One of the most difficult things in my journey of language acquisition has been finding good reading material. I can go into a bookstore and pick up just about anything I want, but usually I’ll find myself unsatisfied with my selection. Past attempts at finding good reading material have been mostly unsuccessful. This time, I think I found a winner, and it exposes many of the mysteries of the world around us. Well… not really. But, it is interesting.
My landlord left a few books in our house from when he lived here. Among them was an old Croatian translation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. It could have been part of a set — the kind I saw as a child for sale on countless TV commercials — or he could have bought it from the outdoor vegetable market in town (they sell books too). For the past week, this book has provided plenty of interesting moments and good fodder for language learning. The integrity of the books claims, though, is suspect though.
Here is a passage from the passage about Stonehenge:
Nema sumnje da su prije rimskog osvajanja u Britaniji postojali Druidi. Julije Cezar ih je opisao kao vrlo učene ljude “koji se prepuštaju raspravama o zvijezdama i njihovim putanjama, veličini svemira i Zemlje”. Neke od njihovih djelatnosti bile su manje učene, budući da su njihovi rituali obuhvaćali i žrtvovanje ljudi za što su primjenjivali “goleme likove isprepletene od granja, koje su punili živim ljudima i tada ih zapalili tako da je žrtve gutao plamen”…
For English speakers…
There is no doubt that, before the Roman conquest of Britain, Druids existed. Julius Caesar described them as very educated people “who settled debates about the stars and their trajectories, the size of space and Earth.” Some of their activities were less educated, since their rituals included the sacrificing of people, where they would construct “an enormous character made of intertwined branches, which they filled with living people, and then lit it so that the victims were swallowed by flames.”
My language partner and started to snicker. ”There are no such things as Druids!” Unless you are into World of Warcraft these days, you won’t ever come into contact with any, anyway. Wikipedia claims that druids were part of the clergy in parts of ancient Celtic western Europe. But, then, the article about Druids is part of the site’s series on Celtic Mythology.
Maybe its good to suspend belief, just for a language session.