dimarts, 24 de setembre de 2019

CALIFORNIA'S BONANZA

Apart from the spring weather that spreads through the region known as the Bay Area, we will talk about the words we have found during our trip to California. As soon as we approach the San Francisco Bay we will find many place names that, despite being written in Spanish, are pronounced in the Catalan way, which would show the original word was Catalan. For example, in the city of Walnut Creek, located in the Contra Costa County, we find Bonanza Street. Obviously that name immediately draws the attraction of those of us who, as kids, watched an American western television series also called Bonanza, which was released on Spain's TV in 1962. The series name remained Bonanza in the Spanish dubbed version. However, years later, when we enjoyed the English original version, we found that the Americans pronounce Bonanza almost as we would also pronounce the word "bonança" in Catalan. Until here.

Another interesting place name is Point Reyes. This so special place on the Californian coast is written like this, but they are spoken as Point "Reis" ... We also note that the bay is said to correspond to the name of Francis Drake, the English corsair. But we really realize that, apart from the name of Francesc Drac translated into Catalan, the shape of the coast in that place has precisely the shape of a Dragon's head, as Drac and Dragon have the same meaning. Right next, another find. We find the Bolinas Lagoon, an estuary similar to the low rivers of Galicia, beautyful. The surprise is that in ancient texts Baulenes is written, that it is a Catalan last name, common in Osona. So many coincidences can not be casual, but derived from the Catalan track in California.

Another point catch on the fly was that of the Companyia Franca de Voluntaris de Catalunya. From here will leave the family of José Antonio Yorba, written and pronounced thus, makes us realize immediately that he speaks of a Catalan last name, Jorba. By Antoni Francesc Josep Jorba i Ferran, born in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia. He gave a name to a California population, Yorba Linda, who could well be joining the town of Jorba ... What can we say about Miquel Constansó, born in Barcelona ...? Another well-known family was the Moragues. Those that gave name to the population of Moraga in the county of Contra Costa. We speak of a family ranging from grandfather Jose Joaquin de la Santísima Trinidad Moraga, to son Gabriel and Joaquin grandson. Granny was called Maria Pilar Leon and Barceló ...! If they were not Moragues, like our General Josep Moragues Catalan, they could also come from Mallorca. Even, in the following expedition of recognition done by Juan Bautista de Anza, you can find the friar Pere Font, born in Girona. This one baptized the California mountain range of "Sierra Nevada", that is, Sierra Nevada. As it is called in the famous Sierra de Granada.

Even the name of Gaspar de Portolà has been linguistically adapted. In Catalan we pronounce Portolà stressing the last syllable and marking it with a diacritic. Americans, however, have shifted the stress to the penultimate syllable and know him as Gaspar de Portóla. Note that there are no diacritics in English. This happens everywhere, for example, in the Catalan town of Sant Boi de Llobregat there is the reverse case of a street called O'Donnell, which in the original language, English, would be spoken stressing the penultimate syllable (we would mark the second o with a diacritical mark). However, Catalan speakers have shifted the stress to the last syllable (O'Donnéll). Linguistic adaptation between different languages is a rule of common sense, but it seems strange that historians often do not notice such important details. Sometimes, research by certain scholars causes historical figures to lose many characteristics of their personality, and so there are frequent gaps. Beyond a polyhedral or mosaic-like reality, many pieces are lost along the way. An example of this would be Steven W. Hackel's book on "Junípero Serra", which is good work except for the lack of Catalan culture knowledge and for how such culture was articulated within the Spanish Empire.

Fortunately, there is always an opportunity and a new field of work for the historians that will come. Historical research allows you to retrieve and unearth the treasures of the past. For example, the certificate of Baptism of Gaspar de Portolà in Os de Balaguer and the family roots between Balaguer and Arties in the Vall d'Aran, where he died. After a very intense military life, the explorer sought his retirement in a population with a cool climate until his last days.
NB: VO Sergi Turiella. Translation into English: Marta Pombo.

dimarts, 20 d’agost de 2019

L'AMIC DEL TREN


Aquest mes de juliol hem pogut fer un parell de setmanes de vacances a Califòrnia. En principi m'interessava trobar dades sobre Juníper Serra, i sobretot d'En Gaspar de Portolà. Tots dos comandaven els exploradors catalans que al segle XVIII van establir els fonaments d'allò que avui dia anomenem l'estat de Califòrnia als Estats Units d'Amèrica. El fet que fossin catalans crec que va ser una de les raons per les quals la major part dels anomenats "Californios", californis en català, es van decantar per deixar els Estats Units de Mèxic. Potser això ja ho haurà d'estudiar algun historiador en més detall. El cas és que la connexió entre Califòrnia i Catalunya va ser més actual de lo que em pensava, i tota una sorpresa.

