ivica Notes from the Undeground(2023) soon to be published
a PDF book (78 pages) of humour with original art-work:

           (us$18.00......early bird price: us$9.00 OR can$12.00)

This is a (signed) limited edition book.
(Your book is unique: a little bit different from all the others)

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a SAMPLE from the book: Notes from the Underground

Everyone is multilingual


I’m going to do this in Canadian English.

Every Canadian I’ve ever met is multilingual. Strange, but true. They are a remarkable people. They speak one way in business. Another way in university. Another language with small babies (goo goo gaga: which I’m sure is a type of English, but I don’t get half of it). Another English with their best friends. 

Physicists talk some strange English:
no space, no time: just space-time…
no waves, no particles: just some weird combination of neither…
not matter, not energy: just some Einstein equation e=m x c squared (which proves something is equal apparently AND it proves it in his German English.)

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Doctors seem to speak a Latin-English. Politicians kill the English language and just won’t stop, even after I fired off all those very nasty letters. Lovers, plumbers, snobs, cooks, IT nerds, computer programmers, chess players, teenagers enjoy their own English words. Immigrants marry English to a foreign tongue (and I do mean tongue) to get weird sounds coming in your direction for some reason. Sometimes I want an English word and my French tongue shows up if I’m a little careless or tired. It takes a few seconds to shift gears back.

I learned Croatian as a baby. (Why do you need four accents?)

They dumped me in my first year of school into Italy, so I learned Italian. They didn’t even ask me if I was interested. We had escaped over the Iron Curtain into Italy. I was also completely isolated in an Italian mountain school for about three months besides being in a refugee camp in Bari for ten months. I thought that this was all normal stuff: escaping and words and spumone.

They took me to Toronto, so I learned that English. The English as a second language (ESL) program at that time was “stick him at the back of the class and let him swim”. Big deal! Between my TV shows and the other kids, I figure I was fluent in English in a year. Two years more and I was a native English speaker. Somehow English pushed it’s way into my number one language slot. I was still fluent (but not literate) in Croatian and Italian. Fluency is all that matters in learning a second language, if you’re already literate in one language.

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In Grade 9, they put a Latin book in my hand and I loved it. USQUE. It was so strange and interesting to me. Like a whole new strange world opening up. These people actually existed and danced around?

They pushed French on me in high school. I lost it all later. (“Use it or lose it” is a language law. It really is.) I went to a university in Ottawa and really learned French because it’s a bilingual town. Their English there is weird too (softer and with some sort of twang to it). My friends back in Toronto noticed my slightly odd English that combined the two cities.

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I sat in (without paying) on some German 100 classes in university and I loved German from then on. It’s easy: just pay for one course they have and then sit in whatever class you want (but don’t write the exam). Apparently, it’s a free country. (I snuck into other classes too, but ixnay about that, okayway?)

I read some Spanish plays from the 15th century, fell in love with them and learned Spanish in one year. What a great, easy language to learn the basics so quickly. (French was hell. Five years of struggle and pain in a bilingual town: but it was worth it though. Oui, I love it.) You don’t just pick up a language, you pick up a world.

I decided to learn a language without speaking. Why do we need a mouth to think and feel? American Sign Language opened my eyes. And hands.

I fell in love with Japanese design, philosophy, zen, haiku, prints, kanji, architecture, (not the food), so I eagerly started Japanese because I wanted something non-European. But then I was interrupted. I met a girl whose mother tongue wasn’t ANY of my languages. I mean what are the odds? So I had to learn ANOTHER language. Bună ziua! But I didn’t really mind. Sometimes education is fun. This was fun. If it’s not fun, listen to me, don’t do it! Or don’t listen, do it your way. Va bene.

I was used to being a stranger in a strange land (called Romania this time). A Latin-based language in a sea of Slavic languages (plus Hungarian on one side). Maybe 25–30% of their Latin language today is absorbed Slavic words. Languages learn too. Learning a new language is a creative, emotional Renaissance.

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Languages come in many levels of fluency. That’s okay. I think fluency roughly comes in 4 different language skills: 1. Listening 2. Speaking 3. Reading 4. Writing.

Reading seems like the quickest to learn. Listening is the next easiest. Speaking is difficult (so use small phrases!). An accent is okay in the beginning and “fluency with an accent” is quite an achievement later (and quite accepted (and sometimes exotic!)).

For instance, even in English across the world, there are lots of accents. Everybody has an accent to somebody else. (And we’re all just a bunch of immigrants and strangers and students.) Number 4, writing correctly is very difficult, but with today’s software, programs, and the Internet: it’s almost easy. Any level is a good level in language fluency. (I mean, just look at cooking or love: any level is just excellent!) ¡Hasta la vista!


P.S. I don’t really think in terms of languages. I only speak one language: Me. I just know a lot of words and rules and some are appropriate to the person or situation that I’m in. 

If I eat French cuisine or Chinese food, I don’t think of them as separate foods. They’re food. Soon they’ll be me. Just like a language. Music is one to me: I don’t care what language it seems to come in: I like Beethoven, the Beatles, Japanese music, folk music, rock…but please, no Opera. NO, grazie!

P.P.S. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Merci.