February, 2015

Mother Tongues

Posted on February 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

On February 21st is the International Mother Language Day. What a great occasion to celebrate with 10 non-English gems from our catalog.

Let’s start with the latest language addition to our catalog. Three short stories – 단편 소설 – by 현진건 (Jin-geon Hyun), finished only in November last year, mark our very first solo project in Korean.

The Indonesian archipelago with its thousands of islands is the home of numerous languages. Puisi Dari Indonesia is a collection of ancient and modern poems in five of them, written by various authors.

Up for something new? Why not learn Dholuo, one of the Kenyan languages spoken around Lake Victoria, with A Handbook of the Kavirondo language. This phrasebook was collected by the Fathers of St. Joseph’s Society.

Equally interesting, but probably much less useful in daily conversation, is Church Slavonic, used during the services of the Orthodox Church. St. Dimitri of Rostov has written about Жития Святых, т. 06 – февруарий – The Lives of the Saints for February in this language.

Apparently no saint was the man who gave the speech recorded by Plato in Ancient Greek. After all, The Apology of Socrates did not save the man from being condemned to Death. This famous work is also available in English, German, and French.

Death may also be unavoidable for Erik Poulsen, a young Danish chemist who discovered a way to turn any metal into gold. Clearly, people in power are not eager to have his knowledge come out in the sci-fi novel Guld og Ære by Otto Martin Møller.

Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri is the story of another fugitive, Apollonius. Having incurred the wrath of a king, he has to flee and survives many adventures. This is an ancient story of unknown origin, which has been translated into many languages, among them Latin.

Languages usually evolve over a long time, but Esperanto has been designed to be especially easy to learn and has many speakers all over the world. La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando is the translation of Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland, which we also have in German.

Benito Pérez Galdós is famous for is National Episodes, a 46 volume work recounting Spanish history. Everything starts out at the Battle of Trafalgar, in which Gabriel Ariceli plays a role. This novel recounts the life of the then 14 year old up to the battle.

Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is allegedly the most quoted work in German. We have only recently completed – in a tour the force that took 7 years – a dramatic reading of the original. Our English version took much less time.

Enjoy – and brush up your language skills!

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