segunda-feira, 8 de outubro de 2012

Pedro Silva no Lar da ..... idade.

another visitor to our shores named Pedro Silva.

Enter ghost, stage left

Mr Silva has been enlivening the nodding dayroom for years. Perhaps he is in search of his roots. Neither familiarity with the Portuguese sensibility nor advanced analytical knowledge of  the language is required to determine that whenever Mr Silva appears he is accompanied by the strong smell of stinking fish. To put it bluntly, his creator lacks the sophistication to complete the character that she has invented.

Silva has entertaining, if over-coloured, character traits. His appearances on stage are always announced by  ponderous Wagnerian Leitmotive to keep the character established, such as his invariable references to "sweet" Madeleine McCann and his unvarying salutations to "my friends".  

He speaks in broken English just like Fawlty's  waiter Manuel but, to counter the inevitable amusement which such misuse of the language engenders in the English, he is given a particularly foul mouth intended to demonstrate that he is  a masculine figure not to be trifled with.

Unfortunately his creator is incapable of developing the character, lacking both the creative skill and the sophistication to place him within Portuguese society. Thus, some four or five years after his first appearance he remains exactly the same, without even the primitive infill of a  character in The Archers: he has never displayed any knowledge of that society, let alone of Lusitanian culture or history, has no interests of his own and never engages in debate in case he muffs his lines or is asked if  Figo is his favourite footballer or  bacalhau his favourite dish.  In short, even as a fictional character he is non-existent.

Those with an eye for these things can feast on Mr Silva's inconsistent, rather than incorrect, English. 

For every ten postings that he makes using his curious Pidgin-speech there is always one where his creator has got carried away with the message rather than the messenger and has forgotten how to cover herself: suddenly he uses a colloquial English phrase in perfect context. 

Ten posts later he will express himself using the subjunctive or conditional tenses with easy familiarity. And then it is all forgotten and Mr Silva reverts to addressing us in his usual  "Me Tarzan, you Jane" tones.

And for the piece de resistance or la paix d' Ohm, as Jean-Pierre would no doubt have it, we have Mr Silva translating from his native tongue. Strangely, indeed peculiarly, Mr Silva posts copious news extracts from Portugal on the care home notice board with two especial characteristics. 

They are always rendered into English via unmodified Google translate and, secondly, on the very rare occasions when someone asks him to enlarge on the meaning of a particular word or phrase even Pedro's Pidgin  flies away: either he leaves immediately for a pressing appointment or he pastes another piece of Google: Pedro Silva cannot speak Portuguese.

So well worth a visit, especially as Pedro and Jean-Pierre may be dangled into action to prove they exist. But mon dieu  what languages will they speak in?