, if I am working with someone who does not meet any of the extenuating conditions just stated? In that case, I would, while resisting the temptation to be mercenary, nevertheless have to avoid going so cheap as to undercut other Greater Toronto Area (GTA) tutors. Those others need, no less than I do, to pay their rent, to buy their food, and to maintain their telephone and Internet connections. 

A good guide is provided by Saint Benedict of Nursia, in his early-Dark-Ages Rule for monastics: let the monastery charge for the things it sells to the wider community, even while charging a little under the usual rate. In my particular case, I would set a fee (were this some day to prove necessary) by first ascertaining the approximate median rate for mathematics tutoring of the particular level contemplated (is it at university-or-college level, or merely at K-12 school level?), and then subtracting 12 percent from the median. 

I would also have to charge for travel to and from my residence to any place beyond walking distance from my residence (i.e., more than 3 kilometres away), if the student did not wish to take tea or coffee in my own snug book-lined parlour, and if that travel could not be fitted into my normal pattern of movements. My normal pattern involves a weekly journey from Richmond Hill down to Toronto. My various Toronto errands are then normally confined to the 3-kilometre stretch bounded by Union Station on the south and the streets a couple of hundred metres beyond Bloor Street on the north. My normal stretch thus contains the University of Toronto St George campus, plus Ryerson University, plus the Toronto Reference Library.  

For members of my own Estonian-diaspora academic organization, to which ABC and DEF either belong or are likely soon to belong, philological tutoring must come free of charge. In their specific, and now looming, case the question of my limitations need not be troubling: if you get a service for free, you are unlikely to worry too much about deficiencies.  

But I do add cautionary remarks on my limitations in case I do some day find myself actually having to tutor for pay, and actually being therefore forced to deliver a professionally adequate performance, on pain of contractual breach: 
  • I speak my native Estonian either with no accent or with a very slight trace of a (probably Anglo) accent. I have three or so times in the past twenty-five or thirty years written in Estonian for the Toronto Estonian newspaper, without (I think) being subjected to significant copy-edit. But I know from the vigorous, disheartening, copy-edit of my essay Olen ma mõtlev loom või ainetu mõtleja? ("Am I a thinking animal or an immaterial thinker?", in Akadeemia nr 1, 1991, pp. 3-16) that my written language has not been what Tartu University would ideally want.  
  • Anyone using me for Latin commercially should be aware that I had two years of university Latin at Monash in 1980s Melbourne (the greater part of it under Prof. Gavin Betts (1932-2013): his unusually meticulous Teach Yourself Latin is in the big bookstores right here in Toronto). But on the debit side of the ledger, any such customer should be aware that I nevertheless huff and puff these days on the rare occasions of my opening Cicero in a 1960-vintage Ontario Grade XIII reader. Further, I tend to grasp only perhaps 50 percent or 60 percent of the rather ornate Latin in the hymns from Lauds and Vespers. (The rest of Lauds and Vespers is, to be sure, generally okay for me, since it is easy Latin - much of it from the familiar, and stylistically austere, Vulgate, and the rest of it comprising reasonably straightforward prayers-for-the-day, without stylistic tricks.)  
  • I should not be used at all as a tutor for ancient Greek. I am a mere 1973-through-1979 autodidact, with concentration on Aristotle and Plato, and with no exposure to Homer, to Herodotus, to the tragedians, or to that particularly challenging prose stylist Thucydides. I  use Greek nowadays only for occasional casual forays into the New Testament. That is mere koine Greek, standing to classical Greek rather as contemporary tabloid-newspaper English stands to the English of Ruskin and Newman.
  • I should not be used at all as a tutor for French. I converse freely enough. But surely I converse with syntax errors. And in 1972 or 1974, in France, I was told that my then accent was Irish. 
  • I should not be used at all as a tutor for German. I read German only jerkily, with heavy recourse to the dictionary. 
  • Anyone some day needing to approach me for tutoring in English should realize that my pronunciation, while by no means Estonian-accented, nevertheless is not quite clean. A commercial-tutoring approach to me, while now implausible, will become conceivable if I succeed, say late in 2018, in realizing my dream of moving to Estonia.  (In Estonia, as elsewhere in the EU, the universities, the government ministries, the  internationally oriented Estonian School of Diplomacy (http://edk.edu.ee/index.php/eng), and the like find themselves using English heavily, and might on occasion need a "practical philologist".) Although my English speech is not by any means the flat, un-European studio shortwave Voice-of-America, neither is it at present  by any means correct studio BBC. I in fact rather grimace at having been forced, as one upshot of the Hitler war, to learn English  so early, at the tender age of five in 1958, in the Nova Scotia "Grade Primary". That was, I guess, from September through December. (At any rate I recall that I knew no English at all on the first day of school , and that at the Christmas concert I was reciting, while making sweeping gestures, a poem which somehow ran  "Welcome, welcome, everyone.") In a kind of rebellion, I have for decades taken the view that I will pronounce this wearisome Microsoft-of-languages in whatever way I happen for whatever flimsily temporary reason to desire - reserving even the liberty of changing my pronunciation as one stage in my life succeeds another. In practice, that means that I go BBC on lots of words, and yet turn "blast from our past" into the American  bläst fromm auer päst instead of into the BBC-correct blaast fromm auer paast. And I render "Land of Hope and Glory" as the American länd of houp änd gloori, rather than as the BBC-correct länd of hõup and gloori. It is hõup, as opposed to houp, that is correctly redolent of Pimm's-with-strawberries, of gaudy blazers, of punts on the river, and of cucumber sandwiches. - Here, I confess, I have been forced in my ignorance to write my phonemes in Estonian, rather than in the International Phonetic Alphabet. The real linguists would not use "hõup" at all, but perhaps something like  /həʊp/. 

