Megan Case has been inviting Slav speakers to enjoy slovio, an esperanto like version of slav languages, supposedly understandable by any slav language speaker. And so it seems it is, as far as my testing is concerned. Try this:
Novju mezxunarodju jazika!
Sxto es Slovio? Slovio es novju mezxunarodju jazika ktor razumijut cxtirsto milion ludis na celoju zemla. Slovio mozxete upotrebit dla gvorenie so cxtirsto milion slavju Ludis ot Praga do Vladivostok; ot Sankt Peterburg cxerez Varsxava do Varna; ot Sredzemju Morie i ot Severju Morie do Tihju Okean. Slovio imajt prostju, logikju gramatia i Slovio es idealju jazika dla dnesju ludis. Ucxijte Slovio tper!
And there is a blognik!
However I left a comment saying that there were two purposes of language learning. One is communication, which slovio certainly helps with, as far as reading is concerned, though I am not sure that I could be bothered to learn it.
But the other purpose is to understand a specific culture, which has its own words and expressions for things are are important in its culture. I couldn't think of any examples at the time except the Russian remont, which has vastly different meanings in English and Russian, or at least it did in Soviet times.
But this morning in my Hidden Europe email newsletter there are some perfect examples of what I mean:
hygge and gezelligheid
Was that word gezelligheid, which we used above, a new one on you? What about hygge? These are fabulous words, Dutch and Danish respectively, which admit of no easy translation into English. The English word 'cosiness' just doesn't have the same rich connotations as gezelligheid and hygge, that sort of enveloping quiet comfort that comes with history, a sense of contentment, good food and wine, the company of friends and a fire smouldering in the grate.
Words like hygge are little linguistic gems, syllables that offer insight into the soul of a nation. Take that peculiarly Portuguese version of homesickness, saudade. Or its German antonym, Fernweh, a longing for a distant place. One we especially like is the Welsh hiraeth, a sort of lure of the homeland, a return to roots, that seems to afflict those with Welsh ancestry even generations after their forbears left Wales. Wonderful words! Would that there were more of them!
So what do you do when you are a quarter Welsh and possibly a quarter German? The third quarter is definitely English, and who knows about the fourth; there are too many false trails. It makes it quite difficult to decide where to settle down, after a decade of wandering in Eastern Europe on the trail of the roots.