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Title: Báró Podmaniczky Pál és a norvég Biblia - Elbeszélés a 18 nyelvü nagyapáról 77 nyelven és rovásírással
Author: Ilona, Martinovitsné Kutas
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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{editor: This is an English only excerpt from the original book.  To
view the entire range of 77 languages, stories behind each
translation and photographs of the author's family, please download
the full, original book, bblia10.pdf.  This PDF version will require
a special viewer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded,
free of charge, from http://www.adobe.com.}

Copyright (C) 2002 Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona

Baron Pál Podmaniczky and the Norwegian Bible
© 1994, Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona

A short story about the 18 lingual grandfather in 77 languages and in
runic script

Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona

The English text was supervised by Grace Tinnell

"First edition appeared in 1994 by the title The Norwegian Bible"


My first, and until now, only short story has become a device with
which I could make friends from all over the world and create new
friendships.  These old and new friends have translated my short
story into 58 European, 13 Asian and 6 African languages.

Because of its lucidity, "The Norwegian Bible" short story has lended
itself particularly well in representing the languages in Europe and
some outside of Europe.

As a basis for qualification and description of languages I used the
book "Lord’s Prayer in 121 European Languages" in which the prayers
were collected, compiled and the commentaries were written by
Zsigmond Németh.  All the translations are from a reliable source
because they were written by persons who were writing in the language
of their mother tongue.  The only exceptions are the Esperanto and
the other artificial languages and English, because the English was
written by me, a Hungarian.  The translation into Classical Greek,
Latin, Turkish, Croatian and Gipsy was carried out by native speakers
of Hungarian.  Most friends speak English as a second language, so
the language of our friendship was in many cases English.  In some
other cases the common language was Hungarian, Polish, German,
Russian or Spanish.

To some extent I wrote this book for my friends.  They can get to
know each other’s language from my book.  If anyone wants to learn a
language on the basis of the similarity and differences between
grammatical structures and vocabulary of languages, they can use my
book as a textbook.  In addition I wrote this book for my 650
students in the secondary school where I work as librarian and
English teacher.  They can use it as a reference about languages of
the world.

Originally, the book was published in 1994 in 50 languages.  In the
last 6 years, the short story was translated into an additional 27

During this time, the 50th year anniversary of the death of my
grandfather was celebrated at a memorial session in Sopron and in
Budapest Lutheran Theology.  I got to know even more about my
grandfather from these presentations and came to treasure him more
than I had previously.  I began to appreciate what a precious
treasury of jewels he left for us.  I met there many theologians and
pastors who were once educated by him, love him still and carry on
teaching his nuggets of precious truths.

I changed the theme of the "Appendix" of the first edition of my book
and have placed therein an essay which presents the life and work of
Baron Pál Podmaniczky, professor of Lutheran theology, lover of God
and the World of God.  I also included two of his beloved hymns which
were translated by him from Finnish into Hungarian, and which are,
even today, sung often in Hungarian Lutheran and Reformed Protestant
churches.  In the Appendix, I also submit an autobiography and a
short sport story of mine.  And hereby I should like to express my
gratitude to Mr. Zsigmond Németh for his kindly permission to quote
the most peculiar features characterizing different languages
described in his works published and forthcoming respectively The
language collecting game continues and I ask you, the reader, once
again, to translate the original short story into any language not
present in this book, and send it to me.  I would like to publish a
new edition in the year 2005 with 100 languages in it.  Thank you,
dear reader, for your help.

Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona
language collector



I hadn’t thought on that Christmas day, when I addressed the
envelopes containing "The Norwegian Bible" to my friends, that it was
only then that the great play would begin.

The small bilingual book began its own life.  It became a mirror for
me through which I could get to know my friends.  They introduced
themselves in the letters, telephone calls and private talks
connected with my first "literary effort".  Their reactions to my
short story began to give birth to a larger story about my friend’s
characteristics, their way of thinking and about the ties that
connected them to me.

So here follows the many lives of "The Norwegian Bible":

In the previous semester at the Teachers Training College we had a
task of writing a short story in English.  I wrote one about my
experience while visiting Norway.  The short story follows below:


a short story by Ilona Kutas to my grandfather

The discovery of the marvellous world of languages is the great
experience of my life.  The motivation for this sprang from family
roots.  My maternal grandfather, a theological professor, had
mastered eighteen languages.  Language and religion were very
important for him.  He was not able to teach me German, Hebrew,
Polish or English because I was only five when he died.  I only feel
somewhere in my genes that I should follow in his footsteps.

As a member of a librarian delegation I spent a week in Oslo.  After
the rich and interesting daily programmes I always ran back to my
hotel room to spend the lonely evenings in the company of my new
friend, an English–Norwegian bilingual Bible.  I had found it on the
night table on the first day when I entered the hotel room, my home
for a week.