1. The Forensic, or "221B Baker Street", Case


It is a truth not perhaps sufficiently acknowledged by students of the Canon that Sherlock Holmes is a polyglot. 

A priori, we would at least expect Holmes to be comfortable in French, as members of the British élite or near-élite in Victorian times were and today still are. (Et la masse de réserve? asks Mr Churchill, of Gamelin or someone, just before France falls. Or, again, says Oscar Wilde, of some glaring Gothic Revival pile in Oxford, such as Keble College, C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la gare ("Magnificent, but it isn't the Station") - I guess as a pun on C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre ("Magnificent, but it isn't War", as said by some Continental observer with reference to a Light Brigade charge).) 

The Canon supports this conjecture. At any rate (closer students of Holmes may be able to improve on the one piece of evidence I adduce here) there is Holmes's revealing account of protracted Continental organic-chemistry researches, in "The Adventure of the Empty House": 

The course of events in London did not run so well as I had hoped, for the trial of the Moriarty gang left two of its most dangerous members, my own most vindictive enemies, at liberty. I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa, and spending some days with the head lama. You may have read of the remarkable explorations of a Norwegian named Sigurson, but I am sure that it never occurred to you that you were receiving news of your friend. I then passed through Persia, looked in at Mecca, and paid a short but interesting visit to the Khalifa at Khartoum, the results of which I have communicated to the Foreign Office. Returning to France, I spent some months in a research into the coal-tar derivatives, which I conducted in a laboratory at Montpellier /... / 

So far as German goes, Holmes demonstrates a grasp of its high literature by quoting some standard poet, I think (so far as I recall tonight, without looking up the pertinent Canon passage) either Goethe or Schiller. 

Further, there is that successful deduction in the seventh chapter of "A Study in Scarlet", achieved by Holmes in advance of Scotland Yard's slower, less inspired, Inspector Lestrade: 


"/.../The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side, which must have penetrated the heart. And now comes the strangest part of the affair. What do you suppose was above the murdered man?"

I felt a creeping of the flesh, and a presentiment of coming horror, even before Sherlock Holmes answered. 

"The word RACHE, written in letters of blood," he said. 

"That was it," said Lestrade, in an awestruck voice, and we were all silent for a while. 

(One is here supposed to remember as a noun die Rache, "revenge, vengeance". On looking this up in my Brockhaus, I find a string of examples, including Rache fordern, "to demand vengeance", and nach Rache dürsten, "to thirst for vengeance".)

For Holmes's Latin, there is a little passage about two pages from the beginning of "The Red-Headed League": 

"Well, but China?"

"The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only have been done in China. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. That trick of staining the fishes' scales of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. When, in addition, I seee a Chinese coin hanging from your watch-chain, the matter becomes even more simple."

Mr Jabez Wilson laughed heartily. "Well, I never!" said he. "I thought at first that you had done something clever, but I see that there was nothing in it, after all."

"I begin to think, Watson," said Holmes, "that I make a mistake in explaining. Omne ignotum pro magnifico, you know, and my poor little reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. /.../"

It is unfortunate that I had to look this one up, even as I had, perhaps more pardonably, to look up die Rache.  The lapidary turn of phrase turns out to be from the historian Tacitus: "Everything obscure (unknown, not understood) is taken to be grand (impressive, imposing)." 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's passage, by the way, is well expanded in the Granada Television dramatization, starring Jeremy Brett (1933-1995), and readily locatable on YouTube:

HOLMES: Omne ignotum pro magnifico.

WATSON [in his kindly way addressing Mr Jabez Wilson, who as Holmes's prospective client is from only the lower middle class, and so will under the given unhappy Victorian social conditions have only an uncertain competence in Latin]: Everything becomes commonplace by explanation.

[Camera zooms out, disclosing Holmes standing before hearth, hands on hips, watch-chain prominent against black waistcoat.]

HOLMES: Watson, that is a very loose translation.

Here, then, is a so-to-speak Baker Street reason for practical philology: languages are of forensic utility. In particular, a knowledge of languages lets us correct the mistakes, and on occasion even the possible deliberate obfuscations, of translators. 

To illustrate the point in the case of koine Greek, I take the beginning of Luke 18 - quoting from the Authorized King James Version, and underlining the passage erroneously handled: 

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Here is the same passage, from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, putting the same error into a contemporary idiom (again, with my underlining):

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'"

At the underlined spot, the original reads hina me eis telos erchomene hypopiaze me. According to my old 1860s unabridged Liddell and Scott, the verb hypopiazo means (I quote their English) "to strike one under the eye; metaph. to discipline severely, mortify, vex or annoy greatly". 

British schoolboys are said not only to have referred to the Greek epics as The Idiot and The Oddity, but in addition to have had a rhyme: 

Two men wrote a lexicon, Liddell and Scott:
The first half was rubbish; the second was rot. 

Nevertheless, Liddell and Scott are authoritative. Twenty or twenty-five years ago I donated my good new unabridged Liddell-and-Scott to Tartu University, keeping only that old 1860s edition. Even the 1860s edition is unlikely to get simple things wrong. So no, not "she is going to weary me" or "she is going to wear me out," but something more like "she is going to hit me under the eye" (if hypopiazo is taken literally) or "she is going to totally bash me up" (if, as I suppose is equally probable, Luke instead intends his verb in its broadened, metaphorical sense).

