Archive for October, 2014

Esperantujo in my Pocket

October 31, 2014

mp3Several years ago I got an MP3 player during Christmas. It’s an easy to use simple one, not even having one of those newfangled touch screens!  For a while I had 2 audiobooks on it, but I’ve deleted them as well as any videos I had on it.  C’mon, the screen is only a few inches square at the most!  So what do I have on this antiquaited MP3 player?  In a word, Esperanto.

Until recently there was an every-so-often podcast, a sort of news digest put out by a Canadian and his wife, completely in spoken Esperanto. It was the well known Radio Verda (Green Radio). I have nearly every episode of that podcast on my device.

Then I discovered that an Italian Esperantist, evidently also a clergyman was recording weekly homilies in Esperanto.  he did this for several years and I’ve snapped up all of them as well.  He has since ceased the recording, but still releases his weekly homilies in written form.

I’ve also put any Esperanto music that I like on the player.  These are mainly folk type songs recorded in Esperanto by a Dutch group of musicians known as Kajto. There are a few songs by other Esperanto musicians and one or two Harper ballads in English that I’m particularly fond of.

I do this to keep my listening skills in the language unatrophied.  Sometimes, especially in the case of Radio Verda I pick up an interesting turn of phrase and thus add to my comprehension.

So when I put on my headphones while doing some monotonous task, or put the player on my homemade dock in the workshop, I might get an interesting news digest or a dissertation on the Word, or a catchy little song. You see I keep my player on ‘shuffle’ so I never know what’s next.

For the curious, Since Esperantists do not come from any particular country, ‘Esperantujo‘ is what we call it when we meet and talk together.  As it’s been said. ‘Kiam ajn du aŭ tri renkontiĝas parolante en Esperanto, tie estas Esperantujo.’

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Local Businesses Don’t Really Want My Patronage.

October 17, 2014

This is one of those things that has irked me long enough that I’m writing it down.  Over a year ago I had to send a UPS shipment with third party billing.  I had no idea how to do this at the time, so I packed up my parcel and went to my local UPS Store ™.  When I got inside, I was simply told I had to do it online.  I would have thought that they might have told me what I had to do to do it online, or had helpful literature instead of just dismissing me, and then hoping I would be back later to drop off my prepaid package for them to process.  Well, I went home, did my research, stumbled through the UPS website to create my account, set up billing, figure out why my printer was trying to print the label for the box about 10x times too big.  Then, instead of going all the way back to that UPS Store ™ I dropped it off at the print shop I used to work at because tey are closer and deal with UPS.  Failing that I’d just take it to my local STAPLES store which is only 1 mile away. (Failing that I’d arrange to have it picked up at my doorstep!)

Then, they revamped my local grocery store which still sold the old Track II razor blades.  They were the cheapest blades around and I keep my handle as a precious relic.  When the store got re-done they stopped stocking my blades. I wasn’t about to graduate to a razor that uses blades about 3x the price of my cheap blades.  Even Walmart didn’t sell them anymore. So I looked online and I now get my cheap razor blades on eBay at a great price.  Might be my imagination, but they also last longer than the store bought ones.

When my wife’s homemade Mountain Dulcimer needed a new tuning head, I drove all the way down to a music shop to buy a new Guitar tuning head.  I was told that they don’t sell them, but they’d be more than happy to repair my musical instrument.  So of course I found someone on eBay who sold them to me at a great price and it was delivered to my door.

As you see  I tried to shop local and was forced to go the internet route.

Asking vs Thinking when Translating

October 2, 2014

I’ve been putting up past projects and labeled tool diagrams on my Esperanto woodworking blog, Ligneroj. As I translate some of the woodworking terms, sometimes I get stuck.  What’s more is that sometimes none of my dictionaries are of any help, I have at least half a dozen, plus a few online sources. When this happens I have the choice of thinking harder, or of asking around of other Esperantists.

The problem is that the other Esperantists don’t tend to be of a technical or hands on mindset so I usually either get something that doesn’t fit the purpose, or a back wash from the way-too-jargon-ish Esperanto picture dictionary. I’m trying to do the write ups for my old woodworking projects in such a way that non-woodworkers have a chance of knowing what I’m saying.  I don’t want to call the threads on a rod ‘helicaj kaneletoj‘ (helical little channels) I want to call them ‘ŝraŭbaĵoj‘ (threads of a screw).

It reminds me of when I took a course in AutoCAD. The text book gave a very techy explanation of what a circle was like ‘a line inscribed a certain distance from a fixed point.’  Most of the time I just needed an answer like ‘a circle is round.’

So today I realized that I needed an Esperanto name for a Thumb Piano.  It’s also called a kalimba.  I had two choices, bring ‘Kalimba’ into Esperanto via the 15th rule of grammar, making it ‘Kalimbo’ or thinking harder for something more descriptive.

Doing some research, I found that the thumb piano came exclusively from the continent of Africa.  More research showed me that a similar instrument, a jaw harp is already named in Esperanto (buŝharpo), thus reinforcing my idea that a ‘Harpo‘ in Esperanto isn’t absolutely restricted to large triangular objects with plucked strings. I always say that Esperanto is a poetic language mistakenly labeled as logical. Calling it ‘Logical’ brings to mind emotionless Mr. Spock. It’s truer to say the language is regular in its grammar.

So I decided the Thumb piano would best be named an African Harp, ‘Afrika Harpo‘.  At least it’s better than the total head scratching that would be brought on by calling it a ‘Kalimbo’ out of the blue with no further description. If  I’d asked others, I’m sure eventually the answers would devolve into how that musical instrument actually has about 15 names depending on where in Africa you were.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called a 'Afrika Harpo'.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called an ‘Afrika Harpo‘.