Nooooon me deixes …

May 1, 2018

Galician word of the day (week, month? haven’t quite established a regular pattern yet!):

deixar

A Portuguese friend informed me that Galician is exactly like her language, only with lots of “x”es thrown in. Which, confusingly, are pronounced “sh” most of the time, but “ks” in some modern words like taxi (although e.g. galaxia doesn’t count as modern in this way).  So what’s with the “x”es that set Galician apart from its close relatives Portuguese and Spanish?

One small part of the answer hit me when I was reading a book about the Catalan language, which is geographically at the opposite end of the Iberian peninsula, so not much at risk of contamination with Galician words. I learned that it, too has “x”es that are pronounced “sh”, to the extent that some words containing one are actually written the same way in Catalan and Galician, although differently (and x-less) in Spanish. For instance (Spanish / English translations in brackets): deixar (dejar / to leave), baixa (baja / low; f.) caixa (caja / chest/bank) – note, however that the standard version of Catalan subsumes the letter i into the “sh” sound, so it is not heard and the pronunciation is different from the Galician one.

I don’t think there is a general rule for how these originated, and I’m slightly held back in my efforts as the big monolingual dictionary of the Real Academia Galega contains zero etymology, so I have to trust my Spanish dictionary and whatever I can find online. In the case of deixar, at least, I found out that the Spanish dejar derives from Latin delaxare, so the “x”es in Catalan and Galician must be ancestral, and the j in Spanish is a modern mutation. (Update: here is an explanation of how Spanish lost half its fricative sounds, including the one in deixar, in Spanish, and in German, thanks to Asun for the hint.)

x

 

(The title quote is from the song Lela, of course.)

This has been the fourth instalment of my series Galician word of the day, I think I’ll reproduce the accumulating dictionary at the bottom of each entry, see how far I get:

 

deixar – dejar – to leave

graciñas – gracias – thanks

estrañar – echar de menos – to miss

maruxiña – mariquita –  ladybird

 

The Galician Studies Centre in Cork, Ireland, has a Word of the Week feature on its blog, written in Galician and translated into English, which is here.

PS in other Galician language news, I liked this comment about a school project encouraging pupils to live in Galician for 21 days. Incidentally, this is the first article in “La voz de Galicia” that I’ve seen that is entirely written in Galician. A few that I saw were in Spanish with quotes from interviewees left in Galician.

 

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Aí vén o Maio

April 30, 2018

Tomorrow bright and early (6:30 am or so) the Oxford Pandeireteiras will be singing a traditional Galician May song, Aí vén o Maio, on the steps of the Clarendon Building in Broad Street, with the Whirly Band. Here’s one of my photos from last year’s event:

may2585

 

oh, and a few other people will be out and about as well, doing various folk-y things …

 

Dance like a Galician

April 29, 2018

Today’s podcast of Un Pais Mundial includes a section about Alba and her Galician dance class in London, starting at around 17:00 mins:

http://www.crtvg.es/rg/podcast/un-pais-mundial-un-pais-mundial-do-dia-29-04-2018-3743257

and also a shoutout for our Oxford session …

 

 

Drowned days

April 23, 2018

The last screening of the Galician Film Series in Oxford, jointly organized by The John Rutherford Centre for Galician Studies (University of Oxford) and the Galician Film Forum (GFF)-London, is coming up this week:

Os días afogados -‘The Drowned Days’- (2014), by César Souto Vilanova and Luis Avilés Baquero

Screening: Galician with English subtitles

Friday 27th April, 5.15 pm. Main Hall, Taylor Institution (OX1 3NA), Oxford

free registration via EventBrite

dias-afogados

 

 

Galicia v. Norway

April 21, 2018

We had an amazing mix of cultures at the open session of the Folk Weekend on Friday. Among other contributors there were half a dozen violinists from a Norwegian dance outfit (de Frilynde) and half a dozen Oxford Pandeireteiras, which made for an interesting cultural contrast. Here are the pandeireteiras performing Carmiña Carmela, with some of the Norwegians looking on bemused in the background.

 

The Norwegians were absolutely flawless in their prepared pieces but shy in joining in with things they didn’t know, so I have a suspicion they may be classical musicians travelling incognito …

 

April session(s)

April 18, 2018

The April edition of our Galician session / foliada is coming up next week, on Wed, 25.4., starting from 8:30pm, at the James Street Tavern as usual.

