Euskara (berriro)

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nooj
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:27 pm

Thanks for the correction! For some reason I thought the Iberian peoples were present in all of the peninsula.

But don't think I'm hung up on where people come from. The fascination for the ancient Vasconic peoples has no racial component for me, and staking claim to Basque nationalism based on the ancient historical territory of people who may or may not be the ancestors of current Basques seems pointless to me.

Of course there is the historical interest, which is always a good reason to learn about these things. But if I mention the continuity of Asturian language back to the early Romans who arrived there, and even the contributions of the people who were already there to greet/fight/trade with them, it's to emphasise how valuable even the numerically smaller Romance languages are. Because from a linguistic POV they've had a parcours just as long/interesting as their bigger Romance neighbours. But lesser told in history books.

Incidentally, I remember reading that the genetic make up hasn't radically changed in the Peninsula, despite the long centuries of invasion, wars and migration. So that Andalucians back in the time of Al Andalus were basically the ancestors of today's Andalucians, just speaking various Mozarabic varieties and practicing Islam/Christianity/Judaism.

Now for other things.

I live with two French people. One of them, his girlfriend is Sahrawi, so thanks to her I've been able meet several Sahrawis for the first time in my life.

According to her the Basque Country might have the biggest Sahrawi community in Spain, and there are close links between some Basque activists and Sahrawis. There's a programme in fact that sends thousands of Sahrawi children to live with a host family in Spain for the summer.

One of her friends, Mona, told me that she came here to live when she was 12, and although she doesn't speak Basque, she passed through the Basque education system. She came too late I understand to get the full benefit out of it, as she only understands basic Basque. But she said to me she wants to learn it properly. She wants to work in a school as a teacher so knowing Basque would be necessary, but her attitude towards Basque was positive, unlike my French housemate who said that he thinks that 'it's an imposition'. His words, not mine.

Mona described humourously to me a major annoyance for Sahrawis, that for many administrative things, they are in a limbo land in terms of state. Often when filling in a form for example, they have to choose between Morocco or Algeria, something which she rejects.

One time when she and her sister went to do some bureaucratic thing, a functionary told her 'ah but the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic doesn't actually exist', presumably referring to its legal existence, to which her sister burst into tears. Such a way with words functionaries have!

Another time, another functionary informed her that his old computer system had the option of the Spanish Sahara, that is to say, the colonial territory controlled by Spain until 1976!

Mona told me it was wonderful to go to the EHU (the University of the Basque Country) and was finally able to type in the name of what she considers her homeland.

As for language matters, the Sahrawis that I met all speak Hassaniyan Arabic. Now my Moroccan Arabic is admittedly rusty because it's been like two years, but I was able to converse basically with them... it's still a Maghreb variety of Arabic.

I presume that Sahrawis must get input in terms of TV, radio and due to the proximity/presence of Moroccan immigrants. Morocco subsides Western Sahara and many Moroccans go there to benefit from the higher wage and lower prices. I wonder what resources there are to learn Hassaniyan Arabic...?
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:15 pm

Image

Today I finished reading La colomina 36, a book by Nicolás Bardio. The premise is that the 1934 October Revolution succeeded in Asturias, when historically it was crushed by the Spanish Republic.

Consequently in this new history, Asturias separates from Spain, and joins the Soviet Union as the Socialist Soviet Republic of Asturias. Asturias is a socialist state located far west, in a sea of hostile capitalist Western countries, including its close neighbour, Francoist Spain (there was still a Spanish Civil War and the Nationalists won). It's interesting to see the differences: whereas Asturias today is fast losing population due to demographic decline, in the fantasy world it is an industrial heavyweight. The humble city of Mieres is the equivalent of Hollywood for the Soviet cinema industry and Xixón is a major naval port like Vladivostok and Sevastopol for nuclear submarines that prowl the Atlantic.

However the story in and of itself has little to do with these grand and improbable events. It is a short book of around 100 pages that takes place in 1970, long after the Revolution, at the height of the Cold War.

The protagonist, Fabián is an Asturian KGB agent who is charged with spying on his neighbours in his apartment block. Far from an exciting spy story, Fabián is locked into mind-numbing boredom watching his neighbours, and would do anything to get a promotion. He gets his chance.

This is the first novel I've read in Asturian and it was quite enjoyable, although I honestly would have liked a book about the Revolution itself, maybe from the perspective of a miner who took up arms, rather than its after effects.

What is intriguing is the place of the Asturian language in this new Asturian state. Asturian and Russian are the prestigious and official languages.

The diglossia between Asturian and Spanish that exists today, a diglossia that kills, is replaced by one between Asturian and Russian, although in a more positive sense as the totality of the characters speak Asturian. Asturian is a normalised language in the Soviet state.

What about Spanish? Here is a fragment of when Fabian is looking through the stuff of his local baker, a Spanish refugee who fled Spain to live in Asturias. To him and other Asturians, Spanish is a foreign language.

Restolé pel restu de la caxa y vi que nun tenía más que postales a mediu borrar en castellán. Entendíase, anque non toles pallabres.


I rifled through the rest of the drawer and I saw that it held nothing more than smudged letters written in Spanish. I could understand it, although not all the words.

I gave the book to my French housemate in an experiment to see what he could make of it. He speaks French and Spanish. I subject my French housemates to all sorts of sick and strange linguistic experiments, like playing them WhatsApp recordings of Catalan from my Mallorcan friends...

He's been in Spain for years now. He read a page, translating as much as he could into Spanish, and asking me for confirmation. He could make general sense of Asturian but much of it escaped him, including important words that don't look the same in Spanish.

For example:

Pero al momentu ximelgué la tiesta y dime cuenta de que nuna ciudá como Marsella yera imposible qu'esistiere daqué asemeyao a una colomina


It was only after I translated ximelgar (shake) and tiesta that he made the connection to tête in his own language. Testa does exist in Spanish, but it's not an everyday word. In this case as in many others Asturian retains words that once were also used in Old Spanish but which fell out of use.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:35 pm



The Asturian group Nuberu made this song in 1976 (in Asturian mythology a nuberu is a figure who brings rains and storms).

It is about Aida Lafuente, a Leonese woman of 19 years old who fought and died in the Revolution of 1934. Contrary to what the song suggests, she was actually 19 years old when she was killed, not 17. There is a monument to her name in Uviéu.

Deciséis años tinía,
guapos años gayasperos
que xueguen y salten
semeyando xilgueros.

Yeres una neña Aida
que na rexón asturiana
xugabes dando a la comba
ú tos amigues saltaben.

Llegó la güelga d'ochobre,
fuisti revolucionaria,
tu yá nun coyisti comba
que coyisti la metralla.

Colos pergafos mineros
qué bien tu la remanabes,
salíes colos primeros
brincando per barricaes.

Y cuando más s'encendín
los glayíos n'amarraza
diesti col llombu na tierra,
furó to pierna una bala.

Dos mozos los comunistes
quixeron dir a salvala,
¡valoratible so vida!
¡so vida de llibertaria!

Nun hubo quien lo algamara,
rabiones de metralleta
sos cuerpos afuracaron
a la vera la rapaza.

Yá lleguen los asesinos,
"¿tu como te llames guaha?",
tu dixisti puñu enriba:
"¡Comunista, Llibertaria!"

Nun acabesti decilo,
la to voz nun vocinglaba,
del menudín del to cuerpu
fixo un cribu tanta bala.

Y esi vestidín tan guapu
coles manches encarnaes,
guardáranlu con gran ciñu
to ma y la bona la to hermana.

Sedrás de los asturianos
l'exemplu de la so casta
y has ser de los mineros
so bandera proletaria.

Pola sangre que vertiesti
xorrecerán más rosales
nesta rexón asturiana
con roses bien colloraes.

A primeros d'ochobre
glayarán per toa España
les mocedaes marxistes
coses de La Llibertaria.


She was 17 years old
Joyful beautiful years
Years that play and jump
Like goldfinches

You were a child Aida
In the region of Asturias
You held the skipping rope
That your friends used to jump

The general strike of October came
You became a revolutionary
You no longer held a skipping rope
Now you held a gun

Along side the fierce miners
How well you wielded your weapon
You sallied out among the first of them
Leaping over the barricades

And when the screams
Became most loud in the battle
Your shoulder slumped to the floor
Your leg holed by a bullet
The boys, the communists
They wanted to save her
Her valuable life
Her anarchist life!

None of them managed it
Storms of bulletfire
Tore through their bodies
Next to the girl

Then the murderers reach her
"What's your name, lass?"
Your fist punched the air
"Anarchist Communist!"

You did not finish your words
Your voice did not ring out
From your little body
That so many bullets
Riddled

And your dress so beautiful
With its crimson stains
Your mother and your sister
Kept with great love

You will be for Asturians
The example of their kind
And you shall be for the miners
Their proletarian flag

From the blood you spilt
More rose bushes shall spring
In this region of Asturias
With bright red roses

On the first days of October
Through all of Spain, in a shout
Marxist youth shall tell tale of
The life of the Anarchist Revolutionary
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:13 pm

Ah...that brings back memories of when I was in Mallorca and having some drinks at the local bar of my town and the owner wished me salut, and I blurted out salut i República, more out of accident than anything. Should've seen the look of everyone in the bar! :D
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Saim
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby Saim » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:57 pm

nooj wrote:Today I finished reading La colomina 36, a book by Nicolás Bardio. The premise is that the 1934 October Revolution succeeded in Asturias, when historically it was crushed by the Spanish Republic.


