Friday, February 23, 2007

The Spanish are regularly polled on, inter alia, the things that worry them most. I guess it was to be expected that, after the ETA bombs at Madrid airport in December, Terrorism would return to the top of the list.

In a second, equally unsurprising poll, it’s revealed that 57% of Spaniards don’t trust other people. Interestingly, this percentage rises with age. This same poll says the things highly rated by the Spanish are, in descending order:- the family; work; friends; free time; ‘associations’; clubs/similar activities [surely not meaning brothels here]; religion; and politics. The sexes are generally similar in their preferences, but with men rating politics above religion and women preferring religion to associations and politics.

A third survey confirms what a glance round any bar would tell you – young women here take up smoking earlier and then smoke more than young men. As you’d guess, they believe it keeps them thin.

The Spanish media rightly gives a great deal of attention to the ever-increasing problem of what is called here ‘gender violence’. In 2006, there were 77 women killed by their current or ex partner, sometimes in ways as horrendous as throat-cutting. In the past, I’ve speculated this was no worse than in, say, the UK. But, in fact, the 2006 total is 10% above the pro rata number of 70. Worryingly, 20% of Spanish doctors are said to regard domestic violence as a private affair and to be unwilling to enquire about injuries to their patients.

Galicia Facts

Auto de Fe: I have a couple of corrections to make:-

1. The Lenten immolation of Pontevedra’s parrot, Ravachol, will not take place on Good Friday but tonight. Let’s hope the rain lets up.

2. Telefonica will not be charging my friend a 50% premium for her ADSL line. It will be 100%. In other words, the already high price of 20 euros a month for 1 Mb will be 40 euros. I’d love to hear an explanation for this from Telefonica’s Consumer Relations department, if indeed they have one. I suspect that, like Ryanair, they only have a Customer Claims department. Staffed by professional liars.

Plans have been announced for the high speed train link [the AVE] between Vigo and Portugal. This will involve 2 tunnels – one more than 6km long – and it will all be completed by 2013. Perhaps.

At last some good news for Xoan Carlos in this blog – the 3 main political parties here have agreed that, as of the next educational year, at least 50% of classes in all schools will be taught in Gallego. This compares with around 30% at the moment. For those with an interest, here are some details:-

- This will apply to all schools - public, private and grant-assisted [Catholic].

- All teaching will come under this law – primary, secondary, Baccalaureate, adult education and ‘professional training’.

- In primary schools, teachers will use the maternal language of the pupils but will try to ensure they acquire verbal and written capability in the other co-official language. But speakers of Spanish will not be taught to read and write in Gallego ahead of Spanish

- In secondary schools, the subjects to be taught in Gallego will be Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Geography and History, Maths and Citizenship.

- For adult education, the initial requirement will be 50%, rising to 100% for secondary and Baccalaureate studies.

- The implementation of the law will be overseen by a team for the ‘normalisation and invigoration of the language’. The estimated cost of this will be 1.4m euros in the first year, ‘rising with the necessary training of teachers’.

Ever the cynic, I fear there will be many slips betwixt cup and lip.

And I still sympathise for the poor kids who speak [shall we say 'traditional'] Gallego at home and then are taught in not just one but two different languages at school. However bloody 'similar'.

Meanwhile, I need to check out how my piano lessons – already burdened by an Argentinean accent – will be affected.


Xoan-Carlos said...


It should be mentioned that these new levels represent the implementation of recommendations made 3 years ago when the PP where still governing and it is very unlikely that they'll be practically enforceable (Spanish speaking teachers will just switch to Galician whenever an inspector is in the building) or that they'll create a harmonious bilingual environment, let alone one in which the Galician-speaking majority aren't stigmatised for using their language.

Also, the legislation fails to cover University education -- so students have got as good a chance of having lectures in Galician in Wales as they have on some Galician university courses (see

murcian said...

Given your admiration for the staff of "El Corte Inglés", I thought you may be interested in the training procedures for the staff being recruited for their new store in Elche (or Elx if you are into valenciano).

"The application and recruitment process is extremely thorough. Initially, those interested in working for El Corte Ingles will have to request their application forms from special office set up specifically for this purpose and installed in the Valencian Service of Use and Formation (SERVEF)....They will have to provide a current photograph and a copy of their D.N.I. alternatively they can apply in the first instance via the web page 'Infojobs'. Most of the 8,000 applications received so far have come from the Elche area but also from some of the surrounding areas such as Santa Pola, Crevillente and Alicante. El Corte Ingles are aiming to recruit approximately 750 personnel for the store and a further 150 people for positions within the cleaning and security teams for example. It is a wonderful opportunity for those seeking employment and the training is recognised as some of the best in the industry. Positions will be highly contested.The selection process for employees is complex and thorough as follows; First will be the collection of all application forms from SERVEF which will be followed by initial group interviews and an individual psychometric profile test.

Those who succeed in this first phase will proceed to a personal interview with a member of the selection team. The applicants selected at this point will move on to further group meetings and a second personal interview. The successful applicants will then commence extensive training at classrooms installed within the SERVEF of Elche. Finally completion of training will take place on the 'front line' at stores in Alicante, Valencia and Murcia. El Corte Ingles are aiming to start the first training course by Monday the 9th of April and these will be charcutería, pescadería, frutería and waiting staff. The courses will begin in Elche and finalize in Madrid. Sales people will commence training in April and conclude in September. The training is thorough and will encompass 82 courses, 66 of which are generic and 16 for specific areas such as controls. There will be a total of 9,960 hours of training, 6,120 will be theoretical, 3,040 practical and 800 hours for controls. Next time you are shopping at El Corte Ingles, take a moment to consider what an up-hill battle the staff has had to be employed there and how deserving they are of their positions. It is hoped that the new El Corte Ingles in Elche will be opening its doors for business between October and November, in plenty of time for the Christmas rush."

No mention of when they learn to have that bored, uninterested look!

Colin said...

Thanks, Murcian.

I wonder if, during this 9,960 hours of training, they will ever be told 'Always remember - The customer is more important than you.' . . .

Anonymous said...

This sounds like very good news for the galician language, though I do not agree with the galego toutch at the school.


It is hard to please you, isnt it?

There are classes in galego at the university in Galiza, but just in certain linguistic (languages) degrees. Some lectures are also taken in galego if the teacher feels like it. So perhaps, a further step in the chain would be to implement a percentage of galego lectures at all the galician universities. But little bu little dont want to go from black to white in 10 years!

Anonymous said...


a present for you which I found online by chance.

Hope you like it!

Colin said...


Yes, you are hard to please.

So, this is your chance - If you were given the power to implement all the Gallego-fostering measures you wanted, what would these be?
Primary School
Secondary School
Adult Education centres

On the coast
In the mountains

Where Spanish is the majority language
Where Gallego is the majority language

And, if the kids attending kindergarten up in the hills are only to speak Gallego, will this be the variant they speak at home? Or will it be what you've called, I think, Received Gallego? In other words, will they be learning a second [albeit very similar] language at 3? Or will you go easy on them until they get to primary school?

Ulixes said...

And I still sympathise for the poor kids who speak Cockney [or whatever these little bastards around here speak] at home and in the street and then are taught in "proper English" at school. However bloody 'similar' the two languages are.