14 January 2008

Accept Suffering and Achieve Atonement Through It

I'm never very good at predicting movie award winners, especially when I haven't seen most of the movies on the list. For example, Atonement won best film (drama) and much as I enjoyed it (with hindsight it is starting to grate on my nerves a little, although I still like some of the ideas) but then I haven't seen any of the other films on the list so there's nothing to which I can compare it. I haven't seen any on the "best film (comedy)" list either, although I will see Juno (dry, witty teenager gets pregnant, recruits seemingly perfect, smug yuppie (smuppie?) couple to adopt it, hits on the husband; everyone learns) when it finally makes it to Nowheresville in February.

Even so, I am surprised how few I have seen from the total list: Atonement, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Cate Blanchett nominated for best actress - she was good, though not amazing), Lust, Caution (nominated for best foreign language film) and The Simpsons Movie (for best animated feature film).

Pitiful! Thankfully, with two more films on the cards this week (Paranoid Park by Gus "Exquisite" van Sant and that Romanian abortion film that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes).
At the very least, the latter will allow me to practise my Romance linguistics: although Romanian, at a first glance, looks and sounds very different to the other Romance languages (it actually sounds pretty similar to Southern Italian), there is a lot of shared vocabulary; even the title in Romanian, 4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile can be deciphered by anyone with a vague knowledge of Latin: luni mois and Italian mense actually come from Latin MENSEM, which is related to menstruation. Saptamani = < Latin SEPTIMANA (seventh).

A quick glance at the Romanian Wikipedia tells me I could probably get the gist of written Romanian but I doubt I would pick up much from a conversation. The same is true with Portuguese to some extent. As it's Wiki's seventh birthday today, here's a translation of the intro of the Romanian article on Wikipedia:

Wikipedia: este un proiect de enciclopedie în mai multe limbi, având conţinut deschis tuturor, dezvoltată prin colaborarea voluntară a unui mare număr de persoane şi administrată de fundaţia non-profit Wikimedia. Ediţia în limba engleză, cea mai dezvoltată dintre versiuni, a depăşit în anul 2007 pragul de 2 milioane de articole, iar numărul de articole în toate limbile a depăşit 9 milioane. Ediţia în limba română are aproximativ 1.0E+5 de articole.

Wiki is an encyclopaedia project in many languages, contiually edited, sometimes by voluntary collaborators as well as a small number of administrators from the non-profit Wikimedia. The English language version, one of many others, has more than 2 million articles as of 2007; if all languages are included, this number is more than 9 million. The Romanian section has about [insert maths/coding error here] articles.

Ah, the joy of the linguist. Not that it did me much good tonight when it came to identifying the country in which various Coke bottles with crazy scripts were from. I even admitted my former days of philately to bring up Cambodia (Kampuchea on the stamps I had) and got it wrong. Bastards. If only I'd learnt more useful languages...

I take back my dislike of Atonement too; I was just listening to the soundtrack and I remember how much I enjoyed the film first time round. Elegy for Dunkirk is a great track - très poignant and all that. Context has a funny way of calibrating opinions like that .


  1. Actually, that would translate thusly (I'll prefer word for word translations to proper translation in order to help you follow the wording):

    Wikipedia is an encyclopedia project in multiple languages, having a content which is open to everybody, developed by volunteer colaboration of a large number of people and administered by the non-profit foundation Wikimedia. The English-language edition, the most developed of all versions, has crossed in year 2007 the threshold of 2 million articles, and the number of articles in all languages has exceeded 9 million. The Romanian language edition has approximately 100,000 articles.

  2. Thanks! I spent a lot of my undergrad degree translating French and Italian literature and studying the structure and history of the languages, so was mainly interested to see if I could indeed get the general gist of written Romanian; obviously there are a lot of differences from French and Italian but the common basic lexis sure does help.