Perhaps it is common in the hotel rooms of Christian countries to
have a Bible at the guest’s disposal.  I experienced this custom for
the first time in my life there in Oslo.  Finding that Bible brought
to mind remembrances of my childhood as well.  As a daughter of a
protestant minister, living at the parsonage until the age of sixteen,
I used to go to church and read the Bible.  During the next thirty
years of my life, however, I had not even held a Bible in my hand.

A great game began.  I read the English column of the page, compared
it with the Norwegian column and, with the help of my past knowledge
about the Bible, I began to understand the text and the Norwegian
words of mixed English and German origins at the same time.

Day by day the Bible and I became closer and closer friends.  I began
to fear my impending separation from it.

On the sixth day I felt a great desire to continue the game at home
as well.  I decided therefore to steal the Bible.

I packed it into my bag on the last evening after reading it.  But
after I switched off the lamp I could not fall asleep.  In the
darkness I watched the closed bag with my friend in it.  A battle
raged in my head.

This battle raised the following questions:

> How could I reconcile being the daughter of a minister and a thief
at the same time?

> Moreover it was written in this Bible in two beautiful languages:
"Thou shalt not steal!"?

> What would my grandfather say if he knew that his granddaughter
had stolen a Bible?

I think you can imagine the end of the story!

In the morning I took the Bible out of my bag, placed it back on the
night table and, with bag in hand and a great calmness in my heart, I
left the room.


I completed my work with a Hungarian translation later on when I
decided to send my short story as a Christmas card to my friends.
Though some of them spoke no English, I hoped they would be happy to
get the small bilingual book.

After writing the short story in November, our next task was to
analyse our own literary work.  The first page of my self analysis as


an analysis

The writer begins her story--as classical authors of this genre--with
an upbeat expression of the motivating power of the whole story in
one sentence.  "The discovery of the marvellous world of languages is
the great experience of my life."

This idea runs through the story and motivates the climax of the
story, an attempt to steal the bilingual Bible.

The plot is very simple, the writer (the story is written in the
first person singular) finds a Bible, reads it, becomes attached to
it, wants to steal it--but in the end she resists the temptation.

The story is only the superficial message of the story.  The real
message is hidden between the lines.  The storyline is less important.
What is important is the frame of mind of the writer, the way she
narrates the story.

One of the characteristic features of the genre of the short story is
that there must be a culminating point.  The way to this point of
this story is shown by explaining how important the bilingual Bible
becomes for the writer.  Although grandfather’s hobbies, memories,
religious childhood, and his love of languages are mirrored in the
story, the description of all this foreshadows the climax.


The next three or four pages of this analysis were lost.  This loss
too became a mirror.  One of my professors at the Teacher’s Training
College was introduced in this mirror.  But I will write about this
event later on!

There was a big family meeting on the second day of Christmas in my
mother’s flat in Budapest.  I gave my present to my mother, sister,
four brothers, an uncle, my husband, my two daughters and my son.

Some of the reactions:

> My mother, daughter of a theology professor, wife of my minister
father, mother of six children, grandmother of sixteen grandchildren
and two great grandchildren, whose great aim, perhaps whose only task
in her old age is to lead her relatives back to the church, to a
religious life, to God.  She organises religious summer camps for her
grandchildren, summons everybody to church on Sunday mornings and
always presents us with Protestant hymn books and psalms.  Her
opinion: "I liked your English, the theme was interesting, I liked
meeting my father’s--your grandfather’s spirit in it.  But if you
confess you haven’t learned the Bible in your last 30 years, please
read it now and live on the basis of it in your next thirty years."

> Younger brother, a former speed skating trainer, who is now a
businessman, living in Vienna with his third wife and third and
fourth children.  He is the small Benjamin of the family, the
youngest child--who likes other brothers and sisters, our mother, his
former wives and children, but does everything for his own good
rather than that of others.  Having read my short story very
quickly--(he had not much time, he was running after his next
business!),--he began to laugh at me, "Gee, Ilus (my nickname in the
family), you are a fool, aren’t you?  Why did you leave the Bible
there?  I have got about fourteen or sixteen Bibles from different
hotel rooms in the different countries that I visited when I took
part in skating competitions, the Olympics, and the world
championships.  Not to read them but to possess them."

> Other brother, husband of a rich business-woman.  She is full of
ideas and plans and has got the money for her good deeds.  She
promotes a young Russian painter, an infant prodigy and helped to
found an English theatre in Budapest.  She has a chain of clothing
shops.  My brother asked me: "Don’t you need a publisher?  We have
just founded a publishing house."

