Viktor Orbán’s twenty-year plan: empty promises

Perhaps “narancsblog” was right when he announced that it really doesn’t matter what Viktor Orbán said yesterday in front of invited guests about the state of the country. He is right. It makes no difference. It is also immaterial what the adoring fans of Viktor Orbán thought of the speech. Népszabadság‘s reporter was there, microphone in hand, and asked the same questions he asked a year ago, starting with: “What did you think of the speech?” Not only were the questions the same but the answers were as well: “Everything is wonderful, everything is going in the right direction.” They feel richer than ever and how nice that they will have to pay 10% less for natural gas. Nothing could change their minds. “What about the GDP? What about the drop in real wages? What about unemployment? What about the almost half a million Hungarians who live and work abroad?” The answer: statistics cannot be trusted.

As for the commentators, they couldn’t come up with anything terribly new either. Many labelled Orbán’s speech a pack of lies. They pointed out that Orbán again mixed up two famous Hungarian writers, Géza Ottlik and Sándor Márai, and that he recycled his jokes. They also emphasized that instead of talking about the present that is, let’s face it, unpleasant and even painful, he decided to look back over the past one hundred years and look forward to what will happen in 2030.

Viktor Orbán came out with a most ambitious “twenty year plan” (presumably already being implemented). Even Nikita Krushchev, as we were reminded by Endre Aczél, dared to plan for only seven years when in 1959 he promised that the Soviet Union’s GDP per capita would surpass that of the United States. And then came 1966 and no one remembered his boasting any more. Not only was the plan forgotten, Khrushchev himself was gone.

The slogan that was plastered all over the podium read “Hungary is performing better.” As it turned out in the course of Orbán’s address, this means that in all respects Hungary is doing better now than at any time since 1990. A quick look at economic indicators, however, reveals that actually the opposite is true: Hungary’s economy is in shambles. But then I guess these are just more untrustworthy statistics.

Ferenc Gyurcsány summarized Orbán’s performance in a single phrase: “empty head, empty speech.” Others were even less charitable. A blog writer called him “the national bullshit generator.” Klára Ungár, Orbán’s former friend and colleague in Fidesz, made a witty remark in which she quoted from Erzsi Gazdag, a poet who often wrote children’s verse. One of her best known poems is “A mesebolt,” a store that sells tales:

Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
abban minden mese volt.
Fiókjában törpék ültek,
vízilányok hegedültek.

I’m not going to try to translate it, but basically in that “tale store everything was a tale.” So, in Orbán’s speech there was not word of truth.

Another truckload of political promisesBy les mois de l'année / Flickr

Another truckload of political promises
By les mois de l’année / Flickr

In his brief reference to the last one hundred years he compared Hungary’s situation to an old folk ballad about Mrs. Kelemen Kömíves. A fairly gruesome story about twelve bricklayers who are hired to build the walls of the Fortress of Déva (Deva, Romania). Whatever they build during the day collapses overnight. So, they decide that the first wife who comes to visit will be killed and her ashes will have some miraculous powers to keep the mortar strong. According to Orbán, whatever “our great-great grandparents built was taken away by World War I and the peace (békerendszer) that it brought; what our great grandparents built was taken away by World War II and the system of peace created afterward; what our grandparents and parents built was taken away by the communist system.” The message is that, considering everything, Hungary’s situation is not at all bad. (I don’t know who the sacrificial lamb is supposed to be in this analogy.) I think I should also point out that from Orbán’s grandparents and parents nothing was taken away by the communists. The opposite is true. The Orbán family was a beneficiary of the socialist system.

After spending only a little time on his accomplishments he quickly moved on to his grand design, his “master plan” as he called it. Miracles will take place. By 2030 Hungary will not be financially dependent, although I’m not quite sure what he means by financial independence. The central government will not have to borrow money? Will not have to issue government bonds? Hard to imagine. No country works that way and the country that tried it, I have Romania in mind, had a sorry end. “We will end our energy dependence” by that date. Furthermore, everybody will be saved from “the slavery of indebtedness in foreign currencies.”  The population will stop decreasing. Everybody will find work who wants to live in Hungary. Hungary will be among the thirty most competitive countries in the world. From these sentences it is clear that Viktor Orbán envisages himself as prime minister of Hungary at least for another eighteen years because he and his team will carry out this master plan.

“By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex (a magyar ipart összeépítjük a némettel)…. We will build up ten thousand middle-size companies that will be competitive in the export business. Fifteen to twenty large Hungarian multinational companies will strengthen the global expansion of the Hungarian economy…. Four to five percent of the country’s GDP will be spent on research and development. Several of our universities will be among the top 200 in the world…. The living standards of Hungarian families will surpass the European average. We will achieve all this with carefully prepared plans, with a reorganized state, with committed experts, and with a society that wants and is able to work.

Shortly before Viktor Orbán delivered his speech came the news that the European Commission has its doubts about Hungary’s ability to hold the deficit under 3% in 2013. Commentators tried to guess what the prime minister would say about this piece of news. Would he say anything? Well, he did. Let me quote:

You shouldn’t be troubled by the European Union’s economic prognosis. For example, as far as the budget is concerned not once did they manage to guess it right. We keep fingers crossed that perhaps this time they will manage. We will help them because this year the deficit will again be under 3%.

Of course, what Orbán neglected to tell his adoring audience is that during 2012 the budget had to be rejiggered time and again to remain below the magic 3%. And surely, he didn’t want to tell them that most likely the EU prediction for 2013 is correct and that to remain under 3% new austerity measures will have to be introduced.

But Fidesz supporters can hang on to those twenty-year dreams and sleep unencumbered by the realities of today.

62 comments

  1. “By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex (a magyar ipart összeépítjük a némettel)…. We will build up ten thousand middle-size companies that will be competitive in the export business. Fifteen to twenty large Hungarian multinational companies will strengthen the global expansion of the Hungarian economy…. Four to five percent of the country’s GDP will be spent on research and development. Several of our universities will be among the top 200 in the world…. The living standards of Hungarian families will surpass the European average. We will achieve all this with carefully prepared plans, with a reorganized state, with committed experts, and with a society that wants and is able to work.”

    It’s depressingly ironic how similar these wild promises are to Krushchev’s back in the 60s.

    Odd, too, that Fidesz should have chosen orange as their colour, considering the last time mad promises like this were made…

  2. By the way, the government’s aim of hitting a 3% defecit target is based on the assumption of a 1% growth in the Hungarian economy this year…

  3. For those wondering, Deckers Pumping on the picture is a septic tank pumping company in Michigan. This is one of their tanks, I guess returning from a job. For thos who don’t know what a septic tank is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank.

    It seems to me that Orban did not finish his comparison of Hungary’s contemporary history to the Komives Kelemen ballad. He forgot to add that in order to save the country, he is planning the immurement of the majority of the Hungarian people.

  4. London Calling!

    Orban’s ‘Master Plan’ has parallels with Baldricks’s ‘cunning plan’ in Black Adder – and about as credible.

    ‘Empty head, empty speech’ – Orban

    ‘Brain-dead’ – Baldrick (with bad breath coming from Satan’s bottom!)

    Baldrick is pure comedy.

    Orban is just sad – does he really believe his own bullshit?

    Regards

    Charlie

  5. Oh, Lord! What a freak show! Dr Schmitt among the “distinguished” guests, greeted by Orban the 5th at the beginning of the speech. How tacky is that? A president (ex Dr) at a party gathering. Only on Planet Hungary Circus.

    I couldn’t help but notice the differences between Orban’s bullshit galore and the State of the Union address here in the US. Firstly the State of the Union is presented to both sides of the isle, not like this holy mess celebrated to only the faithful believers. But to me the biggest difference is that here in the US, right after the speech, the oppostion has a chance to give a speech about the president’s talk. Orban doesn’t have the balls to allow a rebuttal. What a hero. Not my PM that’s for sure.

    I friend brought me this week the book professor Balogh was talking about recently. The book about the events of the 2006 demonstrations. I just started it. At the beginning it puts Gyurcsany’s Oszod speech into context and then you can read, unaltered, the whole speech. I mean the second, more emotional speech, the one that had the infamous “we f*d up” part. It’s less talked about, but there was a first speech, a lot more important speech, totally sans profanities, where he layed down the tasks and direction for the upcoming governing cycle. In that speech he also warned the audience that there will be “casualties” in the process of trimming the government to make it cheaper and told them straight into their face that they should be prepared to make sacrificies and lose a few perks, perhaps their jobs. All this for their country. It’s a bit of a strech but it was something like Churchill’s Blood Sweat and Tears speech, a strong pep talk, like a locker room talk by a football coach. Well, anyway my opinion is changing about Gyucsany.

