Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 24.7.16

The Horrendous Santiago Rail crash: Three years on, no one except the driver has been prosecuted, no one has resigned, very few of the victims or relatives have received any of the payments due to them, and the government has said it can't possibly re-do an official investigation that Brussels rejected as 'inadequate'. Spanish justice? Oh, and the proper safety system has yet to be installed on the relevant, dangerous stretch of track.

Kamikaze Drivers: In Spain, these are people who drive the wrong way down the autopistas. We have quite a few of them in Galicia, the most famous being the chap in a wheelchair heading for a brothel. But a surprising entrant in this class of negligent driver this week was a young (North) American guy(un yanqui) who rode his motorbike some way down the AP9 that I mentioned yesterday. Without a helmet.

France: So the vast delays in Dover caused by the French putting only one man and his dog on border patrol has everything to do with the horror of Nice and nothing to do with Paris reacting to the Brexit development. Yes, of course. Why didn't I think of that?

The Internet in Galicia: Pontevedra is reported to be the place in the region with the best service. You can imagine how this statement was received by those of us who had to wait almost 16 years for Telefónica to give us more than half a mega of download speed.

Spanish: The Brexit has been called a spanner in the works of the world economy. This was translated in the media here as un palo en la rueda. Or a stick in the wheel. I always thought the Spanish for spanner was llave inglesa. Which would have made the comment rather pertinent/ironic. But perhaps a llave inglesa is only a monkey wrench. Maria?

Finally . . . Language: The thought occurred to me yesterday that it must have been extraordinarily difficult for the first humans who created language to talk to each other. Imagine, for example, how long it must have taken for the world's very first pedant to get this point across:-
I rather think you should have been using the subjunctive tense there.
And then how even more difficult it must have been for the world's second pedant to reply:-
And I think you'll find the subjunctive is a mood, not a tense.



Maria said...

I'm happy to try to dispel doubts! My husband refers to a monkey wrench as a "llave inglesa," so I believe that is the name in Spanish for any kind of adjustable wrench. What happens is that the Spanish idiom arose in a less industrialized context. To insert a large stick into the spokes of a wheel will eventually stop the carriage just as accurately as a spanner inserted into the gears of a machine will stop the machine. It's a small reflection of the history of industrialization in Europe.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Maria. I do wonder if wrench and spanner are US and Brit terms respectively. The adjustable spanner seems to be called a monkey wrench and then there are the fixed span spanners. Which presumably get their name from this aspect. Or is that too logical?

Ferrolano said...

Yes Colin, wrench US and spanner British, as also monkey wrench and adjustable spanner. If I'm not mistaken, the term "llave fija" is often used in Spanish for what in the UK would simply be referred to as a spanner, the only differentiation normally used would be; ring spanner or open ended spanner.

But going back to Brexit and llave inglesa - we can be rather adjustable or accommodating, when we want to be.......

As another side line, there is a book written by a friend in Ferrol, called "La Llave Inglesa" in this case, he is referring to the English as being "key" to a number of aspects of the development of Ferrol, in particular the ship building sector.

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