What picture do we have of Our Lord from this parable? As is often enough the case, here He entertains even while teaching. If the judge is afraid of getting "bashed up", the situation becomes, I would suggest, at once clear and comic. The judge has already been petitioned by the importunate widow, again and again. Mere hysterical, womanly, entreaties he can shrug off. But what he cannot shrug off - for his is a gossip-ridden, and above all a patriarchal, male-status, society - is the prospect of physical assault, from a  woman. The judge's fear is that eventually she comes round at, as it were, noon, and really does somehow "bash" him - perhaps literally administering a black eye, and otherwise instead giving him a good hand-slap across the cheek, or a good kick in the shin, or a slap in the chest with bag or basket. By, as it were, five p.m., word has gone round the village, to the effect that poor, downtrodden Zipporah went to Scary Malachai's McMansion as so often before, but now got so far as to hit him. By, as it were, the evening of the next day, the news has percolated to the adjoining villages. By next week, it will be still farther afield, perhaps even reaching those particular high provincial authorities to whom Scary Malachai owes his appointment.

The judge will find himself swiftly becoming a laughing-stock, being within mere days, or even within mere hours, unable to command authority.

Our Lord is being lively here in the same way as He is being lively in urging people to "go the extra mile". The actual social context for that one is that a soldier of the Roman occupation was legally empowered to ask an Israelite to carry his pack, for a mile - but only for one mile. Our Lord is advising people to be rather nice with the occupation authorities. When asked to carry the pack for a mile, by all means do it, and then offer to carry it (in breach of Roman law) one mile farther.

One can picture the scene, as the Rabbi conjures it up for an appreciative crowd:

MARCUS POMPILIUS: Okay buddy, that's a mile. Now you can give me my pack.

YITSHAK: Oh no Sir, that's QUITE all right, do let me carry it just one more mile.

MARCUS POMPILIUS: Oh no, really, it's a mile now.

YITSHAK: Oh no no Sir, no trouble at all.

MARCUS POMPILIUS: No, no, I do insist; let's finish this now.

YITSHAK: Oh tut tut, such a pleasure to carry - DO let me go just ONE mile more.

MARCUS POMPILIUS [starting to panic, becuase he knows he is heading for legal trouble]: Look, no no no ...me hercule o vae... lissen buddy, I got figs in there,I got nice flatbread in there, I got feta - don't you want to open my pack up and have figs with feta?

YITSHAK: Oy veh, VOT can I say... [puts pack down, sharing the offered figs and cheese with the soldier; now the Occupation is a little less dignified than it was a moment ago]


It will be asked: are all the translations of Luke 18 this hopelessly sanitized? No, not all. The New Jerusalem Bible - fruit of careful labour at the École Biblique right in Yerushalaim - does get it right: I must give this widow her just rights since she keeps pestering me, or she will come and slap me in the face. 

A second New Testament example is similarly troubling. The Roman-occupation officer who comes to Our Lord asking Him to cure an ailing member of the household over a distance, since "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," in fact implores the cure of a pais. "Pais" could mean "servant", as in "serving boy". However, this tricky word does literally mean "boy", and so could be read "boyfriend". I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but I for one like to dwell on the earthier readings, while admitting that more respectable readings are also possible. It does make some sense, after all: here we have a (in today's idiom) "lifestyle" quite frankly unacceptable in polite Jewish society. It is nothing less, on this reading, than a bit of ahem-ahem , or - if I may be permitted to make my meaning brutally clear - nothing less, on this scandalous and yet possible reading, than a little slice of what got the already-mentioned Oscar Wilde into such trouble at the Old Bailey in the spring of 1895. On this juicy possible reading, the Roman officer indeed does well to spare everyone's sensibilities, by suggesting that the Rabbi perform His healing ministry without stepping inside.

****

And then we have Latin.

Through the kind help of a generous Toronto priest, I am as of last week in possession of the Magnificat Roman Missal Companion. I believe that particulars on this roughly 140-page pamphlet can be had from http://www.magnificatmissal.com. On studying the Companion, I see how the new (circa-2010) English translation of the Novus Ordo mass gets the meaning right - bringing it correctly close to the 1990 Estonian translation of the Novus Ordo I was given by paater Vello Salo (1925-) - where the old translation was in phrase upon phrase, on page upon page, sanitized. I will tonight take just one example, out of many that I have in the last few days to my alarm noted.

In the duly careful, duly revised, translation, the Communion Rite contains the following, just before the communal "Our Father":  At the Saviour's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say... This is philologically correct, adequately mirroring the Latin Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, ademus dicere... The earlier English Mass, at least in my old Canadian mass book, offers two alternative forms of words, neither of them clearly conveying the notion of command, and neither of them conveying the additional dramatic idea that we have been "formed" (pulled into shape, by an agency outside ourselves): (1) Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Saviour gave us...; (2) Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say....

The 1990 Estonian Novus Ordu is fine, being still closer to praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, ademus dicere than the duly revised English is: Õndsakstegevatest käsusõnadest manitsetud ja jumalikust juhatusest õpetust saanud, julgeme paluda... This is very literal indeed ("Admonished by the salvififying words-of-command, and having received instruction from divine teaching, we dare to ask..." - except that dicere is strictly not "to ask", but, as in the English versions, "to say").

The point I have just made with reference to Estonian is well made by Prof. Anthony Esolen on p. 15 of the Magnificat Companion, with reference to Swedish, German, and Italian (the emphasis on "their" is Prof. Esolen's):

Thus, when the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the response in the vernacular languages has simply translated the Latin "Et cum spiritu tuo," "And with your spirit," so that in Sweden the response is just that, "Och med din ande," as it is in German, "Und mit deinem Geist," as it is in Italian, "E con il tuo spirito." The new translation in English, then, is meant to bring our prayers closer not only to the original Latin, but to what our brothers and sisters throughout the world have long been saying in their languages. 

This propensity to sanitize, in other words to water hard teachings down, is an outright spiritual malady, calling to mind a North American homily I once heard or read: So with whom in our society might we compare those lepers, those outcasts? What is our modern-day leprosy? I know - it's like the way we today look on cancer.

