Learning a few new languages

Some time ago, I had a go at learning some basic phrases in Welsh. However, I found that I didn’t have the time – you know how things can turn out a bit differently than you had in mind. But I’ve decided to try again. This time, I am a little less scared of the ll and the ch, and I think I’m learning the vowels a bit better this time. I can still only say basic sentences, but it’s certainly better than last time.
At basically the same time, an acquaintance of mine frome Iceland has decided to finally give in to my pleas. I want to learn Icelandic – it’s one of the languages most close to old Norse, and I find that fascinating. This chap is someone I’ve met through my video game.

I am learning Welsh sort of structured, with audio lessons and so on. Icelandic however, I’m learning mainly via typing, guessing, a bit of google translate and a few youtube vids to get a grasp of the pronounciation. It’s funny how both methods work but are so different – I hear the Welsh words. But my brain is learning the structure of Icelandic a lot faster. I love discovering a language like that.

When I was a big kid, I used to collect languages. I can read quite a few and speak a few as well altho I only properly speak 3. But it’s just such a source of enjoyment and fun to try to get into a new language – just making your own sentences for the first time, working out the rules, trying them out, waiting with bated breath for the verdict – did I just say something in a new language? Did I speak?

My Icelandic acquaintance has been laughing at me. Says I am sharp and witty even in Icelandic because after 3 days, I am able to tease him and make him giggle in his own language. Quite an achievement, he said. I told him I’d put it on my CV. 😛

Communicating Heritage

Starting to do some proper work on my extra semester project about Ash trees. I’ve interviewed a biologist about the cloning of resistant ash trees and about the importance of ash for biodiversity – I spoke to a Danish biologist and she was very helpful.

Today, I’ve been having a correspondence with the Norse faith society ‘Forn Sidr’ who have explained what the ash tree means to them mythologically and symbolically and I learned some new things that I will certainly need.

I’ve been accumulating a lot of material from the Danish Naturstyrelsen and from Forestry Commission and have obtained a contact that I might use to shed a little more light on the UK side of things.

I am struggling a little to get hold of someone with a knowledge of Celtic tradition and faith and how ash is perceived through their lens. I can read a lot about it online but there are a few question I would like to have the opportunity to ask. Don’t suppose any of you know someone with a link to Celtic tradition?

The idea is then to find out how to communicate the situation with Ash Dieback to different target groups depending on their level of interest and their focus, testing what can be done with the direct and peripheral routes, suggesting a couple of campaigns to promote knowledge about Ash.

Otherwise, doing the finishing bits of the project on female body-image and life modelling and naturism. My partner on that project is a little stuck, she says, so I will need to try and offer some coaching tomorrow and see if we can get her unstuck. She’s writing things on the cultural differences in body-ideals and how advertisements play a role in what ideals young women adopt.

Biodiversity and Cultural and Spiritual Value of Ash

In recent years, many Ash trees have been attacked by Chalara, resulting in Ash Dieback expected to result in a loss of 95 percent of Ash trees over the next 15 years. Work is ongoing to find and cultivate resistant Ash trees but in the medium term, lots of insects, mosses and lichen who only live on Ash trees will be threatened. Ash is a minor element of most forests, but they play a vital role in riparian zones where little else will grow. Ash trees allow much light through their canopy, resulting in diverse forests with many levels of growth in the under forest.

Ash also plays an important role in the heritage of Norse and Celtic populations, linking to mythology and folklore, from Yggdrasil to hurleys and floor boards.

I am going to research the importance of Ash and will see if I can identify some tools already used to assess cultural and recreational value, biodiversity and apply them to the case of Ash and see if I can determine a way to speak about the values we lose due to Ash dieback.

Ash Tree

Ash Tree