Posts Tagged ‘catalan’


La Vida en Bar-thay-lona, parte 2

October 26, 2011

Just because I’m a linguistic nerd and I’ve been doing lots of phonetic transcriptions recently, and since it makes a segway between last post and this one, here is the phonetic transcription of “Me encanta Barcelona” (I love Barcelona), in the peninsular dialect, of course: [meːŋˈkan̪t̪aβ̞aɾθeˈlona]. Don’t forget the “th” sound!

I’m sure you were dying to know how to phonetically transcribe “I love Barcelona”, and now your life is complete. You’ll thank me later. 😛

So apart from enjoying the fall weather, I’ve been spending a lot of time walking around the city with my housemate from Quebec, who is leaving in a little over a week! Therefore, I’ve gotten to know the city a little better (it used to be that I’d spend my time during the week after class doing homework in the library or in my room on facebook, so this is a much nicer alternative, although I have spent less time doing homework…). All that to say, my appreciation for this capital city of Catalonia, Spain is growing even fonder every day! 🙂 With that, here I will pick up where I left off on my Top 10 favorite aspects of Barcelonian life:

  1. Gaudí – Okay, so any list of great things about Barcelona has got to include its most famous resident, the innovative architect that is the face of the modernismemovement. Apart from the fact that his work is so innovative and important for students of art and architecture, even for the artistically-uninformed linguistics student that I am, I can appreciate that his works are really cool! I haven’t been to all of his famous houses yet (I still need to go to Casa Vicens and Calvet, and also the crypt of Colònia Güell before I can feel content with the amount of Gaudi that I’ve seen), but I’ve seen the main tourist attractions: Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà/La Pedrera. His work is overwhelming to see, and I highly recommend that anyone who admires art or nature visit Barcelona to see his works in person. The cool thing is that you can see famous Gaudí works of art just walking around the city–they’re right there in the middle of downtown!

    The view from Parc Güell - including the Sagrada Familia: center/left on the horizon

  2. Nature. Speaking of parks and horizons… Barcelona has such an incredible mix of magnificent natural scenery. From the sands of the Villa Olympica or Barceloneta, the grassy, tree-covered terrain of the many municipal parks, to the mountain of Montjüic, Barcelona has much more than just man-made art and architecture to offer; it also has the beauty of nature!

    Palm trees in Parc Guell!

  3. Català. Em dic Kristen. Visc a Barcelona. Parlo una mica de català. (Tr. My name is Kristen. I live in Barcelona. I speak a little bit of Catalan.) Okay, so you thought I had moved on from linguistics for this blog entry. False! It all comes back to language. Part of the reason why I chose to go to Barcelona was because they speak Catalan. It’s fascinating to hear and see the interplay of the two languages here. Nearly all official postings or safety warnings are written in Catalan first, then Castellano, then English. But sometimes they leave off either Castellano or English (it’s always funny to see something written first in Catalan and then in English, as if all the Spanish-speakers who don’t know Catalan or English aren’t welcome here). It’s perfectly normal here to hold a conversation where one person speaks Catalan and the other understands, but responds in Castellano. A large part of the Catalonian identity is tied up in their ability to speak their own language, and they aren’t happy when the government tries to take this away from them (as did Franco). For me, this city is sociolinguistically, psycholinguistically, and phonologically provocative, so it’s pretty much a linguistics nerd fest every day.
  4. Sangría. It’s true. Sangria is delicious. I would drink it everyday if it weren’t so expensive. Picture this: real fruit juice, cut-up fruit soaked inside, wine, sugar, fanta, and a bit of liquor. Result=pure paradise for your tastebuds. 🙂 Now imagine trying to NOT drink this every chance you get. Every restaurant in Barcelona sells it, and no two sangrias ever taste exactly the same, so it’s necessary to try it as often as possible, right?

    mmmmm... 🙂

  5. Anti-Rush. The people take their time here. You literally never see a native Spaniard walking down the street, a cellphone in one hand and a coffee or half-eaten sandwich in the other. In contrast, that is the definition of the majority of people walking around in cities in the US. (perhaps a minor exaggeration, but you get my point.) Here, most businesses close for several hours in the middle of the day so people can enjoy a nice midday meal and a siesta. Going out to have coffee with someone usually means staying and talking for hours. It’s very important to really enjoy good food and good company. I like that. In America, it’s too easy to make hurriedness and busyness a priority, when that’s not really what matters. It’s better to just sit back and relax a bit, take time to enjoy yourself, and really invest in the place you are at the moment, not worrying about what’s next.
Well, there you have it. I could probably easily pick another ten, but these are some things that really stick out to me and warm my heart to this beautiful city.

La Mercè in a nutshell

September 27, 2011

How to sum up an entire three day weekend full of incredible activities into a single, readable blog entry is out of my ability, so excuse my oversimplification of what I did this weekend at the Merced.

Basically, I can narrow it down into three categories:

  • Crazy Spanish/Catalan activities, including the gegants, un desfile (parade), castellers, and, of course, the correfoc.
  • Concerts.
  • Fun times with friends.

So, first off. Spanish/Catalan specific events.

I already mentioned a bit about the gegants in my previous post, but the cool thing is that we got to see them on display (without people inside them) later, and that was cool. My camera was dead at this point, so I’ll just steal a picture from facebook.

My friend, the angry turtle.

Also, in addition to the dance of the gegants which I saw Thursday night, we also got to see a parade of them, with drums and fire and confetti and other such amazing events.

If you think this fiery creature looks dangerous, just wait til I get to talking about the correfoc!