Things would have been okay if the speaker had mentioned any one of a number of obviously taboo maladies. AIDS would more or less fit his bill, although that disease is less a cause of ostracism now than it was when it first came to widespread notice, in the early 1980s. Still better would be one of the various emerging forms of drug addiction. Father, change "cancer" to "crystal-meths addiction", and your homily will have the force of the New Testament on which you are commenting.

****

I am trying these days to learn Biblical Hebrew. It is slow, it is painful, it feels at this stage (with my big Pratico-and-Pelt book roughly at the halfway mark) significantly worse than Greek - and dramatically worse than Latin. Yet without it, how can I trust anything?

Gentle Reader, if you find yourself in this same philological position, then do remember that you can when necessary get cheered up with a 2014-12-11 YouTube upload entitled "I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist", from YouTube user Josh Tyra. In my corner of the Internet, the URL for this gem is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x2SvqhfevE. The lyrics can be had from  http://joshsdig.blogspot.ca/2011/02/i-am-very-model-of-biblical-philologist.html. I hasten, however, to transcribe them here, thereby doing my own small bit tonight to help secure them for posterity:

I am the very model of a biblical philologist.
I’m quite the Semitician and a passing Hittitologist.
My articles are free from all grammatical iniquity.
I rank Semitic cognates in their order of propinquity.

I am very well acquainted, too, with matters exegetical.
I side with all the orthodox, and censure the heretical.
In print, I wrinkle brows of any liberal who wrinkles mine,
[bothered for a rhyme]
Wrinkles mine, wrinkles mine... got it!
And counter all the theses of that vigilante Finkelstein!

Then I can give a lecture on the logic of Leviticus
And tell you every symbol in the apparatus criticus.
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!

I know my St. Jerome and all his Vulgate Prolegomena.
I’ve memorized, in order, all the known hapax legomena!
Then I can tell the age of every patriarch in Genesis
And tell the daghesh fortés from the shureqs and the lenéses.

I dream in Aramaic and interpret it in Syriac.
I’ve posited that Esau was a possible porphyriac.
Then I can parse at sight a polal, hithpolal or hishtaphel
[bothered for a rhyme]
Hishtaphel, hishtaphel... oh, that’s a hard one... got it!
And topple any argument it happens that I wish to fell!

Then I can date a sample of Arabian calligraphy
And tell you what the scribe was wearing, based on the epigraphy!
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!

Then I can write a shopping list in classical Sumerian,
And tell you whether peoples were nomadic or agrarian.
I know the Jewish festivals, Purimic and Kippurian.
I mumble in Mandaic, I can hum a little Hurrian.

Then I can sing the alphabet in Hieroglyphic Luwian,
And catalogue the animals, both pre- and postdiluvian.
Then I can tell a surplice from a chasuble or maniple.
[bothered for a rhyme]
Maniple, maniple... got it!
And reconstruct the library of ancient Assurbanipal.

I wrote my dissertation in a flowery Akkadian
And proved the Philistines were almost certainly Canadian.
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!


2. The Depth-Psychology, or "Viennese Couch", Case


A second reason for studying languages goes deeper than the merely forensic. We now forsake 221B Baker Street for the Viennese couch.

In the Baker Street sitting-room: Holmes, is it raining? 

In Vienna, at the dreaded Couch: You ask me, is it raining? Would you like it to be raining? Vood you LAIK it to be reinink? Look, I cannot help you unless you are willing to put at least some effort into these sessions - what would it for you MEAN for it to be raining? Was  für eine BEDEUTUNG, darlink: ZAT is vot I am askink, you see...

There are thoughts which cannot be thought in all languages. One of my biggest beefs with English is its sheer, perverse, inability to say things, despite its unusually extended vocabulary.

I gather that in Finnish a tough guy is praised for having sisu. If you have sisu, then you will pull an all-nighter on your physics problem set, and you will then heat the sauna to 105oC, and upon leaving the top bench (where the heat is at its most suffocating, burning the lungs) you will roll naked in the snow. Or else, wrapping up your physics all-nighter, you will go join the French Foreign Legion, or something.

In Estonian, sisu, alas, means simply, and drably, "content" (as in "That politician's tweet has interesting content") - so I suppose someone who has sisu might be praised, weakly, for not being an airhead.

Nevertheless, other good things do come up in Estonian, which cannot be said or thought in English. A schoolchild, for instance, is praised for being tubli. To begin to say this in English, you need lots of words, and with the unavoidable verbosity the effect gets unavoidably blunted: if little Tõnis or little Maie is tubli, then (s)he always finishes all the maths problems, and is always fair on the playground, and never snitches on fellow pupils, and so on and so on (and is perhaps also diligent in learning Finnish, and perhaps grows up to spend quite a lot of time in the Arctic, racing out of the sauna into deep Lappish snowdrifts - but all the same, there is this subtlety, that being tubli is a somewhat juvenile matter, in contrast with possessing Finnish rifle-and-hunting-knife sisu).

And there is the end of a party. In the Estonian Kalevipoeg epic (our weaker equivalent of the Finnish Kalevala; I have read only Kalevipoeg), the phrase for this is Lõpetatud lustipidu. How can one possibly put this into English? A lustipidu is a reasonably decorous social gathering full of lust, with "lust" used in the same polite way as (I think) in German, for "delectation, delight, uplift". As when my dear maternal Grandma explained to me in Estonian how she liked picking my Mum's gooseberries in Nova Scotia, in one summer of abundance: "They are so thick here, you get an absolute lust reaching for them." So the lustipidu, or lust-party, is "over". Too bad, it's getting late, people say politely, as the hostess turns the lights up full, and people pick up their coats and scarves, remembering where necessary to write a couple of cheery sentences in the big guestbook.

