Following the Mills & Boon vs. Kissing Ban entry, I received an email from author Rebecca Pawel, who is often in Spain doing research for her historical mystery series, set in 1940’s Spain.
Inspired by the Mills and Boon vs. Virgin entry, I tracked down a flickr photo of a sort of opposite ad campaign that made me smile when I was in the Asturias a couple of years ago.
Background: The are a province in Northern Spain. Asturianos traditionally speak a variant of Castilian (the “standard” for what is called “Spanish” in Latin America and outside of Spain), called Asturiana, Asturianu, or Asturianes. The Franco dictatorship (1939-75) came down very hard on local languages, trying to make everyone “Spanish” by outlawing the languages spoken in regions where there had been widespread resistance to Franco (Catalan in Catalonia, and Euskadi or Basque in the Basque country).
After Franco died, language politics in Spain got interesting. The country currently has four official languages: Castilian, Catalan, Gallego (a variant close to Portuguese and spoken in Galicia, on the Northwestern coast), and Basque/Euskadi. Asturianu is NOT recognized as an official language, but rather considered a dialect. This makes some proud Asturianos angry, and they have started a campaign to preserve their language, complete with posters and public service announcements.
Sooo…since in most romance languages (no pun intended) the word for “language” (langue/llingua/lengua etc.) is the same as the word for “tongue” you naturally get the following photo, which was plastered all over bus shelters and walls larger than life when I was in the Asturias a few years ago.
The caption reads: “Use your tongue (or language). Speak Asturianu.”
And that is definitely what the couple in the photo are happily doing. As far as I’m concerned this public service message is merely one of the reasons why northern Spain is massively awesome.
I love the Spanish sense of humor, especially as pertains to sexuality and kissing.
Tangent alert! When I studied in Spain, the big campaign was for condom usage (a very big deal back then, seeing as Spain is a predominantly Catholic country). There were these HUGE pictures of condoms on billboards all over the country, with the caption “Póntelo, Pónselo.” I have more than one picture of my friends posing as if they were carrying a giant massive condom on their heads.
The ads for the campaign were fabulous, too. This one was my favorite. Imagine this on tv in the US!
There aren’t subtitles. If you can’t get the gist of it, basically he’s saying, “Whose condom is this?” and the kids are all saying, “It’s mine.” I am Sparta-condom!