Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First Catalunia and now Scotland. There’s a new political party being formed there to defend the Union between Scotland and England, currently under threat from the Scottish Nationalist Party. The leader of the new entity – talking about the effects of devolution of power to the Scottish parliament – has commented - "Two-thirds of 14-year-olds fail national reading standards and half fail writing standards. One in four Scots work for the public sector. A crime is committed every 78 seconds. We have the highest infant mortality in the western world. A £20 billion subsidy from England keeps us afloat. We anticipated excellence. We have been offered only ineptitude." Given the opportunity, this is surely the direction in which our local ‘nationalist’ party [the BNG] would take us, with the added objective of ensuring no Galician kid spoke good Spanish.

Talking of language - I got lost in town yesterday trying to find a street called Cruz Roja, or Red Cross St. I was sure I knew where it was but the sign said Cruz Bermella. Asking in a shop, I learned this was Galician for Cruz Roja. And I got to wondering why ‘bermella’ was similar to ‘bermeja’, which I‘d come across down in Andalucia, meaning red. And then it struck me that the link must be the Latin root of the word ‘vermillion’ in English. Anyone got a better theory?

A 14 year old English boy has sailed across the Atlantic single-handedly, which is an astonishing feat. Commenting on it, one writer put her finger on the insanity in British society to which I occasionally allude - Michael is one of the lucky ones. Our risk-averse society denies so many children even the most benign of challenges. Activity holidays, camping trips, even school trips, are being phased out because of health and safety concerns. And parents - cheered on by no-win, no-fee lawyers - seek financial redress for the slightest mishaps to their offspring.

Galicia Facts

The interior of Galicia is continuing to lose its population. Clearly, not enough Brits are buying ruined houses up in the hills of Lugo and Ourense.

Finally - It seems that, no matter how much proof-reading one does of one’s own stuff, it’s never enough. Things always slip through. So, my apologies to those readers who got ‘Jack and Oliver’ in yesterday’s blog, when it should have been ‘Jack and Olivia’.


murcian said...

Just checked the sat-nav - has it as Rua Da Cruz Bermella (sorry can't do accents on my US English/Arabic keyboard).

However, for village names they use a mixture of castellano and gallego (or galego, if you prefer); so we have pobras and pueblas - all very confusing.

António said...

So many years living right here and you still don't know a fucking word about galizan language? what kind of actual facts are you going to tell if u get lost with simple phrases? it's just moron saying galizan nationalists (no brackets) want kids to forget any good spanish... they want them to learn proper galizan and also spanish (and english), so they don't get lost with the address of the Cruz Vermella

And what the fuck is "bermella"? It's "vermella" ("vermelha" in portuguese, same pronunciation) from Latin "vermiculus", sure you can find similar words on all the romance languages, e.g. bermejo in spanish although not exactly with the same meaning (Cruz Roja and not bermeja, in Spanish) and less used, but your intuition was right. In Galizan we also have "roxo" but it means violet and also red-haired people (but we used to call them "ruivos" not to be confused with the spanish "rubio" which in Galizan is "loiro"). Freaking, it isn't? Now, get you some Galizan lessons and you will be happier with your-self.

If brits have to come (for me, it's great), I just expect they to learn a little bit of Galizan culture and language and not to reproduce the spanish cultural domination system. Thank good their kids will have to learn Galizan at school.

Colin said...

Thank-you, Antonio, for a perfect example of the vitriol which all Galician 'nationalists' seem to feel a need for. Perhaps you'd now like to explain why [as Murcian says] the map shows the street name as Rua Da Cruz de Bermella, if you think the word Bermella doesn't exist. I may be wrong but I believe'Da'is Gallego for 'De la' so the poor ignorant local [BNG] council must have been trying to write in what you persist in calling Galizan. Perhaps they just can't spell as well as an expert like you. Or perhaps, like many people here, they get their Bs and their Vs mixed up, as they are pronounced the same. By the way, it's 'Thank God', not 'Thank good'. And 'moronic' not 'moron'. But I answer to either of them so don't worry too much.

MarkS said...

Hi Colin

I was listening to Radio 2 at lunchtime and some people were phoning in to complain that the parents of the boy who sailed the Atlantic should be prosecuted for allowing him to be out of school. They also claimed that his parents were just trying to glory in his middle class achievement. Others said that he had not achieved much since his father was following a mile or so behind in another boat so he wasn't really alone. THe British can be a spiteful and small-minded lot when they really try.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Galicians should figure out their own language before they try to torture others trying to figure it out.

Of course, I don't bother much with any language beyond - "beer", "wine", & "toilette"......

That includes my native english.


murcian said...

Further research - the other supplier of map data 'Tele Atlas', used by, calls it Calle de Cruz Roja (whilst adjacent streets are ruas)

See also:

also: from La Voz de Pontevedra 17/10/06 - "Os interesados en asistir poden inscribirse nas oficinas da Cruz Bermella, na calle Cruz Vermella,26, ou no teléfono 986852115(extensión 34)."

So take your pick!

Colin said...

Thanks, Murcian, for a perfect encapsulation of the problem. Or should I say Gracias, Graciñas y Grazas. The last one is the official one from the Galician Academy. Much used in the TV soap drama 'Pratos Combinados' [which needs Xunta money] but never actually heard on the street In any of the towns in any of the regions where they speak a different form of Gallego from the next one.