'Dreams?' she apostrophised
Apostrophes almost always give Spaniards problems. But they – the Spaniards, not the apostrophes – do love the “genitivo sajón”, as they call it, and seldom miss an opportunity to use it, even when, as in the case of the club whose sign this is, it isn’t appropriate.

To be fair, it can be complicated trying to unravel who owns what.

Is un sueño de Felipe “Felipe’s dream”, or is it “a dream about Felipe”? Can we, perhaps, get away with hedging our bets and translating it as “a dream of Felipe”? (Would the form “a dream of Felipe’s” be correct, or is that a double possessive?)

On the subject of possessive dreams – or dreams of posessions? – a while back, I came across the phrase playas de ensueño translated as “beaches of dream”. It has a certain logic to it if you compare the structure with los padres de Juan which could reasonably, if not necessarily idiomatically, be translated as “the parents of Juan”.

When it comes to una taza de café, it could be “a cup of coffee” or “a coffee cup”, depending on whether it’s full or not. And I suppose whether you talk about una botella de vino or una botella de cristal might depend on your degree of optimism – whether you see the bottle as half full, or ready for recycling.

Possession is, of course, nine points of the law. I suppose it’s just remotely possible that the building belongs to someone called Dream and the sign is simply asserting his property rights.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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