Some Stuff About Me

This page - to tell you the truth - should have appeared long ago, but I never really had the time or ardent desire to do it. However, since the site has been around 'n' kickin' for about two years now, the need for the 'self-disclosing' part has progressively grown stronger and stronger, until two actual and strong reasons drove this page to a final materialization. First, what with all the essays I write and talks of subjective factors, etc., I figured out that in order for some people to understand my judgements better, they need to have some background information on their actual pronouncer. Second - and most important - lots of people have been asking me personal questions for a long time now, and since I have almost always been bothering to answer them (and my profound excuses to those I didn't reply to, not having enough time), it has gradually become a horrid pain in the butt. So here is the info if anybody's really interested.

My name is really George Starostin (although, if you wish to bother, the full Russian name is Georgiy Sergeyevich Starostin, with both "g"s in the first name pronounced as g in geese, not g in geez!) As of November 2000, I am 24 years 4 months old, having been born on - no kidding - July 4th, 1976. (Did I make that calculation right? My math always sucked). Some say that I was actually named George after George Washington, so you see, me and the good old US of A are pals. I live in Moscow, Russia, and since I'm slow on the move, I'll probably live here until the end, unless the totalitarian regime prevails again in Russia, in which case I'll have to... well, you know. Moreover, I am married and I have a four-year old kid who is undeniably one of the greatest kids in the world. I live in a small two-room apartment in the suburbs with no perspective of ever embettering these life conditions, as property values in Moscow are extremely high and our banks never give out loans. But that's not a problem as long as I get to do what I like and what I need.

My main occupation is historical linguistics - that's what I got my major in - and I have just recently gone through my Ph. D. (the first stage - the one which we here call a 'candidate's degree'; there is still a 'doctor's degree' that might be waiting for me in the nearest twenty or thirty years, if I live that long and write that much). The actual work was entitled 'Reconstruction of the Proto-Dravidian phonologic system', but if that one doesn't ring a bell, I'll just say that this is a small step towards a far more global aim - me and my colleagues, most of them far older and more experienced, are currently working on the 'Tower Of Babel' project, which is dedicated to scientifically reconstructing the proto-language (or proto-languages, if language sprang up independently in several places) of the world. Scientifically, baby: this is not fantasy or schizophrenia, this is science that has an almost two-hundred-year tradition, and we take this stuff seriously.

As a linguist, I have, of course, studied lots of linguistic disciplines, and not a few languages. Besides English, I speak French and Italian, and read in German and Spanish. I have also taken a four-year course of Chinese at my university, and used to speak it, too, but that skill has been in disrepair for a long time. I still read Chinese, though. I also read in many ancient Indo-European languages (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Hittite, Old Persian, Avestan, Gothic, Old Church Slavic, etc.). However, I usually get extremely mad at somebody overpraising my language skills or posing the eternal, and completely senseless, question of 'How many languages do you know?' You see, the basic requirement - for a linguist - is not that he/she know the language, but that he/she know the right approach to studying languages. I have never tackled Swahili, for instance; but if it were necessary, I would have picked up some grammars and textbooks and master it in a week, at least, for the sake of reading and translating. 'To know the language' can mean many different things. You can 'know' the language as a native, in which case I don't 'know' any language but Russian. You can 'know' it to the extent of being able to read, either with serious help from the dictionary or without. You can 'know' it to the extent of knowing its basic grammar structure - sometimes, when you're working with that language, that's all that is required. Currently, I just know as much stuff as I need, perhaps a little bit more. The main thing is not to fear languages, as so many people do. Overcome your fear, and you'll manage everything. As long as you know exactly what you need.

My music curriculum is not very event-loaded. My first band - boring, isn't it? - were the Beatles. I used to sing 'Yellow Submarine' when I was very small, but nobody ever appreciated that and I don't openly sing any more. My second band was ABBA when they were somewhat popular in Russia, due to the Soviet government importing disco and Europop as an antidote to the officially banned rock'n'roll. Ever remember Boney M? Geez... Then the Beatles came back, with 'I Am The Walrus', at about the age (my age) of ten. When I got all the Beatles I wanted, I started getting all the ex-Beatles I could get. When I got sick of the ex-Beatles, I got myself some Rolling Stones. Then some Doors. Then some Creedence Clearwater Revival. Then I got stuck until about nineteen years old, when I discovered everything else and finally opened my mind. It also really helped that by that time Russia dropped (or, ahem, lifted - isn't it fun, from a linguistic point of view, that two words with the basic opposite senses can fit in the same place) the Iron Curtain and it became easier to get all, or at least many, of the records you wanted and needed.

What else is there to tell? I was an avid reader once, going through tons of classics, but I don't read that much anymore; I'm afraid I overdid that stuff. It may return, yet. Who knows. I don't watch much TV, bar news programs, and don't listen to the radio. The general mass pop and mass consumption culture makes me cringe, though I do drink Coke. Imagine that. Most of my life flashes by on a computer screen, but as long as you can make friends with your computer, it's nothing more than a humble servant helping you express yourself. (Which is what I am doing at this very moment). I'm not that much into gaming, but I'm an avid fan of Sierra On-Line Adventure Games, which have, unfortunately, recently died a cruel death after a four-year agony. Still, be sure to buy "Gabriel Knight III", as it's a very nice and more or less satisfactory conclusion to the fifteen-year history of that project - for me, it will always be the best project in computer gaming, ever.

My basic aims in life are simple. Support my family and raise my kid - that's one. Reconstruct the world's proto-language, or at least come as close to that aim as possible - that's two. Build up a solid rock records review site - that's three. And, since I have already made at least several steps in each of these three directions, I could die a happy man even today. But I hope God, or Mother Nature (which reminds me - I'm an agnostic, if you're interested) will grant me at least some more time, because it's so much fun to work on all of these three fronts.

My main problems and defects? Perhaps my main problem is a complete disregard for anything not closely related to either of these three subjects. The issues differ greatly, and at times make my life rather miserable, but hey, everything is relative. As far as I'm concerned, some Rwanda kid might be dying of starvation right now, so what are my petty problems as compared with these? Another problem is that I always wanna have my say, but I guess frequent visitors of my site already know that one. This, however, stems not so much from inborn stubborness, as from a wish for everybody to realize that there's always a second side to each story - a rule that is often forgotten by CNN Network.

Did I bore you enough? If I did, there's only one thing left to do:

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