Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Székelyföld Chronicle

Today, January 3rd, 2006, is a historic day in Csikszereda. It is the day when the Hungarian Consulate opens here. I'm not 100% sure what the function of the consulate will be, but I'm told that the main thing they'll do is to issue work visas for locals wishing to go and hang out in that square where all the buses stop in Budapest and look for work as manual labourers. (Actually, thinking about it, it probably isn't for those people as they maybe work off the record).

However, assuming that Romania joins the EU as scheduled next January 1st (a very big if, admittedly), these work visas will presumably become obsolete then, so not sure what the consulate will do then, other than presumably provide trade and investment links. This opening comes a few weeks after I finished reading Ivo Andric's Bosnian Chronicle about the ructions caused by the arrival of foreign consulates in a small Balkan town (in this case, Travnik, Bosnia, at the time of the Napoleonic Wars). So, I can't get past my image of the new Hungarian consul being shaped by that (excellent) novel.

Fiercely Addictive Internet Quiz Thing

Don't ever click here. If you disobey, and are stuck, don't ask me. I've wasted valuable hours of my life getting into the mid-forties (of 100).

La Mulţi Ani

I realise that I didn't give a Romanian new year's greeting along with my buek from a couple of days ago. So here it is. It occurred to me today that I have no idea what "La Mulţi Ani" actually means. I know when to use it (for new year's and birthday wishes), but not what the literal translation is. It's that word "Mulţi" that I don't know, but I assume it has the same root as mulţumesc. So what is it? Wishing you a year full of things to be grateful for? Something like that? (I could look it up, obviously, but that would be less interesting than sharing this knowledge with literally some others)


Andy H said...

Many, apparently, which is not only extremely obvious, but also not as interesting as I'd hoped.

Oana said...

It's actually a pretty useful saying, very multi-purpose. To many more... birthdays, holidays, gifts, etc.

Anonymous said...

If you liked the book about the consuls, then go right now and get his _Bridge Across the River Drina_. It deals with similar themes, but is much broader in its scope, and IMO better. It won him the Nobel, and he deserved it. Highly recommended.

BTW, the work permits won't go away when Romania joins the EU. Current members are allowed to close their labor markets to new members for up to seven years after accession. So, the old EU-15 can keep members from the new 10 out until 2011. Three of the 15 (Britain, Ireland, Sweden) have decided to open their markets anyway, but the other 12 are sitting and waiting.

Assuming Romania joins in January 2007, then the work permit regime could remain in force as late as January 2014. This would result in the odd situation of Romanians needing a permit and whatnot to work in Hungary, but being able to simply get off the bus in London and jump right in. Go figure.


Doug M.

Soj said...

Gracious Andy it's about time for you to get a Romanian grammar book.

As someone who has been speaking English all my life, just like you, I know how hard it is to understand the concept of conjugating NOUNS. But in Romanian at least, it's something that occurs in every sentence.

Since "ani" is plural of "an" (years instead of year), then multi is plural of mult.

If it helps you, there is a traditional Romanian birthday song which goes "multi ani traiasca" or "may you live many years". So "la multi ani" means something like "here's to many more years".

Hope this helps!


Andy H said...

I use Romanian as my light relief language after the trials and tribulations of Hungarian. If you think conjugating nouns is complex, you ought to try the case heavy world of Magyarul.

Andy H said...

Firstly, I had high hopes that this expression would something fascinating and intriguing, as many Romanian expressions appear to be. I was, for example, on my wedding day wished "Stone House".

Secondly, I guessed that multi meant many, but it seemed so boring and uninteresting that I wondered if it were something more interesting. Wishing someone many more years is not exactly joyful. Many more wonderful years, yes, but just many more years. It's so joyless and prosaic it could practically be Hungarian.

Thirdly, I'm very tired (baby stuff) so I will resist the temptation to take your comment to be as condescending ridicule (which is, to be honest how it reads) and assume my faculties are not at their best right now.

Andy H said...

Ignore that last one. I'm sure I'm tired