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Catalan (Català), Catalonia (Catalunya), Rock, Spain (España/Espanya)

“Por” (Els Pets)

Live performance of “Por” (YouTube)

Language: Catalan (Català)
Spain, Catalonia (Espanya, Catalunya)

Portada de Els Pets – Sol

Els Pets
Sol (1999)

Por de parlar
de dir alguna cosa que no et pugui agradar
de deixar anar una altra mentida
a la teva mida

Por de callar
desant les paraules a qualsevol calaix
per no deprimir-te o fer-te badallar
saber què rumies amb aquella mirada
que no sé què m’amaga

Por de dormir
i que en despertar-me tot hagi canviat
sense recordar què ens fa viure plegats
com si fóssim estranys
de sentir la rutina
rosegant-nos per dintre

Et veig
el sol s’amaga entre els teus cabells

Em sents
aixeques la mirada en aquell precís instant
tot és tan plàcid i tan clar que em vénen ganes de cridar

res no m ‘espanta

Por de la por,
de sentir aquest pànic tan subtil i tan boig
de no ser capaç de somriure
quan dius que m’estimes

“Fear” (Translation by ORS, 2011)

Fear of speaking
Of saying something that may not please you
Of let out another lie
For your standards

Fear of being quiet
Leaving the words in whatever drawer
To not depress you or make you yawn
To know what you are thinking with that look
That I don’t know what hides from me

Fear of sleeping
And that upon waking everything having changed
Without remembering what made us live together
As if we were strangers
Of fearing the routine
Gnawing us inside

I see you
The sun hides itself among your hair

You hear me
You raise the look in that precise instant
Everything is so placid and so clear
That the urge to scream comes to me

Nothing scares me

Fear of the fear
To feel this panic so subtle and so wild
To not be capable of smiling
When you say that you love me

Vocabulary and Etymology

La por – the fear, like Fr. La peur

Anar – to go

La mida – the measurement, the standard

La paraula – to word, like Sp. la palabra; also el mot, like Fr. Le mot

El calaix –the drawer

Badallar – to yawn, like Fr. bâiller

Rumiar – to ponder, ruminate

Amagar – to hide

Sense – without,

Viure – to live

Amb – with

Plegats – together

Rosegar – to gnaw

Veure – to see

La gana – the wish, desire, like Sp. la gana

Cridar – to shout, to yell

Res – nothing, like Fr. rien

Espantar – to scare, like Sp. espantar

Boig – mad, crazy

Estimar – to love

Grammar and Notes

1.  Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese

Looking at the lyrics of this song, a native Spanish or Portuguese speaker will probably notice a number of vocabulary and grammatical similarities and differences.  While the pronunciation of Catalan is also strikingly different from both of these languages, however, I have heard of cases of successful mutual intelligibility with Spanish, at least; for example, two people understanding one another and communicating while one person speaks Spanish and the other speaks Catalan.

Here are some major grammatical and vocabulary differences that jump out at me:

  1. por :  In both Spanish, this means “for”; in Portuguese, this means “for” and with a circumflex accent (pôr) means “to put”.  One may not immediately make the association with the French word peur (“fear”).
  2. Pugui : This is the Catalan conjugation of the present subjunctive of the verb poder (to be able to), which is identical in the infinitive form to both Spanish and Portuguese.  The subjunctive conjugations differ, however: pueda (Spanish), possa (Portuguese)
  3. Anar : The unique Catalan verb meaning “to go”.  It may look more like Italian andare than Spanish or Portuguese ir.
  4. Desant : Present participle of the verb deixar (to leave), identical in Portuguese and similar to Spanish (dejar)
  5. Fer : One may be able to glean this one from French (faire, to do), and possibly from Portuguese (future stem of fazer is fer).
  6. Amb : For the word “with”, typically we expect some version of cum or como with Romance languages, other than French (avec).  In Latin, ambi is “around” or “about”.
  7. En : This looks like the preposition “in”, which it sometimes is.  However, before an infinitive as in “en despertar-me”, this means upon (“upon waking”), which using al in Spanish and ao in Portuguese.
  8. Sense: This means “without”, as in French sans.  Not to be confused with the noun el sentit (the sense) or the verb sentir (to hear, to feel).
  9. Les paraules, la calaix, badallar, amagar, plegats, rosegar, boig: all examples of uniquely, typically unguessable Catalan vocabulary words

One of the biggest topics of differences is Direct and Indirect Objects (next topic).

2.  Direct and Indirect Objects

With certain exceptions, most of the Romance language have more or less straightforward systems of direct and indirect objects.  Catalan is no different, but its system for objects which stand before and unattached to the verb can look intimidating at first.

Subject Pronouns

Singular (1st, 2nd, 3rd person) : jo – tu – ell, ella, vostè
Plural ( 1st, 2nd, 3rd person)    nosaltres, vosaltres, ells, elles, vostès

Direct Objects

Singular (1st, 2nd, 3rd person) : em – et – el, la
Plural ( 1st, 2nd, 3rd person)    ens –us – els, les

Indirect Objects

Singular (1st, 2nd, 3rd person) : em – et – li
Plural ( 1st, 2nd, 3rd person)    ens –us – els

What may be confusing simply requires switching around the letters of these short little words:  em becomes me, et becomes te, el becomes le or lhe, ens becomes nos, us becomes vos, els becomes les.

Note 3 other rules, 2 of which may be familiar, the last of which is unique to Catalan:

  1. Before vowels (including “h”), the first and second person singular objects  (direct and indirect) shorten to m’ and t’ and attach directly to the verb; only in direct objects do the third person singulars shorten to l’.
  2. Objects can attach after the verb ending in a consonant or “u” by inserting a hyphen (like in Portuguese).  In this case, the 1st person plural becomes –nos, 2nd person plural becomes –vos, and the 3rd person plural becomes –los (except the direct object feminine, becomes –les).
  3. Objects can attach after the verb ending in a, e, or i by the following forms:
  4. Direct: ‘m – ‘t – ‘l, -la ; ‘ns – -us – ‘ls, -les
    1. i.     Notice that apostrophes are used before all except 3rd person singular feminine (-la), 2nd person plural (-us), and 3rd person plural feminine (-les)
    2. Indirect : ‘m – ‘t – -li ; ‘ns – -us – ‘ls
      1. i.     Notice, similarly, that apostrophes are used in all except 3rd person singular (-li) and 2nd person plural (-us)

Here are the examples from the song:

“…dir alguna cosa que no et pugui agradar”

to say something that may not please you (direct object pronoun)

“per no deprimir-te o fer-te badallar”

in order to not depress you or make you yawn (both direct objects)

“no sé què m’amaga”

I don’t know what you hide (from) me (indirect object)

“en despertar-me

upon waking (myself) (reflexive, like direct object)

“sense recordar què ens fa viure plegats”

without remembering what makes us live together (indirect object)

“la rutina rosegant-nos per dintre”

the routine gnawing us on the inside (direct object)

“el sol s’amaga”

the sun hides itself (*3rd person reflexive se)

et veig…em sents”

I see you…you hear me (direct objects)
Guitar chords



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