    The point here is the huge difference between Orban’s inebriated pontifications and Gyurcsany’s speeches. If Orban would be Pinocchio his nose would have been in Gabriella Selmeczi’s butt in the first 5 minutes.

  6. Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
    abban minden mese volt.
    Fiókjában törpék ültek,
    vízilányok hegedültek.

    There was once a store of tales,
    In it only tales for sales.
    In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
    water nymphs on viols fiddling.

  7. ambator :
    There was once a store of tales,
    In it only tales for sales.
    In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
    water nymphs on viols fiddling.

    This is great!

  8. 20 Year plan ?

    Much better than the communists – they only had 5 year plans – and we all know how those worked …

    Will be back later, have to walk the dog thru the snow now!

  9. An analysis of 10 of Orban’s statements in his “state of Hungary” speech reveals that only 1 of them were completely truthful and most of them were pure lies:

    http://tenytar.blog.hu/2013/02/23/hazugsagok_es_nagyivu_igeretek_evet_ertekelt_orban_viktor

    I maintain that even the statement judged true (10% decrease in the heating bill) is false for hundreds of thousands of people. The unit price was decreased, but the number of units claimed to be used, never metered, for district heating was increased, resulting in paying more than a year ago.

  10. Why, of why, do we need to deal with his sh*t?

    O. will never say anything meaningful publicly, he never opens himself to debate or real interview (especially not to skilled interviewers; perhaps only to some amateurs or Fideszniks), why would anybody expect that he says something on a rainy Friday??

    This speech is a (stupid) custom, and obviously older people from the most reliably conservative disctricts I. II. and XII. were in attendance.

    For those who are not familiar with Budapest’s map, the venue of the speech is located at the intersection three of the most relaibly right-wing electorate: in districts I and XII never in the six democratic elections could a lefty win, in dictrict II. the left won once out of six. This speech was held during a workday, it is quite obvious that only believers will go (I think many were organised by church congregations from the neighbourhood).

    This is again the power of Fidesz.

    They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O. They can always count on that. O. says something and everybody else (all media, all pundits) jump on it. Why? I will never understand. (I know, deep down most poeple are just fascinanated by him, like Italians with Berlusconi, still why?)

    O. has never said anything meaningful in hist 15 years at these annual speeches and will never do so, becuase these people were there for a sermon, for a spiritual 15 minutes to fix their day. It was not about anything meangful.

    Fidesz is in many ways readable and one iron rule is that they don’t say anything really meaningful openly, because this is not the way they communicate.

    Fidesz orders things, they use their country-wide networks, they use Fidesz- and state-controlled media and so on, but will not talk with a ‘message’ in mind — especially because they now that the meta talk is stronger, nobody actually watches a speech, nobody cares really.

  11. ambator :

    Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
    abban minden mese volt.
    Fiókjában törpék ültek,
    vízilányok hegedültek.

    There was once a store of tales,
    In it only tales for sales.
    In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
    water nymphs on viols fiddling.

    Sándor, you’re a poet! Is that your own?

  12. The Orban leadership was a stillborn baby. His 1-2 million supporters are morally defective.

    The Western political, academic and religious leadership has failed to stop another European derailment.

    The stigma will live very long on the pages of the Hungarian and European history.

  13. kkikkj is our new Petofi. I hope Petofi will regain his voice.

    “They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O.”

    The FIDESZ has been practicing the usual often tried feature: Teflon Moral like the Reagans, Obamas, Berlusconis, Putins etc.

    Another definition is the “stinking mental and financial corruption”.

  14. London Calling!

    Eva, I’m sure the Galamus article demonstrates a deterioration in all or most of the Hungarian indices. Even if I can’t understand Hungarian.

    And yet Orban claims that Hungary is doing better than most other EU countries. Still?

    Is he claiming (again) that Europe is ‘following Hungary’ in their Economic strategy? – I expect so.

    I am visiting Hungary next week – and I already know that the situation as regards living standards, happiness and wanting to leave is dire.

    Why is Orban’s rhetoric – lies – allowed to prevail before the election with little contesting of the facts?

    The job of the opposition is, yes to unite – but they must find a way to break into the ‘trance of belief’ that Hungarians appear to show.

    It will have tragic consequences for life after the election.

    Regards

    Charlie

  15. “By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex”

    So again it will be the German’s fault if something goes wrong ? Funny and sad …

    This BS is too much for me – and probably for every thinking person too. BTW:

    Does Orbán write these speeches himself ? If not, who is his ghostwriter ?

