lunedì 30 gennaio 2017

Bausani


Even if Alessandro Bausani is, among other things, one of the greatest italian polyglots, he hasn't a Wiki page in English (but you can find translations in Esperanto, German, Russian - and Тоҷикӣ, of course). In order to avenge this injustice, here a short but appassionate description from one of his friends:
«My life in the first decades is related in many ways with Alessandro Bausani's life. His family lived on the third floor and mine on the fourth of a building in Rome. They told me that when Alessandro was ten he saw my mother reading newspapers in Arabic language ("Al Ahram" from Cairo, and other Lebanese and Syrians newspapers) and asked her: "Ma'am please teach me Arabic!".
With low expectations, my mother began to give him lessons. Alessandro learned Arabic very quickly as he did later with other thirty languages. He spoke perfectly all European languages (including Basque) and after Arabic he learned Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Turkish, Malay, Chinese, Esperanto.
During WWII he spoke in Persian on Radio Rome. He was 21 years old and nobody could believe that he wasn't Iranian. His Iranian friends give him a nickname, "Iskhander Khorasani", because his way of speaking was similar to the Khorasan accent.
As a teenager he had invented a language, "Markusko", who followed the same evolutions of real languages (he wrote a book in German about his artificial language, Geheim- und Universalsprachen). He used "Markusko" in a game of world politics created by our sisters.
[...] When I was 17 he taught German to me - and in a year he took me to a level that I could begin to make technical translations.
When I was thirty I studied a little bit of Russian and Alessandro challenged me to speak Russian by replacing all the vowels with "a" or "i".
[...] Alessandro's grandfather was an illiterate peasant from Central Italy. This detail completes the extraordinary portrait of a modest and peerless man. Some sides of his personality were irritating, but everything had to be forgiven because there is no doubt that the world now is different (and better) due to the fact that a man like Alessandro Bausani existed and left deep marks in the minds of many of us».
(Roberto Vacca, Alessandro Bausani, "Il Crocevia", 10 March 2012)

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