In the tenth session in the new sequence, we’ll again play lots of lovely tunes from our vast collection of Galician traditionals. The Oxford Pandeireteiras will play their tambourines and sing some of the songs they practise in their weekly classes. Sheet music will be provided for anybody who brings an instrument and wants to join in. Feel free to dance if you find space to move. A bag of miscellaneous percussion instruments is also on hand if you would like to rattle along with the rhythms.

Note that the Tavern has a 11:30 curfew for music activities, so the  session will close before that time with the traditional anthem of “Fisterra”. If you don’t have to leave earlier, it would be nice if you could stay for that.

For further info about the sessions and sharing audio and video recordings of the tunes we play, subscribe to this blog or join the Facebook group. There is also a mailing list for email reminders sent a week before the sessions.

Other events coming up:

This coming weekend, 20.-22.4 will of course see the amazing Folk Weekend Oxford, with lots of concerts, dance events and sessions. While there is no specifically Galician session in the programme, I can predict that some Galician tunes and songs will be played at the Open Session on Friday evening, 8pm till midnight, at the St. Aldates Tavern (first floor). Full programme for the weekend is here.

Then, on Tue 1.5. (May Morning) at some ridiculously early time like 6:30 am, the Oxford Pandeireteiras will be singing “O Maio” on the steps of the Clarendon Building, Broad Street, with the Whirly Band.

cantigas31

Illustration from the Cantigas de Santa Maria (wikimedia).

Galicia somos nós

April 14, 2018

lovely video combining hiphop choreography with the Muiñeira de Chantada, which is also part of our session repertoire (the version in the video is by Carlos Nuñez and the Chieftains). We’ll all dance it like that next time …

The lines recited at the beginning of the video are the tail end of the poem

Galicia, by Manuel Maria

Galicia é o que vemos:
a terra, o mar, o vento…
Pero hai outra Galicia
que vai no sentimento!

Galicia somos nós:
a xente e maila fala
Se buscas a Galicia
en ti tes que atopala!

BTW, Manuel Maria is also the author of the poem O carro, the song version of which is also in our session repertoire, although we haven’t sung it very often.

Agarrado de Vilar de Cabeiras

April 13, 2018

new song the pandeireteiras are currently working on.  I think it’s probably going to end up in A (starting F#) so once that is confirmed I can prepare some dots.

 

Mil graciñas!

April 10, 2018

Graciñas is the diminutive of grazas (thanks) and the most common form of saying thank you in Galician. Thus it was one of the first Galician words we learned, and one of the first to strike me as odd. In other languages, one tends to big up or multiply one’s gratitude, as in merci beaucoup, muchísimas gracias, many thanks, vielen Dank, so why belittle it with a diminutive (apart from the obvious benefit that it sounds cute)?

Two years on I have a theory about this. You could say moitísimas grazas (very many thanks), which is the one-to-one equivalent to muchísimas gracias in Spanish. But the trouble with that is that it sounds a bit like you were speaking Spanish with a strange accent, and that’s not the impression you want to create.

To linguistically wave the Galician flag (para expresar a nosa galeguidad, as I heard someone say), you want to choose a word that is unmistakably Galician. As there is a massive overlap in vocabulary between Galician and Spanish, there are many cases where such a word isn’t available, but then you can use the diminutive to create one, because the Galician diminutive with – iño sounds completely different from the Spanish one with –ito (as in despacito), so no danger of confusion.

Thus, if un pouco (a bit) sounds too much like un poco, un pouquiño cannot be mistaken for un poquito. If ata logo (see you later) sounds too much like hasta luego, you can say ata loguiño instead.  So my guess is that if Galician uses even more diminutives than Spanish, and often in a context where it clearly doesn’t aim to convey the meaning “a small version of … “, it’s to flag the linguistic difference, para expresar a nosa galeguidad.

Oh, and you can still amplify the little thank yous with a number, and say mil graciñas.

gracin~as

(It was impossible to find a suitable picture for this one, so I had to create this text-image!)

This has been the third instalment of my series Galician word of the day, I’ll reproduce the accumulating dictionary at the bottom of each entry, see how far I get:

graciñas – gracias – thanks

estrañar – echar de menos – to miss

maruxiña – mariquita –  ladybird

4th Galician Session London

April 6, 2018

a one-minute impression from the 4th London session which happened on March 21:

 

 

PS the tune is A camposa, I think ?