Sunday, 17 November 2013

Me nationalism


I met a very nice Hungarian in Mercurea Ciuc who told me his two names were both Hungarian warrior names (one was Levente, the other I forget). I asked him if he were therefore a Hungarian nationalist and he said, 'No. I am a me nationalist, a me and the

people I love nationalist.'

I do not disapprove of nationalism, but I liked this answer.

An old friend of mine called Levente once told me it was the only purely Hungarian name and means warrior or guard but a Turk later told me levent is a Turkish word which means soldier. Also powerful, tall, brave. Venetians called a soldier from the East a levantino but this surely is connected to the Levant. When I mentioned the Levant to Levente he said the words were not related, but he is not a lexicographer.

I know Turkish is not Finno-Ugric and that Finnish and Hungarian, which are, are less close than English is to Sanskrit, yet there are said to be connections between Turkish and Hungarian from prehistory. In any case Hungarian, so I read, has many words imported from Turkish from the 150 years when the Turks ruled most of Hungary and Buda was full of mosques. Which is odd because a lexicographer complied a Hungarian dictionary without any imported foreign words whatsoever except one - niblik.

I think that piece of information is hilarious and I have been repeating it all my adult life but whenever I tell it people do not know the word niblik. I know nothing of golf but I have heard of nibliks. It is a kind of club. The kind you swing, not drink gin and tonics in.