Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm getting there...

Now after four days I'm starting to recognize the language. I was looking for Albanian recipes, recipes in Albanian, hoping to find Albanian food bloggers - because they sort of have to exist, don't they?
Anyway, I found one, very nice recipe site, and I read the headline... "një botë me receta"... and I understand it. A world of recipes, a world with recipes... I started to cry. I know, I'm being silly, "stupid woman" like René says, but I'm really happy about that. 4 days, from scratch, and I am familiar with Albanian :-)

I have learned some words, like the numbers. Isn't it interesting that the Albanians count like "eight over ten, nine over ten, score (20), score'n one.... score'n nine, three ten, three ten'n one, three ten'n two... three ten'n nine, two scores... "

I like the usage of scores.

Like in Danish, you have
50    halv-tred-s(ind-s-tyve)     half-third-t(imes-of-twenty)
60    tre-s(ind-s-tyve)              three-t(imes-of-twenty)
70    halv-fjerd-s(ind-s-tyve)    half-fourth-t(imes-of-twenty)
80    fir-s(ind-s-tyve)               four-t(imes-of-twenty)
90    halv-fem-s(ind-s-tyve)     half-fifth-t(imes-of-twenty)

In French 20 is vingt and 80 is quatre-vingts

Score in Finnish is 'tiu'.  Yes... the same word as Swedish for 10, tio. I think it's from Danish (tyve) or Norwegian (tjue), or some archaic Scandinavian. In Swedish 20 is tjugo and score tjug.

This, BTW, lead me to Yan Tan Tethera, which I have never heard of, but it reminds me of the Finnish version of eeny-meeny-miny-mo, which goes
Entten tentten teelikamentten
hissun kissun vaapulavissun
eelin keelin klot
viipula vaapula vot
They have found old German rhymes like that in St.Petersburg, going Enten tenten zwei Regimenten, Gehn zu Tische, Fangen Fische...

Anyway, I was thinking about that video yesterday and the linguistic findings and conclusions made...

In Finnish mother is 'äiti'. It comes from Gothic eiþai. I mean... NOBODY borrows such a word, right? But we did... we still have the Finnish emo/emä in use, but that has been reduced to animals and concepts. It has been explained by that a lot of Gothic women were married into the Finnish society, and they would, of course, teach their children to call themselves "äiti", and as that was considered "finer", their neighbords adopted the habit. Considering that I wouldn't want to be called 'mummi' or 'mummu' which is the Finnish word for grandmother, but something different. My grandmothers were "mami" and "Alli-mummu" (her name was Alli), and I have always liked that. I like the word nana, and in a book there was a granny called "mumma", sort of a combination of the Swedish 'mormor' [moor-moor] and 'mamma' (colloquial form of 'mor')... so perhaps people adopted the word because they liked the sound.
So - "none of the maritime words in Albanian is original, so Albanians couldn't have been a coastal people". Now, I don't know anything about that, but I assume it is so, I don't have the idea of Albanians being coastal people now either, even though they are. It is intersting, if you look at their folk- and fairytales, they are mostly happening in forests and mountains and plains... very similar to the Scandinavian folklore, actually.
Nevertheless, perhaps the area where the fishermen worked was so little it was easier to adopt the words the larger cultures around one used, and this resulted with the native words being forgotten. Perhaps this started happening already several thousands of years ago, before there were any recordings of the native words?

They say there are not "enough" loans from Greek for Albanians having ever lived this close to the Greek border in the history, but there are neighbors who don't borrow from each other. There is very little words of Polish origin in the German language, for example, or Scandinavian and Finnish origin, but surprisingly many from Italy. A lot of the German maritime vocabulary is Dutch loans, even though Germany has their own coastline.

Also, as we know practically nothing about the Illyrian language, and the little we know can have well been "tainted" by the Romans, Greeks and other people living in the area, how do we really know what is the relationship here? How much did the "vulgar" latins influence the area? Finland, for example, was all Finnish until some 1156, when Saint Henry, the bishop together with king Erik the Holy  - may they burn in hell - came to Finland and took over, and brough the damned "hurri" to our Pyhä Suomi-emo... er... uh... I mean, We were occupied by Sweden some time during the 12th century ce. and the Western Finland was using Swedish and we got our Finland-Swede population. Today there are areas in the Western Finland where people can't speak Finnish.

Now, again I'd like to point out that I don't know much about philology and linguistics and linguistic archaeology and such, so I don't know how they draw the conclusions they do... after all, I don't agree with Albanian being a Satem language. But - it's not only about the number 100. So - I don't know enough, but I wouldn't be so quick drawing conclusions and claiming people lie...