  16. wolfi :

    This BS is too much for me – and probably for every thinking person too. BTW:

    Does Orbán write these speeches himself ? If not, who is his ghostwriter ?

    I don’t think we know. Apparently he puts his own sterling thoughts in as well.

  17. Eva S. Balogh :

    ambator :
    Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
    abban minden mese volt.
    Fiókjában törpék ültek,
    vízilányok hegedültek.
    There was once a store of tales,
    In it only tales for sales.
    In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
    water nymphs on viols fiddling.

    Sándor, you’re a poet! Is that your own?

    In my heart, of course, I am a poet, but in this case I merely rose to the bate. Couldn’t resist it.

  18. I told you it will be unrelenting. I will not repeat the lie, but Antal Rogán of Fidesz said today – and Origo dutifully repeated it, well, I guess just because they have to repeat anything Fidesz says, – that Bajnai will – according to Fidesz – increase personal income tax to a high level (of course they mentioned an exact figure, which I will not repeat). Now, Fidesz knows that people have absolutely no idea what a marginal rate is 8as opposed to an average rate), that they cannot participate in any rational debate about taxes, they just don’t get it, so any idea of a tax increase is terrible. Fidesz increaesed taxes, but neither MSZP nor Bajnia has ever used that opporunity out. Now that taxes have increased, its a past issue, you only care about the future, and you dont want tax increases, right?

    So, every Sunday (when Bajnai and his Co. are having a rest and have difficulty to reply) Fidesz throws in some lie. They know it’s a lie, but they don’t care (I mean why should they, right?) It is the third higly read item on Origo. Interestingly Index did not mention this piece of “news”. So Bajnai will have to deny it, but just by denying, even more people will hear about it.

    And Fidesz will do so every week, or every other week, they will throw in some lie. The stranger the lie, the rumour is, actulally the more beliaveble it is, because it is written in Origo, so it must be serious.

    Meanwhile, Bajnai wants to be a reasonable European politican who can be dabated and argued. Oh man, will he be disappointed. He does not get politics.

    He will be shredded in no time. And people will be terrified to vote for him, because and you can by 2014 mention 25 different item. Its psychology: people are risk averse, and they are familiar with Fidesz, but Bajnai, he will do his and that, too risky.

    He should of course also attack the same way Fidesz, spreading lies about Fidesz, but he as MSZP are too timid. Pathetic.

  19. I wonder if Orban really believes what he says is true? I am serious. Maybe we overestimated him by thinking that he is smart as a fox, and he does this to manipulate. It could be the contrary and he could be so dumb that he thinks he is telling the truth. So, who feeds him with the distorted facts? Follow the money. His inner circle is littered with human garbage, who’s interest is closely tied to Fidesz staying in power. THey will not be able to manipulate an other fool as well as O, as he is truly dumb, opposite to what most believe.

  20. CharlieH :
    London Calling!
    Orban’s ‘Master Plan’ has parallels with Baldricks’s ‘cunning plan’ in Black Adder – and about as credible.
    ‘Empty head, empty speech’ – Orban
    ‘Brain-dead’ – Baldrick (with bad breath coming from Satan’s bottom!)
    Baldrick is pure comedy.
    Orban is just sad – does he really believe his own bullshit?
    Regards
    Charlie

    If we are at it, Orbán reminds me to another Baldrick classic, the “50% Robin Hood”
    – already took from the rich but he didn’t gave to the poor yet…

  21. Is there any information available, just who that illiterate moron could be, who actually wrote this speech?

    Or the countless others, predating this present little gem..?

    In case of doubt, read the thing from the source:
    http://www.orbanviktor.hu/beszed/magyarorszag_jobban_teljesit

    Sorry, you lucky …hmmm… lot, this is only in Hungarian, and honestly, I envy you out there, who don’t read Hungarian.

    Heaven help us!

  22. As most likely Spectator discovered it Orbán’s staff meticulously keeps up his website. Almost all his speeches are available and with some research I’m sure that someone with a good ear could find the common threads, the common turns of phrases.

  23. gdfxx :
    For those wondering, Deckers Pumping on the picture is a septic tank pumping company in Michigan. This is one of their tanks, I guess returning from a job. For thos who don’t know what a septic tank is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank.
    It seems to me that Orban did not finish his comparison of Hungary’s contemporary history to the Komives Kelemen ballad. He forgot to add that in order to save the country, he is planning the immurement of the majority of the Hungarian people.

