Searching for Seka

Discussion in 'Anna Christian Waters' started by KivaSupporter, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. SideKick

    SideKick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,555
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
  2. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Is there a copy of this letter available online? I'm a doctoral student in Foreign Language/ESL education. I have a master's degree in bilingual and multicultural education, and I've been an ESL teacher for several years (I've worked with students from just about every part of the world). I can tell whether or not someone is a native speaker of English by looking at their sentence structure, word choice, and grammar. I can also tell (in some cases) what their first language is, and how educated they are. I'd be happy to look at this letter, if someone would just let me know where I can find it.
     
  3. Annasmom

    Annasmom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,769
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    What a terrific offer, Marie-Chantal. I am attaching the note I quoted (this is in Waters' handwriting, but is transcribed from Brody's dictation) and also a typed letter, which certainly was dictated by Brody and is in his exact words. I should point out that Waters was an English major at Princeton and of course a native English speaker, so his own writing would be quite different from the "speeches" he transcribed and typed for Brody. Brody was very, very finicky about having this sort of thing written exactly as he would say it.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    These are very, very interesting letters. The typed letter just stuns me. This guy is/was insane. Unless Waters translated/edited Brody's words, Brody is/was a native speaker. He was also a total lunatic, who sounds like he was trying very hard to manipulate Seka and her family.

    The grammar and sentence structure indicate someone who was a native speaker; however, his word choice is odd. You said that he insisted that his dictation be written verbatim, so I guess that Waters probably wasn't editing Brody's speech. To me, it looks like Brody was a native speaker; however, due to his word choice, he was a native speaker who wasn't very well-educated during his school days. He reminds me of a little kid who has gotten his hands on a thesaurus and is trying to impress the teacher. The way in which he uses the word "repose" is interesting to me. It's not the way anyone, even a non-native speaker would use that word. Have you ever read the book "Confederacy of Dunces"? He reminds me of the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly. It looks to me like Brody either didn't receive much of a formal education, or he was a horrible student who later on wanted to make up for that lack of education by trying to do a lot of reading. There's something very insecure that comes across in his word choices. He's deliberately trying to make himself sound highly intelligent.

    Why did Waters transcribe his work? Why didn't Brody write these letters himself? Was he able to write? Was this just part of his manipulation of Waters?

    It is possible that he was raised by parents who were non-native speakers; but he was a native speaker.

    This is just my opinion only. Do you have any other writing samples? I'd love to see if he's just trying to impress Seka's family by trying to make himself sound smart (and failing, IMO). I'd love to see if this is his usual writing style.
     
  5. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I also see the word "of" in that note. To me, this sounds like someone who was archiving his thoughts. This kind of fits in with what I've read in earlier discussions: he had delusions of grandeur. However, he probably should have said "on" if he was truly archiving this as a journalist would.

    Has anyone ever read a biographic article about someone and seen sections where quotes from that person were listed? The writer will do something like this (I'll use Keith Richards as an example, since I'm a big Stones fan):

    Keith Richards was born in London and blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc.

    Keith is a very humorous man who has a rather interesting outlook on life.

    On drugs: I never had problems with drugs. I have had problems with police.


    This is usually the format that you see in those types of articles (well, obviously without the "blah, blah, blah"). This is what this note reminds me of-a biography. It sounds like this man archived his thoughts in the way an author would write about the subject of a biography. Was that note dictated? That's even more bizarre, if that was the case. This man was truly delusional.
     
  6. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

    Messages:
    23,795
    Likes Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Marie Chantel how much difference would it make in your assessment would it be if a person immigrated at an early age? If say a child were brought to the US at age 2 or 4 or 6 years of age? Would they still show up as an immigrant?
     
  7. Annasmom

    Annasmom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,769
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Here is what I take to be the original...in Brody's writing/printing. This had been wadded up and then straightened out and was among GW's papers. I suppose he couldn't part with it, since he got rid of everything he didn't want to leave after he died. Brody either had some objection to sending handwritten things or thought it looked better typed.

    I have always maintained that Brody was a native speaker, so thank you for this evaluation.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If a person came over here as a young child, their first language wouldn't show up in their writing as long as they went to school here from at least 1st or 2nd grade and continued in American schools until they graduated. The only exception to this would be a bilingual child, who attended a bilingual school (ex.1/2 of the school day is conducted in Spanish and 1/2 of the school day is conducted in English), and only around grades 1-4 (they are going through the normal process of language transfer and code-switching, which nearly all students in bilingual schools grow out of in the later elementary years). The only way that the L1 (first language) would show up in writing is if they arrived here as a teen/young adult, or if they never had any formal schooling.

    If the child came over here around 2-6 years of age, attended English-only schools until at least 12th grade (and I am about 99.9% sure that the public schools in the Bay Area at that time only offered English-only education), then one would not be able to see evidence of the L1 in writing.

    My grandfather's family came to the US from Italy when my grandfather and his siblings were children. They all attended the local public schools in the CA town where they lived. They all spoke with varying traces of an Italian accent, but you could not tell from their writing that they were not native English speakers.
     
  9. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is a native speaker who is trying to sound more intelligent than his school records probably show. Did he attend college? Did he graduate from high school?