(I am also partial in the question of Serbs. I blame them 100% of the Bosnian war, and 90% of Serbs I've seen expressing themselves online have been nothing but Nazis. So the question of Kosovo became a chance to correct what was done wrong with Germany before WWII. Excuse me, but you're a megalomaniac fundamentalist ultranationalist racist, so you won't get one ounce of land for any reason more than you have now, and if anyone - ANYONE - has the lest credible claims to ANY of the land, they'll get it, if I can do anything about it, because being what you are, I'm 100% sure of that you won't treat the non-Serbian people living there with respect and tolerance, and you will not consider them equal to you in all aspects, so you won't even get a change to discriminate, harass, abuse and oppress other people, if I have any say on it. Greater Serbia, my ass.)

Anyway, here's an interesting (to an Aspie, at least) article about the origin of Albanians.

Albania is such an interested place... the whole country has been sort of isolated from the rest of the world. Sort of not, because you really cannot be isolated. On one hand there's a lot of living folklore traditions, and on the other people are having vlogs about all kinds of matters. The outside world isn't very interested in Albania, though, which really is a pity. I mean, it's not a surprise, after all, during the Communist regime Albania was a closed country, and all we knew about it was hearsay and such. I am ashamed of my preconceived notions of Albania compared to the reality, and I am really glad for the fact that I have learned more about Albania this week. It might not be just a curiosity language, a collector's item, as I thought...

For example, there are not many cookbooks about Balkan cooking, even though it's a fusion of the Slavic, Mediterranean, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking - with other words, wonderful. There are even fewer about the Albanian cooking... There is one cookbook with Albanian recipes in English, and it's ugly and not very good, they say... I wouldn't know, I haven't seen it.

That photo is so bad it's criminal. I'm sure that dish - what ever it is - is delicious and all that, and the picture is nicely composed with the shrimps and herbs and all... BUT IT'S GRAY!!! It looks like something that has been forgotten in the sink for a month. Brr... Doesn't really make you want to even try Albanian cooking.

This cover is better, but sort of old-fashioned. Looks like a very simple booklet of recipes. Nice, if you want to get the recipes, but it's nothing to cookbook collectors. We want books that make you want to cook.
Like this one... This one I'd buy just because the cover is so nice and intriguing.

Here's Ballakume Elbasani, a very pretty recipe blog. "aventurat kulinare te nje apasionuare pas kuzhines dhe fotografise" - I would translate that "the culinary adventure of a cooking and photographing enthusiast"

Now, I like recipes, because they are very straight forward and simple. The vocabulary needed to translate recipes enough so that you can follow them is very small, but you will learn some important things, like "spec i kuq" - red pepper. Red is an adjective and in Albanian, adjectives are added to the main word, after it. I can also see that pepper is masculine in Albanian (i kuq - masculine form of red, e kuq - feminine form of red) and later there's "ne shirita specin" - the shredded pepper. Shirit means ribbons, tape, sash, band, anything that is long and narrow, so also striped... Shred - shirit - other English words related to this are shroud and strip.

Let's take this Albanian pie, lakror. (A bit like the Spanish tortilla.)

Here's "The Speedy Gonzalez Lakror"
You can translate it with Babelfish and get an idea of what's happening, if you don't dare to get into it in Albanian - which I recommend. Recipes aren't really difficult, in any language.

Pasta sfoglia is puff pastry.
Salsice Mantovane is sort of salami, but you can use any sausage, mince meat and extra spice or bacon and extra spice. Or leftover meatloaf or meatballs or anything like that.
Mash the meat into cubes or mince. Fry the onion, garlic, meat and veggies. Put this between two layers of puff pastry and bake into a pie. Mmm...

But I love translating recipes with Babelfish and alike :-D
"take a basically repressed, but the uncleared and a sausage" What?
"At the end of peperosim, eliminate the hudhren and invited cast aside". First you invite a cast and then you eliminate them?
"Open to abuses Pete". Oh no! Poor Pete!
"Ask about the size lump of flesh". Ouch!
"Blood and fat", indeed. Albanian cooking sounds dangerous. But delicious! :-D

Here's a vegetarian version of this, with really easy and quick homemade puff pastry dough. You CAN replace it with bought version, if you wish.

Yummania is also a nice food blog :-) Oh, dear that šaltibarščiai! (Learn a little Lithuania: šaltas - cold; barščiai - borscht, vegetable soup)

P.S. Even though the information might be correct, I'm laughing at that turkey :-D One of the reviews for "the Best of Albanian Cooking" said
Having visited Albania numerous times, and having an appeciation for their delicious cooking, I find this book nowhere near an Albanian cook book; e.g. the apperitives list is incorrect, with nothing in the list being a real Albanian apperitive. Erroneous content consists throughout the text, mainly as a result of authors' lack of culinary knowledge (turkey stuffed with chestnuts - never heard in Albania!!!)."

P.P.S Kajmaqinë or sytpite or pastiçe - baked custard.
Mix 6 eggs with 12 tablespoons of sugar. Warm 1 liter milk and when it starts to boil, whisk in the egg mixture, pour into a pan and bake in hot oven until it looks like that... (or with words, set and golden.)
Yes, you may spice the custard with vanilla and nutmeg, if you wish, and use just as creamy milk as you prefer, like half-and-half.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the nice words

    eni of yummania:)