    I had to look up “immurement”!

    Good word, though.

  24. Eva, those speeches just dreadful, when someone has the stomach to read them.

    One thing to listen to the voice of that holy man in person and experience multiple – well… – convulsions inducted by overwhelming joy and pleasure, and quite frighteningly primitive when you read it.
    It’s an art by itself, by the way: how to pack the crap and garbage as present in order that the receiver will even feel privileged to get it..!

    The illustration spot on again!

  25. Sometimes I feel very happy that I don’t understand too many of the “finer things” in Hungarian language – and my wife won’t translate everything …

    PS:

    Of course I can read supermarket ads with things like “pay two – take three” but that political crap …

  26. ambator :

    Eva S. Balogh :

    ambator :
    Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
    abban minden mese volt.
    Fiókjában törpék ültek,
    vízilányok hegedültek.
    There was once a store of tales,
    In it only tales for sales.
    In its drawer dwarves were sitting,
    water nymphs on viols fiddling.

    Sándor, you’re a poet! Is that your own?

    In my heart, of course, I am a poet, but in this case I merely rose to the bate. Couldn’t resist it.

    Gazdag Erzsi:

    Volt egyszer egy mesebolt,
    abban minden mese volt.
    Fiókjában törpék ültek,
    vízilányok hegedültek.

    Öreganyók szőttek-fontak,
    apró manók táncba fogtak.
    Kaszás pók varrt az ablakban,
    lidérc ugrált az udvarban.

    A lámpában ecet égett.
    Az egylábú kettőt lépett.
    Cégére egy tündér volt.
    …Ilyen volt a mesebolt.

    Googles’s version of the first verse is interesting:

    There was once a fairy shop
    in all it was fabulous.
    Your account has been dwarves,
    Water hegedültek girls.

    I think I prefer Sador’s translation! Although “fairy shop” is not only more poetic, but probably nearer the truth…

  27. wolfi :
    “By a reindustrialization of the country Hungarian industry will be linked to the German industrial complex”
    So again it will be the German’s fault if something goes wrong ? Funny and sad …
    This BS is too much for me – and probably for every thinking person too. BTW:
    Does Orbán write these speeches himself ? If not, who is his ghostwriter ?

    Wolfi – everthing is the fault of the Germans!

    Unless it’s down to the French, of course…

  28. London Calling!

    Ambator! I must congratulate you too! (From an English speaker’s perspective without knowing Hungarian!)

    Given that the poem is short – your end result has ended up like a poem in its own right – that is, you can’t tell it is a translation (like you can, very often with translations!) because the narrative flows in a very natural way.

    Must be because of your knowledge of English.

    Anyway well done and thank you!

    Maybe you should tackle some of the other poems that contributor’s drop in on this blog?

    Regards

    Charlie

  29. V14 :
    kkikkj is our new Petofi. I hope Petofi will regain his voice.
    “They force their discourse onto everbody else, who abide, who feel almost obligated to deal with Fidesz and O.”
    The FIDESZ has been practicing the usual often tried feature: Teflon Moral like the Reagans, Obamas, Berlusconis, Putins etc.
    Another definition is the “stinking mental and financial corruption”.

    Hi V-14 (Are you a tomato juice?)

    No, I haven’t lost my voice but their is only so much chewing of cud I can take reading this blog: I’m afraid western-reared minds are just not up to comprehending the full-out duplicity that is the norm for most Hungarians. The idea is to cheat others before they cheat you. Some notion to live life by, huh?

    Watching Orban’s speech and the attending audience, I saw people who were putting in time secure in the belief that it was little enough to do for their favored place in the Hungarian food chain. What they don’t suspect–and German History, that is, nazi history–would teach you is that eventually you end up being part of the meal. See German industrialists and what they first thought about Hitler.

    Orban’s ill-intent is palpable. There is no good for Hungary and the Hungarian people
    in the long run. Oh yes, their can be some moderate pluses which he will ride hung-ho
    to establish his bona fides–things like an added month of pension; help for borrowers;
    reduced monthly fees, and the like. The Church (Catholic) knowing a good ride when it sees one (–see the latest catholic fiasco direct from the Vatican–) is along for support.

    These things are not serious. Getting involved is just to be bogged down in one of Orban’s traps.

