Monday, July 23, 2012

The turtle close to the cathedral in Barcelona...

Back when I was studying Spanish at a language school in Barcelona, I had 5 hours of classes 5 days a week. One of these 5 hours a day were ”cultural studies”, where we learned about the artists, art and architecture of Barcelona.

One of the things our teacher told us about, was the sculpture of a turtle, designed by Domenech and Muntaner in 1905, and located close to the Catedral de Barcelona. The myth said that rubbing it increased fertility... So depending on what were your wishes, she warned us to keep it in mind when visiting the turtle! I tried to find it back then (as it was our homework for the day), but I was so new to the city and in the end I couldn’t make much sense of her instructions.

Some other day however, months later, randomly walking around there behind the Cathedral I came upon it by chance, or at least so I think. It is small, and not so easy to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. 


The turtle is actually part of an old mailbox at the Casa del l'Ardiaca-building from 1512.

I googled it to find out more, but there isn’t a whole lot of information to be found. At one site I learned that  the turtle and the swallows are to symbolize the designers opinion of the postal service at that time: Supposedly quick as a bird but actually as slow as a turtle. Someone else says it brings luck to rub it.

Either I still haven’t found the correct turtle, or our teacher was simply pulling our legs. Which gets me into thinking about expressions again. In Norwegian this one makes no sense at all. In Spanish neither I think. But there is a similar expression in Spanish which would be pulling our hair, which again doesn’t make any sense in Norwegian and I believe neither in English? I love how expressions can be completely confusing when they make absolutely no sense in other languages! Oh well, enough rambling from me for today! Have a lovely week everyone!

15 comments:

  1. This was so interesting to read! :) Thank you so much for sharing!
    And yeah, expressions can be so confusing! When I first heard the expression "pulling your leg" I had no idea what it means! The expressions in America are so different!

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    1. Expressions can be very confusing! There are so many that literally has no meaning in Spanish (I guess in all languages)- but it becomes quite the challenge when learning a language!

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  2. When I was in grad school, I was the only American in a lab consisting of Chinese, Indian, German, and French students. Eventually, I just eliminated as many idioms as possible from conversations because it just became such a hassle trying to explain them all when most of them make no sense to me either.

    I couldn't tell you for the life of me where "pulling your leg" comes from, but odds are I'd probably just make something up if someone asked...

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    1. Haha, I guess it was easier to just stop using all those 'strange' expressions. But it's hard, cause they are such a big part of any language I think! So it's hard to stop using them (?) and also hard learning them when learning a new language... Haha, make up an explanation for "pulling your leg", pleaaase ;)

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  3. That is too funny! If it increases fertility, they should make it obvious so we don't accidentally brush up on it :-)

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    1. Yeah imaaaagine! Better be careful when touching little innocent-looking sculptures when out and about!

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  4. It's a beautiful picture. Do you miss having the language classes to go to? They sound like they could be quite lovely.

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    1. Thank you hon! The language classes in Barcelona were actually quite a disappointment coming from the great course in Málaga. The only good bits were these cultural classes, they were really interesting and fun!

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  5. For et herlig innlegg av både morsomme skoleminner og beskrivelse av språkforvirringer...he he....du fikk også minner frem hos meg fra skoletiden min i Asia...
    ...det er ikke bare alle disse utrykkene...men når man studerer i andre land kan det oppstå andre språkforvirringer...jeg gikk på en internasjonal skole da jeg flyttet til Malaysia, men hadde malaysiske og kinesiske lærere.
    Tror jeg gikk i to mnd og lurte på hva blant annet hva 'ekk'var, jeg spurte også min daværende canadiske samboer om en del ord og uttrykk som jeg måtte ha misset i engelsstudiet ...ha ha...ekk var så enkelt som egg...burde ha forstått det...men...det kom sammen med andre ord som var vanslkelig å forstå pga uttalen...så etterhvert lærte jeg at g ofte ble uttalt en slags k...og mange andre lyder.
    Kjempesøt turtle bilde da...og om du fant den rette eller ei...så var det en herlig historie og budskap <3

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    1. Hehe, det er ikke så lett med forskjellige akksenter og uttaler og et ord på Engelsk-Engelsk, kan fort bli vanskelig å forstå på Asia-Engelsk, eller for eksempel Spania-Engelsk :) Men man får bare ta slike ting med et smil og pakke dem inn som morsomme minner. Beriker livet alle disse opplevelsene og utfordringene! (Og du vet hva jeg mener, ikke bare uttaler og uttrykk:) <3

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  6. Haha- all I have to say about this is how awesome it must ahve been to see all this cool stuff in SPAIN- and I use to have a pet turtle... but he passed away. Anyways...
    Could you please take 10 seconds to VOTE for me to help me win $1K to fund a mission to RESCUE victims of HUMAN TRAFFICKING through [free-them]?

    10 seconds tops! I need 50 more votes: pls tweet it if you can & perhaps a shoutout on your blog too! ^_^

    http://maker.good.is//projects/basi

    THANKS
    christine

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    1. I always wanted to have a pet turtle! (They are illegal in Norway so unfortunately I couldn't get one!)

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  7. I love that picture, and the tradition. Did you give it a little rub ;) ??

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  8. Nice post, I didn't knew about this turtle and it's powers! hehe I would have stayed away from it too! I remember when I went to Barcelona to take some intensive spanish courses, I had such a great time and I would love to go back. If you ever do it, I recommend you to go to BCN Languages school, you'll have such a great time there and of course you'll learn a lot of English too!

    Regards,
    Miriam

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