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The trouble with Nietzsche November 25, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

…and attempting to read Also sprach Zarathustra, in German, when your language skills are, as you realise, again, when attempting to read Also sprach Zarathustra, in German, piss poor, is that, missing one word in three, it’s just like doing an extremely long and arduous eye-test where all the letters are tiny and the ß provides the only moment of joy and recreation. I’ll stubbornly read on, probably, but it could quite easily be replaced by some random DNA code by some wicked fairy that gets up to that kind of thing – on a tram, say – and I don’t think I’d notice the difference. STILL, I’ll be able to say I’ve read (read, looked at) Also sprach Zarathustra. In 2010.

Note to self: carry on reading German stuff, unless about as intellectually challenging as Kaminer or a bus-ticket, in translation.



1. Mangonel - November 25, 2006

For my money, Erich Kastner (and no, I don’t know how to do umlauts either) said it better and funnier than Nietzsche any old day.

2. pleite - November 26, 2006

Who said blogging isn’t an education? (Probably no-one.) I have no idea about Erich Kästner… Oh, hang on, he wrote Emil and the Detectives, I now see, which I remember clearly making its mark on my 9/10-year-old internal world, but, alas, now that mark has faded away. Anyway, Kästner can now nicely go on a list of things for me to research at some point in the future, which I’ll nicely ignore, or let gather dust in a drawer somewhere, either real or in my head. (Which reminds me, there are some cigarettes in a REAL drawer.)

3. MountPenguin - November 26, 2006

Call me a philistine, but I have a rule that any (non-trivial) novel where I have to force myself to turn the pages gets put in a metaphorical drawer marked “things to do when retired”. Until then there are plenty more fun things to do.

4. BiB - November 26, 2006

Hurrah for metaphorical drawers! I want to put Nietzsche in one and then lock it up and throw away the key, and then have the drawer bricked up, only to be discovered many years hence when it is blown up to build a metaphorical car-park.

My next book is going to be from the Mr. Men series.

5. MountPenguin - November 26, 2006

Actually I don’t think I’ll ever retire as such, but that’s another story.

Should you be in need of any Mr Men books, I have a dozen or so in mint condition sitting on a shelf somewhere.

6. Mangonel - November 26, 2006

Why is comment 2 labelled ‘Pleite’ and comment 4 labelled ‘BiB’? You have some Jekyll and Hyde groove going? Mind, if you do, they both seem awfully similar . . .

7. pleite - November 26, 2006

Penguin, I’ve been planning for some time to rant at my mother, when she does her ‘I-had-it-hard’ thing, about how at least she could retire and now gets a pension. It might be 2p, actually, but she never seems as poor as I do, so I’m guessing it’s not. Or do you mean you’ll never retire because you’re a workaholic? I know I should grown-uply be thinking ahead, but I just can’t. So I suppose I’ll work till I drop, or, if working stops pre-drop, then hope that the neighbours will take me in. (Although not the current neighbours, if I’m lucky.)

Mango, well spotted. I’d never noticed, although I had noticed that sometimes my very handsome portrait was there and sometimes it wasn’t. I have no idea what it can all mean, and have no idea who I’m going to be when I press ‘say it!’ in about ten seconds’ time…

8. MountPenguin - November 26, 2006

Regarding retirement, a bit of both I s’pose, what with that metaphorical drawer being full of intentions but little actual hard cash. But even if I won some form of lottery I’d still need to find some way of keeping the old brain cells from depleting too fast, seen too many elderly relatives just vegetate away.

9. Taiga the Fox - November 26, 2006

Why don’t you try blogging in German? I can promise you that blogging in foreign language is er…interesting.

10. pleite - November 26, 2006

Taiga, saksaksi? Oletko hylly? Kirjoitin venäjäksi yksi/kaksi kertaa, ja se oli… enough. I have officially stopped enjoying communicating in foreign languages. I think it all came crashing to a sudden end on my 30th birthday. I’d like to be able to blog in a foreign language, perhaps, but have admitted defeat. I just ain’t me if not in English (or, at a push, in domestic Anglo-Russian).

Penguin, hm, I might have to push myself VERY hard if I was sitting on a nice pile of lottery cash. I am managing to vegetate while I work. I think I’d be less vegetal if I was playing full-time.

11. Taiga the Fox - November 26, 2006

Indeed, I am bit nuts (hullu) when trying to be me in English (hmm, maybe that’s why I lost my online self-identity recently), but hopefully not a shelf (hylly) though. Or would that be my long lost shelf-identity… well, anyway, I have tried to read Camus and Huxley several, several times in English, but I have reached my limits there.

12. pleite - November 26, 2006

Fantastic. I always mix up shelf and mad. Excellent. I also used to always mix up, oddly, vaik(k?)ea and tärkeä, and can’t even remember what they mean, but they’re not even very similar, but, interestingly, it was, acccording to my teacher, a common mistake.

Studying Finnish was just by a million miles much the best thing I did at university. Have we already done yöllä lyön höyhentyynyäni here? I think I need to go and listen to your Finnish version of The Riddle again.

13. MountPenguin - November 26, 2006

フィンランド語は少し無理がありますが、最近頑張って日本語でブログを書くようになりました。Although Mrs. Penguin is occasionally kind enough to point out the more critical and / or embarrasing mistakes.

14. pleite - November 26, 2006

Oh bugger, what language was that that wordpress hasn’t coped with? Was it Japanese? Please somehow make it work. I’ve never had a drop of Japanese round here. I’ve had Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic and Greek scripts, but that’s me lot.

15. MountPenguin - November 27, 2006

Japanese it is. WordPress is coping fine, you’re probably missing Japanese / East Asian fonts on your PC. If you’re using Windows and have got some work which needs putting off doing, search the Microsoft site for the “East Asian Language Pack” or similar.