    Here’s something to worry about, though. We were out at the Klubradio meeting on Sunday. Sadly, most of the people were older. “Where are the young,” I asked. And I looked around to see what looked like a street-person–haggardly dressed, unkept, somewhere in his sixties–wielding a rather sophisticated video camera. He was filming… from side to side; up and down….the crowd. Strange, I thought, why would he be filming the people?

    Well, why indeed….?

    Intimidation that Moscow would be proud of.
    And the opposition wants to beat THIS?

    Good luck, and good night.

  30. Thanks very much for the gushing and somewhat overwhelming praise for my humble translation. But as I mentioned above, I merely fell for the challenge. However, as a token of my gratitude, and thanks to Paul for supplying the full text, here is a complete translation:

    There was once a store of tales,
    
In it only tales for sales.
    
In its drawer dwarves were sitting,

    Water nymphs on viols fiddling.

    Ancient mommas wove and spun
    Tiny cobolds dance and run
    Harvest-spider spun web hard
    cacodemon jumped in yard

    Lamp was lit with vinegar
    The lame has strode twice as far
    Sign above its door a fairy,
    …Thus this store was airy-fairy

  31. Strangely, petofi’s posts are instantly identifiable because of the odd way the lines sometimes break in the wrong places. His are the only posts that do this, and it has long intriqued me why this is.

    petofi – what is it you’re doing differently??

  32. A cautionary note to Charlie: please do not encourage the posting of poems at my expense. I confess to you that there is poem I am taking the occasional run at translating for thirty years and didn’t get anywhere with it yet. This is a complicated business.

  33. Paul, petofi probably writes the text using other software which inserts “hard returns” – sometimes happens to me when quoting. But I delete the “returns” here …

    Amabator: Your translations are fascinating, thank you very much!

  34. Paul :
    I had to look up “immurement”!
    Good word, though.

    Well, if I can come up with a word that a Brit has to look up, that means a lot to me ;-).

    But I have to confess that I found the word while looking up Komuves Kelemen on Wikipedia.

  35. London Calling!

    gdfxx – to be ‘immured’ means to be ‘imprisoned’ and is usually used ironically – ‘immured by his own construct’.

    ‘Immure’ is very archaic usage! The noun is hardly used at all! – But it was well used on here.

    “Never use a big word, when a little word will do”!

    Regards

    Charlie

  36. gdfxx :

    Paul :
    I had to look up “immurement”!
    Good word, though.

    Well, if I can come up with a word that a Brit has to look up, that means a lot to me .
    But I have to confess that I found the word while looking up Komuves Kelemen on Wikipedia.

    This is terrible – I assumed you were a native speaker!

    It’s an excellent word though, I am doing by best to use it on FB at this very moment, but so far haven’t found a topic/post I can crowbar it into. Mind you, with my spelling, they’d just assume I’d misspelt it anyway…

    Just checked it out in my Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (an actual BOOK!). According to them it’s a borrowing from medieval Latin or Middle French – the ‘mur’ bit comes from ‘murus’, the Latin for ‘wall’ (which is where we get ‘mural’ from). First recorded (as bloody always!) by Shakespeare – in Loves Labours Lost.

    Interesting similarity to ‘intern’ in meaning – but not in origin. ‘Intern’ comes from the Middle French ‘interne’, meaning ‘inner’ or ‘internal’, which in turn (smiley face) comes from the Latin ‘internus’ – ‘within’.

    Who needs Esperanto when you’ve got English?!

  37. ambator :
    A cautionary note to Charlie: please do not encourage the posting of poems at my expense. I confess to you that there is poem I am taking the occasional run at translating for thirty years and didn’t get anywhere with it yet. This is a complicated business.
    </blocWe appreciate your efforts. 'Straight' translation is difficult enough with languages as different as English and Hungarian, but translation of poems is almost impossible. The translator is inevitably forced to re-write large parts of the poem to try to recapture the original meaning and rhythm – and God forbid if you need to match rhymes as well!

    To illustrate the difficulty, this is Google's 'translation' of the whole poem:

    There was once a fairy shop
    in all it was fabulous.
    Your account has been dwarves,
    Water hegedültek girls.

    Öreganyók-weave wove,
    Classified caught dancing elves.
    Reaper spider sewed at the window,
    Wraith jumped in the yard.

    The lamp was burning vinegar.
    In a two-legged entered.
    My company was a fairy.
    Such was the tale … shop.

