Showing posts from August, 2010

Poem of the Week, Longfellow's Dante

An excerpt from Purgatorio with an interesting discussion below, including a few comments from yours truly.

A tangled skein (1): Romanian wedding, 1984

We had driven all day from Budapest and arrived at Oradea (dubbed 'Oh dear' by one wit) well after nightfall. Not too late for the beggars however, who mobbed the coach demanding cans of /kəʊ::kə kəʊ::lə/.

I convinced one particularly pressing lout that I hated coke and therefore had none, whereupon he offered me a wad of banknotes for my Instamatic. This was no use to me: in those days it was impossible to take Romanian lei out of the country and there was precious little to spend them on inside it.

When we finally reached the hotel, which made a Barking doss house look like the Ritz, there was a wedding in progress; ever on the qui vive for a free drink, a group of us gate-crashed the party.

The drink must have been good because I don’t remember much else, except that I got chatting to an extremely beautiful young woman and made a clumsy pass. She fended this off more graciously than it deserved and we ended up swapping addresses.

I received a lovely letter from her about six we…

100 years ago

This gem on Some East London Street Criesfrom John Wells's phonetic blog. The phonetic transcriptions are clear enough, although it's interesting to note the symbol changes over the last 100 years. What shines is the humour; I can just picture the Edwardian gent about town, observing the bustle with glee: "clearness is far from being a marked characteristic of the street salesman".
Note his pronunciation of 'what' and 'which' as 'hwot' and 'hwich', a pronunciation I have never heard outside of period films.


Not mine but I did this one in the Guardian today on English dialect words. On finishing I was thrilled to learn I was a WOMBAT: Waste of Money, Brains and Time, which seems a bit unfair, to the wombat.

I do not know if Mr. de Boinod is the author of this acephalous anti-marsupial hysteria but he is at least associated with it; perhaps a
serendipitous koala once shat on his head in Wallamaloo.

My score was so low that the median inebriated wombat would have done better, as I hope you do if you try it.

Boris Christoff - Song of the Volga Boatmen

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, Easter Sunday 1999

Come a strutted matador
horns that scream a life out
Spain n Dutch, the bloody thrust
gored 'em in the vitals
Yayo shot at Franco
in 1936
morphous unconnected forms
added to a mix

© Simon M Hunter 2010