Archive for September 23rd, 2006

And take your friggin’ Alhambra with you….

I laughed quite a lot at this interview in English given by Aznar a few months back. It’s not as if the man were ever intelligent, or had his own ideas about anything, but his failure to rhyme off bits from the Bush Administration War on Terror phrasebook even half convincingly left me wondering how such an apparently hapless and ignorant moron could have managed to win two elections. And you’d think he’d have undergone some intensive English tuition to help with all those lucrative after-dinner speeches and think-tank addresses that awaited him after he left office. Then again, maybe he did.

Despite his ramblingly incoherent unoriginality, he’d still be far better off sticking with other people’s ideas, if his latest declarations at the Hudson Institute are anything to go by. He said:

‘A load of people throughout the world are demanding that the Pope apologise for his speech, but no Muslim has apologised to me for occupying Spain during 8 centuries.’

(My translation from the Spanish in El Pais. He gave the speech in English, so I’ve probably done him a favour here.)

Leaving aside a couple of minor points- that the Muslim ‘occupation’ of Spain ended some 461 years before José María Aznar was born; that it might have been rather unreasonable even back in 1492 to ask a Muslim fleeing Spain to apologise for 800 years of ‘occupation’; that after 800 years, Spain reverted to the same old country it always had been- it is rather interesting to see how he sees apologies made by the Pope and apologies made to him as attaining a comparable level of significance.

I be short of material at the weekends

Further to Gerry’s inquiries into words that only Irish people use, I wish to add my own: the verb to be.

In standard English, this verb is irregular:

I am

You are

He is

She is etc.

In Irish English, the irregular version of the verb is also used, in exactly the same situations as in standard English, but there is also a regular version of the verb, that is, it follows the same rules as verbs such as play, jump, kick, fart:

I be

You be

He bes

She bes etc.

The regular version of the verb is used specifically to denote an action performed habitually:

I be out drinking in the field every Tuesday night;

The midges be eating the scalp clean off you in summertime;

He bes at the golf (i.e. he is a keen golfer)

It doesn’t be used interchangeably with the irregular version.

I’m not quite sure of the origins of this. I know that in Irish you have a verb – bheith- which performs the same function, and this may well have been borrowed from there.

It bes quare and useful, though. I quite like it.

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September 2006