Saturday, May 12, 2007

Spanish for the traveler

9/11 is referred to as 11-S, or "once-S". This is to distinguish it from 3/11, which is known as 11-M, or "once-M". March 11th is, of course, the date of the bombings in Madrid. So one reads of "los acontecimientos de 11-S" or "de 11-M".

On a brighter note, you may be confused as to when to start to say "buenas noches" instead of "buenas tardes". The answer is, after 20:30. It was refreshing to hear that there is consensus on this - three of three teachers surveyed gave the same answer - unusual, to say the least.

Headphones are known as "auriculares", a word which cracks me up every time, because it reminds me of "bunnicula", the vampire rabbit.

Finally, the way that pilgrims follow to reach Santiago de Compostela, is known as the "camino de Santiago", a phrase which also cracks me up, reminding me as it does of "Carmen Sandiego" of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" fame. Santiago de Compostela, or Sant-Iago, is the same person as Saint Jacob (Iago is the Spanish for Jacob), or Saint James, the brother of John the Evangelist. (Remember that followers of King James were also known as Jacobites). The camino de Santiago is also referred to as the "way of St James" in English. (For this etymology, I am indebted to my good friend, the Reverend Amy A).

The plain people of Ireland: Here! This isn't going to be much use to us in Benidorm.
The management: If you end up in Benidorm, nothing much is going to help you.

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