Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Frozen Stream of Consciousness

An old favorite of mine is the movie Alexander Nevsky. It is a story of a Russian prince who saves Russia from an invasion by the Teutonic Knights. The pivotal part of the plot is the battle between the Russians and the Germans fought over the surface of the frozen lake Peipus. The Russians draw the mounted and heavily armored knights onto the ice, where they break through the ice and drown. The movie is a classic. Serge Eisenstein, the director, is of course considered one of the fathers of cinematography. The score by Prokofiev is unbelievable.

When my wife and I were first married, I asked her if she would see the movie with me. Not speaking Russian, she had to rely on the subtitles. When I asked her about the film, she told me that she found it funny how a long stream of Russian mumbo jumbo would be translated in the subtitles into something as succinct as "Yes, commander!". At the time it seemed like a silly observation since in general it seems like while some turns of phrase are less frugal in words, others are more to the point, making it a draw in the end.

Fast forward ten years. Last night was rough. One of the kids came down with an ear infection and ultimately ruptured his eardrum. Didn't get much sleep last night.

For some reason I started thinking about calling my parents and telling them about the eardrum. The Russian word for "eardrum" is "barabannaya pereponka". That's right. You heard me. Barabannaya pereponka. Maybe my wife was right. Some languages are less efficient than others :)

3 Comments:

Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

LOL, that's what people tell me...

I hope he feels better soon... Everyone's getting sick these days.

February 19, 2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report said...

My Russian stinks... being the grandchild of a Russian immigrant I really should know more than I do.. oh well.

February 19, 2006 10:40 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Tovya,

I wouldn't feel too bad. I have the same problem with Yiddish. I wish I could speak it, but just don't have the discipline to learn.

February 20, 2006 8:27 AM  

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