Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Irritation, Catalan grammar, and a confession.

You know what bites me....? When the school sends home a message that the child needs to have something, and we're not talking a school book, THE NEXT DAY! I mean really. Can they not give me some notice please? What if I don't have time to get it THAT NIGHT? Or for instance I cannot figure out what the heck it is? I am sorry, but it makes me very very angry. Needless to say the kid's school did that last night. Grrrr. Dinner was late, Mother was grumpy, stories were short. Urgh.

This morning the husband didn't wake me up in time to walk the dog before work. Considering that he had diarrhea yesterday this seemed like a poor plan, but the unfortunate beast was left in the house without a walk since 11pm last night until 10:45 when I came home from work. I might add, that he was sufficiently, shall we say, energised by this lack of activity that I also ended up going to work without a shower, and without brushing my teeth. Fortunately for the man, he didn't crap in the house, because I would have left it there for him. If you carve a full 45 minutes out of an already tight routine it makes a person, or at least this person, grumpy.

Now at 12:30, the dog has been walked, I have showered, had a little more to eat, brushed my teeth, and I am working on my Catalan...which is confusing me without having anyone to ask. I may take it into work. I am still learning stuff, but not as much as I could. Life is better, and the dog is happily sleeping in a patch of sunshine.

Here's some grammatical boredom/confusion for you. This sentence:

Va a buscar la seva dona a casa seva i la porta a la seva segona residencia.

translates as:

He picked up(??this verb isn't in my dictionary) your wife from your home and took her to your second home.

We have here an unspoken subjective pronoun - they do that here - he, followed by a verb...'va a buscar', to pick up, followed by a possessive adjective, la seva...your, feminine third person singular...yes I have to conjugate all of those..then the direct object which is the noun 'dona' which means wife as well as woman, followed by an indirect object, 'la casa' the house...and then seva again, her again a possessive adjective, but because it is an indirect object, the modifying adjective 'seva' does not carry the article 'la' in this case, and comes AFTER the noun. Then we have 'i', which is simply the conjunction 'and', and then it gets confusing again. 'i' is followed by 'la', which is a pronoun(?) - there are two types in Catalan, strong and feeble, I don't know which this is, but it is referring, I think, to the wife again who is taken 'porta', in the present tense to the indirect object 'la seva segona residencia' which means: to your second residence. Your and second are both adjectives modifying residence, 'seva' here is again a possessive adjective, but despite the fact that this is again an indirect object, it is now coming BEFORE the noun, AND it is carrying the article. WHY? I don't know, and I am sure that if you are still reading this, you don't either.

Holy jeez.

....later, for those of you who might not have been able to sleep tonight worrying about this puzzling bit of grammar, I was mostly correct, BUT, the first 'seva', in 'casa seva' would normally come before the noun with an article, that is the grammatical structure, but in the case of the word 'casa', and only 'casa' it comes after, unless of course you really want to emphasise that it is YOUR the second sentence, 'la seva segona residencia' is the normal grammatical structure.

Sounds like offside rules in hockey doesn't it.

It took FIVE women, all Catalan folks, and all language teachers...four of them were confused by this, but the fifth, who does teach Catalan, and owns the school, knew. Thank goodness. In their defence, most if not all of these women never got the chance to study Catalan grammar. Under Franco, it was banned. There were no books or papers published, and the grammar certainly wasn't taught in the schools. It was spoken only in the privacy of your home, although I am sure that some villages were sufficiently small and tight that it was used more. There are many many highly educated Catalans who cannot read the language well, and write it poorly also as a result of Franco's policies. So while I find myself saying to people that it is that way in English because it is, I have at least in some distant past studied a little bit of the grammar. Catalans beyond a certain age have not. Franco died in 75, so Catalan probably didn't enter the schools officially till at least 1980. Maybe they moved faster than that, but I would be surprised. I am of course guessing here, and then you would also have to find teachers who could do it themselves.....

If you made it all the way through this post without deserve a prize. Maybe free Catalan lessons?

Oh, and I have a confession to make... Trish, well, I ahhhhh, well, I peed in your backyard once.


Nomad was staying there once last summer, maybe the spring - and I had driven over to see her, and the traffic had been APPALLING, and by the time I got there, about four hours later, well things were desperate. No one home at your place, I don't know your area well at all, and so I wandered back to the end of your property, which I might add is stunningly beautiful, to see if I could spot Nomad or her mom, but no. I didn't know if there were people in her house, so I couldn't go over there, and then well, that back forty of yours, it has a lot of big bushes. I'm sorry, but I felt SOOOOO much better.

I did meet you once briefly last summer when Nomad was staying with you, and I again needed to pee, but fortunately you were home and I got to use the indoor plumbing.

Well, that's off my chest. I wasn't a blogger at the time, so it wasn't as big a deal as it might be now to meet you, but *whew* hope you aren't mad.


Beth said...

You crack me up! A "pee" confession to Trish! Hope you feel better after confessing - now that the blog world knows!
I want you to know I read every bit of that confusing Catalan translation bit. I did not skim. I don't know how you are doing this without a constant headache.
And it's far, far worse than the offside rule in hockey!

Jocelyn said...

Foreign grammar explication + an illicit pee story = Jocelyn, The Happy Blog Reader.

(btw, I'm about to put up my response to your expat meme tag last week)

Tracey said...

Um, I skimmed. Hope you don't mind. I didn't pee in anyone's yard but my own, though, so it should be okay.

I know what you mean about schools! My daughter only goes for two classes, but they keep messing with the schedules and forgetting to tell us! I never know what time she's supposed to be there.

Hope your dog is feeling better.

oreneta said...

Beth: I am not sure about the offside, as it also differs from league to my peak hockey watching days I watched four different leagues, and I COULD NOT keep it straight....

Jocelyn: Glad you liked it.

Tracey: Thanks for coming now have me trying to figure out how many people's back yards I have peed I a serial peer???? Hmmm.