Saturday, October 18, 2014

Corruption again; English and Spanish; Bloody beggars; Internet in Galicia; Priests a-plenty; & Irishisms.

The two leading lights in the Black Bank Cards scandal have had bail bonds of €16m and €3m imposed. One of them is reported to have used the huge bank he headed - Caja Madrid - as a personal fiefdom. No one is terribly surprised. Corporate Caudillos are hardly rare here.

Talking of corruption . . . A group of 6 politicians in Galicia has been accused of setting up a multi-million fraud under which they siphoned off funds to ghost training companies full of equally spectral students. This scam is now so frequent, you wonder why such companies aren't treated as inherently suspect. The other notable aspect is how easy it is in Spain to get together 5 people as dishonest as you. "A country of low ethics", as one Spanish reader once said. Putting it mildly.

English/Spanish. The former says ' . . . with hardly any paper', while the latter says ' . . . without hardly any paper' (sin apenas papel). Of no great significance, I guess. Except that Spanish does seem to like double negatives.

Talking of Spanish . . . The Royal Academy yesterday published its latest dictionary, including such new words as: dron, hacker, affaire, wifi and tuit.

Summer Pests: I was amused to read that a beggar somewhere down south had a sign which said: "At least I don't inflict a bloody accordion on you". I knew exactly what he meant; last summer we had 7 accordionists doing the rounds of the old quarter all at the same time. Every night. With a very limited repertoire.

Why doesn't it surprise me to hear that Galicia has the highest number of residents without internet. We have a lot of mountain villages here. And a Telefónica which doesn't care much about customer unhappiness and is averse to spending money to improve things, even in coastal towns.

Being a convert, my Catholic younger daughter will have 5 or 6 priests at her November wedding. Mulling over how to refer to them in my speech, I thought the collective noun for prelates might be 'a parish'. Or perhaps 'a bar'.

Finally . . . I helped a couple of Irish ladies find somewhere to eat lunch yesterday by pointing out a nearby place to them. One asked if she could go to the toilet in the bar we were in and so I pointed out where it was. As they were leaving, she thanked me for allowing her to use 'your' toilet. And the other told me I spoke excellent English. Lovely ladies, en route from Vigo to Santiago.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

The better translation of Sin Apenas Papel would be 'practically without paper', I think. Which solves your implicated double negative.

As for the ecclesiastical presence at your dear daughter's wedding, would 'a pride of priests' not be a felicitous phrase? Or would they throw bell, book and candle at you?


Colin Davies said...

Maybe but perhaps you could help with an explanation of the (material) difference between 'practically /without no paper' and 'hardly any paper'. Personally, I can't slip a sheet of paper between them.

Priests are always humble, but arrogant. Which comes from listening to too many sins.

They can throw what they like at me. I've always wanted to attend an exorcism.

Jamie said...

On corruption, having just caught up on what's happening around the world this morning I came across this headline

"China rail official given death sentence for corruption"

from here:

The line that got me thinking was

"The court heard he used his position to help companies secure rail contracts."

That a Chinese official is handed a suspended death sentence for doing "illegal" activities that are culturally expected (and accepted?) of a Spanish official makes me wonder which country is the more socially advanced.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Oh, but I agree, dear fellow. Semantically, I think there is no difference at all between Hardly Any and Practically Without.

As for your desire to attend an exorcism: that is understandable, unless you are the demon to be exorcised, I'd say… Especially at your own daughter's wedding?

Your, Al.

Perry said...

Except that Spanish does seem to like double negatives.

I ain't done nothing guv'nor ??????

A murmuration of starlings, a scrum of nuns

& a pariah of priests, although a pandemonium of priests would probably be less inclined to lynch you.

And the other told me I spoke excellent English.

Arrggghhh. Davies has gone native.

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