Ray Girvan has delivered examples going back three centuries of one of the English language’s best-known snowclones. The cliché that Spain does everything 30 years after Britain is less fecund, and it’s pleasing to note that we southerners appear to be catching up: the first Spanish “nace * no se hace” seems to be from 1805, almost exactly a century after his first find. Unlike the English, the Spanish rhymes, and with “poeta nascitur non fit” more obviously accessible to Romance-speakers it’s rather disappointing not to find earlier examples.
The French (“naÃ®t * ne se fait pas”) does also sweetly chime, but they only get going 30-odd years after their Iberian partners in rhyme. The notion that Spain was to France then as Britain is to Spain now, with Charles Nodier bringing smart sayings as well as colourful anecdotes back over the Pyrenees, is quite disturbing. Perhaps Zapatero really will bail out Greece.
- More mad shepherds
“Their travel preparations involved the slaughter of Jews and of non-ecstatic clerics, as well as the usual catalogue of rape and
- Worst ever Spanish covers of English-language songs?
I haven’t talked to any of the perpetrators, but I have little doubt that the principal cause of what we regard
- Alternative etymology of “blah”
Here’s one: blah (n.) “idle, meaningless talk,” 1918, probably echoic; the adj. meaning “bland, dull” is from 1919, perhaps infl. by
- Coals to Newcastle, or the great Spanish electricity export swindle
If Spain is selling electricity to France, how come Spanish consumer prices are 50% higher than north of the border?
- Origins of cock and bull
I’m going to try and pin it on John of Bridlington’s rapidly disproven prophecy of a cock and bull and Anglo-French