Vam anar a la ciutat de Sant Francesc, però principalment ens movíem al voltant de tota la regió metropolitana. Li diuen Bay Area, i allà hi viuen més de set milions de persones. És molt gran i la badia els fa de centre gravitacional, embolcallada per les muntanyes i turons d'est a oest. Per connectar les dues ribes existeixen autovies i ferrocarrils, a més dels ferris més aviat turístics. El cotxe és omnipresent, però l'alternativa del transport públic està prou ben resolta. A més d'una bona xarxa d'autobusos, existeix la línia de rodalies que es coneix amb el nom de BART. Aquest tren funciona força bé, i el fèiem servir per anar d'un costat de la badia a l'altra. Així podíem tornar cap a l'apartament on estàvem allotjats. I un capvespre es va esdevenir una trobada fortuïta al tren.

Potser recordarem aquelles pel.lícules de Hitchcock, barreja de misteri i crim. Estàvem al costat d'un senyor alt i prim, que portava barret i un bon bigoti que ens recordava el Magnum de la sèrie detectivesca. I quan vam passar l'estació d'Orinda vam tenir una petit conversa, no recordo el motiu d'entaular-la. El cas és que la meva dona parla anglès amb un accent neutral, i de vegades fa el joc de fer endevinar a la gent de quin país som. Ja sabeu, anem des de portuguesos, a italians, la majoria de vegades, francesos. Els americans pensen més aviat en els europeus del sud com a francesos més que espanyols. Quan ho encerten, o no, els hi diem que som catalans, que vivim aprop de Barcelona, i aleshores ja se'ls il.lumina la cara. Aquest senyor també ens va reconèixer, però la seva expressió no va canviar gaire, cosa que ens va extranyar. Amb un posat seriós i a raig, ens va parlar del seu amic Gerd. Vivia a la mateixa població de Lafayette, i ens va dir que era l'únic americà que havia mort als atemptats de la Rambla el dia 17 d'agost del 2017. En aquell precís moment passàvem l'estació d'aquesta població. Ens va preguntar si érem ja una república, i li vam dir que per desgràcia, no. Aleshores, vam haver de tallar aquesta conversa perquè havíem de baixar a Walnut Creek, i ell continuava més endavant. La tristesa dels nostres records havia teixit una conversa inesperada i meravellosa.

No vam saber el  nom de l'amic, però sí el record i l'empremta que va deixar-li la seva mort. Gerd era Jared Tucker, de Lafayette, al comtat de Contra Costa, East Bay Area, de Califòrnia. Estava amb la seva dona de viatge per París i Barcelona per celebrar l'aniversari de l'any del seu casament. La seva pèrdua no va ser menor que la de les altres víctimes dels atemptats. Fanàtics i carn de canó  que es pensaven que anaven al cel, conduïts per un imam que tenia contactes amb els serveis secrets espanyols. A l'infern se'n vagin tots aquells que sabien lo que es feien. Patim quan viatgem, som més conscients dels riscos fora de casa, però quan te n'adones que el perill més gran el tens a casa teva, ja no es pot mirar tot això com si fos una pel.lícula del Hitchcock. Jared va ser protagonista involuntari d'aquells fets, com les altres víctimes. No volia ser cap estrella de cine, ni per als seus amics tampoc calia. Senzillament, per a uns podia ser el nom en una llista, però per als amics i familiars era una persona estimada. Van ser herois involuntaris, i el seu sacrifici va evitar la mort de molta altra gent. El dol de la seva gent està acompanyat del nostre respecte i agraïment més profund i sincer.

dijous, 15 d’agost de 2019

CALIFORNIA'S CHRISTENING


Catalan basketball player Pau Gasol's marriage with Catherine Mc Donnell from the city of San Francisco has been recent news in the yellow press. Two weddings have been celebrated: one in San Francisco and another one in Catalonia, in the Empordà, to suit both members of the couple. Beyond coincidences or forethoughts during this summer, I guess many Americans who hear the names of Pau or Marc Gasol think such names are just anecdotes or curiosities. For them they are still "Spanish", but it should surprise them the Gasol brothers are not called Pablo or Marco. In fact, both names are Catalan and so is their mother tongue. 


