Killing me softly (en català, sis plau)

Planet Churro is going through a bit of a quiet phase at the moment, as any loyal churristas who might be out there will have noticed, because I’ve got an exam to prepare for on Monday and I’ve been away at a conference in Portugal for a few days.

Regarding the post-electoral pact, I think it’s all been said elsewhere, so I won’t drag the whole thing up again. I’m glad to have been spared my worst nightmare of a 100% nationalist government, but a repeat of the tripartit hasn’t had me cracking open bottles of champagne and handing round cigars down the bar.

Today I’ve been down to the CAP (health centre) in Drassanes to hand in Mrs Churro’s application for supply work as a nurse, where I got a nasty surprise on finding out that Level D Catalan is worth 1 point (levels below this don’t count for anything), or the same as a 200-hour university post-graduate course.

So the Catalan health service is unable to distinguish between the value of a nurse with specialist training and knowledge which could seriously enhance their ability to give appropriate care and a nurse with no specialist knowledge who happens to be able to string a good sentence together in the preferred language of the ethnocrats. Have I got that correct? There are presumably conversations such as this happening on a daily basis in Catalan emergency wards:

Nurse: Pep, t’estic deixant morir perquè em falta experiència. És a dir, que me’n falta, d’experiència.

Pep: Molt bé, nena. Només et demano que no deixis que em vingui a salvar aquella xarnega que ni sap com van els pronoms febles.

If the ability to write a formal letter to a politician using the correct form of address in Catalan (part of any self-respecting Catalan course) is so important for nurses, shouldn’t it be taught on nursing courses? Isn’t it a bit irresponsible to let these half-trained killing machines loose on the wards with such a poor grasp of the past subjunctive?

Incidentally, not having the right sort of background, the good lady Churro doesn’t have any qualifications in Catalan. However, she speaks the language of Josep Pla considerably more convincingly than the soon-to-be-named President, José Montilla. So whilst Cornellà’s answer to Arthur Dent is allowed to take up the highest post in Catalonia without anything even approaching level D, Mrs Churro can’t even have a temporary pop at a public post because the nationalist control freaks have deemed this inappropriate. Mmmm, I can feel a letter to El País coming on.


~ by Daniel on November 10, 2006.

14 Responses to “Killing me softly (en català, sis plau)”

  1. […] Planet Churro has a post about the preference of the local health service for Catalan literati over highly qualified nurses. Hey, but at least they won’t have to subtitle the why-is-everything-so-fucked fly-on-the-wall documentary. « Bowman Ales live « […]

  2. So you known Catalan better than Montilla, eh? Well, doubt if he’d ever write “sis plau.”

  3. Seeing as the pedants are out tonight, it’s my wife (not me) who knows Catalan better than Montilla 😉

  4. Point is that maybe you’d see the place differently if you knew a little Catalan. Like, who would bother reading a blog from a guy who just moved to London and still doesn’t know how to spell “please”? Yeah, a real insider.

  5. Seeing as all you’re doing is picking me up on the fact I left a space between ‘sis’ and ‘plau’, I take it you agree with the general line of the post. Or do you think Level D Catalan is a necessary requirement for nurses?

  6. To be correct you might wanna try one of the following:

    si us plau
    si et plau
    si li plau

    ie: personal pronoun can change but squashing the first two words together so that the u pops out is more “sms” / “net” speak. But don’t take my word for it, I’m just an ignorant guiri… I’m waiting for Den to pick me up on having written “wanna” but then avoid explaining why it is incorrect…

    Anyway, back to the matter inhand. I have encountered many many nationalists who during debates about nationalism have very clearly stated “I HAVE NEVER MET ANY CATALAN EDUCATED IN CATALONIA WHO DOES NOT SPEAK SPANISH”. If that is the case, why is Catalan given such a high value when being considered for public sector jobs? Surely it’s a “nice to have” given that, according to most nationalists, it would NOT be required to perform the job to a high level.

    Good luck to your wife in her crusade!

  7. I’m pretty sure ‘sisplau’ is accepted by the Enciclopèdia Catalana as a shortened form, but I couldn’t swear by it. My version with the two words separated is just a slightly embarrassing mistake.

    Thanks for reopening the debate on whether it is a good idea to demand Level D for nurses, which is really the issue at hand. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of anyone who thinks this is justifiable.

  8. “Sisplau” and “sis plau” are both non-standard, but you’ll find the former is widely used in the Catalan press and the latter by normal people. The standards are hopelessly rigid, and it doesn’t sound like Den gets out very much.

  9. Pray tell*, Trevor, which bar do all you ‘normal people’ hang out at?


    “si us plau” 708,000
    sisplau 195,000
    siusplau 60,500
    “sis plau” 553

    *”pray tell” 834,000
    “prey tell” 25,600

  10. Please send this article to EL Pais soon as there is a new article about how many hours of castellano children have at school per week (just 3hrs) and they call this multiculturalism???

  11. @Den: ‘normal people’ like my friends at la Caixa, Catalonia’s dominant (financial) institution, whose ATM machines use the form ‘sisplau’

  12. illiari
    oh poor spaniards living in catalonia….they can’t go to the cinemas read pharmaceutical products,speak spanish on the streets and so on….
    what a bunch of sh*te,mate
    get the facts right moron!

  13. Please, do not think every Catalan is like that. Most of us feel as Spaniards as Catalans. Just 15% of Catalans want to be a country. If you come here and this “15%” speak to you in Catalan, say: ¿Qué coño me dices, gilipollas? (What the fuck are you saying to me, asshole?)

  14. Having been back in España for 2 long years now, I must say that, after 20 years living in a decent place, I find myself cringing at the almost total absence of political education and capacity for discernment and debate in this country, it seems that 30 years of brain-washing that added to the previous 40 years of brain-damaging have produced a mass of compliant population that are totally unable to question their politicians, analyze policies or even see that the young democracy in this country has still a long way to go before it can deserve the title. I used to be proud of being from Barcelona, not anymore. Yes, let’s let any old Montse, with impeccable Catalan credentials but not so well versed in nursing run amok our Hospital wards. Simply demential.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: