2014/10/23

"Family,s rock", the world's first recorded greengrocers' comma?

Should definitely be an apostrophe, dudes:

I'm pretty sure I've actually seen this before, in both Hispano- and Anglophone environments. You might think that it suggests that they are also pretty unlettered in their mother tongue, but establishing that would require thorough excavation. Nurse, my bluntest chisel!

(H/t: Thingamajig)

2014/10/22

Hitler's interpreter at Hendaye

Brian Harris, via his blog, on events 74 years ago tomorrow:

Gross is said to have been incompetent.
As they parted, Franco, who was worried by Hitler’s attitude, decided to emphasise his esteem for him in a typically Spanish manner. He stood up and pressed Hitler’s hand between both of his, and declared, “In spite of what we’ve said, if the day ever comes when Germany really needs me I will be at your side unconditionally and without asking for anything in return.”
Gross failed completely to translate this, and so Franco's parting gesture of reconciliation went for nothing. However, Serrano Suñer was actually glad of the interpreter’s gaffe, because he saw it as avoiding another commitment.

2014/10/19

Some Itanglish in a Dryden comedy

One José María Trilladas has apparently been combing the accounts of the black card looters of Caja Madrid and has discovered that between them the great and the good, lefties and righties, spent everything on, to put it mildly, wine, women and song, and not a single cent on the printed word. But let that not deter us good Lutherans from reading whatever shite comes to hand.

There are three main types of Itanglish:

  1. That improvised by Italian migrants in a broadly English-speaking environment. Rita Susi at NorthEndBoston.com writes:
    Itanglish is a language founded by Italian immigrants. Only Italian immigrants and their children understand it. Recent additions to our vocabulary list come from South Hackensack (NJ), from Staten Island (NY) representing what is described as the “Sicilian/Brooklyn” dialect, and from Newton (MA) where most of the residents come from Central Italy, particularly the village of San Donato Valle di Comino and Atina, both in the Frosinone Province of the Lazio region of Italy.
  2. That concocted ad hoc and with a much lower social component by Anglophones engaged in hand-to-hand struggle with Neapolitan cab-drivers, etc., which inevitably end with invocation in ruptured Tuscan of the Guardia di Finanza.
  3. Joe Dolce:

I found a pleasing case of British Italian the other night in Limberham, a libellous high-society satire by Dryden which the editor says is "not absolutely without humour, but is so disgustingly coarse, as entirely to destroy that merit." Woodall disguises his identity from Limberham by speaking Itanglish, only for the latter to join him in what he refers to as lingua franca:

Trick. [A noise within.] Heavens! I hear Mr Limberham's voice: he's returned from Barnet.
Wood. I'll avoid him.
Trick. That's impossible; he'll meet you. Let me think a moment:—Mrs Saintly is abroad, and cannot discover you: have any of the servants seen you?
Wood. None.
Trick. Then you shall pass for my Italian merchant of essences: here's a little box of them just ready.
Wood. But I speak no Italian; only a few broken scraps, which I picked from Scaramouch and Harlequin at Paris.
Trick. You must venture that: When we are rid of Limberham, 'tis but slipping into your chamber, throwing off your black perriwig, and riding suit, and you come out an Englishman. No more; he's here.
Enter Limberham.
Limb. Why, how now, Pug? Nay, I must lay you over the lips, to take hansel of them, for my welcome.
Trick. [Putting him back.] Foh! how you smell of sweat, dear!
Limb. I have put myself into this same unsavoury heat, out of my violent affection to see thee, Pug. Before George, as father Aldo says, I could not live without thee; thou art the purest bed-fellow, though I say it, that I did nothing but dream of thee all night; and then I was so troublesome to father Aldo, (for you must know he and I were lodged together) that, in my conscience, I did so kiss him, and so hug him in my sleep!
Trick. I dare be sworn 'twas in your sleep; for, when you are waking, you are the most honest, quiet bed-fellow, that ever lay by woman.
Limb. Well, Pug, all shall be amended; I am come home on purpose to pay old debts. But who is that same fellow there? What makes he in our territories?
Trick. You oaf you, do you not perceive it is the Italian seignior, who is come to sell me essences?
Limb. Is this the seignior? I warrant you, it is he the lampoon was made on.
[Sings the tune of Seignior, and ends with,
Ho, ho.

Trick. Pr'ythee leave thy foppery, that we may have done with him. He asks an unreasonable price, and we cannot agree. Here, seignior, take your trinkets, and be gone.
Wood. [Taking the box.A dio, seigniora.
Limb. Hold, pray stay a little, seignior; a thing is come into my head of the sudden.
Trick. What would you have, you eternal sot? the man's in haste.
Limb. But why should you be in your frumps, Pug, when I design only to oblige you? I must present you with this box of essences; nothing can be too dear for thee.
Trick. Pray let him go, he understands no English.
Limb. Then how could you drive a bargain with him, Pug?
Trick. Why, by signs, you coxcomb.
Limb. Very good! then I'll first pull him by the sleeve, that's a sign to stay. Look you, Mr Seignior, I would make a present of your essences to this lady; for I find I cannot speak too plain to you, because you understand no English. Be not you refractory now, but take ready money: that's a rule.
Wood. Seignioro, non intendo Inglese.
Limb. This is a very dull fellow! he says, he does not intend English. How much shall I offer him, Pug?
Trick. If you will present me, I have bidden him ten guineas.
Limb. And, before George, you bid him fair. Look you, Mr Seignior, I will give you all these. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Do you see, Seignior?
Wood. Seignior, si.
Limb. Lo' you there, Pug, he does see. Here, will you take me at my word?
Wood. [Shrugging upTroppo poco, troppo poco.
Limb. A poco, a poco! why a pox on you too, an' you go to that. Stay, now I think on't, I can tickle him up with French; he'll understand that sure. Monsieur, voulez vous prendre ces dix guinees, pour ces essences? mon foy c'est assez.
Wood. Chi vala, amici: Ho di casa! taratapa, taratapa, eus, matou, meau!—[To her.] I am at the end of my Italian; what will become of me?
Trick. [To him.] Speak any thing, and make it pass for Italian; but be sure you take his money.
Wood. Seignior, io non canno takare ten guinneo possibilmentè; 'tis to my losso.
Limb. That is, Pug, he cannot possibly take ten guineas, 'tis to his loss: Now I understand him; this is almost English.
Trick. English! away, you fop: 'tis a kind of lingua Franca, as I have heard the merchants call it; a certain compound language, made up of all tongues, that passes through the Levant.
Limb. This lingua, what you call it, is the most rarest language! I understand it as well as if it were English; you shall see me answer him: Seignioro, stay a littlo, and consider wello, ten guinnio is monyo, a very considerablo summo.
Trick. Come, you shall make it twelve, and he shall take it for my sake.
Limb. Then, Seignioro, for Pugsakio, addo two moro: je vous donne bon advise: prenez vitement: prenez me à mon mot.
Wood. Io losero multo; ma pergagnare il vestro costumo, datemi hansello.
Limb. There is both hansello and guinnio; tako, tako, and so good-morrow.
Trick. Good-morrow, seignior; I like your spirits very well; pray let me have all your essence you can spare.
Limb. Come, Puggio, and let us retire in secreto, like lovers, into our chambro; for I grow impatiento —bon matin, monsieur, bon matin et bon jour.
[Exeunt Limberham and Tricksy.
Wood. Well, get thee gone, 'squire Limberhamo, for the easiest fool I ever knew, next my naunt of fairies in the Alchemist[4]. I have escaped, thanks to my mistress's lingua França: I'll steal to my chamber, shift my perriwig and clothes; and then, with the help of resty Gervase, concert the business of the next campaign. My father sticks in my stomach still; but I am resolved to be Woodall with him, and Aldo with the women.
[Exit.

This reminds me of a time when in Holland I was auditioning drummers for a wedding band. A splendidly hairy cook turned up brandishing a vaguely British name and a rather curious accent, and I said as much, but he was non-committal, so I left it at that. It was only when we'd been working together in Dutch for a couple of months that I discovered that he was a Bangor philosopher. We have lost touch - I think he never forgave me for repeatedly climbing through his bathroom window while he was out or asleep and eating all his food - which is a shame.

I was a bit negative about Dryden the other year, but I fear I was prejudiced against him by the powerful academic clique of grammar Rousseauians (essentially left-wing grammar Nazis), who will never forgive him for a chance remark about preposition position. So I will read on.

2014/10/18

More consonant-thicket dyslexia: Joan B. Culla and "Augsleich"

Sorry, transcription again, not translation. No idea how Joan Culla finds time between his telly and radio gigs to teach contemporary history at the UAB; perhaps "contemporary" doesn't reference the C19th; and maybe Barcelona historians don't need any German. But if Central European Ausgleich is your premise, then you should really be able to spell it, as well as having some notion of constitutional arrangements in Austro-Hungary - unlike Catalonia with respect to Spain, Hungary was never assimilated by the Austrian Empire. Here is your man:

mi impresión es que, desde los albores de 1800, la cultura política española sólo ha concebido los conflictos de poder a los que hubo de enfrentarse en términos de victoria o derrota. La transacción, el fifty-fifty, el compromiso —ese concepto que, en alemán (Augsleich), sostuvo la estabilidad de la Europa danubiana durante el medio siglo anterior a la Gran Guerra, por ejemplo— resultan extraños, y objeto de menosprecio, en el acervo político hispano.

If Augsburg is Augustus' castle, then I guess Augsleich must be the emperor's corpse, and Augsneuenkleider his new clothes.

2014/10/15

Professor Asshole

This is Stronzo Bestiale, the fictitious Italian physicist, author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers. However, stronzo bestiale surely isn't total asshole - that's stronzo totale, which I think entered the Italian language via translations of American airport lit - but rather bestial arsehole, or monstrous arsehole, concepts much less sanitised and more evocative of our great shared European shittiness.

I was puzzled for a while by the gratitude uttered by Americans on sites like Trip Advisor and Booking.com when they have clearly been ripped off by restaurants and hotels belonging to Ali Baba and the 40 Neapolitans, but I think that visitors are just pathetically grateful to arrive in Europe and not find us gassing our neighbours, plugging donkeys, or scratching at our plague sores.

My Italian is progressing in leaps and bounds now I have discovered the spaghetti westernisms of Tex Willer, of which a place in Marina del Cantone has considerable supplies. Previously I had been on a diet of fascist/socialist improving literature for women and children, Lo Hobbit, Italo Svevo, and the Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana, none of which was really very much fun. However, Giuseppe Peano's De Latino sine Flexione should clearly be implemented asap across southern Europe.

2014/10/14

Why we can legitimately call ourselves Barcelonians

Re mine and his, it's because Barcelonia is a common, though minor and generally foreign (but not French?), spelling of Barcelona, now fallen into disusual. E.g.g.:

  1. The Kinges Commission for the Imbarment of All English Ships. [Translated from the Spanish.] (At Barcelonia, 29 May [1585].).
  2. Horatii Tursellini, Historiarum ab origine usque ad annum 1598 (1653), Barcelona:Barcelonia = 1:1: "Cum Mareschalis Bresaeus esset in urbe Friguet post fugam Hispanis datam, ingressum in Barcelonia facere statuit"
  3. Leonis ab Aitzema, Historia pacis, a foederatis Belgis ab anno 1621 ad hoc (1654), 0:1: "D. Philippus, Dei Gratiâ, Hispaniarum Rex, &c. Archi-Dux Austriae, Dux Burgundiae, Brabantiae, Mediolani, Comes Absburgi, Flandriae, Tyrolis, Barceloniae & Molinae Dominus, &c."
  4. Hieronymus Scheidt, Kurtze und warhafftige Reise-Beschreibung, Der Reiß von Erffurt auß Thüringen nach dem gewesenen gelobten Lande, und der Heil. Stadt Jerusalem (1670), 0:1: "Weiter liessen wir das Land Catalonien auf der rechten Hand liegen / die Hauptstadt desselbigen / wird Barcelonia genant / ist eine reiche fruchtbare Landschaft"
  5. Pieter Schrijver, Hollandsche, Zeelandsche ende Vriesche chronyck (1677), 1:1: "Op den laetsten van Mey trock de Infante van Spangien met haeren Man Albertus, Eertz-Hartogh van Oostenrijck, van Valencen daer sy ghetrouwt waren, naer Barcelonia, ende is aldaer den 8. Junii t' Scheep ghegaen"
  6. James Howell, Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ (1688), 3:1: "I am now in Barcelonia, but the next Week I intend to go on through your Town of Valentia to Alicant"
  7. Francisco Giustiniani, El nuevo Atlas Universal abreviado (1755), 8:1: "Es Patria Barcelonia del Poeta Boscan y del famoso Capitan Francisco Calvo-Gualbes, el qual vinciò a los Moros"
  8. Edmund Burke, Annual register (1762), 0:1: "four large and beautiful causeways are likewise ordered to be made from Barcelonia, Cadiz, Valence, and Gallicia, leading to Madrid"
  9. William Guthrie, New Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar (1795), 6:1: "The court was then at Barcelona: Columbus travelled thither from Seville, amidst the acclamations of the people, attended by some of the inhabitants, the gold, the arms, the utensils, and ornaments of the country he had discovered. This entry into Barcelonia was a species of triumph more glorious than that of conquerors, more uncommon, and more innocent."
  10. Edward Gibbon, Decline and fall (1816; I haven't checked earlier editions), 2:1: "[Wallia] marched in arms, from Barcelonia to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean"
  11. Noah Webster, Dictionary (1831): "the mensuration of degrees of latitude between Dunkirk and Barcelona"; "Barcelonia livres"; (but also "Barcelona, Sarogossa, Valencia")

So it's a common misspelling, you will say. Perhaps not, I will protest, because Philippe Olinger's Nieuw Fransch en Nederduitsch [i.e. Dutch] woordenboek (1828) has "BARCELONE, f. Barcelonië."

Why, why, why? Retarded printers starting shifts in the early hours? Hypercorrection based on limited Latin?

Unspeakable hispsters

"Valero Sanmartí", afaik the only satirist writing in Catalan, and not to be confused with Tom Selleck, tries his hand at barbarisms:

S’ha acabat, nois. La moda hispter ha abastat el seu zènit i enfila una davallada a marxes forçades. Fa un parell d’anys que la gent ja parla d’ells amb un menyspreu que poc a poc s’ha convertit en una hispsterfòbia desvergonyida. Antics crítics de Rockdelux publiquen llibres on presenten els hipsters com l’origen de tots els mals del segle XXI. Diaris i revistes generalistes publiquen articles encesos i desinformats on se’n foten d’aquests pobres imbècils per plaure la sed de sang dels plebeus. Paròdies inframentals i amables com @ModernetDeMerda destil·len estereotips toscos amb gran èxit de públic.