    You mentioned that George Waters was an English major at Princeton. Did Brody have this level of education? This strikes me as a very insecure writer who is trying to impress. His vocabulary usage is ridiculously full of obscure uses of words that the average person (even those with English degrees from top universities) wouldn't use even in their most serious attempts to write in a formal style. This is why I think he's really insecure about his education. If you read "Confederacy of Dunces", you'll see what I mean. His writing reminds me of the main character in that novel. Coincidentally, that novel was published, popular and widely available at the time these letters were written.

    His use of flourishes on that page (I think that's the term) is really weird. Waters typed them out as extended hyphens. It looks to me like he was getting really worked up emotionally as he wrote these letters. He's trying to control this Seka, and it looks like he is working himself up and freaking out because he knows he doesn't truly have control over her.

    Do you know anything about his parents? I wonder what his home life was like. It is highly possible that he came from a family of immigrants, but if he did, he was very young when he arrived in the US.
     
  10. Annasmom

    Annasmom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,769
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I ordered "Confederacy of Dunces"; I may not enjoy reading it (if it reminds me of Brody), but I couldn't resist after you referred to it, Marie-Chantal. We know almost nothing about Brody, but I believe you are correct in all your perceptions about him and about his writing.

    Regarding getting worked up over Seka: This was a repetitive pattern with GW and GB. They'd try to make a new disciple, the person would balk or refuse to "join", and then threats would follow. They would then hash this over endlessly and talk about how the person had missed an amazing opportunity, had failed himself or herself, etc., etc.
     
  11. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'd be happy to analyze more writing samples. I'm now on summer break and I have lots of time (and I truly love to analyze language usage and writing). If there's anything else that you would like to have me look at, just let me know via PM (in case I miss the thread for whatever reason). If you'd ever like a second opinion, I would be happy to have my colleagues look at his writings for you. I submitted a request to the admins to be listed as a resource for language analysis for anyone on this site who needs to have something analyzed. I haven't gotten a response from them, but please feel free to let me know if you need my help. Like I said, I love to analyze language usage and writing.

    I think you might enjoy the novel. It's a comedy. The main character is a pathetic, disgruntled slob who lives with his mother. He's stuck in the social mores of the middle ages and drives everyone around him crazy. It's a very good book; I think it may have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Hopefully it will be an entertaining read for you. You'll know what I mean about Brady's language when you start reading it; however, this character is smarter than Brady seems to have been.
     
  12. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    BBM

    Did they ever elaborate on what they meant by "amazing opportunity"? Opportunity to do what? Were they posing as self-help gurus? They sound like a very odd pair. How did GB make a living? Did he sponge off of GW? He seems like he was a very controlling, manipulative con-artist.
     
  13. SideKick

    SideKick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,555
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
  14. SideKick

    SideKick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,555
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    48
  15. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

    Messages:
    75,461
    Likes Received:
    1,055
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Just a friendly reminder. Let's please try and stay on topic within threads for the topic which they were titled.

    Veering off topic makes it very difficult for new or newer members or guest readers to follow a case. Especially when they are jumping into a case for which they weren't here when the thread or forum was started.

    I don't mean to sound pesky. I'm just trying to ensure all who follow Anna's forum can find information and follow accordingly, rather than subject matter being all over the place in various threads.

    Here is the thread for discussion on George Brody:

    Who was George Brody?- Part 2. - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community



    thank you. :blowkiss:
     
  16. Annasmom

    Annasmom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,769
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Marie-Chantal, my answer is going to be on the thread "Who was George Brody?- Part 2. - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community."
     
  17. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

    Messages:
    75,461
    Likes Received:
    1,055
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thank you everyone. marie-chantal has some very interesting information here, which I would hate to see missed by those who may only be following certain threads. We should keep in mind members might only be following certain threads, as time permits, so we would not want valid important information to be lost by not being posted in the appropriate thread.

    I have to leave for an appointment shortly, but later I will carry over the relevent info marie-chantal posted about GB's writing over to his thread, if someone else is unable to do so in the next few hours.

    Thanks again! I appreciate your understanding very much.
     
  18. marie-chantal

    marie-chantal Language analyst

    Messages:
    1,119
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Cubby! I've sent in the request to the mods to be listed as a resource for anyone in any case who needs to have letters analyzed. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I'm always available to analyze writing.

    I genuinely love to analyze writing styles and language usage. If there's anything else that I need to look at, let me know. I'm on summer break right now, so I've got all the time in the world (or at least the next few months). I've started to read all of the older threads in this case in order to get caught up with you all.

    The way we communicate says a lot about us (no pun intended). Writing styles and word choice often reflect the person's language background, education, neighborhood, region, social class, gender, age, and psychological well-being.

    Did Seka ever write to George? I have seen the postcard, but I haven't seen any other letters or postcards from Seka. It would be especially interesting to see anything she wrote during the time GB was freaking out about not being able to control her.
     
  19. Firefly75

    Firefly75 Miles away

    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    If we are still looking for Seka, how about checking expat groups in California, such as for example this one:

    http://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Friends-of-the-Former-Yugoslavia/

    I'm sure there are other groups (perhaps the Embassy would have info on them) there; perhaps Seka, or someone who knew her back then, is still around and would be able to throw some light on things? I guess it'd have to be someone more local having a look at that and contacting them. Thoughts?

    Or has this been done already? For some reason, that meetup page looks somewhat familiar to me, I think.
     
  20. Vivette

    Vivette Member

    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Is there a high res photo of the postcard?
     

Share This Page



  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice