the problem with fictional languages

The problem with fictional languages is that you forget what it all meant, years down the line. Case in point:

мы ана дарн ел мы лендора да, мой мы
ескуанда: лендорта ды мар?
мы итаря дарн ел вош ко вармо?
… ды еста ко дарва марн…
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a human sentiment

Meertalige versie (speelt automatisch af)
Nederlandstalige versie
wenn Ihr das tagenlang nicht glauben wollte
quand vous pensez que le pire a passé
és az éjszaka sötet
найду тебя
and I will lay my hand on your shoulder
niet in medelijden, maar
como si yo fuera el amigo
du alltid vellat
ma mai non ottenuto
le chéile suifidh muid
ir ugnis sudegins

respira, suntem aici 

This was originally called “a european sentiment”, since it was written in 12 different European languages. The sentiment’s universal however. First exposed to the public eye on the 21st of December 2017, the darkest night of the year.
You can find monolingual translations of the poem in the expanded version of this post: de · fr · en · nl · ru.
German translation redacted by Ingrid T.
The entire spoken version can also be found on YouTube:

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Hi there!

I’m Konrad. You have managed to reach this website, crazy isn’t it? Almost nobody does, but that’s on me for housing my site in Réunion! Not that a lot happens here. I’m hardly a community, nor am I interested in submerging you in poorly packed commercials. I do however think that it’s important to have a place on the internet where you can decide for yourself how things are run, what’s shown and what happens with it. Something along what Virginia Woolf referred to, only virtually.

Now I can just see you start to wonder what it is I actually do? Well, what can I say? I have a strong preference for poetry and stories. I like to read, but love to write. It’s a bit like breathing, if I’m being honest. On this site you’ll thus find stuff I’ve written in the past. Short stories, a random paragraph, a poem,…

I’m not promising that what you’ll find, is also something you’ll like. I do encourage you to have a look around. Every language is mixed in the mainstream, though you can narrow it down through the menu.

Life is Technicolor: some languages enable associations others cannot compute; sometimes languages interact or complement each other. Sometimes a poem arises in one languages, transmutes itself into another languages, but stumbles trying on the third. It’s the linguistic alchemy that defines modern times.


On learning languages

In response to an article on Treehugger, I wrote this:

I’m Belgian, from the Flemish/Dutch-speaking side of things. I thus suffered through obligatory language courses from age ten onwards in French, German and English. After leaving highschool, I studied Slavic languages, learning Russian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian as well as studying Old Slavonic.

To say that I’ve had quite a lot of language teachers, wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Some were lousy, others were the best you could get. When the teacher wasn’t good, I hated the language I needed to study. When the teacher was good, their enthusiasm and love of the language got transmitted. So yes, the method is important, yet the method is also highly personal.

Because you are not only transferring text book knowledge, you are emparting a perspective, a way of life, the significant difference between what one culture considers present, as well as past tense. Why certain concepts in a gender-fluid language arise, yet falter in a gender-strict language. Why one’s inside differs from another’s outside.

It’s this lesson that often gets lost in translation, why it’s easier to translate a manual than a poem. Because people come in a million nuances and zvery nuance has, certainly since the written word, been expressed through language. Because language and especially the ability to construct metaphors and build upon that is essentially what raises humans from the animal world.

Knowing other languages, being familiar with a different history of idioms and proverbs, broadens your horizon. Lets you realize how different you are from one another, yet how connected you are to every single person out there.

Somewhere, people wish that their neighbour’s cow will get ill (thus elevating their own position in society). Somewhere, somebody writes a song and wishes that their neighbour’s cow will too stay healthy. It’s a Bosnian reggae song, a post-Yugoslavic expression of peace. I wouldn’t have learned it if I hadn’t studied the language, yet this little nugget of knowledge brightens my day each time I think about it.

So yes, study a different language, widen your world, for the world is wide, yet every road interlinked. Accept that hand and shake it. Wish them well, so that they might wish you well.

sometimes pinokio’s adream / sometimes not

At the end of 2015, I published my first collection of poems, written in Dutch (Flemish). It marked the first official expression of my creativity. The collection is called soms droomt pinokio / soms ook niet and can be bought for a fair €10 on the Dutch ecommerce-platform, the book distribution network ECI, ordered by your independent bookshop, or bought using this site.

Poetry is a niche activity, literature a preference, and the might of the word rules the ego. Because of these reasons, I went the extra mile to arrange a low price point, took complete command of the publication process and am able to offer you my poems on a cherishable medium.

At this moment in time, this collection has not yet been translated into the English language. Efforts have been made, but it is difficult to cover all nuances. For instance, Flemish Dutch possess the second person singular ge/gij which sounds intimately familiar to the Flemish, yet comes across as downright antiquated to the Dutch. Several of my poems use this form. If I were to translate this phenomena into English, the closest general analogue I’d find would be thee/thou. A better solution would be to simply translate my poems in Scottish English, which would cover more bases, but not all. All this, of course, to illustrate that I have had serious thoughts about translating my poems, but haven’t actually executed these thoughts.

An idle thought

Some would say intelligent thought unlocks the world for our purview. Some would have you believe that the ability to abstract and comprehend is what separates us from savage beasts, that it is what makes us civilized. I say: balderdash. Those who see, will be disillusioned. Those who hear, fall silent. Those who perceive, falter. Let it be said that man, alike beast, is a fool who stumbles in the dark. Let it be said that even the stars that guide our dreams eventually fade away. Let it be known that man mustn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, but does, has and will.