Vitoria, golfing Mecca, or Golgotha of the ecologists/indignados?

Carlos links to an interesting story about the sodomy committed on Vitoria’s new slogan by some no doubt well-paid functionary, “donde el verde es capital” becoming, word for word, “where the green is capital.”

I think we can all agree that, in a miserable start to their meaningless year as European Green Capital, they have failed to communicate the idea of ecological commitment. But I wonder whether, as Martin Simonson suggests to El Correo, the result is likely to attract golfers. Surely if you wanted to puff the marvels of your putting green and fairways you’d need the plural, “where the greens are capital,” and for the audio version you’d call Terry Wogan.

In English I think it is generally true that “the [noun] is [adjective]” is used instead of “the [adjective] [noun]” in order to focus audience attention on the adjective. (Grandma experts may mutter about attributive and predicative position.) Classic imagined examples involving “capital”:

  • “You are aware,” asked Michael Gove of Paul Evans, “that the offence is capital?”
  • “The expenditure is all capital – this is a splendid gift to future generations,” said the Mayor of Vitoria as he cut the ribbon on a new 18-hole course adjoining his weekend residence.

Perhaps their message is that any English-speaking greenshirts who presume to occupy the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca or impede high-speed train line construction will in future be hung, drawn and quartered. And so say all of us.

I have no idea where Mariano Rajoy plans to save 30 billion euros, but genuine translators will surely be unaffected.

Curious times.

Similar posts

  • Perils untold
    When I was small I used to hang around a container port, hoping to be picked up by a passing pirate
  • Another maragato epic
    From near Astorga, a curious place where a receptionist is a telecoms engineer, and where death is the simplest of cures
  • 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
  • who cares if languages die out?
    From Sri Lanka’s Daily News: In a message to the first celebration [of International Mother Language Day in 2000] United Nations Secretary-General
  • Steakholders
    In comments, from the excellent Pueblo Girl, a not uncommon Spanglish eggcorn, and one previously much enjoyed in English too. For


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *