Friday, June 20, 2014

A language burden; A language lacuna; Phoney language links; New dishes; & Lo-tech toilets.


Talking to the daughter of one of my neighbours today, I learned that Galician students not only have to take an extra subject for their university entrance exams - Gallego/Galician - but also suffer a dilution of their average mark because the exam is the toughest of all. In other words, they're a victim of the local language wars. She felt that the subject should be optional but the local nationalists are surely not going to accept that, as it's easy to predict the outcome. I guess the same thing goes on in Cataluña, though the command of Catalan is much greater there, I suspect.

Talking of languages . . . My recorded guide of the Burgos cathedral told me that Alfonso X ('The Wise') had written the Cantigas de Santa María in a "Romance language". In fact, this was Gallego and I, for one, can't understand why this was obscured. No doubt there are a few conspiracy theories around.

The teaching of English has soared here in Spain during the last few years, as people seek to improve their language skills in pursuit of employment. Inevitably, there's been a degree of fraud, with organisations falsely claiming links to Cambridge University, for example. Or guaranteeing you'll achieve a certain level in a hopelessly short period. In the latter case, they're almost certainly relying on the fact most people drop out of the course before it's finished. If not, the failure to achieve the promised level can always be blamed on the pupil's performance.

A few new items from the menus of our Camino:
Oreja de cordero - Lamb's ear
Asadurillas de cordero - Lamb entrails (I think)
Cigueño - Stork.

Heard on said Camino:-
Could I borrow some of your dental floss?
Exactly how does one borrow a bit of floss?

Finally . . . One of the hotels we stayed in on our camino was part of the HiTech group. I thought of this when I noticed that half of the flush-push on the top of the cistern was missing.

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