I have taken a deep interest in King Alfred. After translating a short passage of his writings from Old English into Modern English last semester, I was deeply impressed with his personal morality. This semester, in a medieval literature class, we are reading several of the important sources on Alfred, both those written by him and those written about him by others. For tonight's class, we're supposed to write a character sketch of him, with references to the sources, and I just can't help but be more and more impressed by him. He was a warrior, inventor, statesman, innovator, scholar, translator, philosopher, hunter, supporter of the arts -- and above all, a deeply pious man. A true renaissance man if ever there was one, and he lived a good half-century before the Renaissance even took place. I will be very excited to meet him in the next life.
Another recent interest is the Welsh language. I've thought for years that Welsh would be fun to learn, and I really wanted to do so at BYU, but never managed to fit it into my schedule. The BBC has some Welsh language webpages, designed for teaching basic Welsh to both children and parents (and particularly to help parents keep up with their children, as there is a big Welsh-instruction movement on in the schools these days). They'll do, but they're certainly not the best language instruction activities. In the meantime, I did find a page on Omniglot all about Welsh pronunciation, which cleared up a lot of confusion I'd been having. Like the fact that Ioan Gruffudd's name is not pronounced "grufud" or even "grufuth," as I had been saying it, but "grifith" (with a voiced 'th' at the end) -- in fact, Ioan Central has a sound clip of him saying his own name, which makes me wish that it was much easier to find clips of him speaking with his lovely Welsh accent. *sigh* The poor Welsh really get overlooked, you know.
So if you've a date in Constantinople, she'll be waiting in Istanbul. (15 points)