Saturday, 20 September 2008


I am in Madrid at the moment, doing a course in Spanish (since my doctoral director told me that some of the literature I would have to read - necessarily secondary literature, but nonetheless important - would be in Spanish). It has gone well. I spent two weeks in the lovely city of Salamanca and now am stationed in the capital city.

Spanish is an interesting language - much closer to Latin in many ways than, surprisingly, Italian. For example, the verb "to go" - IR - follows the same pattern in the imperfect tense/time as Latin: iba, ibas, iba, ibamos, ibais, iban. The same is true of the verb "to be" - SER - which is as follows: era, eras, era, eramos, erais, eran (I couldn't type the accent on the "e" of "eramos").

Yet other differences occur. For example, the Spanish equivalent to the English word "too" is "demasiado" - where on earth did they get that?!

Language is an interesting reality. So many different senses, tastes, approaches that are revealed in one word or verb in a particular language are hard to have translated into another, and yet we try to do exactly that - to translate. Despite the variability, there is a relationality to language that indicates the relationality of knowledge - otherwise Google or Microsoft could not function towards, in and from China. This shows us that when people say that knowledge is relative they do not realise that they are proving the possibility of truth and objectivitiy in knowledge. "Relative" is really another name for relational, and relational implies an objectivity that is translatable despite the inadequacy at times of the human intellect to do it justice fully - though even here instinct itself or intuition comes to the aid of mere rationality and thereby shows the objectivity of existence and the relational objectivity of human apprehension. At the same time the relative or relational nature of language and knowledge implies a real elasticity which corresponds to the elasticity of the evolution of the universe- an elasticity which is not, in the terms of a given reality, infinite, but historical and thereby finite, but nonetheless real and so opening up the forms of reality to further development and change.

Anyway, enough of that. Below is a picture of the beautiful Plaza Mayor (Main Square) of Salamanca - something that Madrid certainly is unable to match.

As for my summer supplying in a parish in Scotland, another post will have to do...

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