Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Mil Cosas

Mil Lubroth was an American artist of Polish and Russian descent who came to settle in Madrid, where her chic, short name took on an extra meaning. In castellano, Mil means a thousand. Just right for an artist whose work could never be "pinned down," or categorized by any one theme or direction.

To experience Lubroth's work is akin to hearing a chorus of voices from Sheherazade's 1001 nights: it is to see and feel a thousand things united in one intriguing and beautiful visual journey. If you are anywhere near Madrid during October, invite yourself to a banquet of Mil's "mil cosas" atAnnta Gallery. The exhibit that opens October 5th is the first retrospective of Lubroth's work since her death in 2004.

Spanning 50 years, these works reveal an artist who was never less than mature and skilled in her work. There is no sign of awkward beginnings, improvement over time or deepening development. Here is Minerva, beginning her artistic trajectory fully f…

A Cat, a Dog, and Shakespeare: The Perfect Sunday Afternoon

One reason I keep paying a cable bill is to be able to watch Turner Classic Movies. I had just finished a batch of Sunday chores and was resting a moment on the couch, wedged between Chatterly the cat and Gypsy the dog (an Australian Kelpie), and saw that TCM was about to air Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, and produced in 1953. 

I read Julius Caesar for the first time when I was in sixth grade. It was a great time to read it, because it seemed fresh and real to me, even though some of the centuries-old English was challenging. 

The movie made me wish that Joseph Mankiewicz had directed more of Shakespeare's works for cinema. The balance the movie strikes is oh, so totally just right. It does not go so far into cinematic territory that we lose the work's theatricality, but travels far enough by camera that it provides a sense of seamless reality only a movie can create.  The casting was brilliant.  James Mason was at his best as Brutus, and he carries the film on h…

Booked on Sugar

Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson'sand Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, SugarChanged the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.

I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities:  "Betcha can't eat just one.  Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss."  And, as noted in my earlier posts on  Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.

I've also thought about how quickly we "judge" people with substance abuse problems while the US clearly suffers from foo…