Thursday, October 11, 2007

During a recent dialogue in the Comments to this blog, there was a valid reference to the inevitability of stereotypes, both Spanish and British. In this contest of nonsense, I fear the Spanish come off worse. This is mainly because even the UK’s serious press is more superficial and sensationlist than the heavy spanish papers such as El Mundo and El Pais. In these, there is almost daily coverage of UK affairs, involving little by way of trivia. In contrast, the Daily Telegraph, for example, rarely comments on matters Spanish. Today, though, it gives two mentions. The first is to the imminent Law of Historic Memory, which - controversially - addresses the validity of judicial decisions during the Franco era, as well as offering measures to help people obtain data about relatives killed during and after the Civil War. Fair enough. But the second is a brief piece about a cruel fiesta along the coast which involves swimmers tearing apart specially reared ducks. Now this, of course, is dreadful but it’s hardly representative of modern Spain. And it merely serves to further the grossly outdated image of a people who revel in killing bulls, beating donkeys and chucking goats off church steeples. OK, the report centres on a court decision to ban this event but I still regard it as bad as Spanish papers furthering the image - thanks to the McCann case - that Brits are uncaring about their kids simply because they’d rather dine without them. By the way, this is a different issue from the one of leaving them alone when you go out. So, please, no rants about this - or any other - aspect of the McCann case. The norm is to leave your kids with a [handosmely paid] babysitter. British grandmothers are not the soft touch their Spanish counterparts are. If I may be forgiven a bit of two-way stereotyping . . .

Tecnocasa has become the latest big-name victim of the crisis in the Spanish real estate sector and has announced the closure of 145 offices. And the next . . . ?

Finally . . . My elder daughter, Faye, is now writing for Notes from Madrid. Click here to see her opinion of the Pub Prada. I don’t know where she gets her acerbicness from. She should watch her back. Meanwhile, I have it on good authority she doesn't want to hear from El Lusitano.

12 comments:

moskva19 said...

Colin,
During my lengthy stay in the UK, I got so used to this sort of treatment - generally speaking - that after a while I guess I took for granted. And of course, it is not only reserved for Spaniards. The fact of the matter is that some of your blog-commentators do not realise that being the target of the sort of facetitious foreigner-hating banter - that plays such a central role in British humour - could be actually construed as a mark of distinction, almost to be taken as a badge of honour. Political correctness determines that you hardly ever get to hear disrespectful comments -no matter how tongue-in-cheek - about blacks, jews, arabs, chinese and others. But, hey, there is free range for Germans, French, Americans, Italians, Australians, and Spaniards (and well deserved it is). I get Top Gear sometimes on Russian TV. It's my little masochistic treat.
Moskva

Luis said...

I think El Lusitano has made a couple of good points.

It is true he's a bit arrogant, but Colin is a bit arrogant too and nobody complains.


Regardin the "j" issue, Duardón, the Galician "gheada" is a completely different thing. The "gheada" is a different phoneme from the Spanish "j" (/x/) and the origin is also completely different. By no means it is an influence from Spanish in Galician.

For example "gratis" is pronounced /gratis/ in Spanish, but with gheada in Galician (sorry I don't have the symbol for the phoneme). The prountiation in Western Galician is exactly the same as in Dutch. Which doesn't mean that Galician is influenced by Dutch or vice-versa. Just that a particular phoneme evolved in the same in both languages.

Luis said...

Why is not political correct to make jokes abouth Chinese people and it is fine to make them about Spaniards?

Duardón de Albaredo said...

Luis, yes, I know it is different. I am a Galician speaker. It's true that the sound of both "j" are different. The Spanish sound is "short", the Galician is more "long". When one of my uncles (from Coruña province) says "ajua" ("auga" in other parts of Galicia or "agua" in Spanish) it's like he was saying "ajjjua". Or "chejjjaron" [arrastran la jota. La castellana es como más seca, vamos].

Anyway, I was not implying that the Galician "j" was an influence of castillian. Only that it exists in some zones of Galicia.

luis said...

Duardón,

Yes, I understood what you meant, I was just clarifying because people could misunderstand it.

Anyway, I'm shocked by your description of the "gheada", because only in a very small area is pronounced as you describe. Where is your uncle from?

Duardón de Albaredo said...

Arteixo, if I remember correctly. You think the sound I am describing is not the correct one? Maybe he does exagerate that pronounciation, I don't know.

Luis said...

I'm afraid it is not. But, of course, I cannot say how your uncle pronounces it!!

I guess the main difference is that the "gheada" is, in general, pharingeal, while the Spanish "j" (/x/) is velar.

Where are you from, anyway?

Maria said...

I agree with your approach to the attitudes of British newspapers, but I am glad that Spain is put in the map, from time to time, even if it is calling attention to the duck fiesta, specially as it refers to the end of the game, which I honestly think would both attract readers and please them too, in particular those who live or take holidays in the area. It is a very interesting subject. Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain (which were known in UE terms as the PIGS) never liked the approach of the Union to them, but then to be fair what is the attitude of Spanish people to the new arrivals? Like Luther King, I had a dream: that humans would one day become so evolved that they would see humankind as a whole and stop dividing people into "we" the goodies and "them" the not-so-good. Alas it is not meant to happen. At least not for thousands of years of further evolution, perhaps. The famous Stanton experiment, which can be found all over the net(including a YouTube video), and many other studies, show that it is inherent to human behaviour and has its roots in our primitive past.

I feel that the "anything you can do I can do better" human approach works also for the attitude to children and grandmothers in Spain. But now, seriously, would that "soft touch" bear scrutiny?

Duardón de Albaredo said...

Luis, I got it wrong, sorry. My uncle and aunt had a house in Arteixo, that's why I always make this mistake. But he is from Cerceda, sorry. My parents are from Navia de Suarna and Cervantes, in Lugo, next to Asturias and Bierzo.

Ah, the Spanish abused grandmothers... The problem is a) kindergartens are very expensive and b) the state or local governments do NOT help that much (when you see EU statistics, Spain is usually on the queue on these issues; now of course the situation may change, because of the arrival of the Eastern European states, but it is a cosmetic change). I suspect this is not true for the UK, ergo grandmothers are quite spared ;)

Just like the famous "sons/daughters stay at home"... Of course, why aren't they leaving before? The 70% of their salary would go to the rent... then they have an amazing 30% left. Now they can buy lots of food, clothes, pay telephone, electricity, etc. ;)

Luis said...

I'm sure you will not approve this comment, but I am very disappointed to see the name of "Duardón de Albaredo" stolen.

This kind of behaviour is a great shame.

Duardón de Albaredo said...

"Stolen"? What are you talking about? The authentic Duardón (a.k.a. Duardo, his real name, but since his son's name is Duardo as well, we have to make the difference somehow: Duardón & Duardín, which is just fine...) does not even know what the Internet is (he is almost 90 year old and still works as hard as a 20 year old persona)) so I don't think he'll be complaining that much. And we are somehow relatives. His wife (93) and my grandfather were cousins or something like that. He possibly is the most weird bloke in our parish (no one is able to remember how many dogs and cats he "finished" in his whole life), and that is indeed an exploit, since we have quite many weirdos over here...

Anonymous said...

The spanish abused grandmothers