Other Discussions on Books

Basque



As pointed out in an earlier memo, "Monica" may mean "pretty little woman" (Clinton's interpretation) or "little female monkey" (the public's). Actually, the sorry Jewish girl was named by her presumably unwitting parents after the mother of St. Augistine, revered Saint Monica, a Christian who died happy that her son had finally accepted the faith. Because of her exemplary life, her name was popular in Spain. Add that to our file about Spanish names.

Basque names are a special kettle of long fish. Their stress is unstable, and their accentuation a nightmare for non-Basques. And, in discussing the Basque region during the Spanish Civil War, it is hard to keep up with the Joneses. Well known was "Potato Jones", a captain who ran the Franco blockade to take loads of potatoes to besieged Bilbao. The problem is that most of the captains running the blockade came from Wales carrying different cargoes, so there was also Corn Cob Jones and Ham and Eggs Jones.

Which reminds me of an American friend who went to London and decided to look up someone she had met. She told the travel agent that all she knew about her was that her name was Jones and that she lived in Wales. The agent was at a loss for words. He has our sympathy.


Ronald Hilton - 08/07/98


Webmaster