A vowel is a vowel is a vowel … right?
Well, not exactly. A vowel is only a vowel when it’s recognized as one,
and a vowel in the word ‘gyógyfürdő’, I’ve discovered, isn’t recognized as one in all places.
Below, the back-story, told backwards:
A steamy experience in Hungary is featured as ‘Monday’s Poem’ at Leaf Press:
rudas bath, budapest
The photo that appears with my words is the only one I took at the spa–the only snapshot the attendant permitted.
This bath is my favorite in Budapest–a city touted as ‘spa capital of the world’.
The process that accompanied publication included a linguistic snag:
The original submission was called ‘rudas gyógyfürdő, budapest’. The Hungarian word ‘gyógyfürdő’ translates into English as ‘medicinal bath’. This word–gyógyfürdő–is the one that caused the glitch.
Late Sunday evening, the night before publication, I opened an email from Leaf Press publisher Ursula Vaira:
I am working on the poem now, and am stuck on the last o in gyógyfürdő … my software (Dreamweaver) simply has no character for that. Even when I go to a website and copy the word and paste it directly in, it still turns up as a question mark.
It’s interesting that Dreamweaver understands the vowels ó and ü, but not ő.
Makes me wonder what other languages feature the first two vowels, but not the last…
An abbreviated all-English version now stands: rudas bath, budapest
Other Leaf Press featured writers include:
Rose Hunter, rob mcLennan, Daniela Elza & Christina Shah, Tammy Ho Lai-ming,
14 Poets [including Dorothee Lang]
This blog post is included in Edition #4 of the BluePrint blog carnival >Language>Place.
It is hosted by UK-based editor, translator, and university administrator Jean Morris.
The direct link to the carnival is here.