Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All of us Brits who live in Spain are acutely aware of how even large Spanish companies – as in this case – decline to have native speakers check their English adverts and brochures. Indeed, some of us are aware of the reluctance to use them even when their services are offered gratis.

The Spanish phrase riff-raff means row or argument. As in this sentence "It notes the riff-raff between Mourinho and Guardiola". Which clearly wasn't checked with a native speaker.

I trained back from Sheffield to Leeds on Monday night. This gave me the chance to observe that British trains are inferior to those in Spain, whereas the prices are double. This is the exact opposite of the situation with internet services. Which is odd as the train service in Spain is more of a monopoly than the latter. Government subsidies presumably.

Just in case you missed it, today has been the 16th annual International Noise Awareness Day. Bizarrely, I've unwittingly chosen this day to start suffering – hopefully temporarily – from tinnitus. But, anyway, the real reason for mentioning this is to express a lack of surprise that “75% of Spaniards live with excessive noise, with traffic and building work being the main offenders”. I was equally un-astonished to read that “The World Health Organisation says that Spaniards suffer noise at the workplace, overnight, and even during their leisure time”.

Well, thank God for the brilliance of little Lionel Messi, who scored two magnificent goals tonight, not long after my daughter had commented that the Real Madrid v. Barcelona game resembled a pantomime more than a football match. Certainly there were more theatricals on display than quality football. But at least the score was right.

Just before the game, one of the British commentators referred to 'Different styles, different cultures and different dialects.” Which rather ignores the fact that both Catalan and Castellano (Spanish) are languages, not dialects. Except in the sense that all languages are said to be dialects of earlier languages. Though I rather doubt this is what he meant.

Regular readers will recall that my faithful border collie, Ryan, died a couple of months ago, aged 17. Some may even remember that he was named, by my daughters, after Ryan Giggs, who has been playing for Manchester United for all that time and more. And who played magnificently in last night's one-sided match between United and some German team I've never heard of. As one commentator put it - “Ageless, almost peerless, Giggs continues to be the man for all seasons.” No wonder United's manager said that he wished he could play for ever. In Premier League terms, he already has, of course.

Finally . . . Another extract from Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue":-  "These are the Frisians, whose Germanic tongue has been so little altered by time that many of them can still read the medieval epic Beowulf  'almost at sight'"


Keefieboy said...

Well, tonight's game certainly contained a lot of the bad acting of which I am increasingly getting fed up. And several cases of what would be called common assault if they were to happen on the street. But the right team won, and the 2nd leg next week should be quite interesting.

Colin said...


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