Thursday, 3 March 2016

Words and stereotypes.

The Spanish for Youtube is Youtube but some people pronounce it "yootoobay". I know this because of a conversation in the bread shop this morning. Eeyore has a son called Aron. Well, I assume that's how you write it as that's how she said it. It's not a name I associate with little Spanish boys. It seems more wild west America or North of England somehow. But then, I think it's another of those Old Testament names so there is every reason for little Spanish boys to be so called. 

Eeyore had had to have words with her son after she overheard him saying to a small friend that all black people are bad. This astounded her as he has very good friends who are mixed race - "tiene un par de amigos que son mulatos". Now, that's term (mulatos) you don't hear in English these days. Goodness me, they even had to rename Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Nigger Boys" for a recent stage production, calling it "Last Man Standing" instead. Anyway, when Eeyore challenged Aron about his comments he told her, "Pero Mamá, si en Youtube los negros siempre son malos, siempre están peleando". And I suppose it's reasonably true that black men in clips from films and so on are often portrayed as violent and always fighting. Stereotypes! 

We got onto other stereotypes, all children-related. How quickly children learn to use technology - probably because parents let them play with mobile phones. Also because small children are just little sponges when it comes to learning. It's just a shame some have the sponge-like qualities knocked out of them. How girls learn to speak more quickly than boys, and learn to do other things more quickly too - this one, I think, an educationally recognised fact; in the days of the eleven-plus exam they set a lower pass mark for boys than girls. 

As regards words borrowed from other languages and pronounced Spanish fashion, some of them change their spelling eventually. "Croissant" has become "curasán", which is just odd. But I doubt that Youtube will change. 

And I wonder about the communication app "Whatsapp". Is it so called because someone thinks that that is how you should really pronounce " what's up?". 

It's a theory!

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