Monday, January 26, 2009

I feel a little better today, if only because the rain has let up and some British columnists are beginning to query the view that the UK is going down the toilet pan. Some even think the government’s policies are now right for the crisis, even if badly received because they were overshadowed by the news of the appalling losses in the Royal Bank of Scotland. Or the Royal Bank of British Taxpayers, as it should now be called. Other commentators insist it’s an exaggeration to say that private individuals and companies in Britain have vastly increased their debt burden. The truth is “The really dramatic increase in debt burdens has taken place within the financial sector, meaning that the necessary unwinding of balance sheets can take place primarily within this sector without restricting lending to the ‘real' economy.” So that’s alright then. The credit crunch is virtually over. We can all sleep easier now.

I guess we all know that language and pronunciation change over time but it struck me today that these three have all taken place within my own lifetime:-
Spanish – Throughout Spain [I’m told] the double L is no longer pronounced as LY but only as a Y
French – The R sound [I’m told] is no longer pronounced gutturally as it was by Edith Piaf in Je ne regrette rien.
English: No one under 40 pronounces hospital, battle, total, beetle, etc. like folk of my generation.
Anyone got any more?

I promised to give you an opinion on the humorous magazine El Extinto I picked up in Madrid last week. Well, if you’re around 14 and are likely to find funny a cartoon in which the characters are male and female genitalia and an anus, then this is certainly the rag for you. Otherwise, probably not. Though I did learn that jodido and jodiendo are not the same thing.

One of the things I’ve moaned about over the years is the practice of [some] Spaniards to arrive up to 45 minutes late for a performance you’re watching. Checking the time of the film down at the CaixaGalicia cultural centre tomorrow night, I noticed that the leaflet warned no one will be allowed in after the film has started. Well, we will see.

I started on Hugh Thomas’s Rivers of Gold today, about the Spanish conquest of South America. Turning to the index, I was saddened to find no reference to Christopher Columbus’s birth here in my barrio of Poio, outside Pontevedra. There is mention that one of his ships was called the Gallega but this is not enough to restore my confidence in the accuracy of the work. And I will now read its 600-odd pages with a degree of scepticism.

I went up to our house in the hills yesterday, to see whether any of the oak trees which frame it had been brought down onto the roof by the weekend’s gales. Happily not. So I took the opportunity to have another go at removing the trillions of leaves from the gutters. My last attempt, a couple of weeks ago, had been thwarted by the fact they were stuck in solid ice. This time, though, there was only water, albeit freezing bloody cold water. So I was rather relieved when, first, a hail storm and, then, lashing rain forced me down from the ladder and into my car for the return trip to Poio. Not much sun in Sunday.

Which is all a neat[?] lead-in to an announcement that we’re letting our this wonderful place April to September. So, if you’re thinking about a holiday in Galicia or want a base from which to search for a property of your own, write to me on colindavies@terra.es for a copy of the details I’m about to write up.

2 comments:

Xoán-Wahn said...

There's also an interesting shift in the pronunciation of the syllable final 's' in Spanish words that is quite common in the south of the country (as well as pretty much all of South America) and is moving its way north rather quickly. I've heard many people from all over Spain aspirate the 's' as though it were an English 'h', especially when speaking quickly so that "estoy sacando las cosas" comes off more like "eh-toy sacando lah cosah."

Colin said...

Many thanks, X-W

Yes, I've noticed this. Also the Andalucian/Portuguese transformation of words like 'encantado' into 'encantao'.

Strangely, I thought I'd seen a reference to "aspirate S's" in English only the other day. As in this conversation:-
There is only one aspirate S in English - sugar.
Are you sure?

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