Language Barriers

Thursday, 11 February 2010

I've been in Slovenia for the last few days, hence the silence here, working on a story for Rock + Ice magazine in the States and talking to some of the stars over there. One thing I wasn't prepared for were the number of books published in Slovene about mountaineering. People there were either giving me a book or confirming that they were working on one. Navigating around Ljubljana it occurs to me that the  language, more or less confined to the two million people of Slovenia, would be quite a handful to learn and unless I was to emigrate there, not the most useful. Which is a shame for our understanding of Slovenian mountaineering and an explanation for why it's still so poorly recognised and understood. One climber said to me, probably more out of politeness than genuine gratitude, that it was good someone was paying attention. But in many ways Slovenia is to mountaineering what Brazil is to football – a superb tradition that has endured now for several generations and looks set to continue. The attention it gets ought to be high. Bernadette McDonald's book on Tomaz Humar was one exception, but it would be good to hear from the Slovenians themselves. With publishing the way it is, I doubt that's going to happen soon.

Posted by Ed Douglas at 11.43 AM