Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mongolians speak Elvish and other things I've learnt recently

Last week I met a Mongolian and while listening to her speak in her native tongue discovered that the Mongolians use Elvish for a language. When I say 'Elvish' I of course mean the vocabulary created by JRR Tolkien for his mythological works. I am not an expert in that language, but I was surprised to hear it spoken by someone from distant Asia.
     The explanation is that Mongolian shares many similarities with Hungarian (bear with me here) and Hungarian is much like Finnish (yeah, who knew?) and Finnish was one of the languages that Tolkien used strongly while developing his own vernacular. It's a strange connection, but it's there.

Another peculiar thing I learnt last week is that you can find Dolphins in the rainforest, admittedly with some difficulty. This I found out from Planet Earth II on the BBC, a programme that never ceases to amaze me. It was in the same episode that they'd filmed a Jaguar taking out a Caiman, crazy!

How about this one, which I only found out last night: Asda owns the copyright on bottom-slapping. Yep, it's true, although I should qualify that. This is bottom-slapping as an action of patting your back pocket to feel how much money is in it. Other trademarked gestures include touching the side of one's nose as if to indicate inside knowledge and tipping a bowler hat, which are both registered by building societies, but I don't know which ones.

And finally, in the 1900 Olympics, there was a Men's 200 meter obstacle race as part of the swimming programme. This involved three obstacles: a pole, a row of boats to climb over, and another set of boats to swim under. I think they should bring this back, but add some of those big inflatables you get at swimming pools.
     I was saddened to learn that an Australian (Frederick Lane) won the race, which has never been held again, but more pleased when I found out he was competing for the British team. Well done him.

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