But I think my favorite part of the weekend was the castellers, the human towers. I can’t even express how incredible it was to see. Basically people climb on top of each other and stand on each others shoulders. Up to 9 layers high. It’s ridiculous. And I was really close to the action, after I fought my way through the crowd. We were packed into a plaza like sardines, but it was all worth it, because it was so amazing to see.

Really. Words cannot express how cool this is.

But coming in close second for my favorite cultural event of the Merced is the correfoc. Meaning “run of fire” in Catalan, this is essentially a band of crazy people dressed up as demons running down one of the main streets in Barcelona, spouting sparks from giant fireworks, aimed directly at the crowd of people watching. And also, some of the gegants–for the most part the creepy ones, but also some of the non-creepy ones–were part of the correfoc, each equiped (and constantly re-equiped) with plenty of fireworks to shoot at the crowd. Pictures don’t do this justice, so I’ll include a video that I took, including the screams for help that happened when I was showered with sparks. So. much. fun.

However, I must also include a few photos from the night, for your enjoyment. Remember you can click any of them to see a bigger size.

This monstrous beast was terrifying to behold.

The pig of doom.

I love this cow! 🙂

All of the above-mentioned things just made me happy beyond reason that I am in Spain, and, more specifically, that I am in Barcelona. I can’t imagine being anywhere else! I love it here!

I will hopefully write more on the other two parts of this weekend of festivities that is the Merced, but if not, to quickly sum it up, I saw: Merengue, Jazz, Swing, Rock, Man Man (the only American band at the Merced), electronic, and many other types of bands in concert, for free! I also spent a lot of time getting to know friends, listening to nineties music, going to a circus (that was kind of a disappointment), and walking around–sometimes getting lost in–the city. It was a lot of fun, and I wish I could do this every weekend!


¡Viva la merced!

September 23, 2011

This weekend is the festival of the Merced, here in Barcelona. Every city in Spain has it’s own patron saint, and they also each have their own official holiday in honor of their patron saint. In Barcelona, it is St. Merced. And this weekend is the festival.

La Mercè! (The Catalan name for it)

Last night was the beginning of the festivities. My friends and I got a bit lost and ended up in the wrong plaza, but in the process we saw some people dancing the Sardana, the traditional Catalan dance (but it’s mostly for old people). It was still pretty cool though, very typical of Cataluna.

Note the large quantity of old people.

Next, we went to the correct plaza, Plaza St. Jaume, where they had the dance of the “gegants” = giants. There were several giant people and also cows, dragons, turtles, and all manner of strange huge costumes that people would wear and dance around with, sometimes with fire spouting out from the animals’ mouths.

Two of the semi-normal human gegants.

Creepy/awesome dragon guy.

After that, we went back to my friend’s residencia to eat and drink, and we were planning on going to a concert afterwards, but we ended up stopping at a patch of grass and just talking and listening to/singing along with music from my friend’s portable speakers for a couple hours instead. Twas good.

Tonight is when the real party begins, though. Bring it on.


¿En serio?

April 17, 2011

¿En serio voy para España? A veces, pienso de esto, y todavía estoy un poco sorprendida. Es un sueño grande que tenía hace muchos años. Y, aunque sé que es real, que en serio voy para España en unos meses, a veces no puedo creerlo. Estaba pensando esta mañana. Nada va a ser fácil, cuando estoy en España. Después de unas semanas, sí, va a hacerse más fácil, pero ¡que extraño será! solamente oír dos lenguas que ya no sepa. Sí, claro, mis amigos y compañeros americanos van a hablar inglés, y a veces los ciudadanos van a darse cuenta que soy americana y van a hablar en inglés conmigo. Pero, en general, todo lo que hago, todo lo que leo, todo lo que oigo, va a ser en español. Cuando regreso, creo que voy a simpaticar mucho con los inmigrantes extranjeros a America, los que no saben inglés. No sólo viven por unos meses aquí; al contrario, viven aquí por siempre, y saben que si no aprendan la lengua, no tengan éxito y no puedan ganar dinero. Ya puedo simpaticar con ellos, pero después de pasar tiempo en España, voy a entenderlos porque tengo mi experiencia similar. Y creo que este entendimiento es similar de lo que Jesucristo hacía para nosotros. Podemos entender la dificultad de los pobres y afligidos cuando nosotros mismos estamos pobres y afligidos.

Estos son simplementes un pedazo pequeño de los montones de pensamientos que tengo sobre mi viaje a España. Si yo tuviera el tiempo, puedo escribir millones de páginas, pero tengo que hacer tarea. Entonces, ya está.

For the Anglophiles among you (if I even have any readers), below is an English translation.

I’m really going to Spain?  Sometimes I think of that fact, and I still am a bit surprised. It’s a huge dream that I’ve had for many years. And, although I know that it’s real, that I really am going to Spain in a couple months, sometimes I can’t believe it. I was thinking this morning. Nothing is going to be easy, when I’m in Spain. After a few weeks, yes, it’ll become easier, but–how strange it will be!–only hearing 2 languages that I don’t know yet. Yes, of course, my friends and American classmates will speak English, and sometimes the locals will realize that I’m American and speak in English with me. But, in general, everything I do, everything I read, everything I hear, will be in Spanish. When I return, I think that I will sympathize a lot with the foreign immigrants to America, those who don’t know English. They don’t just live a couple months here; on the contrary, they live here forever, and they know that if they don’t learn the language, they won’t be successful and they won’t make money. I can already sympathize a bit with them, but after spending time in Spain, I will understand them because I will have my own similar experience. And I think that sort of understanding is similar to that which Jesus has for us. We can understand the difficulty of the poor and afflicted when we ourselves are poor and afflicted.

These are simply a small piece of the multitude of thoughts that I have about my trip to Spain. If I had the time, I could write millions of pages about it, but I have to do homework. So, that’s it.

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