Friday, November 21, 2008

The photographic junta

This is certainly related to the chip-changing post of the other day, which stirred more emotion than I was expecting. Everyone's saying, yes! the chip! the chip! And I'm thinking, barbecue-flavored? Because I've already gone onto another topic. Because this is the way my brain zooms. And how it craves salt.

So the other day I was perusing one of "my" groups on Flickr. You see, this group is no more mine than it is any of the other 699 members', yet I feel a certain ownership of said group. You can stalk me and easily figure out which one it is. When you see a lot of ke buenos and 'ta increibles you'll know you've arrived. At any rate, the issue here is of the get-together. Fliqueros (the neologism which absolutely hurts my fingers to type), or flickr-folk, as I'd like to call them in English like to get together. We sit around, blather about photography, sneak photos of one another, ogle fancy lenses we can't afford and generally geek out over photography. In "my" group we also eat a lot of cake, but I'm told this is optional.

The thing here is what to call the "meetup" in Spanish. I prefer encuentro, but that has a notion of meeting for the first time, or pulling people together just once. Reunion is too formal, a word for an office meeting, and it's not really a fiesta, or party, so that's out, too. What we're left with is junta.

Junta. A perfectly respectable and acceptable Spanish word which comes from (I assume) the verb juntar, which means to gather, or put together. A juntura is a joint where two items come together (unless they're sewn, which is a costura, or soldered, which is a soldadura, etc). At any rate, it's a lovely verb. Nos juntamos, se juntan, etc. Reflexive and regular, with the handy throaty sound at the beginning, like the one in Chanukah (which is coming up, yay latkes).

The problem is when you pronounce the j (or read the word) like an English J. Suddenly my photo meetup goes from photo geekery to military staging. You might see us planning an overthrow or discussing a destructive and t-word strategy. Not so! We're talking about f stops and apertures and all kinds of things I don't even know how to say in English. Coveting lensbabies and thinking about encargos and how we can get what we need without paying an ojo de la cara (fig: an arm and a leg).

So I've been reading "my" flicker group's board and thinking about the next get-together, and about all the cake we'll eat, and how "our" word has been reformatted and repronounced into a word which, has so many negative connotations. As if there could ever be anything wrong with photography and food.


Juan Edo. Méndez Arias said...

How about the word "gatherings" to refer to "juntas"?

Layfan said...

Hahaha! "an arm and a leg"!... Nice, very nice... Sounds better than "un ojo de la cara".

Eileen said...

@ Layfan, glad you liked it! I like "an ojo de la cara" but maybe it's because I like the hand motions that go with it!?

@ Juan, It might be a dialect difference, but I would say gathering for a more formal event, or as a verb, but would be unlikely, personally to use it as a noun for just hanging out. I might use it for religious or ceremonial purposes. This a stumbling point for your EFL students, I imagine, because they want to say "reunion" for something smaller than a party, right?

Sharon said...

I have a confession to make: even though I use junta on a regular basis, the first thing that came to my head when I read the title was the junta militar. And I don't know why....