Saturday, November 19, 2005

Galician was spoken for the first time this week in an EU meeting in Brussels, thus supplying work for around 30 to 40 interpreters who’d otherwise be unemployed. Along with the many others who translate Catalan and Basque into both Spanish and Galician. I suppose it makes sense to someone. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spanish government doesn’t pick up the bill.

On this subject, a reader has challenged me to confirm that Galician is really just a dialect of Spanish. The honest answer to this is that, while it sometimes seems to me that this might be the case, I really don’t know and [as I live here!] I wouldn’t like to make a definitive statement in that direction. As I understand it, Galician, Portuguese and Asturian are all descended from the language which held sway over the west of Iberia after the Romans went home. So it’s surely arguable they’re sister languages and not dialects of Spanish, which is the main descendant of the Latin language of the Eastern half of Spain. Some [the Portuguese] maintain Galician is merely a dialect of Portuguese, not Spanish. And some [the Galicians] maintain that Portuguese is a descendant of the Galician that was originally spoken on both sides of the river Miño. Frankly – as in all language wars - it’s safer to be pragmatic about all this and to proffer a view consistent with the place in which you’re standing.

The Catalan bank caught giving interest holidays to two local political parties says it’s not at all unusual for banks to give preferential treatment to entities which work for the public good or social causes. This, of course, would cover an awful lot of organisations who would, if they sought it, surely be denied such largesse. Me, for example. So the bank’s contention has rightly been dismissed as specious nonsense.

The opposition party has accused the President of having a secret meeting with the head of the EU Commission so as to agree Spain will soften its grant demands in the imminent budgetary bun fight. The quid pro quo, it’s claimed, is a decision by Brussels to stay out of a Spanish takeover battle in the utilities area. Strangely, this also involves a Catalan organisation. I suspect there’s not a lot of hard evidence for this accusation but one can hardly blame the Spanish for being major conspiracy thinkers when they’re constantly hearing of such deals as that mentioned in the previous paragraph. Especially when the government seems to be in hock to the Catalan coalition whose support was critical for them in the last elections.

For new readers – If you’ve arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, you might find my non-commercial guides interesting – at


Anonymous said...

'to proffer a view consistent with the place in which you’re standing.'
What an excellent concept form maintaining equanimity. I wish I could adopt it.
Captain Rick

trevor@k'alebeul said...

Yep, Madrid's said it will all the extra translation bills. The good news for taxpayers is that Euromosaic says that there are 60 other linguistic minorities out there with a reasonable case.

Anonymous said...

Oi Colin, o galego e o português são a mesma língua, o que se passa é que as falas populares na Galiza estão castelhanizadas mas a forma culta da língua é o português padrão.

Galizan was not spoken for firs time whit Tourino, but whit two galizan ex-euro-representatives, Jose Posadas and Camilo Nogueira that always speaked in Galizan, and so, they were translated by portuguese traductors whit no problem at all... because Galizan is not a dialect of Spain but portuguese language as it is spoken in Galiza Country. Tourino really speaks some kind of freak spanish-galizan mix...

U can find more info at: here

Yeah, all war languages are complicated but always there is some who have the reason and some who does not. I'm galizan, myself, and I have no problem in confirming my language is galizan, and so, it's portuguese, how can it be another one or one different? No way


Merry xmas, anyway

Em Galiza e Portugal, falamos igual
Em Galiza e Portugal, falamos igual
Galiza and Portugal, we speak the same.

João Carreira

Anonymous said...

First of all, my wife's father born in Galicia, near Ourense. Secondly, the real name of the language is Galician-Portuguese. Portuguese is a dialect, and I might ad a pretty poor one, of Galician. Portugal should give up the absurd notion that it should be an independent country and become a part of Greater Galicia. After all, the Portuguese have no history, no culture, no literature since Camoes, no art, no nothing. They could acquire something by osmosis by submitting themselves to the Galicians.