> My elder daughter, a student (her majors are: American Studies and
Physical Education) happily showed everyone her copy with my
dedication in it: "To my schoolmate with love--your mummy".

> A sixty-six year old uncle, a retired lawyer, very religious, who
finished studying Protestant theology two years ago.  "Now that you
have met the Bible again won’t you think of continuing this
friendship at home in your life?"  The same thought as my mother’s.
They are cousins and have a common great-grandfather, a bishop and
psalm writer.  An inherited way of thinking, perhaps?

Three or four weeks after mailing the forty or fifty bilingual
"Norwegian Bibles" as my Christmas cards this year, my everyday post
has grown.  I got two or three letters weekly and a Bible every month.

> I begin with the last one.  On the 11th March I got a postcard from
a Japanese penfriend of mine, an otolaryngologist.  He has written:
"Thank you for your nice short story.  I enjoyed ’The Norwegian
Bible’ very much.  I now understand you have inherited your
multilingual ability from your ancestors, your grandparents.  Please
write another version of this story.  Suppose you steal the Bible.  I
am sure Christ will be pleased.  Anyway, I think you have a great
talent for story telling.  Please continue to write!"  Nice words,
aren’t they?

> A librarian colleague in the Hungarian National Library: "It’s a
new fresh librarian writer.  Don’t you want to join our new founded
International Reading Association?  Our first meeting will be on
March 29th."

> An old English speaking uncle from the U.S.A. He emigrated there
seventy years ago with his parents.  After getting my Christmas card
he posted an English Bible: a copy of the Revised English Bible
(Oxford, 1989) immediately by courier post.  I got it in three days
time.  I think he thought: "My poor niece, she has no Bible to read,
that’s why she has to steal one."

> Perhaps the same idea occurred to one of our Finnish friends, an
otolaryngologist, because he sent me a tri-lingual
(Finnish-Swedish-English) New Testament.

> Another otolaryngologist, an excellent professor, very intelligent,
who has got a good sense of humour, sent a message.  I like him very
much.  He falls too into the circle with whom I cultivate friendships
through exchanging greeting cards on Feasts of Tabernacles.  He
operated on my ear: he did an ear drum transplant on my left ear.
During my operation he sang a Protestant psalm for me that I could
hear through the veil of the partial sedation of the anesthesia.  He
cured my ear, so it became waterproof again.  I wrote him a grateful
card after finishing the Lake Balaton cross-swimming competition
where I could cover the five kilometer without a swimming cap and
earplugs.  His remark on my book was the following: "Why didn’t you
steal it?  It is not a sin to steal flowers, kisses and books."

> An old country woman, our godson’s grandmother.  Her name is Pap
Lászlóné Pap Emma.  "Pap" means minister in Hungarian and both her
maiden name and husband’s name is "Pap".  She wrote me: "Dear Iluska,
although I am the daughter of a minister and the wife of a minister
at the same time, I can not write such a nice short story.

> The last one in this list, another otolaryngologist, the fourth
laryngologist, but the most important among them for me was my
husband, a fifty-four year old marathon runner.  He never praises me.
The red bunch of roses, mentioned later, was the only one, the only
time he presented me with flowers in my life.  After eating my Sunday
dinner, which I cooked first of all for his taste, he never says: "it
was marvellous", but he says: "it was edible".  But he inspires me
with his negative approval.  His opinion about the short story:
"Don’t believe yourself to be a writer.  It is the second novel or
short story which makes the writer a real writer, because the first
book is on his or her life--and everyone has a life.  To discover the
second story is the art.  So I am waiting for your second short story."

At the end of my essay I would like to write about a lost Norwegian
Bible and one that was never sent.

As I mentioned before, it was our assignment in the second year
Russian teacher’s retraining course to write a short story then to
write a literary analysis on our own work.  It is nice, interesting
homework, isn’t it?

All of the students in our group wrote interesting stories, then we
read them aloud during the next lesson.  We had to hand in the
stories and the analyses to our professor who promised to correct
them and give us a mark for them at the end of the semester.  And
besides all of these to give the stories to a jury consisting of
teachers who were native speakers.  The best three would be published
in a library bulletin of the Teacher’s Training College.  At the last
lesson of the semester she gave all of us the best marks and said,
"Good bye".  At that time we thought she had not even read our work
and was not interested in our analyses and that nothing would come of
the short-story-writing competition.

In February I found an essay-writing competition in England, so I
thought I needed my analysis because I wanted to collect materials
connected with "The Norwegian Bible".  I admit I am very untidy and
disorderly.  I found only the first page of my manuscript among my
papers in the drawer.  So I went to this professor to ask for my
analysis if she did not need it.  She told me that she had needed it
because she gave it to one of the foreign professors but she did not
remember to whom.  I asked her to get it back so that I would be able
to copy it.  The week after, she said perhaps she had not given my
papers to anybody as they did not remember it.  The next week after
that, I asked her again, but she said she was very busy.  Suddenly,
it was clear to me that the journey of our short stories and analyses
was very simple.  After being collected in the classroom their final
destination was the first waste-basket.

Yes, I could understand her.  She was bored with our assignments.
She was busy.  But why did she promise?  Why did she not tell the
truth?  Because it was her character?  I believed the reflection I
saw in the mirror.

And now the last story: something about an unposted "The Norwegian
Bible".  There was a young man in my life.  We were classmates in an
English course many years ago.  After each lesson we went out of the
school together and almost every time we met my then
boyfriend--(today he is my husband).  He attended a German course in
the same school, just after our lesson.  We greeted each other every
time and everyone continued on his or her own way.  My future husband
went to his class, and we, my classmate and I walked along the street.
We talked about the English lesson, about my studies, about family,
about childhood, about religion.  He was very religious.  He was very
curious about my being a daughter of a minister and living without
the daily reading of the Bible.  He gave me a Bible with a dedication
note in it.  This inscription was a nine line "poem", a clever
introduction to me.  The first letters of the lines read vertically
formed my name ILONKÁNAK (to Ilona).  The nine letters were written
in different colours, the rest of the text in blue ink.  I still have
his present, this Bible.  I preserved it in the same way Mrs. Morel
preserved John Field’s Bible in D.H. Lawrence’s novel "Sons and
Lovers".  But it is not a relic for me: it is used by my younger
daughter in her everyday life at the convent school she attends.

This classmate once invited me to ski and visit his family in a
mountain village.  I hesitated a little bit, but at last I refused
the invitation.  I had my boyfriend at that time whom I loved very
much and did not want to give him up for another man.  It was a
little unpleasant for my boyfriend to meet me every Monday and
Wednesday while I was chatting with this other man in a very friendly
manner.  I did not want to hurt my boyfriend nor did I want to lose
him, so I refused the invitation, although I loved skiing.  My
boyfriend felt my hesitation because he knew how much I liked to ski.
One evening he came to me with a big bunch of red roses and asked me
not to go skiing.  So I remained with him and we are still together,
in love and in harmony.  I thought about sending my former classmate
a copy of "The Norwegian Bible", but I do not want to disturb this
harmony, so I have not sent him one.

So this is the story of the small short story up to now.  And it will
be going on I hope.  Perhaps the other twenty or thirty friends will
answer my Christmas card as well.  I can say "thank you" to my
absent-minded, unreliable professor, who gave us the assignment idea
to write a short story.


The essay is finished, but the story continues.

In May my English pen-friend since 1964 corrected my essay
grammatically and sent me a small white English New Testament.

There was a friendly smile that I have to mention.  I got it as an
appreciation for the essay from my son, a former water-polo player
who is now a marathon runner and a folk dancer.  He read the essay on
the train to Budapest.  He did not say anything but laughed at me.  I
think he enjoyed the stories of mine and his father’s.

Instead of answering my Christmas card my half-Polish, half-Slovakian
pen-friend since 1963 sent me a copy of an article.  He published my
"Norwegian Bible" in "Zivot", a newspaper of the Slovaks living in
Poland and he wrote an article about our friendship, my grandfather
of Slovakian origin and about the short story.

Now I have my "Norwegian Bible" in three languages: English,
Hungarian and Slovakian.  The next move will be to translate it into
another fifteen or more languages.  I think I will ask my friends to
do it.  I can not master eighteen languages like my grandfather, but
I would like to have the "Norwegian Bible" translated into eighteen
or more languages.

Until now the "Norwegian Bible" served as a mirror.  From now on it
works as a magnet.  It attracts languages, and through it gathers my
foreign friends, unknown to each other into a team working for me,
and with me on a multi-lingual short story.  The essay continues on
its own.

> The half-Hungarian half-Jordanian son of my husband’s colleague
visited us in summer and translated the text into Arabic.  He wrote
it with very nice handwriting and later on, returning home he typed
it as well.

> I sent the text to Subotica to our friend, a laryngologist.  He is
Hungarian, but speaks Serbo-Croatian as well.  He told me it would be
better to ask one of his friends, a Serbian by origin to make the

> My niece and her Slovakian husband made the Czech translation.

> My husband ran the Venice Marathon with a Danish runner, so I asked
this man to translate "The Norwegian Bible" into Danish.

I took my story and the essay with me to Canada where I took part in
an English immersion course.  I gave my work to some of our teachers
and to some of my new friends.  The responses were as follows:

> I gave it to our professor of Canadian literature, a writer.  He
corrected my essay, praised me and encouraged me to write more.  I
also had the pleasure of getting acquainted with his first novel
"Winter Tulips" which had been recently published.

> The teacher of Linguistics was a Canadian of "visible minority", a
young lady from East India, who married a white Canadian.  I heard
about the problems of being a visible minority first from her, a very
authentic source.  She promised to have my text translated into her
mother language later on by her mother, because parents know the
abandoned language better than the second generation.  The same
phenomenon occurred at other times during my quest for further
languages.  She sent me the translation, but she did not mention
which language it was, and I could not identify it either.  So it is
the unknown member of my language company.

> Our teacher of Canadian history read my short story and presented
me with his article which also, was about languages, the role of
bilingualism in the family.  He had also written a book about native
Indians in Canada, so I asked him to ask somebody to translate my
story into an ancient Indian language.  He tried to organise it, sent
my story to an Indian Cultural Centre to a man who seemed interested.
Our teacher promised to make a small donation to the centre, sent
the material and waited.  And waited and waited.  Finally he called
them to be told that the man was ill and that nobody else was able to
do the translation.  He expressed some surprise but in explanation he
was told that Indian (Native People) languages are mainly an oral
tradition.  So I do not have a Canadian Indian translation, but this
story is also an interesting contribution to the language map of the
world as I try to describe it in my final paper.

> There was a security guard in the College where we lived.  He
emigrated from Ceylon many years ago.  He began to translate my short
story into Tamil, but later on he asked his nephew to continue it.
He told me he was a stationmaster at home and that his nephew was
more educated, so the young man was able to make a better translation.

> I visited my relatives in Toronto.  An international company was
there at the party.  I met a Latvian woman who was already born in
Canada, but she promised me to ask her 83 year old father to
translate the text into Latvian.

> A great surprise awaited me in Canada.  I had a Polish penfriend
thirty years ago.  She had visited us in Budapest and I was with her
on a student excursion in the Polish Carpathians.  Later on our
friendship was broken off and I knew only that she left Poland for
America, but I did not have her address.  During a sight-seeing trip
to Toronto while waiting for my colleagues, I found a telephone box
with a directory in it.  A quick idea came to my mind: "Here I am in
America, why not look for my friend.  Perhaps she lives somewhere
here!"  And I happened to find her name in the directory.  What a big
surprise!  I phoned her at once.  She, too, was so very happy.  We
met and had an all-day-long chat about our last 28 years.  Naturally
she became my Polish translator.  Her friend helped her.  For 20
years they had lived there in America and had been speaking English.
Perhaps they could make a better Polish translation together.  I
asked them to send me the translation, but I waited and waited in
vain.  It is possible she will be lost to me for the next thirty
years33?  So I asked another friend, my first publisher, to translate
the text into Polish, my beloved language.  However instead of him,
his friend did the translation.

After arriving home I continued to collect languages.

> My colleague at school translated the story into Latin.

> Our friend, a painter, who emigrated to Hungary from Sub-Carpahia,
worked through the Ukrainian, Russian and Ruthenian translations.

> My husband’s colleague, who is of Greek origin translated the text
into Modern Greek and asked her friend’s father to write it down.
She told me she was born in Hungary, so her friend’s father knew
Modern Greek better then she.  The same situation exists in the East
Indian, the Latvian and the Spanish languages, that the elder
generation speaks it better.  It is remarkably opposite in Rumanian
and Tamil, where the older generation thinks that the younger knows
the language better.

> I know a math teacher at the Teacher’s Training College whose hobby
is speaking and teaching Esperanto.  Let’s ask her!  I will have one
translation in an artificial language as well.

> An other teacher at the College, a soloist of Korean origin
translated my text into this Far East language.

> We had a Peace Corps volunteer in the secondary school one year,
who came from Texas.  His mother tongue was Spanish, but he asked his
mother to translate my story into Spanish.

> We have a friend, a member of the Rumanian minority which have been
living among Hungarians for 300 years.  He told me that although his
mother tongue was Rumanian, his daughter attended a Rumanian
secondary school, so she translated the text into Rumanian and later
on as a Christmas present, my friend sent me their newspaper with

"The Norwegian Bible" in it.  I got 720 Fts for the publication as

> I asked one of our Finnish friends to look for a Lappish translator,
and another, a woman, who is Finnish-Swedish bilingual, to translate
the Bible into Swedish.  Not she, but her daughter did the job for me.

> Another Finnish friend, a laryngologist translated the text into

> A library director who hosted our librarian delegation in Norway
completed the Norwegian translation.

