Posts Tagged by Spanish
|17-Oct-2009||Posted by Sonia Hamilton under Spanish|
Last night I attended the second cultural activity of the Cervantes Institute – a Flamenco Guitar Masterclass put on by a giant of the flamenco world Óscar Herrero, with the assistance of David Rasko and students from the Sydney Spanish Guitar Studio. There were a large number of attendees (about 50) as well as many guitars, and we all had a great time.
Óscar talked us through a brief history of flamenco and explained how a flamenco guitar differs from a classical guitar. He then demonstrated the playing techniques that give flamenco it’s distinctive sound – the alzpúa, rasgeados, and golpes, as well as showing us a flamenco metronome that allows guitarists, dancers and singers to practice by themselves (very different from a normal metronome – it has all the different beats like Sevillanos, Siguiriyas, etc). Then the best part – Oscar would give a little improvisation based on the technique and pure music would flow…
When I grew up we were all forced to learn a classical instrument at school – piano, violin, flute or (classical) guitar, along with several ‘real’ foreign languages (French and Latin for me). I learnt guitar, but it wasn’t fun – hours of practice and study each day, exams and formal auditions – enough to put you off music for life. But learning the guitar got me interested Spanish (all the footnotes were in Spanish), and hearing Óscar and the students play has got me thinking about playing the guitar again – Olé!
|15-Oct-2009||Posted by Sonia Hamilton under Spanish|
The Spanish Language Institute (Instituto Cervantes) has just opened in Sydney. The Institute has a similar role to that of the French Alliance Francaise – to encourage the spread of Spanish language and culture throughout the world.
Last night was the first night of the advanced class – we started late as none of us had thought to order our textbooks and the poor teacher had to improvise, but there was also an opening of an exhibition of Peruvian photography so we had red wine and tapas on our break and then proceeded to have a great time in the second half of the class (all typically Spanish).
Now, onto the homework. At these more advanced levels we study the finer and more cultured aspects of the language, including of course slang and idioms… For example, my first homework question – what is this word x? One of them is worth a lot (“worth an x”), two of them means brave (“you’ve got to have 2 x’s to do that”), if you have 3 of them you don’t give a damn (“it doesn’t matter 3 x’s”), and a lot of x’s means really difficult (“getting it cost me a 1000 pairs of x’s”). There are many other uses for the word x, and it is of course one of the most widely used words in the Spanish language – cojones.
As Frikipedia tells me, “cojones (balls) are a mechanism of masculinity created to relieve stress … they’re made of two oval forms covered with skin that is impermeable to alpha rays … it is believed that cojones emit a magnetic radiation that attracts the spherical objects used in sports …”
I wonder if Japanese or German classes are like this….?
|31-Mar-2009||Posted by Sonia Hamilton under Spanish|
I was in Mexico and Guatemala 15 months ago, and I was travelling on and off the ‘tourist track’. On the track because I sometimes did things like stay in hostels, catch a train up the Copper Canyon (wow), etc. Off the track because I was doing volunteer work, speak Spanish, and I like fisgoneando.
What really surprised me was the depth of the drug war. Of course I was aware of it from previous visits to Central and South America, but it’s really entered other dimensions now. In Mexico the cartels are better armed and informed than the police, and regularly use heavy machine guns and RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) when fighting the police. The army has been brought in several times because the various police forces (there are a lot of them in Mexico) aren’t just corrupt, they’re owned by the cartels. Unfortunately the cartels have so much money that they sometimes hire whole units of the Army, and some specialist/commando style units have even switched sides. For example los Zetas (the Zeds), a counter-terrorist unit trained by the Americans at the notorious School of the Americas, who later switched sides and have now formed their own cartel. Or even more feared – if that’s possible – Los Kaibiles, ex-special forces soldiers from Guatemala.
Further south in Colombia, the 50-year-long three sided civil war “keeps on continuing”. Ideological differences were long ago cast aside for the lucrative profits to be derived from narcotics, hence the term narcoguerilla used to describe the guerrillas on the left (the FARC-EP and the ELN) and the “self defence units” on the right (the AUC). To the east Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez continues meddling in Colombia’s affairs and sheltering the guerrillas, as does Ecuador to the south (resulting in Colombian forces supported by the US bombing FARC camps in Ecuador last year).
So, where is this all leading? Post peak-oil author Dmitry Orlov has blogged an interesting summary of where he thinks the “Drug War” will head. In a nutshell, as US policing efforts reduce due to budgetary cutbacks stemming from the melt-down of the US economy (for example California is releasing large numbers of prisoners due to their budgetary problems), the drug war will head north out of the Mexican border areas into the US proper. War as in the war seen nightly on the streets of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, not the political war as in “the war on drugs”.
A Mexican saying:
¡Pobre Mexico! Tan lejos de Dios; y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos. (“Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States”).
|14-Mar-2009||Posted by Sonia Hamilton under Spanish, Ubuntu, Vnc|
The vnc server on Ubuntu has been called vino for ages – Spanish (and Italian, Portuguese, etc) for wine. Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) onwards has a nice new application called Remote Desktop Viewer (Applications, Internet) – allows you to easily manage multiple vnc sessions, set bookmarks, etc. And this application is called vinagre – Spanish for vinegar.
Wine and Vinegar – nice :-)
Software Libre has opened up the world to developers from outside the West Coast of the US – we now have people from all over the world “scratching their itch”. For me this is one of the strongest assets of Linux and gives me a “warm inner glow”.
Last night I read Pia’s post about the situation in Iceland WRT to Micro$oft and Software Libre – maybe there will be a silver lining to the dire current financial situation. And the references to skulls and f!!cking made me smile, remembering the curses the old Warrant Officer used to give us in the army – “Cadet Fred if you don’t get your sh!t together I will personally come and rip your bl!!dy head off and skull-f!ck you in the eyes. What are you folding your arms for – only pregnant women and p!!fters fold their arms. Did you forget to get dressed when you got out of the rack this morning? Did you shave? Yes? What did you use – a brick? Cadet Mary – did you also forget to iron your uniform this morning? Don’t call me Sir, I work for a living. Everyone else down and give me 50, remind Cadet Mary to iron her uniform in the morning. DID I SAY YOU BAGS OF SH!T COULD LET GO OF YOUR RIFLES? DON’T YOU DARE VOMIT ON MY PARADE GROUND….” Someone forgot to tell him about PC :-)
|30-Jan-2008||Posted by Sonia Hamilton under Spanish, Ubuntu|
To convert an Ubuntu installed with English to Spanish, install the following packages:
Here it is as one long line, for copying and pasting:
sudo aptitude install language-pack-es language-pack-es-base language-pack-gnome-es language-pack-gnome-es-base language-support-es manpages-es manpages-es-extra
See also: Acentos y carácteres especiales