Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

Les films français avec sous-titres français en ligne gratuit

July 16, 2017
ensemble

Ensemble, c’est tout…

So Tanya from Vologda wanted to know about finding French films with subtitles online.  A short search revealed filmfra.com, with subtitles in French which appear to be for deaf French people, since they also describe music, sound effects and so on.

I found it was best to download the archive, together with 7-Zip to extract the files and VLC media player to cope with the subtitles (other approaches were less successful).

Anyway, we both applied ourselves to Ensemble, c’est tout, but Tanya confined herself to watching directly online, which led to a small picture and small sound–and also to slightly corrupt subtitles when I tried it (but she said hers were OK).

Anyway, the site itself is obviously Russian–some of the filepaths have Russian names and the file formats are Russian as well, although the blithe approach to copyright violation would have given the game away anyway…

Voices from Chernobyl, Brockley Jack 2 May

May 3, 2017

****

chernobyl

Picture from Tenere Arte Facebook page

This adaptation of the book by Svetlana Alexievich lasted 60 minutes straight through without an interval and contained a great deal of material in that time. It was presented in the devised theatre style (think Belarus Free Theatre) in both English and Russian–the Russian was normally translated by an other actor or back-projected, but the normal Russian chaos was just repeated.

It benefited from a very strong cast of both English- and Russian-speaking actors, and a previous outing at the Cockpit meant that everyone knew their lines (well, I can think of one minor exception).  The final scene delivered by Kim Christie as the newlywed wife of a firefighter dying from the effects of radiation was extremely affecting and marked by a wonderful sense of restraint…

..but…

the thing about the lies she had to think up to see her husband (two children already, certainly not pregnant) really went by very quickly if you didn’t know the source text and it’s important because it reflects the relation of the individual and the State which found its final expression in Chernobyl.  I think the devised theatre kind of thing tends to to become a documentary rather than a drama, and we could have done with seeing more of fewer characters.  I think that the points that Alexievich was trying to make about the uniqueness of the Soviet experiment, Chernobyl as a rent in the fabric of reality and even as an attack on Belarus rather went missing.

What could you do with them in 60 minutes?  Well start off with what you want to say and shape your narratives to achieve that, which I think is what Alexievich did.

Certainly well worth seeing and thinking about!

So what is the Polis Method?

April 21, 2017

polis1

I did inquire of the Polis Institute what the Polis Method was, and they kindly sent me a link to Christophe Rico’s page on academia.edu.  There is what seems to be a full account here and you can enjoy a lesson on YouTube here.  I especially enjoyed the comments left under the video, redolent as they are of stale pedantry and hatred of the human race…but I’m not saying that they’re wrong, at least about the pronunciation…

Church Slavonic and Septuagint Greek versions of Genesis 2:7

April 18, 2017

IMG_2117[1]

A solid enough display of Biblical scholarship

Question 

Here is a paragraph in progress regarding versions of Genesis 2:7. What bothers me is note 2. Is it the case that the Church Slavonic is ultimately based on the Septuagint rather than on some Hebrew original? I discovered that the current Synodal Russian translation is actually utilizing Gospod’ in 2:7, unlike the Church Slavonic edition I have. Any assistance on this would be much appreciated.

Biblical scholar Ronald A. Simkins writes of Genesis 2:7: “… YHWH’s forming of the human creature (the male ’ādām) from the dirt of the arable land (the female ’ădāmāh) serves as a metaphor for humankind’s birth out of the earth.”[1] Again, the earth gives birth, but not without God. Here it is worth noting that, like the grammatically feminine Hebrew word for “earth” (’ădāmāh), the equivalent words in the Septuagint Greek (gē), Vulgate Latin (terra), and Church Slavonic (zjemlja) – are also grammatically feminine. It is worth noting as well that the grammatically masculine Yahweh (YHWH) is matched by its grammatically masculine Greek (kurios), Latin (Dominus), and Slavonic (Gospodь) equivalents.[2]

[1] Simkins 2014, 48 (cf. also Simkins 1998, 39-46).

[2] However, these equivalents do not turn up until the next verse (8) in the Septuagint Greek and Church Slavonic texts.

Response

It is certainly the case that the Church Slavonic text comes from the Septuagint rather than the Hebrew text.

The standard Hebrew text in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia gives the equivalent of ‘the LORD God’ (YHWH elohim, if you like) at both 2:7 and 2:8–the first occurrence that I can see of this pairing is at 2:4, before that it’s elohim (God). LXX has ho theos (God) in 2:4 and 2:7, then kurios ho theos (the Lord God) in 2:8.