I have written this introduction to explain that the "Spanish" are not really a uniform block as the American people usually think. If Americans opened their eyes they would realise variety and diversity are always everywhere. Current Californian, Hispanic, and Amerindian immigrants come from countries far away from one another: from Mexico, also from Central America, or from the South, with increasingly dissimilar dialects. However, if this happens to the ordinary citizens of the United States, why do North American university scholars not realise such diversity or do not talk about it? For example, let us take the time of California's exploration. If we start by sailor Sebastià Bizcaino who was presumably the first to explore the Pacific coast of New Spain, we will realise his surname was Basque. The last name of the Castro family became also the name of a well-known San Francisco quarter. That family originated in Galicia, in the northwest of the Iberian pensinsula. If we talk about Gaspar de Portolà and Juníper Serra, we know they spoke and knew how to write 18th century Catalan of Lleida and Mallorca. However, under the Bourbon kings administration they obviously had to make official communications in Spanish. Nonetheless, if they spoke among themselves, what language would they speak but their mother tongue?
 
In California, a great effort has been made to identify and recognise the diverse indigenous peoples that inhabited the different regions which form part of this state today. For example, in the San Francisco Bay (San Francesc, in Catalan), there are the Ohlone. In the rest of modern California there are many other indigenous peoples linked to their own countries and territories. This diversity, both ethnic and linguistic, has been sufficiently studied and acknowledged after so many years of contempt and colonization. However, this perspective has been denied by the side of the peoples who were part of the Spanish Empire.

Therefore, we realise the contributions of Catalans to the foundation of present-day California have been marginalised or even hidden. Above Gaspar de Portolà, the role of Father Serra must be emphasised due to the recognition and defense he had by the Catholic Church. There are a few books published about Juníper Serra in Catalan as well as in Spanish and in English. Such books are well written, but with certain shortcomings. Surprisingly, one of the few biographies of Gaspar de Portolà in English that could be found in California was written by Josep Carner-Ribalta during the first half of the 20th century. However, there is no current new edition and some other publications in California are just from the 70's and 80's.

Luckily, from the Catalan side good research has been done around the family origins and their military career within the Bourbon army. This has not been sufficiently explained or transferred to the Pacific coast. I would also like to point out that Juníper Serra was a Franciscan, as it is well known, but we should not forget that Gaspar de Portolà's father was also called Francesc, and that his body was buried in the Sant Francesc de Lleida convent. Surely the Portolàs also had to be closely linked to the Franciscan Order.

It has been well studied that California's name is Catalan. However, in the United States the name has often been derived from stories and literary quotations of diverse origin, which shows that none of them has any serious foundation. If California was already christened with a Catalan name, why should not be also the case with many other names of places in this state given the high possibility they have to be translated into Catalan? Starting with the city of San Francisco, the civilian part, and with the Dolores mission, the religious part. The same happens with the city of Los Angeles (Els Àngels, in Catalan), or to Sant Bernadino, which takes its name from the Mallorcan monastery of Sant Bernardí de Siena; or the capital of Sacramento (in Catalan, Sacrament), etc ... Thus we can continue to see how the Catalan saint calendar appears everywhere. It also happens with the names of the soldiers from the Companyia Franca de Voluntaris, the Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia. They all put the foundations of what we nowadays call California, a Catalan word that means the space under the roof, in other words, the attic. California resembles the right half of a roof slope over what used to be New Spain, that is, Mexico in those former times.

Today, everybody boasts of globalisation as a mental framework of progress, but sometimes we realise this perspective does not really exist. We can even think that in the past, people were already aware enough of this point of view when they talked about universal concepts. To accomplish this, you need to use methodologies to connect places that are apparently distant from one another.. In this case, between the Catalan and the Californian coasts it would be necessary to build a bridge much longer and higher than the Golden Gate Bridge. 
 
