Saturday, April 11, 2015

Racism in the UK; Pronunciation; The AVE in Galicia; Driving in Spain; Time; Maudlin mood; & A new word.

There's naturally anger here about the young Spanish couple who were attacked by a gang of yobs in York for being 'foreigners'. I'm also concerned that the local police say they're treating this as "racially motivated", as if the Spanish were of a different race than the British. What is was, of course, was a xenophobic attack. The way things are going in the UK, Scousers who criticise Mancs will soon be arrestable for 'racism'. Which is a concern for me as my younger daughter married one of the latter.

From time to time I'm asked where the stress comes in an English word. 'Controversy', for example. I usually say it's a question of British or American usage and it doesn't really matter. But I do hope a new problem wasn't created by a Sky TV newscaster this morning, when she pronounced 'contents' with the stress on the 2nd syllable. (I've just heard her say that 'members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death for murder in an Egyptian court' but I doubt this is what she meant.)

At last we have the AVE high-speed train in Galicia, running all the way from La Coruña down through Pontevedra to Vigo. And doing it in just about the same time as you can drive it. This has got people optimistic about the link between Galicia and Madrid being open within the next year. But I'm still betting on 2018 at the very earliest. There's still some big tunnels to be drilled.

Talking of going by car . . . If you're driving in Spain, here's advice on all the documents you'd be well advised to have in the car.

Needing to check my watch last night, I wandered from bar to bar and from pizza restaurant to Burger King, trying to find a clock. None to be seen. I wonder what this says, if anything, about the Spanish attitude to time.

Finally . . . I had this conversation with the President of the English Speaking Society last night:-
Colin, are you familiar with the expression 'maudlin mood'?
Yes. It means, for example, being sadly sentimental, possibly when you've had too much to drink.
And you wake up with an erection?
No. Not at all.
Well, look. That's what it says in this online dictionary.
Oh. You were asking about 'morning wood'!?

Which sort of reminds me of a new word heard yesterday during a podcast on the poet/poetess Sappho - 'Tribadism'. But I'll leave you to look that one up.


Bill said...

I suspect most people carry a mobile phone or smartphone around with them whenever they are out of the home (I certainly have for at least the last 15 years) and that will provide an accurate time-check wherever you happen to be. I'm of an age where I still wear a watch when out too (always removed when I'm at home though), but I think many younger people don't do this as they rely upon their smartphones. No need for most of us to go from bar to bar to check the time, unless you actually want a drink or a coffee of course ;)

Anthea said...

Controversy: I say it with the stress on the second syllable. Phil has been telling me for ore years than i care to say that this is wring and that the stress falls on the third. Tell your Spanish friends not to worry.
I get more concerned about news readers who pronounce "wonder" as if it were "wander". Now, that is just wrong. No controversy about it.

Colin Davies said...

@Bill: Yes, my phone has the time on it too - eventhough it's a dumbphone - but I'd left it at home.

@Anthea: I've heard the stress on the first and second syllables of controversy but never on the 3rd. Must get Phil to say it.