I think that Jewish tradition has often tried to distinguish YHWH elohim on the grounds that one is God in the aspect of justice and the other in the aspect of mercy, but I’m not aware of anything being made of grammatical distinctions. Alternatively elohim may be interpreted as the creator and YHWH as the god of the covenant in relationship to Israel. ‘Elohim’ is notoriously plural in form but governs a masculine singular verb–to over-simplify, grammatical number and gender didn’t have the definitive character in Biblical Hebrew that they do in (say) modern Russian.

Another issue here is that LXX in some cases appears to be based on a more ancient (Hebrew) text than the standard Masoretic text we have, though BHS doesn’t give any textual variants at 2:7.

What did they do with the free coal?

April 16, 2017
kopeisk

Irrelevant picture of a mine at Kopeisk, from humus.livejournal.com

On SEELANGS, Robert Chandler asks about the following passage (from За правое дело, and apparently referring to life in a miners’ settlement in 1942):

И человек, понимающий рабочую жизнь, знает, как важны эти пустые с виду просьбы: дать записку в детсад, чтобы приняли ребёнка, перевести из холостого общежития в семейное, разрешить пользоваться кипятком в котельной, помочь старухе матери перебраться из деревни в рабочий посёлок, открепить от одного магазина и прикрепить к другому, который поближе от квартиры, разрешить не работать день, с тем чтобы отвезти жену в город на операцию, приказать коменданту дать угольный сарайчик. Кажутся эти просьбы действительно мелкими и нудными, а от них ведь зависит и здоровье, и спокойствие души, а значит, и производительность труда.

The original question was about the угольный сарайчик, which was easily enough identified as a coal shed rather than a corner shack, on the basis that the miners got an allowance of free coal.  Then the question arises as to what they would have done with the free coal if they lived in a barracks.

I think the possible answers are:

1) the list of cases does not refer to the same person who needs to move to married quarters, take his wife to the hospital, be registered at another shop and so on.  Some of the miners will have had the kind of accommodation where they could burn coal in their own stove and will have needed somewhere to store the coal;

2) while selling the coal  privately in the Soviet Union on 1942 might not have been wise, it does get cold in Russia in the winter and it would probably have been possible to exchange it for something;

3) nobody was interested in whether you had a use for your coal–you were issued it, and then it was up to you to deal with it.

‘Somewhere life is simple…’ (Anna Akhmatova)

April 13, 2017

Somewhere life is simple, the light does fall
Transparent, warm and cheering…
There a neighbour talks over the wall
At evening with a girl, only the bees are hearing
The tenderest talk of all.

Then we live grandly and with difficulty
And we see bitter meetings are rightly done
When the foolhardy wind abruptly
Breaks off utterance just begun.

But we will not exchange for anything the splendid
Granite city of glory and of doom
Ice resplendent on rivers’ wide room
Sunless gardens filled with gloom
And the Muse’s voice, scarce apprehended.

granitnyj_gorod

Picture from www.liveinternet.ru/users/romanovskaya_galina/

Ведь где-то есть простая жизнь и свет,
Прозрачный, тёплый и весёлый…
Там с девушкой через забор сосед
Под вечер говорит, и слышат только пчёлы
Нежнейшую из всех бесед.

А мы живём торжественно и трудно
И чтим обряды наших горьких встречь,
Когда с налёту ветер безрассудный
Чуть начатую обрывает речь, –

Но ни на что не променяем пышный
Гранитный город славы и беды,
Широких рек сияющие льды,
Бессолнечные, мрачные сады
И голос музы еле слышный.

А.Ахматова.

Immersive Ancient Languages In Jerusalem

April 12, 2017

polis

Etti Calderon writes (1 NIS = £ 0.22/$ 0.27):

Polis- The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities is based in Jerusalem, Israel and was established in 2011 by a group of academics with the goal of promoting the study of ancient and Semitic languages. The founders believe the best way to understand ancient or modern texts and cultures is to become immersed in the language through listening, speaking, writing, and reading. In order to access the ancient texts without the need for dictionaries and study aids, the Polis Method (a combination of acquisition techniques including total immersion, total physical response, and story building) was developed to teach ancient and modern languages as living languages in an immersive environment. From the first lesson only the target language is spoken, written, and read in the classroom. 

