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Romance Language?

Did you know that the term Romance Language has nothing to do with romance? In The World's Major Languages, editor Bernard Comrie reveals that "Romance derives through Spanish and French from ROMANICE, meaning 'in the Roman fashion' but also 'candidly, straightforwardly.'"

A recent, televised poll conducted in Mexico City on the subject of "making love" reminded me of this fact. The question put to the men and women on the street was, "What are the reasons for making love? ¿Cuáles son las razones para hacer el amor?" Some twenty persons of varying ages gave their straightforward and candid answers. "Need, Desire, Loneliness, Fun, and (sadly) Obligation." One of the twenty mentioned the word "Love," and it was at the end of her list of reasons. I wasn't taken aback by the honesty of the answers, but I was slightly taken aback by the marked absence of their inclusion of the word "amor," because I cannot think of a country on earth that makes a bigger deal of "el amor" than querido México.

Comrie also writes of the Romance languages being a result of Roman conquest and civilization. After hearing the respondents in the poll, I thought about some of the language of romance in México, a vocabulary that frequently speaks or sings of conquest and ownership.

"Te voy a conquistar de nuevo," says the unfaithful husband to his wife, as his way of showing her that he has turned over a new leaf: "I will conquer you anew." "Quiero ser el dueño de tu corazón," the female television star with the doe-like eyes and hot-red fingernails says to the man-star she desires: "I want to be the owner of your heart."

I wonder if, like the story of the butterfly in one land setting off the chain of events that lead to a hurricane in another, the conquests of centuries past live on in our individual lives through the words we speak? Hacer la conquista, hacerse dueño, hacer el amor. De verdad ¿pueden ser todas estas cosas partes de la misma cosa? ¿Cómo se dice "food for thought" en español?

Text and Image, copyright 2006, Ysabel de la Rosa. All rights reserved.


Sinto Carlos said…
"¿Cómo se dice "food for thought" en español?"

The question was asked on - I like "comida pal coco (comida para el coco)".

I note your "and (sadly) Obligation". I felt the horror of such obligation in a play in which a retired miner's wife went to bed and pretended to be asleep before her husband came to bed. He stepped in, in his long johns, and put his arm round her. She didn't move, so he pulled her over onto her back saying angrily, "Come on!"
Y, hablando de cocos, si no has visto la película de Cantinflas, "Su Excelencia," encontrarás muchísima comida pa' muchos cocos. Cantinflas (Mario Moreno) se nombra embajador de la República de los Cocos mientras trabaja en la embajada en el país de Breveslavia. En la "peli," hay otros países representados, con un poco de cuidado, pero no tanto que uno no puede decifrar que el país vecino a México se llama "Doloronia." Gracias por la frase, Sr. Sin.

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