FUN

THIS IS NOT A DAIRY FARM!

What do William Shakespeare and Todor Zhivkov have in common?


Just likeWilliamShakespeare, who is considered responsible for the coinage over 1,700 words and phrases in the English language, including "housekeeping", "break the ice" and "the naked truth", the former number one Communist Todor Zhivkov also contributed his mite to the richness of Bulgarian. This is the only similarity between Tato, or "Dad", and the Bard, researchers claim, and give the popular idiom "This is not a dairy farm" as an example of the examateur actor's linguistic creativity.

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THIS IS NOT A DAIRY FARM!

Just likeWilliamShakespeare, who is considered responsible for the coinage over 1,700 words and phrases in the English language, including "housekeeping", "break the ice" and "the naked truth", the former number one Communist Todor Zhivkov also contributed his mite to the richness of Bulgarian. This is the only similarity between Tato, or "Dad", and the Bard, researchers claim, and give the popular idiom "This is not a dairy farm" as an example of the examateur actor's linguistic creativity.

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Turk-dominated DPS, or Movement for Rights and Freedoms, is rarely seen in public. In fact, he rarely goes to work. He did show up at an 18 November coalition meeting in the ski resort of Borovets, however. In response to a reporter's question about when he would visit the Bulgarian parliament in his capacity as an MP, Dogan shot back: "If you voted for me, I will answer you; if you didn't vote for me, I won't answer you".

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GO PICK SOME SPEARMINT

In 1546, a band of French travelers carrying a rare variety of spearmint from Persia to Western Europe stopped in the region of what is now the Bulgarian town of Chirpan. The locals welcomed the strangers with open arms, and before long the Frenchmen discovered that the wines, cheeses, and women in Bulgaria were a lot nicer than those they had grown accustomed to in Flanders. Their leader, Pierre de Lemanche, offered a Bulgarian maiden a whiff of crushed spearmint leaves, in an attempt to impress her.

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WE'VE GOT MAIL

As I drive frequently, I am stopped frequently - usually for speeding. The best advice to foreigners that I can give is, when stopped by the police, be sure to speak absolutely no Bulgarian - even if you can. Even a basic understanding of the language is a sure indication to the police that you should know better than to break the traffic laws. You might even try saying in your most innocent mid-western American accent (if you can do one) " I am sorry officer, but I just don't understand... I am sorry... what". Complete ignorance is the best defence.

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LETTER FROM MARIYKA

Pricy Johnny,

The summer already ended and I have gone to school. This year will study a lot more English than before, and I hope to catch a lot better the tongue of Mark Twain when you again come next summer. The first school day was in the middle of the road in September. The mistress of English is Bulgarian who doesn't even speak with an American accent. A big disappointment, because how willpeople grasp me when I come to visit you in Iowa?

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DEAR VAGABOND

However, these mostly concern quirky millionaires trying to buy up a Bulgarian village, a few paragraphs about the impenetrable politics leading up to EU accession in 2007 or, my favourite, tantalising photos of golden Thracian objects. Tantalising, because I passed through the countryside where they were found. Who knows what lay just beneath my feet?

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WE'VE GOT MAIL

DEAR VAGABOND,

It is wonderful that we now have an English-language magazine catering to the expat population of Bulgaria. I suspect that I will continue to read your periodical for many years - keeping up with what's going on in what has become my temporary home - even after I return to the United States.
I wish you much success.

Joel Froese,
Consultant, MBA Enterprise Corps
Sofia, Bulgaria

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