Friday, September 26, 2014

Psycho cyclists; Elision; TV English; Motoring in Portugal; Opus Dei; & Café carping.


On Porto's lovely beachfront of Foz (English:Foz; Portuguese: Foshzz; Spanish: Foth) there's a wide strolling path and a decent sized cycling path. Cyclists, as is their right, whiz up and down the latter. Or the vast majority at least. But there's a small percentage of clowns who think it's fun to weave in and out of the pedestrians at full speed. We should all be licensed to shoot them. Or at least maim them with whatever comes to hand.

By the way . . . Elision is only supposed to occur in stress-timed languages such as English, German, Dutch and Russian. Whereas it's not supposed to occur in Romance languages, such as Spanish, which are syllable-timed. Portuguese seems to be an exception in that, though a Romance language, it's stress-based and abounds in elision.

Which reminds me . . . I'm guessing that, when native English speakers fail to understand those corporate strap-lines in English in Spanish TV adverts, it's because they're being spoken - with syllable timing - by a Spaniard who doesn't understand what he/she is saying. I hope Trevor of Kalebeul will correct me, if I'm wrong. Or that bloody know-all, Alfie Mittington.

My latest trip down into Portugal has endorsed my conviction they have a fondness here for (usually black) estate cars/station wagons. Still got no idea why. I've also noticed that, if you travel at 120kph, you'll be passed by many more drivers than in Spain these days. I assume the Portuguese government can't afford speed cameras every few miles and haven't yet imposed swingeing fines.

I'd guess that the secretive, far-right Catholic outfit, Opus Dei, is as strong down here in Portugal as it is in Spain. That said, it's reported to be losing power in the latter. Not before time, in a country in which only 13% of people attend Mass. Apparently, it doesn't fit alongside the current Pope's assertion that "The Church must end its obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful." A fatal papal accident, anyone?

I watched The Big Lebowski with my daughter this week. I think it says something about us that neither was embarrassed at the 271 uses of the the world fuck in the film's 117 minutes.

Finally . . . In one of the sea-front café-cum-bars in Foz there's a Zon-Fon Free internet. When you try to connect, it tells you how much you have to pay for the various packages. There's also an unsmiling waitress. Who, in a good example of the elision which makes aural Portuguese so difficult, told me the wi-fi password was praidouz. Except it isn't; it's praia da luz.

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