My thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the (civil!) discussion of Spanish suffix diminutives. The lesson to be drawn is exactly the one I started with – Don’t mess with them. But I have a couple of riders:-
1. Would you believe, the waitress in the café this morning smiled and just said “Un zumito?".
2. The one usage I felt I had understood was añitos. As in “Tiene ella 25 añitos.” I thought it meant she was a young 25. But now I’m sure it doesn’t.
3. I have heard horita here in Galicia. As in “Tienes esperar una horita”. Meaning three hours . . . Plus cafedito.
Anyone who moves in middle class circles here in Spain soon realises a couple of things about it that differentiate it from the same class of people back home. Firstly, every family has a maid, often full time. And, secondly, every family owns at least three properties. In this post, Charles Butler of IBEX Salad explores this latter phenomenon but I wonder whether there isn’t an additional factor. It’s easier - and more sensible - to keep hold of properties you’ve inherited if no one in the family has ever moved more than a few miles from where they were born.
Talking of people who do or don’t move away from their birthplace . . . I’ve now read that there are more than 700,000 Brits in Spain. Or more than three times the official number. This would put us at least equal with the Rumanians, after the Moroccans at 800,000. Time we were allowed to vote in proper elections.
Generally speaking, I’m a fan of Google. But I’ve possibly indicated a degree of consternation that, despite all my effort (and hits which passed 200,000 today), this blog is very rarely cited in Google Alerts for Galicia. So imagine how I felt yesterday to see that Graeme of South of Watford had been cited for the first bloody mention of the place he’s ever made.
Talking to one of my Spanish friends about the mess caused by public works in Pontevedra, I said that it was all thanks to Government investment under the label Plan E. “You mean Plan J”, he replied. “For Jodido”. This project has, of course, further enriched the developers who pocketed squillions during our phoney property boom. So, it was good to read today that many thousands of the labourers working here in Galicia are brought (legally) from nearby Portugal on contracts which involve them working for very long hours for very little pay. It’s almost enough to make a socialist of me.
Finally, I read an article today in which the internet was accused of creating ‘echo chambers of extreme ideas’. Where “neither reason nor persuasion can drive people away from certain kinds of lie”. As it happens, I’d just visited the blogs I follow and noticed that one or two of them are now infected by the Cade virus. This is virulent but weak. And so easily blocked. The funny thing is that, when you do this, it then turns on itself by creating its own blog and inundating this with its own self-important comments. Which are clearly computer generated, as no human could come up with the tripe that ensues. As if this were not enough, it then creates a secondary virus – which it calls Alex – to infest its own comments with thoughts of an even greater tripe-ness. A perpetual tripe chain, if you like. But it’s not all bad news. There’s a major beneficial aspect to the virus. It’s programmed to visit the original target site every few minutes to check whether the writer has referred to it. Which then prompts another round of machine-generated bilge. Meanwhile doing wonders for the target site’s readership numbers.
Because of its habit of folding back into itself by building on its own posts and comments thereon, the virus also goes under the name reintegrista. And herein lies the true genius of the person behind it. The virus is exquisitely time-limited. Eventually it just disappears up its own backside. Could it be unique in its multi-faceted benevolence? Not to mention its idiocy.
Anyway, if you have a half hour to spare, I urge you to visit one of the virus’s home sites and the comments thereto. It should have you in tears within a few minutes. Though you might want to leave things until the automaton makes its knee-jerk response to these mentions of its name here.