Brighton, Day 3: Mi ekmaltrankviligas sen marborda
The title is inspired by my discovery today. It’s Esperanto, meaning, “I become suddenly nervous without the sea.” Every language has a few words that are rare, unique gems that make them stand out from other languages. The verb “ekmaltrankviliĝas” is like that, I think, because it illustrates the inventiveness of the language for how it cleverly forms compound words. The “ek-” prefix can be attached to other words to mean “began to be/do” (to convey “suddenly”), “trankviligi” meaning “to rest” but “maltrankviligi” means “to worry.” Esperanto is a funny language because it’s entire core lexicon follows semantic rules derived from the mal- prefix, which serves as a reverser. That is, you do not have words for “good” and “bad.” Something is merely “malbona” (“ungood”). This makes the language foolproof in some sense, but in other sense it becomes a language that operates under the principle of absolutes and strips a lot of linguistic culture from its speakers.
But I still love that language the same way I love sign language–because it fascinates me. The grammar has a beauty that reminds me of math and as someone who loves all language, it’s hard to not have a soft spot in my heart for a language that forces you to examine the underlying morphology of languages you use every day!
What does any of this have to do with Brighton though? Some girls I had met the other day had invited to show me around town some. We went into Jubilee Library and passed a languages section in the second floor and that was when I was reintroduced to the very book that taught me the language over a decade ago:
“Welp here it is, you vapid bitch, our world, Titan. Shame that race of crab people finally managed to oust us and colonize Earth.” – I swear that’s what the title translates to. Really.
I thought the selection of books in other languages would be impressive in a European library, what with all the countries right next to one another. But it was all confined to a single bookshelf. French had the largest selection, followed by Italian. Spanish and Serbian shared equal space (each having about 10 books each). Croatian was nowhere to be found (I assume if you asked someone here, they would say that they are the same language; fortunately there are no Serbs or Croats in Brighton to get offended by that claim). The Serbian selection was weird. It was a collection of cheap self-published romance novels with book covers that seemed to be screenshots from The Sims franchise with titles like “ПоНоћ је у собИ успомена” (“Midnight in the Room of Memories”–successor of the infamous “Noon in the Amnesia Ward”). To give a point of reference to what the LGBT community is like in Brighton, there are more books catering to that community than there are foreign language books.
I am generally very laid back and relaxed about things but I think if someone more easily offended were to walk into this library, they would conclude that the library unintentionally “other”s certain demographics. I am using that as a verb that has been coined to mean ostracizing a group, usually as a consequence of xenophobia, in a way that often comes from overstepping one’s self in an attempt to not discriminate. Giving someone special treatment because they are “different.” For example, a free-standing book shelf labeled “50 Shades of Black” filled with nothing but books written about black people. I don’t really have an opinion on it, but it jumped out to me enough that I thought I’d make note of it.
I got to see the pier while it was open.
It was nice. A lot of people hang out on the pier and read. There are large sea gulls that like to attack people. A few years ago, I ran a Tumblr called Birds are Jerks that just featured photos of birds, usually gulls, being, well, jerks. Usually stealing things, often comically large items, like entire scoops of ice cream or people’s hats. I’m imagining Brighton was the setting for a lot of these photos.
On my way back to my flat, I saw this taxonomist’s office, clearly someone that has a sense of humor about their line of work: