Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spanish Properties 1 & 2; The general elections; Sp. troops for Mali?; & A mistake?

SPANISH PROPERTIES 1: Spain has the highest proportion of flat-dwellers in Europe, says The Local, with 67% of them living this way. This compares with only 20% in the UK. Not surprisingly, Spain also has the lowest number of house-dwellers in the EU. But the Spanish are unusual in that 80% own their own properties. Indeed, what the article doesn't say is that Spain also leads Europe in the ownership of second and third homes. Again, usually (inherited) flats. Quite remarkable for one of the EU's 'poorer' members.

SPANISH PROPERTIES 2: According to one of the country's main evaluation agencies, there are now 389,000 empty new houses throughout the country, with a bias towards the south and east coasts, of course. And then there's a God-only-knows number of 'old properties'. Despite this, prices are now rising again in those places where people actually want to live. Not in speculative new developments on the edge of Madrid or other cities, for example. And I know for a fact that Brits are once again buying rural properties here in Galicia, after many doldrum years.

THE LOOMING GENERAL ELECTION: The over 50s were going to get a letter about their future public pension but the government has vetoed this as it doesn't want them to know how low this will be. Nice. And they'll probably get away with this.

SPANISH TROOPS FOR MALI?: The Spanish President has said that M. Hollande hasn't called him to seek an answer to the question of whether Spain will renew its offer to replace French troops there. And that he doesn't expect a call until after the elections. I'll bet he doesn't, as he already knows the answer.

FINALLY . . . . A TRANSLITERATION MISTAKE??: Private Eye recently published this street-sign tribute to the IRA hunger striker in, I think, Tehran. If it really is Farsi, not Arabic, then I believe its says Barby Sarndz, not Bobby Sands. But I'm happy to be corrected. Not that it matters.

RECOMMENDATION: If you can get hold of The Sunday Times today, read the wonderful Comment article on a chap in Bolton who fooled the entire greedy, duplicitous art world for 40 years with his astonishing forgeries. If you hurry, you can even get a copy of his memoir, written in gaol. Where he really shouldn't be.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

I would be interested in an explanation how the Arabic letters in that street sign turn into Barby Sarndz if written in Farsi. After all: I see two identical 'b' signs in the first word, and nothing resembling an 'r' in the second either. Of course, if Arabic, it would also read Sandz, if we transliterate literally.


Colin Davies said...

Farsi uses Arabic letters. But hardly ever shows vowel sounds. One exception is the long A, which I've transliterated as 'AR', in English, if not in Dutch. Both words contain the long A sound.

Farsi - and probably Arabic letters - change their form depending on where they appear in the word. Most of them have 4 forms:-
Middle joined
Middle unjoined
End joined/unjoined

Simply looking for repetions doesn't work as the same letter may be joined or unjoined in 2 different words

These 2 words are literally BABI and SANDZ. You can use whatever symbol you like for the long A (or AA)

Stick to hydroglyphics Mr M.

FRANCIS BACON: "Beware the man who speaks what he know, for he will also talk what he knows not".

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I read Arabic, you dunce! What I was questioning is your inclusion of the 'r' sound where there is none written. For all I know this may be the correct way in Farsi, but then just say so!


Bill said...

From that typescript in Arabic/Farsi it is impossible to say in which language it is written, but the transliteration of the words is "baabee saandz"; there is no 'r'.

Now, if his name had included a 'p', it would have been possible to differentiate because this letter does not exist in arabic, but does in farsi.

However the word for "street" in the top right corner is shown as kheeaabaan - this is definitely farsi and indeed there is no word in arabic using that combination of letters.

The other word in the bottom right corner does have a meaning in both languages, as district or zone, and can be transliterated at minTaqa

Colin Davies said...

@Bill. Yes, i knew it said Khiaban, as it used to be written. And, of course, I knew there a no R. See above. The AR combination was for the benefit on English natives, who don't pronounce the R in, say, car. I could also have used Ā but wasn't sure it would be understood.

Bill said...

Transliteration from one script to another is always a matter of judgement, but does affect the accuracy of pronunciation for those not familiar with the word as spoken in the original language. Although the international phonetic alphabet gives in general the most accurate results, few people other than lexicographers understand what all the symbols mean - I try to use a happy medium ;) But of course the summary is that there was no error of transliteration by whomever designed that sign as suggested in your blog article.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Thank you boys. Between the two of you you've clarified every doubt I had.


Colin Davies said...

There should be a comma between 'you' and 'boys'. At least for sticklers such as you, Alfie.

I replied to Bill yesterday but it doesn't seem to have been posted. Will try to send again.

Colin Davies said...

I'm a bit confused by your latest comment, Bill. The vertical line is, I thought, the long. Without it, we'd have to read the word as Beby or Boby. Perhaps that's why it's there. If the word was to be Booby/Bubym then the U would appear. This would also pronunciation as a V.

Witness my driving licence for DEVIL COLIN DAVIES, because the transcriber used the U/V letter but carelessly wrote the final D and someone else then transcribed it back as an L.

Colin Davies said...

the long A.

God knows how this disappeared . . .

Colin Davies said...

And . . .Buby,

And . . . would allow pronunciation

It's still early in the day.

Bill said...

Sorry, I'd not seen your further comments 'til now. In arabic (not sure about farsi) there are really only three vowels (long and short a, long and short i/ee, long and short u), there is no real equivalent of 'o' as in Bobby. I think the reason long vowels are often used with foreign words (such as 'Bobby') is to give native readers some clue as to how they might be pronounced approximately; with native words the context would generally make the pronunciation obvious. In ordinary arabic script the short vowels are rarely shown (for example in newspapers, etc), whereas in more formal script, for example in the Quran (but not only there), all the vowels and other 'diacriticals' will be shown. For example, my own surname 'Cameron' is not really directly transliterable into arabic, so would generally be written a kameroon (in arabic script obviously, with a long 'wow' (or 'uau') letter for the 'u' or 'oo' sound - of course the 'o' sound in Bobby and Cameron is the same, but one would generally adopt the 'a' sound in arabic, the other the 'u' sound, but as they are foreign words it's probably only a matter of convention.

Bill said...

Oh, I forgot to deal with your specific question. The vertical stroke is the long 'a' or 'alif'. A short 'a' would be shown like an acute accent in French, above the letter. A short 'i' would be shown as a similar acute accent below the letter. A short 'u' would be shown as similar to a comma, above the letter. All the short vowels are rarely printed in informal script (i.e. in newspapers), but they are usually shown in more formal script.

Like a long 'a' or 'alif', the long 'i' and long 'u' are actual letters and are always printed in script, formal or informal - I think this is why they are commonly used to give guidance on the pronunciation of foreign words transliterated into arabic/farsi.

Bill said...

PS/ The vertical stroke of the long 'a' or 'alif' looks a bit like the letter 'l' (small 'L'), but the long 'a' can only be linked to an earlier letter, not to a following letter, whereas the 'l' can be linked to both earlier and following letters.

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Bill. Your comments were so apposite that, like New York, I got each of them twice.

As far as I can tell, Persian practice is almost identical to that of Arabic. But I never saw the formal form (with diacretics) except in the Koran, which is in Arabic, of course. There is a section at the end of my now ancient Persian Grammar which deals with Arabic but I've only glanced at it up to now.

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