    I particularly liked "Classified caught dancing elves"!

    And, almost as good, Windows Live Mail spell checker gives ‘Oregano-weave wove’ as the first line of the second verse.

    I’m seriously thinking of having:

    “Oregano-weave wove
    Classified caught dancing elves.
    Reaper spider sewed at the window,
    Wraith jumped in the yard”

    on my tombstone.

  38. Not so, Chalie.
    The word “immured” has its origin in the latin mur, murus, meaning wall. Naturally, English never misses the opportunity to seem cultured by the use of hoity-toity latin roots. Enough I think, if I remind you the related examples of “mural,” “intramural,” and that to immur simply means that something, or in this case somebody, is enclosed in a wall. By the way, I happen to know that in polish and probably other slavic languages too the exact analogy is also used and it is roughly: zamurovaty. And it means wall away, or wall in. No wonder these two couldn’t quite express what immured can do, despite its quaintness, for the edification of the linguistically and the poetically minded reader.

  39. Paul :
    Strangely, petofi’s posts are instantly identifiable because of the odd way the lines sometimes break in the wrong places. His are the only posts that do this, and it has long intriqued me why this is.
    petofi – what is it you’re doing differently??

    I’m using an apple program and just filling in the square. I don’t know. You tell me-

  40. pefofi – the key word there is ‘apple’. Jobs’ one goal in life was to NEVER under any circumstances allow his products to work with anyone else’s!

  41. Paul :
    Charlie – in nearly 60 years I have never heard the phrase ‘immured by his own construct’!

    what, Paul, are you 60?

  42. Paul :
    pefofi – the key word there is ‘apple’. Jobs’ one goal in life was to NEVER under any circumstances allow his products to work with anyone else’s!

    Maybe, but he built quality and the price be damned–you have to respect that.

    There’s a bakery in Budapest that imported a French baker who makes bread with all French products including the grain. The bread is delicious, however it
    costs nearly a 1000 forints. For a while I thought it was ridiculous but it isn’t really. The owner made a huge gamble bringing the baker and opening the shop. All power to him. I now pay the price willingly. And the owner should be alright…that is, until Jobbik come to power (along with Fidesz) in the near future and start painting star-of-davids on his windows…

  43. BTW, I am using Apple too and don’t have the same problem. Petofi, I think you should go to View menue – on the bottom look at Text Encoding, and if it is not “Automatic” or “Western (ISO Latin1) then change it to that.

  44. ambator :
    BTW, I am using Apple too and don’t have the same problem. Petofi, I think you should go to View menue – on the bottom look at Text Encoding, and if it is not “Automatic” or “Western (ISO Latin1) then change it to that.

    If you have multi-language keyboard mappings you will definitely want to make sure that automatic is set. On Chrome this isn’t the default.

  45. Paul :
    pefofi – the key word there is ‘apple’. Jobs’ one goal in life was to NEVER under any circumstances allow his products to work with anyone else’s!

    Fortunately the world had other plans 🙂

  46. London Calling!

    I was highlighting the fact that ‘Immure’ is an archaic-use verb!

    In all my years (!) I have never seen the ‘immurement’ noun in any usage other than being specifically interned in a wall!

    But ‘immure’ more frequently.

    (‘Immured by his own construct’ was just a demonstration of obsolete pompous usage – obfuscated in its own phrase.)

    (It’s interesting – but not conclusive! – that the spell check on here does not recognise it either.)

    I acknowledged that gdfxx was using it metaphorically.

    And of course it shares its medieaval French origins with other words….

    ……but it’s still archaic and obsolete!

    Regards

    Charlie

  47. LwiiH :

    Paul :
    pefofi – the key word there is ‘apple’. Jobs’ one goal in life was to NEVER under any circumstances allow his products to work with anyone else’s!

    Fortunately the world had other plans

    It seems that indeed you can’t fool all the people all the time…

  48. cheshire cat :

    Paul :
    Charlie – in nearly 60 years I have never heard the phrase ‘immured by his own construct’!
    what, Paul, are you 60?

    Not quite, but I will be later this year.

    However, I am a young and vigorous, if not entirely truthful, (nearly) 60…

    This is my second marriage and family, in case the references to my young children confused you. The odd thing is that getting married again in your late 40s and starting a second family in your early 50s don’t seem all that unusual – but having loud and very active young children as you approach ‘retirement’ comes as a bit of a shock!

Comments are closed.