Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Spanish Government; Faithful weather; Great News; Galicia News; and Ponters Fire Pix.

The Formation of the Next Spanish Government: They say an important step was taken yesterday but I don't know what it was. Only that it will be at least another month before it leads to anything else. When we'll be 30 days closer to new elections in May. No one wants these except the outgoing administration, which insists – remarkably – that they'll go into these with the discredited Sr Rajoy still in charge of the ship.

Faith: The Archbishop of Barcelona has asked the faithful to pray for rain, putting me in mind of a Red Indian/Native American witch doctor doing a primitive dance. Surely the Almighty knows what's going to happen. Or is His/Her perspective on the future conditional? He knows it will rain in that area only if the people get down on their knees and ask him to make it happen? If so, though, he already knows whether they'll do this or not. So, if they don't, it's really their own fault and he's withholding rain until they ask him to do a favour. Is the weather in Barcelona really dependent on the people asking God to intervene and change it? Oh, I don't know; it's all too confusing. Make up your own mind. It's much easier being an atheist.

Excellent News: It's reported you'll be a happier person if you wend every day to the same cafe, bar or restaurant where they know your name. This, though, is not news to me, as my 2-3 hour midday tiffin in my favourite tapas bar is a crucial part of my day. Suffice to say I was greeted like the prodigal son on my return from the UK yesterday.

Galicia News:
  • Monday saw the inauguration of more and faster trains between our cities and Madrid. Twenty five minutes has been lopped off the journey and we're promised that another 35 will go 'later this year'. Taken together, these will finally make it quicker to go to the capital by train than by car. The earliest train is now 5.30am from Santiago. Though only 18 folk got up early enough on Monday to take the first opportunity to do this.
  • Readers living in Spain will know we've recently had the hard-to-understand case of a Santiago couple (eventually) convicted of murdering their adopted daughter. It was, if nothing else, a good example of how free the Spanish media is to say what the hell it likes before and during a trail. Anyway, here's the estimable Giles Tremlett of The Guardian giving a useful overview on the case in English. It's certainly answered one or two of my own questions.

Finally . . . Here are fotos of both sides of the fire in Pontevedra on Monday night. Remarkably, the flames didn't reach the wooden facades of the houses on either side in the old quarter. And, in the shoe shop outside the latter, they didn't reach the boxes of shoes stored above it. More importantly, no one was injured.

Linguistic Postscript: A couple of my 'friends' have taken exception to my claim that mentira means something other than 'lie'. Well, the Royal Academy gives these definitions:
  1. A statement contrary to what you know, think or feel.
  2. Something which isn't true.
  3. The act of lying
  4. Erratum/a in a manuscript or document.
  5. An interjection which vehemently rejects another's statement.
My claim that mentira means 'a mistake' is in respect of the 2nd (and perhaps the 5th) of these. The word is bandied about so much in Spain that, to me at least, it's clear it doesn't always suggest the person is lying. It sometimes means simply that what they're saying isn't true. Or that it's wrong. In other words, that the person is (unwittingly) mistaken. I rest my case.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Ay, some of these hardheaded know-it-alls who will not take Know for an answer….

I defy you to tell the next 10 Spaniards whom you hear making a mistake that what they just said is a 'mentira'.

When done, give us a rundown of their reactions.

NB: May I suggest you do not include any friends you wish to keep in the experiment?


Colin Davies said...

Send your comments to the Academy, not me.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

The word for 'Lie' is Mentira.

The word for 'Mistake' is Equivocacion.

Both are, by their nature, 'not true' (i.e. they do not reflect the factual state of affairs)

There is, however, a difference in intention. One is a deliberate attempt to fool another person. The other is unintentional, and one fools only oneself.

The Academy's definitions could certainly be sharper; but you are looking at the digital version of their dictionary, which is extremely pruned. I have no doubt that, were you to consult the larger work, you would find they do NOT mean 'a mere mistake' by that 2nd definition.

The 5th definition you give (the sixth on their website) is, by the way, the 'interjection' I proposed you use with friends when they inadvertently err in their perception of reality. Let us see if they take this as a mild correction or a barefaced affront…

The only one that COULD come close to 'mistake' is in fact the 4th, where it says 'error' (which is a synonym of 'mistake'). However, having seen many manuscripts and archive documents in my day, and read many comments on manuscripts and archive documents, I have NEVER encountered the word 'mentira' in the sense of 'mistake. If it was ever used that way, that must be a very long time ago, and extremely rare in the 21st century.

But feel free to disagree. I know you to be a Mentiroso, after all…


Colin Davies said...

I spoke to 2 well educated and intelliigent women this morning on this.

One was of a similar view to you. The other said that 'mentirosa' was not always an insult, that it didn't always mean a deliberate lie and the context and the tone would tell you if the accuser felt the speaker was being deliberately dishonest or had made a genuine mistake and was merely wrong in her belief.

But thanks for your vocab lecture. I wasn't aware there was a separate word for 'mistake' . . . . Never come acrose it. No one has ever accused me of making one . . . .

I trust you'll be writing oi the Academy to insist they correct their egrgious mistake/misimpression born of abbreviation.

Why does 'mentiroso' have a capital letter when you use it? Are you German? Or perhaps Dutch. I've long suspected you of not really being British.

It's the small things. I would put your English on the same level as my Dutch friend, Peter, in Santiago. Very high, though not quite as high as he thinks it is . . . . But still a decent cove. Usually.

If you are German or Dutch, it's you - of course - who's the 'mentiroso'.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

When I call you a Feckless Bastard, as I have from time to time, and as I surely will do again in the future, I do not mean to imply that you are a lazy good-for-nothing, nor that there was anything wrong with your parents' marital status, or your mother's sense of fidelity. I use the expression tongue-in-cheek, in a cheerful, unserious way, horse playing around.

It is in the same tone & context dependent sense that your second Interlocuteuse has been called a Mentirosa. However, anyone who called her so did not mean to call her a Great Mistaker. There are other words for that. Fool springs to mind. As it does whenever you provoke me to discuss these matters with you.

As for my nationality (which really seems to obsess you): I am a Citizen of the World. Yes, with a Capital!


Rodrigo González said...

A propósito de las oraciones o danzas para la lluvia cuenta se que unos paisanos pidieron al cura del pueblo sacar al santo en procesión, a ver si llegaba el agua. "Si queréis lo sacamos", contestó el digno varón, "pero para llover, no está".

Perry said...

This evasion of the truth by the Spanish probably harks back to Muslim times & Taqiyya & Kitman (lying by omission).

Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should be truthful to each other. But to the unbeliever "the infidels", it is a different story.

Search This Blog