Well, perhaps the American "Party's over," or better the American "Wake up and smell the coffee," conveys an approximation to the idea. But the American idiom misses a necessary literary-epic resonance. Everyone knows that Lõpetatud lustipidu is poetry of a specially archaizing kind. It is in fact poetry from the same seldom-used metre as Longfellow employed, I gather to strong quasi-archaic effect, in Haiawatha, under the inspiration of the Kalevala, and which our neighbours' Kalevala shares with our own Kalevipoeg: 

Aga üks kord algab aega,
Kus kõik pirrud kahel otsal
Lausa löövad lõkendama,
Lausa tuleleeki lõikab
Käe kaljukammitsasta /.../ 

This is from nearly the final lines of Kalevipoeg, as I write them from memory. The meaning is, "But one day there will come a time at which the glow-splints will at both ends altogether burst into burning; then will the flame cut the hand free from its stony prison." (Glow-splints were used on farms for lighting, in default of the ruinously expensive candles.) Everyone knows this prophecy of the folk-hero's liberation by heart, as all Americans know by heart "He hath loosed the fateful lightning/ Of his terrible swift Sword..."

Or there is my own imaginary branch of the civil service, the Asjade, Lugude ja Värkide Ministeerium. Government in Estonia is to be pictured as intricate, tedious, and humourless, with the Whitehall "Yes, Minister" exactly mirrored either by  - depending on the given Tallinn Minister's gender  - Just nii [just so], proua minister or by Just nii, härra minister.

To a local Russian друг, I say on the phone, in my nearly-nonexistent русский язык, "Сдес Госплан, говорит комиссар Кармо" ("GosPLAN here, Commissar Karmo speaking"). On the transatlantic phone, however, with family, what is appropriate is the Estonian Siin Asjade, Lugude ja Värkide Ministeerium ehk ALVM. How on earth to translate?

French does seem to convey the thought of an elegant, empty bureaucratic formalism, within Tallinn's Hanseatic-League ramparts: Allo, ici le Ministère des Trucs et Machins, le MTM... .

The best I can do in English is "Hullo, Ministry of This and That, the MTT..." But it is a stretch. The unexpressive, wooden English words perhaps require supplementation with body language, in the manner of the late Marcel Marceau (1923-2007). And yet in that sphere Anglosaxonia is once again deficient.

This will have to do as a general discussion of Practical Philology. At some future stage, I hope to blog on some nuts-and-bolts practicalities (recommending books, Web resources, and the like), at least with reference to one or both of Latin and Estonian.

[Perhaps I can even embark on some of that next week. Progress will depend in part on what I hear on Friday, from the above-cited Estonian-language students ABC and DEF.] 












Monday, 16 January 2017

Toomas Karmo (Part B): Peacework and Propaganda

One of my four current Debian GNU/Linux desktops. Anticlockwise, from upper right: operational clocks, showing local civil time (in green) and Universal Coordinated  Time (in red); a Debian GNU/Linux /usr/bin/xterm display of some private research notes, related to my peace studies; the Peace Pilgrim (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/01/168346591/peace-pilgrims-28-year-walk-for-a-meaningful-way-of-life); a British courtroom scene, calling to mind the positive traditions of the British bar (photo provenance not known, sorry); the Perm-36 gulag (http://www.politico.eu/article/putin-russia-dont-mention-gulag-soviet-history-communism/), in which the organs of Soviet state security interned among many others the longtime Estonian dissident, and friend of Prof. Andrei Sakharov (Андрей Дмитриевич Сахаров, 1921-1989),  Mart Niklus (1934-). 


Quality assessment: 



On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 5/5. Justification: Kmo, while slipping on his schedule, nevertheless  had time to do a decidedly complete and (within the framework of the version 3.0.1, 3.0.2, .. process) reasonably polished job.




Revision history:


  • 20170117T1648Z/version 3.1.0: Kmo added a top-of-posting image, with caption. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, ... . 
  • 20170117T0527Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo finished converting his point-form outline into coherent prose. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170117T0334Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo overcame some inadequacies in his point-form outline, and was now at last ready to start converting it - behind schedule - into coherent prose.
  • 20170117T2309Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time only to upload a (preliminary) point-form outline. 



[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]



Seven nights ago, I noted on this present blog, as "Part A" of this present essay , a pair of conditions for an article's being propagandistic - each of them individually sufficient, but neither of them individually necessary. 

When I was mulling over the concept of propaganda last week, it seemed to me that the inclusive disjunction of the two conditions might be not only sufficient, but also necessary. Perhaps, I thought, it is both necessary and sufficient for an article's being propagandistic that it possess at least one of the following two properties: 
  • it tells something other than the truth
  • it neglects to tell the whole of the truth
I now realize, however, that my initial thoughts were hasty. I now think it is possible for an article to be propagandistic without breaching either of the precepts "tell only the truth" or "tell the whole truth."

****

Right up to her death in 2011, my Mum had a television. The set helped entertain both Mum and her nurses. I myself would watch the set. Sometimes, to be sociable, I would when in Nova Scotia watch it with Mum and her nurses, in the daylight hours. Sometimes I would also watch it alone, in the late evenings. 

This past week, I have recalled that I would learn one thing and another from watching, in those years leading up to 2011. In particular, this past week I recalled seeing repeated propagandistic car-or-truck advertising, showcasing one or another promoted machine in one or another wilderness setting. The propagandistic idea was to wear down sales resistance, by weakening the viewer's ability to link the idea of vehicle ownership with a second (highly relevant, and yet highly unflattering) idea. What was to be suppressed, even while the idea of ownership was encouraged, was the idea of environmental responsibility. 

No single, easily avoidable, consumer choice in the typical Canadian (or Estonian, or whatever) household is more environmentally damaging than the decision to run a private vehicle. Colossal energy is expended in multiple sub-assembly and assembly plants, on multiple continents, during the long process of manufacturing the vehicle, weeks and months before the hapless consumer is persuaded to buy it. 

