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Prof Abdyli & Wife, 1995 | by rjnagle
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Prof Abdyli & Wife, 1995

Professor Abdyli was a grand old man who was my supervisor in Vlore. Although sickly and a political prisoner for over a decade, his intellectual curiosity and love of learning was inspiring. He taught linguistics and was marvelously inventive. When I mentioned that the country's president spoke excellent English, Abdyli hummphed, and said, "If he ever came to Vlore to work in our department, I'd show him where the crabs go for the winter." "What--"I said, "is that some Albanian phrase you're translating? "No, I just made it up." Actually his English was slow and deliberate; he hardly ever had the chance to speak with foreigners, though he memorized books and English vocabulary in prison. I have never seen a human being take such delight in handling English dictionaries. His favorite was the American Heritage Dictionary. Once, after an American friend Mike B. sent us a gigantic English dictionary, he opened the package with great joy and began excitedly flipping through the pages. Then, in a slight act of fastidiousness, he muttered, "But it is NOT the American Heritage Dictionary." Although Abdyli took great joy in seeing his country liberated, unfortunately he died a year after the civil protests and it began to seem that his country was devolving into anarchy.

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Uploaded on December 30, 2004