Frequent commenter Julia D’Onofrio linked to a delightful video on Facebook, and I’m linking it here because it’s the best illustration I’ve seen of the wonderful and maddening diversity of the Spanish language as spoken across its geographical spread. Everyone from Puerto Ricans to Argentines is mocked, not to mention the thetheando inhabitants of the mother country and the hapless Americans the singers, Juan Andrés and Nicolás Ospina, pretend to be at the outset. So without further ado, I present Qué Difícil Es Hablar El Español. I’m pleased to say I understood most of it even though it’s been forty years since I used my (Argentine) Spanish regularly, and I laughed a great deal.
Update. Studiolum has posted the lyrics, with translation, at río Wang.
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, here‘s Pico Iyer on “The Writing Life: The point of the long and winding sentence”:
I’m using longer and longer sentences as a small protest against — and attempt to rescue any readers I might have from — the bombardment of the moment. …
Not every fashioner of many-comma’d sentences works for every one of us — I happen to find Henry James unreadable, his fussily unfolding clauses less a reflection of his noticing everything than of his inability to make up his mind or bring anything to closure: a kind of mental stutter. But the promise of the long sentence is that it will take you beyond the known, far from shore, into depths and mysteries you can’t get your mind, or most of your words, around.
When I read the great exemplar of this, Herman Melville — and when I feel the building tension as Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” swells with clause after biblical clause of all the things people of his skin color cannot do — I feel as if I’m stepping out of the crowded, overlighted fluorescent culture of my local convenience store and being taken up to a very high place from which I can see across time and space, in myself and in the world. It’s as if I’ve been rescued, for a moment, from the jostle and rush of the 405 Freeway and led back to something inside me that has room for certainty and doubt at once.