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Moscow–Memories

June 30, 2013 2 comments

File:Moscow - The Kremlin 01.jpg

When RT took a school trip to Russia in early 1975, he was a mere stripling at 14½. But the trip made an indelible mark on him. It was the depths of winter, and detente was still a decade or more off, and what RT remembers are the people–including those not necessarily alive. Take for instance, the royal crowns of Russia, on display at the Kremlin. Of the many crowns, gold and trimmed with ermine, as RT recalls, one stood out: the stainless steel crown of Peter the Great. The crown and the king who commissioned it seem to RT to exemplify one aspect of this amazing nation. The other experience that spoke to RT about the Russian people was meeting a 14-year-old female student at a supervised event in a school. Dressed in a plain pinafore, her long blond hair braided behind her, she was going to be–as RT was only too aware–stunning. But conversation proved another matter. She had been studying English, and RT opened with that old standard: “What does your father do?” The question elicited a blank stare, and RT realized he had been using idiom. So he tried again: “What is your father’s job?” Another stare. Finally–remembering the French influence on Russian culture–RT offered, “What is your father’s employment?” and communication was established.

Among other things, the experience taught RT how multi-layered English can be, with informal, formal, and ridiculously formal speech all possible. The other lesson RT took away, at a more unconscious level, concerned the fairy-tale quality of Russia: at once beautiful, proud, and indomitable.

RT’s Related Posts: 1) The Russian Alphabet (Part 2)–A Brief History; 2) The Grand Staircase, Paris Opera.

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Photo: Moscow, the Kremlin. Author: Anubis8. Wikicmns; Public Domain.

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Beauty Contestants

ya gotta love it…  RT

(reposted from The Elemental Eye)

Beauty Contestants.

The Russian Alphabet (Part 2)–A Brief History

June 30, 2013 2 comments

Cyril-methodius-small--WikiPD

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The story of an alphabet is in large part the story of the area(s) where it is used, and the Cyrillic alphabet, the writing system of Russia and other countries across northern Eurasia, reflects the many changes that have taken place in that vast region since its introduction. And readers should note: Cyrillic is used by an estimated 252 million people today.

In fact, Cyrillic has gone through at least three stages of development: 1) the Glagolitic Alphabet (introduced in the 860s AD); 2) the Early Cyrillic Alphabet (developed at the Preslav Literary School in the late 800s); and 3) Modern Cyrillic–the “civil script” mandated by Peter the Great in 1708. Finally, the most recent change in Russian orthography took place in 1918, shortly after the Russian Revolution. As one might suspect from studying the development of other writing systems, the 1708 and 1918 reforms both involved simplification, and specifically the elimination of obsolete letters. Glagolitic had at least 41 letters; modern Russian has 33. 

Further Facts

1) Saints Cyril and Methodius, missionaries from the Byzantine Empire, are traditionally credited with devising Glagolitic and introducing it into Great Moravia, a large Slavic state that existed in the late 9th century. Following the disintegration of Great Moravia, the script was adopted by the First Bulgarian Empire in the 880s, and its use spread with the expansion of the Bulgarians through the 10th century. After the destruction of the Bulgarian Empire, when missionaries from its liturgical schools helped convert Kievan Rus to Christianity in the 980s, they introduced the Gospels in Cyrillic script.

2) Glagolitic is based on the Greek Alphabet, but also contains letters derived from Hebrew and perhaps even Coptic.

3) Glagolitic and Early Cyrillic were used with Old Church Slavonic, the first Slavic language recorded in writing and many liturgical texts were composed using them.

4) And please note that the simplification of Glagolitic involved not just the number of letters, but their shapes as well.

1. Glagolitic Letters

2. Early Cyrillic Letters

а б в г д е ж ѕ з и і к л м н о п р с т ѹ ф х ѡ ц ч ш щ ъ ь ѣ ю  ѥ ѧ ѫ ѩ ѭ ѯ ѱ ѳ ѵ

3. Modern Cyrillic Letters

А
A
Б
Be
В
Ve
Г
Ge
Ґ
Ge upturn
Д
De
Ђ
Dje
Ѓ
Gje
Е
Ye
Ё
Yo
Є
Yest
Ж
Zhe
З
Ze
З́
Zje
Ѕ
Dze
И
I
І
Dotted I
Ї
Yi
Й
Short I
Ј
Je
К
Ka
Л
El
Љ
Lje
М
Em
Н
En
Њ
Nje
О
O
П
Pe
Р
Er
С
Es
С́
[ɕ]
Т
Te
Ћ
Tshe
Ќ
Kje
У
U
Ў
Short U
Ф
Ef
Х
Kha
Ц
Tse
Ч
Che
Џ
Dzhe
Ш
Sha
Щ
Shcha
Ъ
Hard sign (Yer)
Ы
Yery
Ь
Soft sign (Yeri)
Э
E
Ю
Yu
Я
Ya

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There is much to puzzle over here, and of course RT suspects that more is coming on this subject…

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RT’s Related Posts: 1) Glagolitic-Starting a Great Tradition; 2) Moscow–Memories

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PaintingSaints Cyril and Methodius, wall mural (1848); Troyan Monastery. WikiCmns; Public Domain. Glagolitic, Early, and Modern Cyrillic Alphabets: from their respective Wikipedia articles; Public Domain.

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Fashion shoot

June 29, 2013 4 comments

wow, what a gorgeous image!  RT

(reposted from Impressions of my world)

Fashion shoot.

Pocket Watch

File:1926 goldene Taschenuhr IWC2.jpg

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RT has always wanted a pocket watch. But he has to be realistic about this: he wants something elegant he can pull out of his vest. He admires the beauty of these watches, which tend to be older and better made than wristwatches, those reminders of the practical and the necessary. But training himself to remember to put the watch in his pocket every morning would just add another item to his morning checklist, and that would defeat the purpose of the exercise, which is to let the watch remind him and his circle of days that were a little less restricted by obligations, if only because the watch had not become as ubiquitous as it has. Social status notwithstanding, RT will probably keep the Timex that has served faithfully these many years.    RT

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Photo: Goldene Taschenuhr; WikiCmns; Public Domain. Author: ON.

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Io and All That

June 29, 2013 3 comments

Io_and_Sodium_Cloud--WikiPD

Time was when the Galileo spacecraft was the hottest ticket on the block; now, its successor mission, Cassini-Huygens, after having successfully sent back wiga-ziga bytes of information and some of the most spectacular photographs ever taken in space, is winding down. Jupiter and Saturn, the two planets most likely to hold thrilling secrets, have been investigated with something very like a microscope.

Not that there’s nothing new to be learned from these planetary systems, particularly if Jupiter’s moon Europa can be imaged with ice-piercing radar (in the hopes of finding living creatures in its sub-surface ocean). But RT is a bit worried that people’s enthusiasm for space exploration is lagging. The practical benefits of space cannot be ignored, and RT is all for putting bases and then colonies on the Moon and Mars, but he still remembers the real thrill of space when it erupted into the public’s consciousness in the 1960s–the hope that we will be transformed for the better by what we learn and experience, that in the great endeavor of moving out into the solar system and stars we will be challenged, humbled, and vindicated in our hopes for ourselves and the world.

OK, RT is getting off his soap box. But to help remind people of why space-travel is necessary, he offers the above photo, taken some time ago by the Galileo spacecraft, and still one of the most gorgeous images sent back by our robotic explorers.  RT

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Photograph: Io and Sodium Cloud (9 November 1996); Galileo Spacecraft; NASA. Public Domain.

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Indie type

great typography & design resource…  RT

(reposted from dropsomespecs)

Indie type.