Translation of "The political economy of Catalan independence"

Clemente Polo has blogged a short book containing what feel like author-translated essays by him and four other anti-secessionists, José Luis Feito, Ángel de la Fuente, Guillem López Casanovas and Joan Roselló Villalonga. Here is Polo on "The economic consequences of the Succession War (1702-1714)":

Economic historians underlie the importance of both Castilian and American markets in the rapid economic growth of Catalonia during the 18th century. In his panoramic, “Catalonia, the first industrial region of Spain”, Carreras (1990) describe in the following terms the consequences of the Succession War for Catalonia:

“Let us focus the attention in the free access to the Spanish market. One of the consequences of the Succession War was the suppression of interior customs between Aragon and Castile (and inside the Aragon Crown). Although not all of them were abolished, the majority of them were eliminated and trade among the two Kingdoms was greatly facilitated after the abolition of customs. The measure was adopted with the purpose of equalizing the conditions of Castile and Aragon, eliminating old privileges and promoting commerce”. 12

As far as the distribution of the benefits accruing from the reforms undertaken by Phillipe V, Carreras has few doubts about who were those that reaped most benefits: “Thanks to the access to Aragon, Castile expanded its market by 25 percent (I assume similar per capita incomes). In exchange, Aragon gained access to a market four times larger”. The expansion was even larger for Catalonia that multiplied its market by a number between 9 and 10.13 Although communications were still rather primitive, the expansion of the market did not last to be noticed and “Catalan merchants were penetrating in the Castilian market protected by common customs offering Catalan cloths at prices more competitive than local artisans”, to the point that “the conquest of the Spanish market was already under way –although not completed yet- in the decade of 1770”. In sum, the reforms of Phillipe V and the customs that protected the ‘national’ market open unthinkable opportunities to Catalan merchants that took full advantage of being foreigners (by their language and uses) while being ‘nationals’ from a legal point of view. Their solidarity, endogamy, and mutual familiarity help them to penetrate into a hostile territory where they nevertheless had full right to trade”.14

And so on and so forth. It's usually possible to figure out what Polo and his colleagues want to say, and it's usually worth the effort, but the unionist movement could do with studying Ms Fitzgerald:

Well, that's quite enough of all that. Let me tell you that the major threat to Catalan independence may not actually be from enemies within or without, but from long-lost nationalist cousins in the Kingdom of Naples who yearn for reïntegration in the Crown of Aragon:

Mr. E. is a most amusing fellow, and brings gifts from an excellent kitchen. But given that the peoples of Naples and Mogadishu differ principally in that the Somalis have better guns and better Latin, one must hope for the sake of Barcelona and Catalonia that both Italy and Spain will retain their current borders.

2014/10/13

"I'am Barcelonian" feels all wrong, but which demonym do we deserve?

Barcelona Council features over at Harvey's Barna cream.

"Barcelonian" has a long and respectable tradition, though, like Peter, I wouldn't use it. I think in my case this is because I associate it with troglodytes who think "vibrant" is still a vote-winner, and with Wikipedians, who may well work for the Ajuntament.

But what implicit contemporary demonyc rule does it break? Why is "Valencian" music but "Malagian" noise to our loopy little ears?

And what should it be? Barcelonan is much rarer and also old and lame.

My Martian euro-cent: we find Iberian coins registered in Barkino, and then there's the Libyan gangster Indycar Barca, and you have to admit that "We are Barking" is just sooo appropriate at the moment.

2014/10/04

The Daily Mail on Jeremy Clarkson in Argentina

The great Jeremiad-caravan against the BBC's raison d'être and the licence fee has been to Patagonia. That the Daily Mail managed to locate, but not Google Translate:

[Malvinas-related provocation: incidents and the BBC team has left the country]

Thanks to S, who suggests that the differences between the Mail and the Guardian are two: the Mail publishes better pictures, and the Guardian prefers writers whose family have a second home in Southern Europe and hence use GT.

I have a theory that the Mail's page layout algorithm enables writers to tag bits of text of which they are particularly unsure, and lo and behold! a mammoth decolletée of distractive genius will appear in the sidebar.

Kesha isn't a real name: it's an editorial joke, a variant of Gotcha. The model is the same one used the other day to entrap the Tory MP, Nude Bookmarks.