Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Of things past

There is a very special reason for which I appreciate friendship with Nika. It's not really the fact that she dragged me into practical homelessness across the surface of Spain or inspired me to run like a maniac along the small streets of London. Not really. It's the Hungarian thing (and the fact that she's simply amazing).

I'll need you to take a breath as I'm just about to unleash my Hungarian on you. Lengyel, magyar — két jó barát, együtt harcol s issza borát. Right, still with me? The meaning is roughly: Pole, Hungarian — two good friends, together they battle and drink their booze. Amazingly we have the very same saying in Polish: Polak, Węgier dwa bratanki i do szabli i do szklanki. Both nations have a couple of varieties of this saying, mentioning horses, sabers, drinks and general things of joy.

That's about all Hungarian I know*. I did try to learn it in a relatively short bout of madness but abandoned all hope of ever getting it quite soon. It's a weird one, really. Highly logical but insanely alien. Based on the language alone you can make out that Hungarians aren't really from this 'hood. The lot above, under and to the right speak beautiful, understandable languages. The lot to the left speaks somewhat understandable language too. My theory is that Hungarian mother-ship crash-landed in the area some time in the 8th century and they stayed on. Or evolved from ants.

The saying came about in 1772 but the relationship dates back to 1370 when we shared a king - Louis I of Hungary. I'm not sure who took which part of the said king but he was generally liked and granted some interesting privileges to our nobility (which they kept on expanding until our state collapsed and got partitioned in the late XVIII** century). Quite a few times in our shared history both countries helped each other and we've always got some decent wine from down south. On a side note - since 2007 the 23rd March is named as a day of Polish-Hungarian friendship in both countries.

* Aside of: "Thank you" and "Three beers, please." Yes, precisely three and regardless of circumstances no less and no more. ** Roman numerals! How fancy it that!

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