Significant energy is also expended in harvesting scrap metal at the end of the vehicle's (typically rather short) life. 

Over its (short) lifespan, the vehicle generates, at the consumer's hands, a stream of solid and liquid wastes. There are discarded tyres. There may be one or more discarded lead-acid batteries. There are multiple "oil changes". There is in the experience of many households even some more or less expensive swapping-out of vehicle parts - or more accurately these days, some swapping-out of entire, perhaps on occasion massive, black-box modules. The waste stream from public conveyances must, on a per-capita basis, be smaller. Although buses perhaps get replaced often, VIA Rail in Canada impresses with its ability to keep rolling stock going for decades: I think my 2006 Toronto-to-Pacific sit-up-through-the-nights train journey was made in correctly maintained "domecar", or similar, accommodations from the 1950s. 

And there is, notoriously, the emission of greenhouse gas. 

The motor-vehicle propaganda as I encountered it in Mum's sitting room is at least as old as Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003), in her film covering a Nüremberg 1934 Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) rally. In North America, the vehicle gets filmed in unlittered (Arizona? New Mexico?) dryland or in  pristine (Cascadia? Appalachia?) forest. For the Leni Riefenstahl of the 1930s Triumph des Willens, there is (as I recall it from Reg Hartt's helpful Toronto screening a decade or so ago) first a shot of conical Hitler Jugend camping tents, and then immediately after a shot of conical roofing on some church or cathedral. The soundtrack voice-over-continuity does not at this point, as I recall it it, so much as mention the Church. With those two particular ciné clips juxtaposed, however, sales resistance gets worn down, with a weakening of the viewer's ability to contrast the (pro-NSDAP) Hitler Jugend with a highly relevant other thing, namely (anti-NSDAP) Church social teaching. 

****

A further example of tell-the truth-and-the-whole-truth ("veracious") propaganda - admittedly more fanciful than the cunningly veracious pair of  Triumph des Willens clips - suggests itself. Some corporation or government is eventually liable to try exploiting what I call the Rule of the Duck. 

My Rule is the following: 

  • If it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck, and it somehow involves politics east of the River Elbe, then it in all probability is something other than a duck. 
The Rule has also a distinctively deadly corollary: 

  • If it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck, and it somehow involves politics east of the River Elbe, then [this is the final, deadly, irony] it on certain select occasions actually is a duck. 
I used to have the idea of touring Russia by train, with a railway-minded friend or friends well versed in Russian affairs, and (unlike me) properly fluent in Russian. Let me write here, "the XYZ Person(s)", or simply "XYZ". I proposed to XYZ, in some tea-table meeting or phone chat or e-mail discussion, an application of the Rule of the Duck. Let us, I said, make this journey some day, and let one of our two- or three- or four-individual party remark ever so casually to Russian strangers in our compartment that "Toomas here has of course no connection whatever with MI6, or indeed with any intelligence agency." The idea I put to XYZ was that by telling the truth in a way which could not be believed, I would within a couple of hours have set the entire train buzzing. Our seven-day run out to Vladivostok would, I suggested, soon become stimulating, with lots of nice people dropping by our compartment for a chat. People everyone on the train, said I to XYZ, would be speculating. Some would say, "That Estonyets called Toomas, in Second Class kushett two carriages forward of the ресторан, is an MI6 pod-Polkovnik." To this others, seemingly better informed of the Ways of Intelligence, would retort, "Oh no, he has too strong an air of authority for that - probably full Pokovnik, or higher, I'd say." One might further picture people in various carriages in the long train nodding sagely, and saying that well of course if the nice, thick-bearded kinda-Dostoyevsky and-kinda-Tammsaare Estonyets is a full Polkovnik (or higher), he will clearly have taken the operational precaution of booking his kushett in Second, which is the very thing we all observe. Travelling in First counts, rather (it will be said), as the mark of a callow MI6 junior. 

And then upon walking up to the bar as we hurtle through the Siberian night, I could, I suppose, remark that I prefer my martinis shaken, not stirred. 

XYZ brought me down to earth from this fantasizing by remarking that my stratagem would require an audience of rubes  - of rednecks, of hopelessly provincial люди - such as was perhaps still available on the Russian rails as recently as 1992 or 1994, but is now gone. However poorly informed people in the West may even nowadays be regarding Russia, Russians - at least of the various administrative and commercial classes likely to be riding the Trans-Siberian overnight - are nowadays, and have for ten or twenty years already been, cosmopolitan. 

Still, I ask: could not some corporation or government try something along the lines just sketched? Perhaps, for instance (I am making this up), we will some day have from HM Government the following: The MoD, in a press conference this morning, remarked that it had no conceivable ability, let alone any conceivable inclination, to send frigates to police the Barents Sea. The intention of this eminently truthful statement would be to get the Kremlin forming suspicions contrary to what Whitehall had so candidly averred to the reporters. 

If Whitehall were to try it on, it would be propaganda of a peculiarly stealthy type, perhaps of a rather unpleasant Oxbridge worldly-wise flavour. We must for the good of the British soul hope Whitehall never stoops so low. 

****

At its most banal, writing which succeeds in telling the-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth, and is nevertheless in its veracity propaganda, does not use the stealthy juxtaposed-images technique of Triumph des Willens, and also does not use my stealthy (imagined) technique of misleading candour. Rather, such propaganda in its banal forms exploits an emotional palette. In the 1960s, Enoch Powell (1912-1998), in criticizing British immigration policy, predicted a river "foaming with much blood". (Classicist that he was, Mr Powell was quoting another, more celebrated, political propagandist, Augustus Caesar's apologist-poet Publius Vergilius Maro.) Mr Powell meant just "civil unrest". That dull phrase, however, was emotionally too grey for his perhaps noble-seeming, yet in fact morally flawed (and I imagine even somewhat demagogic) rhetorical purpose. And my suspicion is that he was playing his audience like a violin, amplifying their fears. 

