it’s complicated

fallen oak leaves

It’s May 29th, and apparently that means it’s Royal Oak Day. That in itself is simple enough, but for an angloparlante, discussing oaks trees and acorns with a Spaniard is complicated.

I once told a student that “great oaks from little acorns grow,” but she refused to believe me. Even when I explained, translating ‘oak’ as roble and ‘acorn’ as bellota.

Now that I live out in the country and know from first hand experience what a dehesa is, I realise that there are actually a number of different things that can grow from an acorn. You may get a roble, an alcornoque or an encina. None of which are the sort of English oak that Charles II hid in.

If you check the wikipedia list of quercus species you’ll see that there are far more trees that we call ‘oak’ – and presumably the Spanish call something else entirely. Perhaps it would be simpler if we all spoke Latin.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

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

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