Posts Tagged ‘linguistics’

h1

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.
Advertisements
h1

La vida en Bar-thay-lona, parte 1

October 22, 2011

So since I haven’t written in a while, there are a majority of topics I could cover. I could talk about the change of weather. But really, that’s the composition of lame, dry conversations, so I won’t go there. I could talk about what it was like to have a clash of two worlds when my parents came to visit me. But I’m not in the mood for that. I could actually cover some of my recent(ish) excursions, like when I went to Paris, Tarragona, Madrid (again), or my excursion today to Besalú and Figueras. But that just makes me sound like a tourist.

But today marks the two-month anniversary of my arrival here, and I think that deserves something more pertinent to my actual life here. Not that fun excursions or weather changes or parents coming aren’t part of my life, but they’re just fun blips. What I’m talking about here is my day-to-day, mundane (although I’d hardly call it that!), typical routine here. I love Barcelona in a way that I can’t fully explain, but I’m going to try to scratch the surface.

So, without further ado, I will commence with the rather cliche top 10 list: My top 10 favorite aspects of Barcelonian life (in no particular order).

  1. Pan con tomate. (Bread with tomato) Ok, those of you who haven’t been to Cataluña may think that it’s silly to include a simple food item like this in my top ten list, but really. It’s such a staple here. And so delicious. All you do is put spread some garlic (directly from the clove) on some baked bread, cut up a tomato and spread its juice around on the bread, drizzle some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt (and a lot of times they don’t use the garlic, but for me, that’s what makes or breaks it). Apart from this being a side dish to almost all meals, they also use the same recipe (without the garlic) to put on sandwiches made with baguettes. This moistens the bread and brings out the flavor of the meat or cheese! 🙂

    Pan con tomate. Mmmmm

  2. The independent mindset of the Catalan people. Okay, so I’m going to try to not make gross over-generalizations, but forgive me in advance if I approach this the wrong way. To state it briefly, Cataluña (an autonomous community of Spain, which used to be its own nation prior to September 11, 1714) has its own culture, its own language, its own unique gastronomy, and many other unique aspects, and a lot of people here have strong opinions about being separate from the overarching culture of Spain.  Although I myself don’t associate politically with any Catalan or Spanish party, I find it incredibly interesting to observe. There’s a strong cultural bond here.

    They write it in English so the tourists understand. And of course this is supposed to say "not".

  3. El Barrio Gótico. I said this from almost the beginning of my trip here, and it’s still true. I love the gothic area of the city. It feels like it’s the beating heart of the city. And it’s also just so beautiful and full of surprises around every corner. This weekend they’re having a food and wine festival, and there’s an open market in the plaza in front of the Cathedral. During the Mercè, there were a lot of great events there, and there is always some sort of cultural activity or at least a couple street performers hanging out in various places around the area. Apart from that, it’s a remnant of a former time–there are buildings and walls that are very old, much older than the US, and I like the atmosphere that it gives the area.

    Part of the Roman Wall from ancient Barcelona, in the Plaza de Ramon Berenguer.

  4. [θ]. Alright, so allow me to nerd out here for a minute. The dialect of Spanish here is very different from that spoken in Latin America. One of the most obvious differences, apart from the use of “vosotros” and words and phrases that are different, is the “th” sound (phonetically represented as [θ]) for the letters “z” and sometimes “c”. Since I’m taking phonetics and phonology of Spanish here, I am constantly reminded of this change of pronunciation. I know, I’m a linguistics nerd for allowing dialects of Spanish fascinate me so much, but that’s how it is.
  5. Balconies. When you walk down a street in Barcelona, if you take a minute to stop and look, you will see balconies and terraces and flower pots on all of the apartment buildings overlooking the street. That, mixed with the stone that is typical for almost all the buildings in the city, gives it a look that is very distinct from cities in the US, which are normally built with a lot less focus on aesthetic value. They have this in lots of European cities, and it always makes me happy. It feels like I’ve been transported to another world.

    See this? Isn't it pretty? Now imagine this on every street in the city. 😀

This is taking longer than expected (it always does, I suppose), so I’ll leave the list here for now. Stay tuned for the next five, hopefully coming soon!
%d bloggers like this: