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Tertulia, vol. 32
Hola. This is Barbara, your curator of cultural snippets from the Hispanic world. I have three eye-soothing podcast recommendations for you this week. The first one introduces you to Asunción Gómez-Pérez, the first member of the Spanish Royal Academy specialising in Artificial Intelligence. The second one deals with a new podcast about Ladino and the cultural interconnections of Judaeo-Spanish. The last one is an interview with Luisa Etxenike about her new book Cruzar el agua. So, let’s start the cultural crossings.
Asunción Gómez-Pérez, new member of the RAE (Spanish Royal Academy)
Artificial intelligence occupies for the first time a place in the plenary of the Royal Spanish Academy. Asunción Gómez-Pérez, PhD in Computer Science, has been elected as a new member of the RAE. She got assigned to seat q (silla q).
She is working in the field of artificial intelligence, specifically in Semantic Web and ontology engineering. She will be the twelfth woman to sit in the plenary, an outstanding researcher, a completely new and essential profile to face the challenges that lie ahead for the institution. RNE chatted with her at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she works as full professor. From her pragmatic view concerning anglicisms and given her technical background, Gómez-Pérez may be a refreshing addition to the plenary. I am looking forward to seeing her influence evolve. Here’s the interview with her: https://www.rtve.es/play/audios/un-idioma-sin-fronteras/idioma-sin-fronteras-asuncion-gomez-perez-nueva-academica-rae-07-05-22/6529733/
El Ponte - bridging cultures and cultivating connections
El Ponte is a brand-new podcast that explores stories, connections, and cultures of Ladino, the diasporic language of Sephardic Jews spoken throughout the world. Although currently endangered, Ladino thrives in the intersections of its many components like Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Arabic, and more. As hosts, Max Daniel and Ivy Jane from Los Angeles discuss themes of place, home, diaspora, linguistic and cultural transmission, and community. In each episode, they will interview guests from all over the world about their relationships with Ladino. If you’re curious about languages, the Spanish-speaking world, Jewish culture, or the many ways in which language, culture, and community intersect, I invite you to cross El Ponte and explore Ladino with Max and Ivy.
I find it very interesting that two young persons start the podcast. Ladino has become much more than a folk topic for elderly people or academics who are looking for a niche. As far as I know, it is also the first podcast about Ladino in English and I hope it will increase interest in those that are curious to learn more about this part of Spanish language history. Here’s the link to their first episode.
I wish the two all the best and am grateful I learned about the podcast through a posting in Ladinokomunita.
Luisa Etxenike, Cruzar el agua
Susana Santaolalla, the faciliator of the classic radio show Libros de arena, is always very enthusiastic when she talks about literature, but it was fascinating to follow her lively conversation with Spanish writer Luisa Etxenike on her new book Cruzar el agua (Crossing the water).
The book deals with the topic of immigration explored from a different angle. Manuela left Colombia with her son, who has not spoken a word for a year. She now works at Irene's house, who got blinded by an accident. Irene tries to swim alone in the sea every day despite the danger of not seeing the waves early enough. So both of them have or are trying to cross waters. Little by little, as the two women start to talk to each other, the events that changed the lives of the three of them will come to light, with unexpected consequences.
I very much enjoyed this conversation with its positive air and am looking forward to reading the book. Extenike is a humanistic writer and I like the central idea of the novel that the uprooting caused by displacement or emigration can also be a liberation.
Here’s the podcast: Libros de arena: Luisa Etxenike, Cruzar el agua
That’s all for now already. I’ll be back in about two weeks. Enjoy the month of May, listening to the birds and to what Lope de Vega wrote about them:
En las mañanicas
del mes de mayo
cantan los ruiseñores.
Retumba el campo.
En las mañanicas
como son frescas
cubren los ruiseñores