We have two sessions in Jerusalem during the summer months with intensive courses in Classical Syriac, Ancient Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. The courses in Jerusalem will take place at the Polis Institute, located at 8 HaAyin Het Street, in the neighborhood of Musrara, near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Classical Syriac (Level II)

  • Dates: Monday-Friday (July 3-21, 2017)
  • Hours: 9:00-12:30
  • Academic Hours: 60
  • Cost: 2,100 NIS
  • Location: Polis Institute
  • Level: Advanced Beginner

Ancient Greek (Levels I+II combined)

  • Dates: Monday-Friday (August 30-September 28, 2017)
  • Hours: 9:00-15:00
  • Academic Hours: 120
  • Cost: 3,750 NIS
  • Location: Polis Institute
  • Level: Absolute Beginner + Advanced Beginner (knowledge of the Greek alphabet is pre-requisite)

Biblical Hebrew (Level III)

  • Dates: Monday-Friday (August 30-September 28, 2017)
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 15:00-19:30 and Friday 9:00-13:30
  • Academic Hours: 80
  • Cost: 2,800 NIS
  • Location: Polis Institute
  • Level: Intermediate

Students registering in levels above Absolute Beginner may be required to take a placement test to ensure placement into the correct level.

Please feel free to forward this information to your contacts or subscribers who you think may be interested. 

If you have any questions regarding Polis or our certificate and MA programs, please do not hesitate to contact us via email (info@polisjerusalem.org) or phone (+972-074-701-1048)!

 

 

Translate at City: 26-30 June 2017

April 9, 2017

Robert Chandler (Russian) writes:

This is a truly excellent summer school. I greatly admire ALL the other tutors, and the general atmosphere is always enthusiastic, intelligent and constructive. We are later than usual this year in advertising it, so I will be very grateful if you can forward the information to anyone who might be interested. This year we are running courses in translating from 11 different languages.
See details here.

Prometheus Bound, Greenwood Theatre 1430 8 February

February 8, 2017

**

prometheus

At the end:  chorus–Prometheus–Io

Prometheus Bound certainly made an interesting choice for this year’s KCL Greek Play in Greek.  One question is whether it actually is a play or merely a scene-setting for following parts of a trilogy.  Nothing much happens apart from various characters coming to sympathise with or talk sense into Prometheus and him referring to the injustices he has suffered and the dark secret he knows.

I remember a production at the Soho Theatre where the clientele were expected to be satisfied by a combination of the manly heaving of the hero’s bare breast and chains.  Lots of chains.  But here it wasn’t quite like that.  We had a female Prometheus, and Oceanus, and whichever it is of Force and Violence that doesn’t actually say anything.

More generally, I’m afraid that there was no sign of a solution to the severe problems posed by staging this piece.  It started off with projections of various modern figures, especially Donald Trump, and you could see how Prometheus might be a kind of Nelson Mandela in captivity, but his captors needed him more than he needed them.  Or Trotsky perhaps, who thought he had the earth-shaking prophecy and was a prisoner to his own well-founded fears. But nothing came of this possible line of thought.

Rather than being chained to a cliff with a wedge through her chest, our Prometheus had to top of a table to call her own.  For some reason sound effects and lianas suggested that this was in the jungle somewhere.  Loud sound effects meant you couldn’t hear what was being said, though the Greek verse sounded to be spoken competently enough.  At the end, Prometheus’s final defiance got lost in underwhelming stroboscopic effects..

On the positive side, the entrance of the chorus was effective, as were some of their choreographed moves.  Likewise for Io’s entry and exit, though I’m afraid she did rather remind me of the domovoy from Morphine.  And indeed there were similar surtitling issues, with lots of text appearing some time after the event.

If you ask what I would have done–well, have a much larger chorus and have them sing and dance.  In fact, have them on stage the whole time and have them  hold up the surtitles on placards, to give the idea of a debate of some importance not people  coming on stage and exchanging words about mouldy mythology…But making something out of Prometheus Bound would be difficult with the best performers and technical resources in the world…

 

 

 

 

 

Morphine, Etcetera Theatre 7 February

February 8, 2017

**

morphine

Picture from Anna Denshina’s Twitter feed

So let’s think–what problems might there be with staging Bulgakov’s ‘Morphine’, about a country doctor who falls victim to…err…morphine? Well, putting a non-dramatic work on the stage is always problematic–if the author had wanted to write a play he’d have done things differently. And especially in a case like the present, where the original text is in the first person and reflects the hero’s diseased apprehension of reality more than actual happenings between people. The latter is where you need to have things in a play. Here we also have some more objective narration from ‘Notes of a young doctor’ brought in to set the scene as well.

That said, the show combined the Russian tradition of having music in lots of places where you don’t want it with the English one of having characters shuffle on, deliver their lines through a mask of embarrassment, and then shuffle of again. The cast members showed various levels of comfort with appearing on stage and the Russian language…that said, I thought that Anna Danshina put in a good and affecting performance as the love interest called Anna.

There were also sutitling issues–the surtitles contained a lot of text at one go and tended to catch up after the event.  But I suspect the proportion of the audience who neither knew Russian nor the storyline of ‘Morphine’ was rather small…