27.9.06

3 Basque proverbs & 2 words

Gaua, gogapenen ama: Night is the mother of thought.

Jentalik are/were a race of giants in Basque legend. The word comes from the same Latin root as Gentile, foreigner, with the Basque plural attached, but some think it also attests to a folk memory of the ancient people we now call Neanderthals. In this version, the Basques are descended directly from Cro-Magnon humans who co-existed with Neanderthals on the Iberian Peninsula - and perhaps elsewhere as well - for many thousands of years.

Izena duen guztiak izatea ere badauje: Everything with a name exists.

Our word Centaur may be of Basque origin. Zalzaval = horse-man. Basques say they are descended from Zalvazal. One of the oldest Basque festivals, the Rigodon dance (from erri-goi-doi, meaning City of Heaven), features a man in a horse costume (the Zamalzain, the horse-man) dancing around a cup, variously referred to as the Grail or the entrance to the spirit world. Today, this is a glass of wine.

Nola soinu, hala dautza: Each kind of music calls forth its own kind of dance.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everything with a name exists??
That's nominalism but cute.
I may convert some of yours to my onmouseover hovers, if I may. Deft use of the subjunctive.

Martin Edmond said...

by all means, Bernardus ... not that I actually understand the request ...

I guess the name exists whether or no the thing it refers to does?

Bernardus Sylvestris said...

Check maelstrom now, for results, Martin

Anonymous said...

I like the way you inform: erudite -ly. Like a glass of a good red (or is it a bad - I don't know my wines ...) that warms as it travels down and delightfully sparks/fuses in the brain at the same time.

Martin Edmond said...

well, chief, sadly - or joyfully - every day for me is a glass of wine.

Elindomiel said...

Oddly, though, they also have:

Izenak ez du egiten izana.
A name does not make something true.

Martin Edmond said...

does that mean that there are things that exist which are not true? I guess it does. Your essay looks interesting, elindomiel - I read the prologue on your blog. instead of 'dichotomy' you could perhaps use 'divergence'.

Elindomiel said...

That's a good suggestion. I'll translate both and see what my native friends think looks better in Spanish. :D

Hmm, but proverbs are always strange like that. It's easy to imagine, somehow, that they fit neatly within the same mindset and context - until you find contradictions like these. :)