Prices in the best segments of the Spanish property market are said to be now on the rise. In contrast, those in the worst segments are still falling. Especially if they’ve been taken onto the books of banks in lieu of loan repayments. It’s also reported that construction has virtually ground to a halt. Well, all I can say is that I can take you to at least ten sites in Pontevedra city where work is proceeding on large blocks of flats. Indeed, on one or two of these, work is only just beginning. My guess is that – Spanish lead times being as long as they are - these are the smarter developers with access to cash who plan to bring properties onto the market in 3+ years’ time, when it has picked up. But maybe I’m being too charitable.
When you’re learning Spanish, the advice on suffixes (illo and ito in Spanish and iño in Gallego) is generally Don’t experiment with them; wait to learn over time which words take them and which don’t. I’ve thought of this every time I’ve ordered a clara (shandy) or a caña (beer) and the response has been “Una clarita?” or “Una cañita?” And also when I’ve ordered a clarita or a cañita and the reply has been “Una clara?” or “Una caña”. I’ve often wondered whether the waiter or waitress was just taking the piss. But confusion has now reached maximum levels since I started to order a fresh orange juice instead of a second coffee in the wi-fi café of a morning. Thinking I would shortcut the conversation “Me pones un zumo de naranja natural, por favor”. . .“Vale. ¿Pequeño o grande?” . . . “Pequeño”, I took to saying “Me pones un zumito de naranja natural, por favor.” But I was still asked whether I wanted it small or large. Talking to a Spanish friend about this today, she explained it was merely fashionable to add the suffix these days and so it was not a reliable indicator of small size. But I’d be interested in non-Pontevedra views on this. Prior to which I’ll just add that I heard “Un descafeinadito” yesterday. I think.
I asked the same lady friend whether it was true, as claimed in a letter to one of the local papers this week, that there’d been oral tests for many years in the region’s Schools of Languages. Apparently, someone had suggested it would be a good idea to introduce them. Presumably because – like me – they’d seen little evidence the pupils were actually taught to speak English, for example. My Galician friends at dinner on Friday night had confirmed that the emphasis was still primarily on grammar and my lady friend duly put the seal on this by adding that, yes, there was indeed an oral test at the end of her course but she’d been the only one to pass it.
And still on the subject of languages . . . I came across a new Spanish word today – cibertonto. Which is probably best translated as ‘net-nut’, though with only half the number of syllables. It seems like a useful word to keep in reserve, as you never know when you’ll need it. On the other hand . . .
Finally . . . Can anyone tell me why it takes so long to download the documentary podcasts from Radio Spain? Is it because of constant – and, to my mind, unnecessary – dramatic sounds and music that always accompany the speech?
And does anyone know how to solve the problem of a misbehaving labelling function in Gmail?