July 8, 2009

Four hours with Jesus

The ILGA offers us a magnificent selection of conferences, held by the country's most famous politicians, wrighters, directors, singers and also by some really great linguists.
Xesús Alonso Montero is, perhaps the most famouse marxist in Galicia, but he is also a brilliant literature critic and linguist. With him we were talking about Ramón Piñeiro and the renovation of the galician culture in the 50s, after having repassed the history of galician poetry.
The same day he was presenting a book of letters written by the local guerrilleros and revolutioniers during the franquismo.
Alonso Montero is a wonderfull public speaker, and talked a great deal, but mainly not about literature. And he told us, Always say what you think, even if it's not marxist!

The language problem is very debated here, galician was prohibited during the franquismo, so all the people were aware of their galician identity (which is different from spanish) had to learn and speak their language in secret. Those who were born in the 30s of later adopted spanish (castellano) as their mothertongue, and only later learned to speak galician. So, these people are called neofalantes, the newspeakers.
My galician friends, who are not yet in their thirties, call themselves neofalantes, because they spoke spanish, like their mothers, until a certain age, and at school, too. And Alonso Montero, 81 years old, calls himself a neofalante, though he started with galego when he was 14. The old newspeaker. And there are thousends.

(His favourite words in galego are "liberdade" and "agarimo" - liberty and tenderness)

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