> I asked my cousin, another granddaughter of our eighteen-lingual
grandfather, to translate it into French.  She did it and her 12 year
old half-French half-Hungarian daughter and her French husband helped

> My English penfriend since 1964, who sent me the white New
Testament has a wife of Fijian origin.  They promised me a
translation into the language of that far away country.

> An Italian friend translated it into Italian,

> another friend into Croat,

> and one into Slovenian

> a friend of our friends into Hebrew,

> a librarian from Dublin into Irish, and

> the Japanese laryngologist into Japanese.  He drew a sketch of me
and my Bible to show that Japanese write and read vertically.  He
wrote a long letter as well in which he described his language for my
final paper and in addition he sent me the Japanese Lord’s Prayer.

> My daughter’s 84 year old teacher of German, a nun translated my
short story into German.  She presented me with her book which has
been recently published.  She translated a German book into Hungarian.
"Translating, playing with languages makes people young."--she told
me and dedicated her book to me.  If everybody follows through as
promised, I will have my short story in 32 languages.  It is almost
twice as many as my grandfather’s 18 spoken languages.

In May I handed in my final paper with 31 languages in it, took the
state exam and got my degree as Teacher of English.  But the
collecting of languages didn’t stop and by Christmas 1993 I had 14
more languages.  I began to look for a publisher and when I found one,
I promised him a book with 50 languages in it.

The story of the later 19 languages is as follows:

> The wife of one of our painter friends, a Bulgarian, who has been
living in Hungary since the age of 11, translated "The Norwegian
Bible" into Bulgarian.

> There had been a congress of Finno-Ugric writers in Eger in
September 1993. "So many languages in my town", I thought, "Why not
get acquaintance with some of them?"  With the help of my somewhat
forgotten but hastily refreshed Russian knowledge, I spoke with the
representatives of our Hungarian language relatives.  Some of them
promised to send me a translation after returning home.  From that
congress I have the following languages translated: Karelian, Udmurt,
Estonian, Komi and Nenets.  At the congress, I met a Livonian student
who is a representative of a small group of people whose language is
spoken by only 20 people.  He promised me the translation but has not
sent it yet.  He hasn’t even answered my second and third letter
either.  In my last letter I asked him to translate the text into
Lituanian as well as Livonian.  Since he lives in Riga, Lithuania, I
assume he is bilingual.  I hope he will eventually respond as did my
Lappish translator after one and a half years.

> One of our Finnish friends had promised to look for a Lappish
translator.  Much time passed and I had given up all hope of ever
getting that translation but now I do have it.

> The next year Venice Marathon brought me two further languages.
After my husband had run the marathon on Sunday, we took a trip to
Verona on Monday.  On our way there, a group of four happy, talkative
young people entered our compartment.  The three sisters and a
brother spoke an interesting sounding language, unknown to me.  I
asked them if they were Swedish.  Smiling, they said, "No", but that
I wasn’t the first to mistake their language for Swedish.  They were
speaking Swiss German.  Later on they changed to formal German, so we
could understand them.  They promised to translate my short story
into their mother tongue.  I received it in one month’s time.  They
wrote that at home they were sitting around the dinner table the same
way that we sat in a round in the train compartment.  And sentence by
sentence they translated the text together.

> The next day, our friend the Italian translator took us on a trip
into the Alps.  We passed a region where, he said, a small group of
people speak Friuli, a Rheto Romance language.  He promised to ask
one of his customers who lives there to make the Friulian translation.

> My eldest brother’s Dutch art partner who organizes figure and
medal exhibitions for him, translated the text into Dutch.  I wrote
to a Biology professor from Belgium who I met some years ago in Eger
(my home town) and asked him to translate the text into Flemish.  I
sent him the list of languages and translators as well, asking him to
fill in his data, also.  Instead of the Flemish translation I got a
short letter in which he said he felt it not to be important to write
a Flemish translation since he saw I already had the text in Dutch.
These two languages are, as he wrote, similar in written form, and
only in pronunciation are there some differences.

> He did not make the translation, but some month later another
Belgian couple visited us.  Listening to my request they asked for a
typing machine and immediately translated the short story into
Flemish.  They also promised me a Cashmirian translation because a
Cashmirian man lives in their village, they ask him to do the work.
Later on they wrote me it was told them that Cashmirian is a spoken
language only, They use Hindi script while writing, but Hindi I
already have.  Instead of the Chasmirian they organised an African
language: another friend in their village, couple from Zaire
translated the short story into Luba language.

Later, my short story continued its role as a magnet and brought me
two new friends; two language fans.  As I had begun to think about
publishing a book, I had to look for and ask permission for copying
the language descriptions from the writer of the "Lord’s Prayer in
121 European Languages".  Looking for his name in the Budapest
telephone book and finding four Németh Zsigmonds, I had the same good
fortune as I did in my Toronto search.  The first number I dialed was
his.  He was very friendly.  We met in Budapest and went together to
the Indian Embassy.  I wanted to ask them about the herd of the
Indian language for which I have translation.  He asked about some
language problems pertaining to the preparation of his next book
entitled, "Asia’s Languages Shown Through the Lord’s Prayer in
Different Languages."  He directed me to a new language at this time
because he sent my story to:

> a man who constructed a new artificial language, Vikto.

Mr. Németh brought me to a friend of his who became interested in me
when she heard I had written about 31 languages with Hebrew among
them.  Kató Lomb studies Hebrew at the Budapest University.  It is
the 17th language she speaks.  She is a synchron translator.  She
speaks in 16 languages, but as she said in an interview, the number
of languages by which she has already earned money is about 30. She
wrote four books about languages, her language learning method, other
multilingual people, and her journeys around the world as a
translator.  She autographed one of her books and gave it to me.  I
had brought two others with me and she autographed those as well.
The fourth title I bought the next week in a secondhand book shop.
In a week’s time I had read all four of the books with much enjoyment.

The next month I invited this lovely pair to our secondary school.  I
wanted our students to have the pleasure of getting acquainted with
these two language fans.  Mrs. Kató Lomb gave a lecture to the
students about her language learning method, and another lecture for
teachers about how language learning can make the retired person’s
everyday life more interesting.  Mr. Németh delivered a lecture about
his trip to a far land to find a people who speak a language
distantly relative to Hungarian.  He also showed a video film he made
while visiting this Hanti group in Siberia.

> I found someone, my husband’s patient, who studied and speaks

> Somebody else translated the text into Hungarian Gipsy language.

> Father of may daughter’s classmate translated the text into Classic

> My eldest brother organised some more languages for me.  I went to
the Netherlands and Germany with him to collect his bronze figures
from galleries there.  He needed them for his great exhibition in
Budapest.  We visited his friend, my Dutch translator Theo, the
Hollander and his wife.  They were astonished while I told them I had
translations in 43 languages, they didn’t think there were so many
languages in Europe.  But later on the wife took a book from the
bookshelf in which we could read there were 2796 languages in the
world and the number of dialects were 7000-8000. So the 50 languages
I plan for my book is only a small slice of this rich world of

> Theo wanted to enrich my collection so he promised to organise the
West Frisian translation for me, a language spoken in the Netherlands
by a minority group.

> At my brother’s friend in Hamburg I met a bilingual Chinese man.
He translated the short story into Chinese.

Now I must finish collecting languages.  I have about 50
translations--the number I promised to my sponsor in publishing the
book.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps I should leave this book open and ask
my reader who may know any language not present here, to translate
the short story into that language and send it to me, (address: 3300
Eger, Széchenyi u. 9. Hungary).  In the second edition I would like
to present the other 2746 languages.

Story of the further 27 languages

The above appeal reached my readers and some of them joined into the
game.  With their help and suggestions from new and old friends,
another 27 languages came together in the last 4 years.

Here you have the story of this collection:

A retired chief of ophthalmology phoned me to say he had read my book,
enjoyed it, liked the idea and had a lot of pen-friends around the
world.  He collected 8 languages for me (Afrikaans, Chicheva, Saxon
in Transylvania, Portuguese, Swahili, Welsh, Zulu and Manx).

We had a French guest and it came to light that he lived in Bretagne
and his neighbour’s mother-tongue is Breton, so after returning home
he sent me the Breton translation.

The Hanti translation was promised me some years ago during the
Ugro-Finn writer’s meeting in Eger by a woman writer and she sent me
the Hanti translation by manuscript which I could hardly read and
transliterate.  I asked her in a letter to type it but she did not
answer.  Later on I looked for somebody who knew Hanti in Budapest
and Szombathely but I was not successful in finding one.  In the end
I put this hardly legible text into the second edition.

One of my dear library visitors in the school, Jutka Adorján liked my
book and told me her cousin was of the Ibo mother-tongue and asked
him, the agriculture student, to translate the short story into this
African language.

I got to know fans of artificial languages as enthusiastic people.
Thanks to Vilmos Bõsz, the creator of the Vikto language for allowing
me to use it in the first edition of my book.  He has a rather large
pen- and language friend circle and through his efforts I received
additional translations in 4 more artificial languages.  These
languages (Interlingua, Volapük, Glosa and Unitario) came from
Budapest, Germany and England.  From Lithuania I received the
Lithuanian translation which was interpreted by the wife and daughter
of a man who wrote me an accompanying letter in Interlingua.  My
eldest brother, a sculptor has an Armenian sculptor friend who
translated the Armenian text.