Note: I meant “embarrasing” in the sense of “embarrassing”.

16. pleite - November 27, 2006

How did you guess? I am currently in the middle of a very long work-avoidance session. Anything else I should look for while I’m there? (And will I understand the Japanese when I do eventually stop it being a row of squares? Or is it a riddle?)

17. MountPenguin - November 27, 2006

No, it’s just me performing some blog-related linguistic one-upmanship. You can try putting it through Google’s translation service if you want it turned into a riddle though.

18. BiB - November 27, 2006

I dashed dutifully off to the Microsoft site and even seemed to find my way to some Japanese package thingy but gave up when it started getting complicated. I might switch on my laptop in the hope that Japanese fonts have somehow magicked their way in there. I want Japanese! I want Japanese!

19. BiB - November 27, 2006

“Finnish a little has the excessiveness, but recently, persevering it reached the point where you write [burogu] in Japanese.”

Hurrah. I can read your utter beauty on my previously-loathed laptop. Aber what can it all mean? Burogu? But you’re quite right that Finnish does, indeed, have a little the excessiveness.

Mango, by the way, I think I’ve worked out the mystery. I am one – can’t remember which way round – when I am logged into wordpress and the other when I am not, which seems like a pointless distinction to me. I hope folk aren’t confused but, if I am to believe the fairly shabby built-in stats one gets automatically with a wordpress blog, I am so far being read only by people who know me. No random finds or anything like that yet. Maybe that’ll come with time.

20. MountPenguin - November 27, 2006

“Burogu”: bear in mind Japanese does not have an “l” sound, yet a penchant for importing foreign words. It’s also one of these languages where one can safely omit personal pronouns when the context allows, and the very beta Google translator tends to make a game stab at “you” even when the original intent is “I”. As for the excessiveness, a more appropriate translation would be “beyond me”. But yes, the Google version does have its own utter beauty.

21. BiB - November 27, 2006

Moment mal… Burogu! I geddit… But, am I STILL getting the wrong end of the stick because, unless I have become so fluent in Japanese that I don’t even notice when my eyes/ears/brain switch between it and English, it appears to me that you are writing your burogu strictly in ingurisu, with a bit of Thai thrown in…

22. pleite - November 27, 2006

Hm, and why might comments be closed for the post above, do folk think? It all takes getting used to, moving home. Culture shock.

23. MountPenguin - November 27, 2006

Ah, I am a man of mystery and many blogs, not all of which are interlinked (it would be tragic for the world if my real identity, and my weakness towards kryptonite, would be revealed at this point).

24. BiB - November 27, 2006

Gosh, do you have a Japanese-language blog too? How exciting! Do I have to start googling Japanese+superman+blog+Berlin. Tell you what. Just come to Mike’s next Stammtisch and reveal all that way. Don’t know when that’ll be, mind, but I think there’ll be one before Chrimbo.

Is your blog on wordpress? For some reason, for my newer post, I had to switch on permission for folk to leave comments. I wonder if that’s standard when uploading pictures. Bonkers.

25. leon - November 28, 2006

I always liked the fact that Japanese for “lamb” was “eramu”, on the basis of the above.

D & F is on WordPress and it’s a wonderful piece of software.

26. BiB - November 28, 2006

Yes, I’m still feeling my way round a bit, but things certainly feel rather nicer here than they do over with the enemy. Although I was such a stats slut, and there seems to be no good stats system compatible with wordpress. Anyway, you lose all your readers when you move, of course, but I live in hope. I’ll claw my way back up!

When might your own beautiful blog be updated?

Eramu? Marvellous. Burogu… Of course I’ve flirted with the idea of learning Japanese a million times, but will resist the (less than pressing, actually) urge. Firstly, because I’m better at not doing than doing, but, secondly, I only have to remember being the dimmest person in my Hebrew evening class and all thoughts of new language learning disappear in a puff of smoke. Hm. I really should live in England.

27. MountPenguin - November 28, 2006

Professor Pingelig here: “lamb” in Japanese (the meat, that is) is “ramu” (though the cute baby sheep not yet on the plate is “kohitsuji”, which boringly means “child sheep). Confusingly “rum” is also “ramu”, though fortunately “ram” is something completely different.

Japanese is one of those languages you can only really get the hang of if you have a spare half-decade or two (thank [insert name of deity here] for the German Langzeitstudium) and a couple of years actually living there. Some form of Japanese spouse is also a great help. Though no doubt there are some geniuses out there who can lap up any language in a matter of months. Me, I only stand a chance of learning a language if I have some immediate connection with the country concerned, otherwise it goes in one ear and out the other.

28. BiB - November 28, 2006

I might now easily speak a mixture of three languages to the Russian in a single sentence, which sounds lovely, but is horrible, and makes me think I’m becoming non-lingual. I’m quite surprised at how far my Russian’s gone to pot since being here. I thought speaking it at home would be enough. Well, it sort of is. It’s enough to make it not be rusty. But my vocabulary is shrinking and there aren’t enough outside influences – the street, TV, work – to keep it fresh. I suppose my German is plodding forward, but, my god, it’s slow.

I once met a gent doing a Mongolian degree. I SO wanted to tell him to change to crochet instead. Still, who knows? He might be the ambassador in Ulaaaaan Baaaaataaaar by now.

29. leon - November 28, 2006

I’m half-way through writing my next update. I seem to alternate between being able to write reams of stuff in seconds or the kind of pace that makes a glacier look fast.

30. pleite - November 29, 2006

Leon, regardless of speed, I look forward to your next instalment of wise words. You always entertain.

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