IT Underground 2007

Yesterday late night (or rather, today early morning) I returned from the IT Underground conference where I have been an invited speaker. I gave a tutorial (as it later turned out, rather advanced) on the ELF file format and shared libraries. I also commented on some possible uses of GOT, eg. to plant an invalid address at a GOT entry in order to trace accesses to global variables. You can get the slides here. Otherwise, conference as a conference - not much to tell :) I attended some interesting lectures and met some new people, and experienced some nice surprises :)

I flew with SAS over Copenhagen. On my way to the conference, after having checked in, I saw that I had been transferred to a later flight, scheduled to leave Copenhagen at 18:30, instead of the earlier flight that was shown on the ticket and which should have departed at ca. 13h. The clerk at the SAS's desk explained that the earlier flight was canceled because it was scheduled to use Dash-8 plane type. SAS had a number of incidents with these airplane types within the last month, and has, for safety reasons, grounded all Dash-8 planes. They have announced to sue the Dash-8 producer, because they suffer enourmous money losses due to grounded planes.

Anyway, since I had more than 7 hours of waiting time, I decided to take a walk through Copenhagen's center. On the metro station I asked some Danish girls about which line to take to the center and overheard another girl asking the same (literally: "I just want to get to the center"). Somehow we ended up entering the metro at the same door and I started the conversation by asking (in English): "Do you also have a long time until the next flight?" She said yes, asked me where I was going and I replied to Warszawa. Then she asked me whether I was polish and I replied that I was Croatian, after which she said in serbo-croatian: "Ja sam iz Novog Sada." (translation: "I'm from Novi Sad"); Novi Sad is a 2nd largest city in Serbia. Then we both started to laugh, were talking much about everything [turned out that she graduated in Russian studies at university in Novi Sad and is now learning Polish language], took a walk through the city center, ate a lunch and took a coffee in a cafe afterwards. Then I headed back to the airport, and she stayed a bit longer in the city, since her plane was leaving 2 hours after mine. It was a very nicely spent time, and when I left for the airport, I realized that we never har introduced ourselves.. I never asked her about her name, nor did she ask me about mine... we were too involved in talk about, like, just about everything.

As for referring to the language as "serbo-croatian".. I'm aware that many Croatians will probably object to this name, but I don't give a sh*t. It seems that I and that girl have very similar views on the language; personally I consider "croatian" and "serbian" being two dialects of the same language that are being kept different for political reasons. I understand what she is saying, she understands what I am saying (except for few words of region-specific slang), so why make a fuss about it? I wrote "serbo-croatian" just to make it explicit that her spoken dialect was of the "serbian" flavor. Nevertheless, her dialect was much closer to the lanugage I'm used to hearing in Zagreb from Zagreb old-timers than the dialect of people coming from Hercegovina and that are considered to be speaking, ironically enough, "croatian" language. Bah, crappy politics. In elementary school (back then when Yugoslavia still existed), we were taught that there were no "croatian" or "serbian" language, but only "croato-serbian" or "serbo-croatian". As much as it is politically incorrect to say it (but hey! Croatia is supposed to be a democratic country with freedom of speech), I personally feel that an attempt to fully separate this (single) languages into two separate languages feels.. not wrong, but just a wasted effort.

It would take me too far to try to explain here the small differences in spoken language between the serbian and croatian dialects. Suffice it to say that the differences between spoken "croatian" and "serbian" languages/dialcets are far smaller than regional differences in the spoken norwegian language (eg. between Bergen - Oslo - Tromsø dialects).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your points regarding the Croatian/Serbian language naming mess. I'd just like to comment on this part:

Nevertheless, her dialect was much closer to the lanugage I'm used to hearing in Zagreb from Zagreb old-timers than the dialect of people coming from Hercegovina and that are considered to be speaking, ironically enough, "croatian" language.

A citizen of Novi Sad would speak with a distinct Vojvodina dialect, which would be close to the dialect spoken in Slavonija and Baranja, not to the kajkavian dialect spoken by older denizens of Zagreb. Hercegovina is not really relevant in this case, because you could say exactly the same about any region whose inhabitants happen to speak a dialect closer to (what was historically accepted as) "standard Croatian" than the dialect now spoken in Zagreb. That includes large parts of Bosnia, Slavonia, Lika, etc. All of those speeches sound strange to a Zagreb-trained ear, the only difference is that Hercegovina gained a bad rep during the 90s.

When referring to pronunciation, I find that standard Croatian and standard Serbian are much closer to each other than to the various dialects spoken in different parts of the respective countries. Therefore standard Serbian is much closer to standard Croatian than the Bednja dialect is; likewise, standard Croatian is much closer to standard Serbian than the Torlak dialect of the Serbian language.