Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Names and words and such.

Strolling along the prom yesterday I went past an ice cream shop. In large letters a notice said: Crea tu helado con los nuevos toppings. OK, so you can create your own ice cream with their new “toppings”. 

This is a borrowing I have not met before. I wonder if it will eventually change its spelling to “topin”. And then how do they decide whether borrowed words are masculine or feminine? Certainly all the “...ing” words are masculine: el parking, el camping. Of course they aren’t quite used in their original English way. Parking and camping are rather different in English to what they are in Spanish, and in French for that matter. And then there are the odd ones: every morning I go out and do “el footing”, a word that has no meaning whatsoever in English but has become the Spanish for “jogging”. 

I came across another one in the newspaper. It was the report of a society wedding somewhere in England. Don’t even ask me what a Spanish newspaper was doing reporting a society wedding in England. These things happen. Anyway, the headline read: Una boda de postín. I assume it means a wedding worth posting about, as in Facebook, Twitter and such like. Again, this is a weird use of English. The article described the wedding, which took place in Harry Potter’s castle (is that a real place nowadays?), as “la boda más pija desde la de Guillermo y Kate”. In other words, “the poshest wedding since William and Kate’s. 

I note that while William still becomes Guillermo, Kate has stopped being Catalina. Is she not old-royal enough to merit the translation? 

 I rather like the word “pijo” for posh and snobby. Victoria Beckham, the fashion designer formerly known as Posh Spice, is “La Spice Pija” in Spanish newspapers. She and David have been reported visiting Beijing, which the Spanish still call Pekín. (Well, they still call London Londres so at least they are consistent. The British have decided to call Peking and Bombay by names something approaching their original forms but we still don’t call Rome Roma. I’m not sure whether we still call Zaragoza Saragossa. The whole thing has got rather silly in my view.) La Spice Pija was described window-shopping while husband David did something to do with promoting football: “Vestida de negro, con gafas de sol y cara de pocos amigos, la Spice Pija se fue de escaparates” – “Dressed in black, wearing sunglasses and with a miserable face, Posh Spice went window-shopping”. Isn’t that a lovely expression for miserable, “con cara de pocos amigos” – with a face like someone who has few friends? 

It’s not just the Spanish and the French who borrow our words. Here’s a link  to an article about German borrowings from the Guardian newspaper. 

On the other side of the world, the Australian Prime Minister has been getting stick for letting herself be photographed and appearing on the front cover of the Australian Women’s Weekly. The problem is that she was snapped knitting. I’m not sure whether the objection was to the knitting per se or the fact that she was knitting a woolly kangaroo for the soon to be third in line for the throne of the United Kingdom. 

Here the sun is still shining. 

The chess player is facing the youngest player in the tournament today: a ten year old Portuguese bright spark. This could be a great psychological challenge as much as anything else. 

Results tomorrow.

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