Whoever runs Fabirol‘s website tells us on a page re a museum near Zaragoza called La casa del gaitero, Bagpiper House in corporate speak, that in Aragon gaitero can be used to describe any popular musician. What would an equivalent lowest-common-denominator term be in the English-speaking world? “Artiste” misses the instrument component and, frequently, the truth; “catgut scraper” works only for the strings (I seem to remember Queen Mary being kept awake by a huge horde of Scottish fiddlers when she went to claim her Scots, so I may be wrong here); and “recorder player” isn’t sufficiently insulting.
- Meaningless slogans
This fragment from Pío Baroja’s memoir, Desde la última vuelta del camino, reminded me of much contemporary Barcelona graffiti:
As we approach Reinosa the fog begins to clear and we see the lights of the village shining.
I awake in the morning and lean over the hotel balcony. A gray day; foggy and cold, in
I can’t remember learning to read texts or music, so phonics means little to me. I do remember that different headteachers made us learn to write with different styles, with the result that my handwriting is completely illegible (“That’s not a signature,” stormed my first bank manager, “do a better one!”). Were it not for the …
- Spaniard found not guilty of theft because of poor language skills
The proceedings of the Old Bailey are now searchable to 1913. Apart from anything else they are an interesting source of information re the misfortunes of London’s Spanish population, from the refugees from Fernando VII to the anarchist trials in the 1890s. The following testimony to the traditional linguistic handicap of the Iberian tribes was …
- who cares if languages die out?
In a message to the first celebration [of International Mother Language Day in 2000] United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said “the Day raises awareness among all peoples regarding the value of languages.” He called for increased efforts to conserve languages as a shared heritage of humanity.
A brief examination of