Simon Reads Fiction


For the first time in many years, I read an entire book today. It was even fiction. Actually I only read half of it because half the pages are in Hungarian, and it would take much longer if I had to learn Hungarian to read it (but that’s the next step). This story is apparently the Hungarian epic poem, but a proper translation into English was only completed as recently as 1998, by the professor of the Hungarians! class I am currently taking.

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About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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7 Responses to Simon Reads Fiction

  1. confuted says:

    Hungarian must be an easy language if it’s capable to become proficient enough in a semester to read an epic poem in the language.

  2. okb says:

    Yeah, Hungarian is supposed to be a very difficult language to learn as a second (or subsequent) language.

    • Simon says:

      Is learning Hungarian actually inherently difficult, or is it just very different from any other language most of us have ever seen?

      • okb says:

        Well, the latter, really, but it depends how you think about it. Obviously it’s not inherently difficult in the sense that Hungarian kids learn to speak Hungarian natively with basically the same ease that kids everywhere learn their native languages. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to describe languages as “inherently more difficult to learn, given that you know language X”. That is, given that one’s native language is English, it makes sense to say that languages that are more similar to English, and that do not make a lot of distinctions that English does not make (i.e., case, grammatical gender), would be easier to learn as a second language.

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