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Jan. 11th, 2017 10:38 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
One of the most surprising misunderstandings in my life was when guests from another city were sure that our bridges lift in winter, too.

See, they thought it was just a touristy attraction.

... I personally find ships going through the river much more of a fascinating sight than just bridges lifting. The bridges do not all lift in the same way, and the river has a bit of a turn within the city, so at one point the ships cross the river at almost a diagonal so as to be able to pass through the next bridge.

(I still regret a bit about not being able to see the Aurora go back to her place. It was night, and it was cold, and they weren't sure till the last moment that there would be enough water for a cruiser to go up, but still.)

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Oct. 3rd, 2012 08:26 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
Apparently there is a monument in Saint Petersburg to a French Canadian poet Emile Nelligan. I wonder why... (I grew unused to reading poetry in translation - I went and checked his poems and they sound quite lovely but I can't help wondering how accurate the translation is)

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Feb. 25th, 2012 08:27 am
taelle: (Leningrad)
Hymn to the Great City



... I always loved being on the railway station when the Red Arrow train arrived or departed, because they play this hymn then (one day, when I have money enough to spare it on frivolity, I might just buy a ticket to Red Arrow).

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Oct. 20th, 2011 03:23 am
taelle: (city)
Why wasn't I provident enough to go and start learning Japanese five years ago? Silly me.

... that was me watching a Takarazuka show together with a very nice person who translated the dialogues to me. Weird feeling, this being able to understand what's going on (and not to guess from gestures and facial expressions. Which, in Takarazuka, are expressive but not _that_ expressive).

In other news, still no writing is happening. The resolution of writing every day is rather hard to follow when you don't feel like writing drabbles and the planning for all the longer stuff is stuck.

And it's getting colder: no sun today, and fairly sharp wind (they say there was first snow in the morning, but I missed it). I still like it: the architecture around where I live is the late 19th-early 20th modern and eclectic commercial housing, with lots of brick industrial buildings, and it's mostly all warm colours (especially the dark red brick - I do love it so). So when the weather is not sunny and everything is greyish, the houses look soft and warm to me, in all their unpreposessing shabbiness.

(My autumn/winter jacket is dark grey - but so wonderfully light! - but I do have a bright scarf. Maybe I will make another: I am so colour-dependent)
taelle: (Default)
" I thought I was coming to Russia’s second city, but now think it is better described as Europe’s fourth city." - UK's Consul General in Saint Petersburg. I can't help wondering which are the first three, by his count.

Actually, I've been thinking about accents. For anyone dealing with English as much as I do the importance of accents for Englishpeople is fairly notable (am I the only person in the universe who thought the accents in Life on Mars sounded rather lovely?) But as for accents in Russian... I do have rather a tin ear, as I've been repeatedly told by my phonetics instructors at the uni, but still. ... I remember being trained out of the local accent in primary school - "No, you don't pronounce it in this uncultured way, you pronounce it [like they do it in Moscow]". Which is especially funny in view of eternal argument of 'we're not the capital any more, but we're more cultured than Moscow - we're the _cultural_ capital'. And now I am not even sure there's much of the local accent, phonetics-wise (tin ear, as I said; perhaps to a trained observer my speech would be instantly identifiable).

There's still vocabulary arguments, the more common the differing words, the more active the argument. 'They're using their quaint way of calling it X instead of Y as it properly is' (actual article critiquing St. Petersburg translators), and eternal joking arguments with Moscow friends about how I keep calling types of bread incorrectly. ... I don't know if it's still accent or not; I clearly wasted my uni education.

However, my bank happens to have series of ads with pairs of words of the 'lift-elevator' or 'apartment-flat' type and the slogan 'Two capitals, one bank'. There are banners with these ads on the railway station from where the trains to Moscow go, and I walk along the platform sometimes, checking what words they used.

... and I don't know the point of it (I also don't know what my accent would sound to a native English speaker. I have the pronounciation of a bookish child who learned her words by sight, I have far more practice writing than I do speaking, and, naturally, I mix English and American words (I mostly spell English, though - that's the way I've been taught).

Apropos of nothing, some people are now trying to convince me that there were witch trials in USA in early 20th century, only they can't remember where or the exact date, I can't find anything on my own and I don't particularly trust those particular people (well, in the accuracy of statements; I do not believe they'd steal my silverware or something).


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