Nice, I'm jealous! I ordered some Asturian, Catalan and Galician books off of Casa del Libro's website this summer but unfortunately they didn't actually have the Asturian books in their warehouse so they ended up canceling that part of the order. The courier they worked with also made up an exorbitant "customs mediation charge" after the fact so I'm not rushing to order things from overseas again. :lol:

I'll definitely note this one down on my reading list, though, hopefully I'll find some cheaper way to get my hands on Iberian books, or maybe get to go there once things calm down! :)
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:50 pm

One of the bad AND good things about focusing on a language family that is closely related is that it gives you an enormous advantage. I never really had to learn Portuguese, I never opened a book and learned the verb forms, I just tinkered a bit with Galician verb forms and now I was ready to practice Portuguese. That alone saves hours and hours. That is a good thing.

But that ease can also be inhibiting. Why would I decide to learn Belarusian (my Belarusian friend who lives in Australia is tapping her feet impatiently, she's been waiting for me to start for years) if I can learn Aragonese in a fifth of that time? The path of least resistance keeps me locked in a fairly narrow pathway.

There's a good side to this narrow pathway. It means I will probably, sooner or later, end up trying to learn Piedmontese and Walloon, languages which I would otherwise never learn if my time was occupied learning typologically far different languages like Vietnamese or Wolof (regretfully left far far behind) that require a massive investment of my time.

On the other hand, I want to expand my comfort zones.

I've been reading two grammars, a Romanian and a Modern Greek one this past week and the challenge of it is making my mouth drool. I want to learn them because I know it will be different. Of course they're not too different in the grand scheme of things, but they feel like a breath of fresh air from the languages in Iberia, Basque excluded.

I admire those people who leap into learning a very foreign language and wrestle with it. Bless you Chinese lady who learns Arabic or Italian! I need their bravery. Because, that's really all that's necessary, the courage to say 'no, I won't spend my next one hundred days learning German... I'll spend it learning Georgian!'.

And that whole side of the Mediterranean (Romania, Greece), is alien to me. The farthest east in Europe I've been is Austria. For God's sake, that's unacceptable.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:26 pm

A month or so ago I was doing the Camino de Santiago and stopped in a town called Bidania for the night. Population a bit over 500, percentage of Basque speakers 86,65%.

It was raining and cold so I went to the pub to get something to eat and drink.

I met a group of people in front, having a drink. One of them was the town mayor. As I had nowhere to sleep, well I was gonna sleep in front of the church, she gave me the keys to the frontón (where Basques play their pilota), I had a shower and went back to eat something and have a drink with them. I ended up getting quite smashed with the bar owner until the early morning - NOT good for walking the next day let me tell you.

But among that group there also happened to be a journalist for Berria, the national Basque newspaper for the Basque Country, and he wanted to get my number in order for an interview. Well a few weeks after, a colleague of his called me up and we had a phone interview and this is the result, an article about the strange situation of the pilgrims this year.

Things are completely different from other years...many pilgrim shelters have closed down permanently, municipal and private owned, due to the lack of pilgrim traffic and the ones that are open have security measures that mean the cooperative atmosphere between pilgrims (eating together etc) cannot exist. This will undoubtedly change the character of the Camino, who's to say not for the better in some aspects?

I don't think I've ever put a photo of me anywhere, here I am:

Image
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby crush » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:45 am

nooj wrote:There's a good side to this narrow pathway. It means I will probably, sooner or later, end up trying to learn Piedmontese and Walloon, languages which I would otherwise never learn if my time was occupied learning typologically far different languages like Vietnamese or Wolof (regretfully left far far behind) that require a massive investment of my time.

On the other hand, I want to expand my comfort zones.

This is something i've been battling with for a while. I love the Romance languages -- regional/non-national languages in particular -- and have studied several to varying degrees (Spanish, Catalan, Galician, French, Italian, Sardinian, ...) but i also love tackling something that feels completely foreign, starting from zero. As i get older i'm also realizing i enjoy really diving into a language deeply and learning it well. Another thing is i would love to help preserve and promote these languages, if you know of any Asturian (or other regional Romance language authors) that might be willing to let us use (or sell us the rights to translate) their books or stories, that would be amazing.

I also read the article, it was pretty interesting. At this point it's kinda hard to even imagine a "post-Corona" world.

Ta ez nekien zu ere Donostian bizi zarenik :D
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:38 pm

I've started learning Modern Greek. It's a bit of a puzzle why I started with this one, because there's no way to go to Greece any time soon, and I don't personally know any Greek speakers in the Basque Country.

