Nevez-Amzer emañ o tont / Spring is a-comin’

Cherry blossoms along the Place de Bretagne

I was riding the bus home one day this week, and out the window I spied these cherry blossoms. What a happy sight! So when I was in town yesterday, I took a couple of photos, including this one. It seems as if it’s been winter for so long now, and I am more than ready for spring to arrive.

They weren’t the first flowers to appear–some narcissus popped up in the garden a week or so ago–but for me the cherry blossom is the true harbinger of spring. It’s also a flower that brings back happy memories of other springs in other lands. I recall enjoying the cherry blossoms near the Lincoln Memorial when–as a college student in DC–I used to take walks around the monuments with my friends.  And I have many fond memories of the cherry blossoms from the time that I lived in Japan. There were many lovely trees were in my neighborhood in Takarazuka, along the ponds that faced the hotel–and in Kyoto, of course, even more lined the temple walks. On my last visit to Japan, a few years ago, I lucked out. My week there just happened to be the week that the cherry blossom trees all burst into bloom along the island of Honshu and I felt as if I were being welcomed back after my long absence.

There are also many cherry blossom trees in Oakland’s Lakeside Park, and during the years that I lived there, I was able to hop down the hill from my apartment in Adams Point and enjoy them as I took walks around Lake Merritt. And even in my childhood, there were some cherry blossoms that I’d see occasionally in my hometown. So they’ve always been there in my life. I didn’t know if I’d see any here in town. I’m glad there are a few for me to enjoy. And soon it really will be spring.

Enklask brezhoneg / Breton quiz

I haven’t talked much about the Breton language yet, but it’s a very cool language. I enjoy learning the way it works, and discovering its occasional quirks. Here’s one quirk that we learned about recently. I’ll post it as a grammar challenge for you all today, and then I’ll go back and add in the explanation on the weekend. That’ll give you time to read and ponder the mystery. Feel free to post a guess, if you like. Here goes.

What does the following sentence mean? How would you translate it into English? (Do not dispair–there’s vocab help just below.)

Tangi zo pinvidik e vab.

Assuming that you don’t already know how to translate this particular type of sentence, have a go at it.

(Needless to say, if you happen to be already familiar with this particular quirk of the Breton language, please don’t post an answer. Email me, if you’d like.)

First of all, ‘Tangi’ is a man’s name.

The other words in this sentence mean:

zo = form of the verb ‘to be’ (COP, for the linguists out there)

pinvidik = rich

e = his

vab (i.e. mab) = son

Your turn now…. Kalon vat ! (Good luck!)



Tangi zo pinvidik e vab.

Tangi’s son is rich.

Did you get it right? I know at least some of you did, so congratulations!