NB: OV in Catalan by Sergi Turiella. Translation in English: Marta Pombo.
 

diumenge, 11 d’agost de 2019

LA BONANÇA DE CALIFÒRNIA

Apart del clima primaveral que s'escampa per la regió coneguda com a Bay Area, parlarem dels mots que hem trobat per Califòrnia. En el viatge a la badia de Sant Francesc trobem molts topònims que malgrat estan escrits en llengua castellana, es pronuncien a la manera catalana, cosa que demostraria que fonèticament la paraula original era catalana. Per exemple, a la ciutat de Walnut Creek, al comtat de Contra Costa, trobem el carrer de Bonanza St. Evidentment per tots aquells que de petits vam començar a veure aquesta sèrie de l'Oest que passava al ranxo de Bonanza, i es deia així en la traducció al castellà, ens crida molt l'atenció. Posteriorment si hem pogut gaudir de la versió original, trobaríem que ells la pronuncien a la catalana, com Bonança diríem nosaltres.

Un altre topònim interessant és el de Point Reyes. Aquest lloc tant especial de la costa californiana s'escriu així, però el pronuncien com a Point Reis... Anotem també que la badia es diu que correspon al nom de Francis Drake, el corsari anglès. Però realment ens adonem que, apart del nom de Francesc Drac traduït al català, la forma de la costa en aquell lloc té precisament forma de cap de Drac. Ben aprop, una altra troballa. Ens trobem amb la Bolinas Lagoon, un estuari semblant a les ries baixes de Galícia, molt maco. La sorpresa és que en els textos antics s'escriu Baulenes, és a dir, que es tracta d'un cognom català, habitual a Osona. Tantes coincidències no poden ser casuals, sinó derivades de la petjada catalana a Califòrnia.

Un altre apunt caçat al vol ha estat el de la Companyia Franca de Voluntaris de Catalunya. D'aquí  sortirà la família de José Antonio Yorba, escrit i pronunciat així, ens fa adonar de seguida que parla d'un cognom català, Jorba.  D'Antoni Francesc Josep Jorba i Ferran, nascut a Sant Sadurní d'Anoia. Va donar nom a una població de Califòrnia, Yorba Linda, que bé podria agermanar-se amb la vila de Jorba... Què podem dir del Miquel Constansó, nascut a Barcelona... ? Una altra família coneguda vas ser el Moragues. Els quals van donar nom a la població de Moraga al comtat de Contra Costa. Parlem d'una nissaga que va des de l'avi José Joaquin de la Santísima Trinidad Moraga, fins al fill Gabriel i el net Joaquin. L'àvia es deia Maria Pilar Leon i Barceló...!. Si no eren Moragues, com el nostre General Josep Moragues català, bé podien venir també de Mallorca. Fins i tot, en la següent expedició de reconeixement feta per Juan Bautista de Anza, es pot trobar el frare Pere Font, nascut a Girona. Aquest va batejar la serralada de Califòrnia de "Sierra Nevada", és a dir, Serra Nevada. Tal com es diu a la famosa serra de Granada.

Fins i tot el nom de Gaspar de Portolà ha estat adaptat lingüísticament. Nosaltres el pronunciem amb l'accent agut, i allà li han tret l'accent, n'han fet una paraula plana, el coneixen com Gaspar de Portóla. Penseu que a l'anglès no hi ha accents. Això passa a tot arreu, per exemple, a Sant Boi de Llobregat existeix el cas invers d'un carrer amb el nom d'O'Donnell, que en l'idioma original pronunciaríem amb accent pla, O'Dónnell,  i en canvi la gent l'ha convertit en un accent agut, dient O'Donnéll. L'adaptació lingüística entre diferents idiomes és una regla de sentit comú, però sembla estrany que els historiadors moltes vegades no cauen en aquest detall important. De vegades, l'enfocament del treball historiogràfic fa que un personatge perdi moltes característiques determinants de la seva personalitat, i que quedin moltes llacunes. No tant per ell mateix, sinó perquè els estudiosos es queden a mitges. I més enllà d'una realitat polièdrica, o en forma de mosaic, es perden moltes peces pel camí. Un exemple d'això seria el llibre d'Steven W. Hackel sobre "Junípero Serra", un bon treball que queda coix per la manca de coneixements de la cultura catalana, i com aquesta s'articulava dintre de l'Imperi Espanyol. 

Per sort, sempre hi ha una oportunitat i un camp de treball nou per als historiadors que vindran. La recerca històrica permet retrobar i desenterrar els tresors del passat. Per exemple, la partida de bateig de Gaspar de Portolà a Os de Balaguer, i les arrels familiars entre Balaguer i Arties a la Vall d'Aran, on va morir. Després d'una vida militar molt intensa, l'explorador va cercar el seu retir en una població amb un clima fresc fins als seus darrers dies.