By way of a second example of banal veracious propagandizing, we may take - I recycle here a 2016-04-18 or 2016-04-19  remark from this present blog - the Soviet-Estonian propensity to dismiss a coveted Western consumer luxury item, embarrassingly unavailable in occupied Estonia, as a mere kodanlik eputis, or "bourgeois frivolity". The kodanlik eputis, or "bourgeois frivolity", of the occupation was a translation of буржуазная фривольность, from the central Russian-language propaganda machine.

It is of course true that Western consumer luxuries were back then, and are still now, in many instances junk. Few beverages could be sillier than Coca-Cola. Few meals could be sillier than a Big Mac. But the objective biochemical realities of the case aside, kodanlik eputis, with  its central-organs pregenitor phrase буржуазная фривольность, has a fine, emotional, ring, even as Mr Powell's learnedly Virgilian "foaming with much blood" does. It invites us, or rather it summons us, us to a particularly lofty and particularly muscular disdain of the objectively contemptible Coke and the objectively contemptible quarter-pounder - perhaps even challenging us to our own austere personal, private imitation of Che Guevara (who is to be pictured unshaven, and in jungle fatigues, dining hastily on rice and beans, as the Hispanic heroes of the Revolution must). 

I do want to remark here in parentheses - it is fun, although my overall argument hardly requires me to dwell on it - how smoothly the emotionally-so-charged Estonian rendition of буржуазная фривольность, as kodanlik eputis, manages to trip off our local tongue. It may some day be pleasant to have a Tallinn-Stockholm ferry called the Kodanlik Eputis. Imagine the advertising copy, in the Estonian papers:  Tallinnast Stokholmi kolm korda nädalas! Neli baari, kolm luksusrestorani, kaks tantsusaali, viis kohvikut, koguni kasiino! Kuni märsti lõpuni alagavad Kodanliku Eputise teiseklassi kajutid vaid 400 EUR-ist - "From Tallinn to Stockholm three times a week! Four bars, three luxury bistros, two discos, five cafes, even a casino! Until the end of March, second-class cabins on the Burzhuaznaya Frivolnost start at just 400 EUR..." 

It is a little like those other pleasant Russian words, Гласность and Перестройка. Who among us has not dreamed of owning a pair of rambunctious young terriers called  Гласность and Перестройка, and attracting favourable notice in affluent Toronto by taking them into the off-leash parks? GLASNOST! - one calls, and  PERESTROIKA! - one calls. Whereupon the two little guys come running, their tongues lolling, with many a yip and many a woof. 

Anyway, the reality is that буржуазная фривольност and kodanlik eputis  tug at the emotions, in a not-quite-healthy way, until one has the presence of mind to make the emotionally loaded phrases look ridiculous. 

****

To get at the essence or logical core of propaganda, it is necessary to seek out the element common to, and unifying, the various cited sufficient-and-yet-not-individually-necessary conditions. The common thread is evident enough. In each of the various cases, there is an attempt to manipulate. For a piece of writing (or a film clip, or a radio bulletin, or whatever) to be propagandistic, it is, I consequently suggest, both necessary and sufficient that it be audience-manipulative. 

Although my definition might be thought facile, it does seem to deliver a gratifyingly reasonable verdict in three relevant test cases. 

(1) Courtroom advocacy, however impassioned, is not normally considered a form of propaganda. And indeed (consistently with my offered analysis) it seems that legitimate courtroom advocacy is considered by cognoscenti to be in its essence non-manipulative - however unpleasant it may in other ways on occasion become. 

Here is a real-life example. 

It was unpleasant - worse, it was unfair - of Mr David Bronskill to call the Richmond Hill Naturalists ideologically motivated at our 2015-04-30 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing. At issue was the question whether the Naturalists should be assessed for costs, in their unsuccessful 2012 and 2014 OMB opposition to the would-be developer of a 32-hectare portion of the pre-2008 77-hectare David Dunlap Observatory and Park. Mr Bronskill, representing the would-be developer, pressed for a dramatic costs award of 200,000 CAD. 

The reality was that the Richmond Hill Naturalists had in essence no assets. In particular (though Mr Bronskill, despite his OMB-manifested financial curiosity, cannot have known this when he spoke), I had even in my poverty been their sole big donor over the years 2010-2014. Now, in 2015, with a half-million lost from my pocket and not a single tree saved, my ability to finance the Richmond Hill Naturalists casework was at an end.  

We know what an "ideologically motivated" party, an "ideologue", is. Leon Trotsky and Osama bin Laden are two examples, out of many. 

People, however, acting from mere philosophical conviction are not in normal Canadian or Estonian public life "ideologues". In particular, the Richmond Hill Naturalists no more merit this denigrating label than would Canada's more prominent conservationists, such as author-broadcaster Dr David Suzuki.  

But - to reiterate - legal cognoscenti would not normally call a courtroom advocate a propagandist, whatever other disapproval they might voice. Once you enter a hearing room, you are in a structured, formalized environment, with its own ancient traditions. In that rarefied atmosphere, you must expect to endure abrasive, even unfair, things. While seeking to denigrate (and succeeding - the Board made a costs award of 100,000 CAD, or fully half of what had been so dramatically sought) Mr Bronskill was not, on any reasonably law-literate view, propagandizing. And he was not, on any reasonably law-literate view, manipulative.

With this first test case, we may consequently say: so far, so good for my analysis. 