For me, the first few days of any language learning experience is frenzied, even manic. The dopamine is still going strong, so I might as well ride the wave and see how we go.

I've downloaded a Greek graded reader that starts with simple stories, fairy tales and the like. And I'm watching YT videos with Greek subtitles. There's a teacher, RaniaSchool whose audience is children in Greece, as you can read from the comments below the videos. Complete with cute orthographic faults!

The last thing I watched was her explaining in simplish Greek what the Solar System is.

I've also downloaded a monolingual Greek-Greek dictionary for school, Εικονογραφημένο Λεξικό Α΄, Β΄, Γ΄ Δημοτικού. It's offered for free as an ebook by the Greek education department.

I started from the letter A. I'm learning heaps of synonyms and antonyms that way. For example here's an entry for frog, which shows that it's masculine (o), a noun (ουσιαστικό) and the plural form (βάτραχοι).

βάτραχος [ο] ουσιαστικό (βάτραχοι)

O βάτραχος είναι ένα μικρό ζώο με λείο πράσινο δέρμα. Πίσω έχει δύο μεγάλα πόδια που μοιάζουν με βατραχοπέδιλα και μπροστά δύο πιο μικρά. Προχωράει πηδώντας και κολυμπώντας και μπορεί να ζήσει μέσα κι έξω από το νερό. Όταν ο βάτραχος θέλει να φωνάξει, κάνει κουάξ κουάξ.

βά-τρα-χος


The frog is a small animal with smooth green skin. Behind, it has two big legs that look like flippers and at the front, two smaller legs. It moves by jumping and swimming and can live inside and out of water. When the frog wants to make a sound, it goes 'kwax, kwax'.

I really like these kinds of dictionaries. I've got a Basque-Basque school dictionary I bought at last year's Durango Book Market, and it's one of my favourite things. Learned and still learn so much Basque that way.

Still haven't finished reading the grammar though. It's called A Comprehensive Grammar of Greek and it's true to its name, because there's 672 pages of hard slogging. Beautiful.

And to cap off, even though I'm taking this Greek thing seriously, at the same time I'm not taking it seriously. I fully expect to push to some level, where I can read short stories and enjoy traditional Greek music, but leave it there until I meet a Greek person in my life who will then motivate me to apply myself to seriously produce Greek and not merely just read and listen. I know, because I know myself and my patterns of behaviour.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:35 am

nooj wrote:I think for some Spaniards and foreigners, it is difficult for them to believe that others Spaniards speak other Spanish languages not to purposely annoy them or more vulgarly REDACTED with them (REDACTED), or to express a political statement of independence, but simply because they like it and because they feel more comfortable in Catalan, Basque, Galician etc.

"Why, if youse all speak Spanish anyway?" is something you hear quite often, and assumes that Spanish is the norm in Spain, something so normal that anything else is unusual and needs a reason to justify it.


There are no monolingual Basque speakers anymore, and haven't been since the last century, but that's a misleading fact. Just because you know a language doesn't mean that it's your language, the language that you most feel comfortable in, the one you think in, the one you default to in times of relaxation or times of stress.

Yesterday I was reminded of this when talking to a lad my age, from Azkoitia (heavily Basque speaking town) who was obliged to switch to Spanish when a non Basque speaking Englishman pushed his way into our conversation.

The Basque guy's fluid debit of speech slowed down. Became choppy. It was a slight but noticeable change. Like he was thinking about his words. And he went back to speaking Basque anyway.

In all my 11 months living in the Basque Country, talking with dozens of Basque speakers, not one - not one - has switched to Spanish or French once we started speaking in Basque. Of course they might throw words or expressions in, but a conversation started in Basque, ends in Basque. That suggests to me that native speakers don't always speak Spanish and French because they want to. Often, they have to. They're obliged to. They're forced to.

Many Spanish and French people see Basque as an impediment, a cognitive and administrative burden. To my mind it's the exact opposite. What a bore, how annoying, how inefficient, for a Basque speaker to be obliged to keep the language of their deepest, deepest self under wraps, and to use another language to communicate with these other people. How limiting to not be able to express your personality in the way you want. Because they impose these useless Spanish and French languages on you.

When I say useless, I mean redundant and extraneous. Everything that Spanish and French does today in the Basque Country, Basque can do the same job.

There's absolutely no reason why Basque can't be the language of all audiovisual production in the Basque Country for example - if not for the fact that Spanish and French are already there, taking up that space like an elephant and squeezing Basque out of air and room. These languages are squatters. Isn't it time to kick them out? My conviction is that it's possible and desirable to recreate a functionally monolingual Basque Country.
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