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celebration of bilingüalism and myth October 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — onaono @ 10:48 pm
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The day before yesterday there was a party at my flat. Most of the guests were M’s fellows from US, but strangely, there wasn’t a big mixture of languages; they talked mainly in Spanish even among them!

In Montreal when 2 or more Mexicans were together, Spanish was automatically present, and slang loudly emphasized. As if the open door for Mexican idioms in an Anglo-Franco territory were a celebration in itself. Same attitude was evident in C, my German teacher. When at the party heard the sign of a plausible door for her tongue -someone said “Munich”- she fired instantly. The guy who mentioned it didn’t understand much D but that wasn’t a problem, she still seemed notoriously more comfortable and happier after freeing those words.

Among the 25 US guests or so, there was a clear exception in the historian girl. She showed me her fluent Spanish but right after chatted in English. She told me how much she loved learning a bit of German because that made her know the origins of English. Then she explained how the termination –en is no longer useful in current E but it’s a remain of G. There are exceptions like golden where it still seems useful, but we didn’t get deep on that as we jumped to another conversation: in her opinion Mexicans always use “the same”/a few words for everything, in contrast with English speakers who normally use a broader vocabulary. I’ve never heard or think that observation before but it intrigued me. I requested a confirmation that she only ment to the most everyday speech, which she agreed and reminded me of a word with tons of semantic uses: chinga*.

No ego likes the implication of using a poor vocabulary, but I’ve started to notice that may be true, and there are, in deed a lot of Spanish words that we use in several, even opposite senses, like fiesta*, madre*, padre*, chamba*, estrella*, etc. As I blog this I remembered a very unlikely theory by Max Müller were he says language has a strictly logical character, but myth is just the opposite: “incoherent, capricious, irrational”, so he and his fellows of the comparative mythology school said that myth is just the negative side of language, that myth borns from the “vices of language” because of the problems of synonimya and polynimia (diff. words meaning the same, and same word meaning different things). Müller (cold bloodly) proposed that human mind could only have though on the crazy extraordinary narrations of things outside of its direct experience because of the confusions generated in the flow of information from one source to another. Of course there are plenty convincing counter arguments and I do not believe myth as a vice of language neither generated by mistakes, but I still find interesting the link between polynimia and the generation of myths. If there’s really a connection then there is one more cause to add on why Spanish speakers are less pragmatic and more mythological oriented ( & ritualistic) than Anglo speakers. Of course, there’re always golden exceptions.


French Horn October 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — onaono @ 5:02 am

Today at 7 am I had an exam. At one point there was a group of cartoonish images which names and articles we had to write below. One of the images was a french horn. Of course, I did not know it’s name in Deutsch, least which of the das, die, der artikle to use. I tried to remember the classes when I was feeling most sleepy and I couldn’t attend properly, I thought maybe then I would remember my teacher pronouncing some those words I didn’t associated at that time but now would make sense. Nothing. I tried to go back to my summer in Zürich, in 1998. At one concert there were some pretty serious french horn players, and I’m sure I readed the Kultureprogramme, so that information must be in my brain, somewhere. Yes, but digging in those zones was putting in danger my concentration for the rest of the exam, so I quitted memory and tried improvisation:

Der Musikalischeinstrumente Französische.


Correct answer was: Das Musik.


xpocoxpoco is a word in Zapotec meaning the sound of boiling water October 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — onaono @ 12:36 am

When I blogged at telepuntura (WP, 06) and El jardín entre mis omóplatos / drama en gas (blogspot 07-08) I felt that blogs can become pretty impredictable beings, or to be slightly precise; may be built -conscious or unconsciously- as powerful tools of reflexion and self/transformation.

Lately I’ve only been able to write in social media formats, which is pretty bad for me, as I’ve been making my living as a writer. So instead of deepening in the Angst due to my Microsoft-Word panic, I’m going to try blogging again as a way back to writing more than 140 characters in a row.

Here’s my self-rescue blog. I’m pointing it towards the register of my process of learning German because I need a non literaturesque theme. But also, I would love xpocoxpoco to be another communication stream with the friends who may pass by for a read (luckly a comment!), and a pleasurable self-disciplinarian technique for studying Deutsch daily.

Why I choose to blog in English:

* Some of my friends do not read Spanish and all my Spanish speaker friends do read English.

* English flows faster than Romances languages, which makes it closer to digital rhythms

* Is quite wrong for a Mexican writer to do this.

Why I may blog in Spanish in despite of previous reasons:

* I utterly love/hate Spanish language.

* When I yield to drama there are just palabras en español in me.

Ok, that’s the intro. which easily could’ve been done on a tweet:

@onaono: I need to write +. I’m opening a blog in Eng & Spanish about learning German. tinyurl…

Welcome reader.