(2) A homily in mosque, synagogue, church, or temple, however impassioned, is not normally considered a form of propaganda. And indeed it appears to be a pretty generally held Canadian, American, British, and European-Union view that religious preaching is within a religious frame of reference acceptable so long as it avoids manipulation - that, in other words, it is only when the preacher strays away from the (as it might be) merely obfuscatory, or the merely dull, or the merely lurid, or the merely absurd, into the outright audience-manipulative that an accusation of propaganda can in propriety be levelled. If you are sitting in pew or on bench or on prayer mat, or are quietly standing under arch or dome, or are in that little minority which is bothering to listen to the sidewalk orators at Toronto's Yonge and Dundas - or again if you have switched your Mum's Canadian telly over to the not-quite-happily-named "Vision Channel": if you do any of these things, you have entered into a kind of bargain, just as when you enter a tribunal, and you are supposed to know now what you are in for. The world of religion is a structured world, with traditions and mores still more ancient than those of tribunals.

It may not be pleasant to be told, to take one example, that because you like attending Mass, you are headed for Hell. (This particular pearl I once got from a team of Yonge-and-Dundas street preachers, to my distress.)

But hey, if you don't like the heat, then, as Harry Truman said in the context of USA party politics, you must avoid the kitchen.

(3) A here's-how-I-see-it opinion newspaper piece, however impassioned, is surely not normally, in civilized Canada or USA or UK or European Union, considered a form of propaganda. The ecologically minded among us in the Greater Toronto Area may well be depressed by the editorial-space attack, from Ms Marney Beck of the Richmond Hill Liberal, on the Richmond Hill Naturalists. (One might as well be levelling an editorial attack against Greenpeace, or the conservationist Blue Dot movement, or the Papal environmental-conservation-and-social-justice encyclical Laudato si'.) But hey, at that time it was her paper. Indeed one of the marks of an open society must be our willingness to read eccentric editorial opinions without, in some mindlessly Pavlovian or neo-Soviet or neo-McCarthy reflex, calling them propaganda.

It in a way pains me to write it, and yet write it I must. An opinion piece which attacked NATO and defended the Kremlin, in ways paralleling Marney Beck's attack on the Richmond Hill Naturalists and her concomitant implied support of our DDO-conservation-averse Mayor and Council, might in various ways be faulted, and yet must not be faulted as propagandistic.

(What's this, you say: was the subsequently-retired Ms Beck politically on the side, as editor of our community paper, of Mayor and Council? Yup, say I. I was for one thing in the Council chamber, just steps away from Ms Beck, a few months ago, when at the end of her journalistic career she got presented with a huge bouquet by Mr Mayor. She had had every right to write what she, for whatever reason, wanted to write in her own editorial columns, and a grateful Mayor had every right to hand over whatever floral tributes he might thereafter think fitting. Just as I concomitantly have every right to call Town Hall and community newspaper whatever I, in my obstinately tree-hugging way, want to call them - even perhaps, on occasion,  Под-Кремль and Правда, respectively. Canada and Estonia, unlike some places one could name, are free countries. - And I do make this remark on freedom with some experience to back it up. The fact that I observe Russia from afar can, I admit, carry only modest weight. Also on the Scales of Justice, however, is the weighty fact that I know authoritarianism from the inside - close, intimate, ugly - through my 1984-1986 lecturing stint in the Singapore of Lee Kuan Yew.)

****

I wrote last week that a rigorous analysis of the concept of propaganda is an urgent task for the USA intelligence community. I remarked last week that that community's present key public document, the 2017-01-06 Director of National Intelligence (and National Intelligence Council) report, "Background to 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections': The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution" (https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf), unfortunately suffers from leaving the concept of propaganda unanalyzed. 

My present analysis is intended only as an amateur's tentative contribution. Let Uncle Sam's three-letter agencies now call in the professional philosophers, from some duly selected Ivy League (or similarly eminent) campuses. And let us thereupon have everyone - amateurs and professionals alike - work together, giving our besieged Open Society the intellectually rigorous defence it deserves. 

****

In fact it is not just our Canada-and-UK-and-USA-and-European-Union (et cetera) open society that deserves such treatment from us, as media observers. We must be mindful of the Peace Pilgrim's witness in its wider implications. To repeat from last week: the Pilgrim - formally Mildred Lisette Norman (1908-1981) -  is a recent American social prophet, as deep as any Solzhenitsyn. As I remarked last week, her work is chronicled at http://www.peacepilgrim.org/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Pilgrim. This week i note that we must (applying the Pilgrim's insights in full consistency) have sympathy and concern not just for our own rulers but for their Kremlin counterparts. 

In making this necessary application, we must recognize our own sad Western role in the Kremlin's becoming what it is today, through our colluding in a betrayal of the bright promise held out on 1991-12-26. The night of 1991-12-26 was the night on which (as it then seemed) the Red Bedsheet, an emblem of seven-plus decades' suffering, was being lowered from its Kremlin flagstaff for the last time. Only  on one other occasion have I seen anything more deeply moving on the telly - when (I somehow think of this, like 1991-12-26, as an occasion more spiritual than secular) Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquillity.

Why, in the eight chaotic years following 1991-12-26, did the West make no serious attempt to help build up Russia's nascent legal and parliamentary institutions? Where were the so-necessary postdoctoral fellowships for Russian historians, the so-necessary scholarships for emerging Russian constitutional theorists? Where were even the so-necessary police-training seminars? Where were even the humble, and so necessary, Maersk or Hanjin containerloads of police-academy textbooks and law-school journals? Why did the West, having all through the 1947-1991 Cold War been so wearisomely strident a herald of its self-proclaimed civic virtue, now waste time - thereby allowing Russia to slip back, from 1999-12-31 onward, into authoritarian rule under a sometime KGB pod-Polkovnik?

If we can now bring clearly articulated Open Society ideals to bear on the problems highlighted at https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf, we will be discharging a duty not to our own comparatively happy Western society alone, but - what can be of no less importance in God's eyes - to unhappy, martyred (and in dark bygone times called, for perhaps deep reasons, "Holy") Russia. 


[End of essay.]