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Cytokines and Catalan

Damn cytokines... still sniffly, but certainly not as bad as I was on Tuesday. Throat's sore, but the honeyed tea is helping with that. Spent the last couple of days at home, since Rule Number One of the open office plan is "keep the germs at home when you turn into a virus breeding ground". I expect that I picked it up from one of my fellow 378 passengers on the way back from Barcelona (had a fantastic time there with basmati, more details later!); the long leg was 12 hours, from Munich to San Francisco. Gotta love intercontinental flights for picking up colds... it's like grade school times ten. And you get to deal with the lag at the same time!

Spent the days working from home and sipping a decoction (I've been reading the His Dark Materials trilogy on the plane, so yeah, that word worked its way into my vocabulary) of orange juice and seltzer. Now that I'm feeling better, I was thinking about being social tonight and going to see Run Lola Run, but I dunno... I may have filled up on German after the Lufthansa flights.

(Amusing aside: After last year's language debacle in Munich, I promised myself that I wasn't going to make the same mistake when ordering a coffee in Frankfurt. Which of course, meant that it happened. "Si. I mean, Yes. I mean, Ja." *rolls eyes*)

I love the way that German strings old nouns together to make new ones, so you get these six-syllable words (like Annahmeschlusszeiten: "Acceptance conclusion times"). But German has so many hard edges to it, though... it takes a talent on the scale of Goethe or Schiller to wring poetry out of it. Not like Spanish, where even the announcements at the Metro station sound lyrical. (But you have to admit that the phrase "Möchtest du Strudel für Frühstück in München?" while not poetic, is amusing. Especially, as H. says, if you use the Swedish Chef voice when you say it.)

The predominant language around Barcelona, in Catalonia (what became an autonomous region, post-Franco) is Catalan--don't make the mistake of calling it a dialect. Unforunately, there are limited resources for learning it. On the plus side, pretty much everyone there also speaks Castillan Spanish, and/or English, and/or French. People make jokes about how English borrows from other languages (follows them down alleys, beats them up, rifles through their pockets for words), but it's as if Catalan has tampered with God's plan by creating a mutant hybrid of French and Castillan, with extra sets of appendages stolen from Italian bolted on for good measure. Yikes. I'm going to have to learn at least a little of it if I want to make anything from the Comerç 24 cookbook, though. (Hi, my name is Byron, and I have a coffee-table cookbook addiction.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
nice to see you around. feel better, glad you had a lovely trip. :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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