Another sculptor friend of my brother, Mihály Bohn has trouble with
his kidney so he has to go for dialysis 3 times a week.  There, in
his hospital bed, pleaded with his nurse, a medical student, to
translate the story into Persian, his mother tongue.

And again laryngologists.  A colleague of my husband who knew about
my language gathering enthusiasm discovered that a new laryngologist
in the Szeged HNO Clinic speaks two languages not yet present in my
book.  He asked this young doctor to translate the text into his
mother’s and father’s language respectively.  I got the Azeri and the
Persian translation from him and when later on I got acquainted with
him personally, he said he liked the idea of gathering more languages
and he would like to put The Norwegian Bible short story onto the
internet.  Perhaps then I would get more translations in additional
languages.  I already had the Persian, but the Azeri was new, so I
put it happily into the second edition of my book.

> My colleague, a teacher of Latin who made the Latin translation,
requested a Sardinian translation from his Sardinian friend.

> The Sinhalese translation also come from Canada as we spent one and
a half months there on a scholarship trip.  My colleague there
visited his old family friend who is of Sinhalese nationality.  The
Sinhalese friend has finally sent me his translation after four years.

> Mongolian is also of HNO origin.  My husband operated on a
Mongolian young lady.

Dear my new translator!

This short story is already translated into 77 different languages.
If you know of a language not presented in my list, would you please
translate the short story into this language and send it to me.
Please write me the name of numbers 1-10 and 100 in your language as
well and please write me some words about your language in English.
I kindly ask you to give me your name, job, town and country.  Send
your translation by mail to me please.  E-mail is not good for
languages written with diacritical marks or with non Latin letters.
My address is: Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona, 3300 Eger, Széchenyi u. 9.

If you have some questions, do not hesitate to write me on e-mail.
My e-mail address is:


I made a book with the first 50 languages in 1994. In February 2001 a
new book has been issued with 77 languages in it.  When I will have
another 23 languages, I would like to publish the third edition with
100 languages in it in the year of 2004. Your translation can be
involved in this book and naturally I will send you a complimentary
copy in 2005.

Another request to you or to the readers of the E-book version of my

(www.mek.iif.hu/porta/szint/human/szepirod/modern/martinov) :

If you have the possibility to send me a computer and a scanner,
please do it.  I have a computer in my workplace, in a secondary
school library, I wrote my two books on this computer in weekends and
in afternoons, but in the next 3-4 year I will retire and I need a
computer at home to continue this language collecting game.  My final
aim is to collect translations of my short story in all the 2899
languages of the world.

My other problem is as follows: The second edition of my book was
issued in private edition in February 2001. As I have promised my
translators, I would like to send a copy to each of them, (to about
66-68 addresses) but posting of a book costs 1800 Forints.  My
husband does not give me more money (he paid the editing costs), so I
need 120.000 Forints (USD 420) for the expenses of postage.  My
invoice number is as follows:

OTP EGER 1177339100604996

Here are the 77 languages into which my short story has already been

1. Arikaans
2. Armenian
3. Arabic
4. Azeri
5. Breton
6. Bulgarian
7. Catalan
8. Chichewa
9. Chinese
10. Ancient Greek
11. Croatian
12. Czech
13. Danish
14. English
15. Esperanto
16. Estonian
17. Fijian
18. Finnish
19. Flemish
20. French
21. Frisian
22. Friuli
23. German
24. Gipsy
25. Glosa
26. Hanti
27. Hebrew
28. Hindi
29. Holland
30. Hungarian
31. Ibo
32. Interlingua
33. Irish
34. Italian
35. Japanese
36. Karelian
37. Komi-Permiak or Zyrian
38. Korean
39. Lapponic
40. Latin
41. Lettish
42. Lithuanian
43. Luba
44. Manx
45. Modern Greek
46. Mongol
47. Nenets or Jurak-Samoyedic
48. Norwegian
49. Persian
50. Polish
51. Portuguese
52. Romanian
53. Runic script
54. Russian
55. Ruthenian
56. Sard
57. Saxon in Transsylvania
58. Serbian
59. Sinhalez
60. Slovakian
61. Slovenian
62. Spanish
63. Swahili
64. Swedish
65. Swiss German
66. Tamil
67. Turkish
68. Ukrainian
69. Unitario
70. Vikto
71. Volapük
72. Votyak or Udmurt
73. Welsh
74. Zulu
75. Bengali
76. Malaj
77. Azerbajani

Baron Pál Podmaniczky and the Norwegian Bible
© 1994, Martinovitsné Kutas Ilona

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Báró Podmaniczky Pál és a norvég Biblia - Elbeszélés a 18 nyelvü nagyapáról 77 nyelven és rovásírással" ***

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