Monday, 29 February 2016

“Rere”: reduplicated relations

First published 8 February 2016 @ sólo algunas palabras

In Mandarin Chinese, reduplication is a very common feature. Its function is to create an informal, less direct or more cute version of a word with the same meaning. For example, 謝謝 xièxie, “thanks”, is a reduplicated xiè. However, when it comes to naming your relations, it could well be that these apparently reduplicated words came first and then got shortened, just like English “ma” and ‎“pa” are short versions of ‎“mama” and ‎“papa”.

Now mama, papa, baba, dada etc. are babble words, something that babies all over the world tend to produce without thinking about their parents and other relatives. (How on earth Finns got to use äiti and isä, is anyone’s guess. Here’s my own guess: Finnish is derived from Elvish, not the other way round, and elvish babies never babble.) What I find interesting about Mandarin is that there are different babble words for different kinds of brothers, sisters, uncles and grandparents. Which is logical, if you think of it. For example, an older brother and a younger brother often have nothing in common. Calling them simply “brothers” is just silly.

Han charactersPinyinMeaningEtymology
trad.爸爸bàbadad, papaFrom ‎“dad” formed by reduplication
trad.媽媽māmamom, mum, mamaFrom ‎“mum”
trad.哥哥gēgeolder brotherFrom ‎“elder brother”
trad.弟弟dìdiyounger brotherFrom ‎“younger brother”
trad.姐姐jiějieolder sisterFrom ‎“elder sister, young lady”
trad.妹妹mèimeiyounger sisterFrom ‎“younger sister”
trad.舅舅jiùjiumother’s brother, uncleFrom ‎“mother’s brother, uncle”
trad.叔叔shūshufather’s younger brother, uncleFrom ‎“father’s younger brother, uncle”
trad.奶奶nǎinaipaternal grandmother, gramma, grannyFrom ‎“milk; woman’s breasts”
trad.爺爺yéyefather’s father, paternal grandfather, granddadFrom ‎“father, grandfather”
trad.寶寶bǎobǎobabyFrom ‎“treasure, precious”

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Vivani organic dark chocolate

by Vivani

A couple of weeks ago we discovered this nice little organic food shop called Zoe Market (Calle Pérez Galdós, 37). I can’t pinpoint what exactly it was prompted us to walk in but I am sure it was not organic food as such. Inside, it is full of wonderful vintage stuff, like Singer sewing machine, aluminium milk pails, 1950s Italian magazines, etc. We chatted for a while with an owner and learned that this is a part of a very small chain called Zoe Food, with two shops in Las Palmas and two shops in Trieste. Ah! Trieste! And so we chatted a little more.

Eventually, we left with a bar of 99% Panama cocoa dark chocolate — did I read it right? I didn’t know these things even exist!

It turned out to be even better (and less bitter) than I expected. You simply can’t get a bar of chocolate chocolatier than this.

More photos of chocolate @ Shutterstock.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Todo lo que nunca te dije lo guardo aquí

by Sara Herranz

I discovered (online) the Canarian artist Sara Herranz while in Santander. Which I thought was ironic. In any case, I fell in love with those drawings. (Is “fell in love” too strong an expression? Sure it is. Live with it.)

But this book (2nd edition, in case you are interested; also acquired in Santander on my last weekend there) is more than a collection of illustrations. I don’t know what it is exactly though. It has graphic and chapters but graphic novel it ain’t. Saying that, none of “graphic novels” I came across lately are. Is it a love story, or many love stories, or a story of promiscuous search for a true love? Well, these are some of the possibilities. It is funny (not ROFL funny) and sad (not “I want to kill myself” sad), witty and touching. Not to mention erotic — oh wait. I just mentioned it.

♡ ♥ ♡

Me enamoro de ti precipitadamente, sin leer la letra pequeña.

♥ ♡ ♥

Que te rompan el corazón no es el fin del mundo, no es el fin de nada.

♡ ♥ ♡

El enamoramiento dura seis meses, luego hay amores eternos que duran tres años.

♥ ♡ ♥

Hay gente que va al gimnasio para ponerse en forma. Nosotros preferimos otro tipo de agujetas.

♡ ♥ ♡

Ellos son la droga. Ellos son la cura. Y no son las personas que necesito, pero como placebo no están nada mal.

♥ ♡ ♥

En cualquier caso, la vida no parece del todo una mierda, debajo de este enorme edredón de plumas.

♡ ♥ ♡

Hoy es uno de esos días en los que necesito un abrazo, o tres cervezas.

♥ ♡ ♥

... la vida es demasiado corta para no besar con lengua.

♡ ♥ ♡

Me muero por conocer a mi próximo ex.

♥ ♡ ♥

Monday, 8 February 2016

Are You Experienced

by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

If there ever was a doubt that death is a smart career move, at least in rock’n’roll world, you should look no further than Are You Experienced, the greatest something and an endless source of greatest somethings of all time. Yes, untimely death can make even a mediocre musician interesting. In case of undoubtedly gifted and charismatic Hendrix, the move proved to be not just smart but stratospheric, rendering him practically a god. JHE was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Andy Beckett wrote in The Independent back in 1994:

Who’s still listening? The under-20s, daring heavy metal fans, grunge musicians (he was from Seattle), rock critics.
Add to this list yours truly, if only for a reason to understand what it’s all about. You see, I am no longer interested how critically acclaimed, or commercially successful, or revolutionary music was at the time. (In case of AYE: it was, it was, very much.) All I care about is whether I want to listen to this album now.

For me the answer is: not really. AYE features solid, occasionally great songwriting coupled with unpredictable guitar wizardry and consistently bad vocals. (The liner notes inexplicably claim that AYE is a concept album. Which is absurd, considering how radically different were the UK and American versions. Unless releasing two different albums under the same name was the concept. Why, the UK version didn’t even have Hey Joe, Purple Haze, and The Wind Cries Mary.)

Saying that, AYE still is head and shoulders above most of rock albums released this millennium. It’s just nowhere near the greatest album of all time. All time is a long time.

The Wind Cries Mary

After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footprints dressed in red
And the wind whispers Mary

A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries Mary

The traffic lights they all true blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed
The tiny island sags downstream
Cause the life that lived is, is dead
And the wind screams Mary

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past
And with his crutch, its old age, and it's wisdom
It whispers no, this will be the last
And the wind cries Mary

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Secret of Kells

a film by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey

I liked this animation even more than its follow-up, Song of the Sea. It certainly is funnier. The international team of brothers-illuminators living in Kells provide comic relief. Aisling, some kind of forest fairy, reminded me very much of Little My. And music by Bruno Coulais (Microcosmos, Coraline, La planète blanche) and Kíla is awesome.