Thursday, 28 February 2019


Jordi Santanyí & the monument to Silbo Gomero
Jordi Santanyí has just arrived to La Gomera to join The Grandma and her friends in their Canary tour. Jordi is very interested in this island because he and The Grandma are fans of Silbo Gomero, an ancient language spoken in this island since the first inhabitants, Guanches, lived in it.

UNESCO declared Silbo Gomero as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and Jordi and The Grandma want to talk about this wonderful an amazing language which has helped to preserve the identity of the native inhabitants of La Gomera.

Before Jordi's arrival, The Grandma has studied a new lesson of her Intermediate Language Practice manual (Grammar 17).

More information: Passive 2

Silbo Gomero, Gomeran whistle, also known as el silbo, the whistle, is a whistled register used by inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canary Islands to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys that radiate through the island. It enables messages to be exchanged over a distance of up to 5 kilometres.

Due to this loud nature, Silbo Gomero is generally used in circumstances of public communication. Messages conveyed could range from event invitations to public information advisories. A speaker of Silbo Gomero is sometimes referred to in Spanish as a silbador, whistler. This oral phoneme-whistled phoneme substitution emulates Spanish phonology through a reduced set of whistled phonemes. It was declared as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009.

Little is known of the original Guanche language or the languages of the Canaries, but it is assumed that their phonological system must have been simple enough to allow an efficient whistled language. Used by the island's original inhabitants, the Guanches, the whistled language existed before the arrival of Spanish settlers and was also spoken on el Hierro, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria.

A Silbo Gomero whistler, La Gomera
Silbo was adapted to Spanish during the Spanish settlement in the 16th century and was widely spoken throughout the period into the following 17th century. In 1976 Silbo barely remained on el Hierro, where it had flourished at the end of the 19th century.

Use of the language declined in the 1950s, one factor being the economic decline, which forced many speakers to move away to seek better jobs to cope financially. Technological developments such as the telephone played a part in reducing the practicality and utility of the language.

The language's earlier survival had been due to its role in overcoming distance and terrain, in addition to the ease with which it is learned by native speakers. Most significantly, in the period from the 1960s to 1980s, many people had turned away from agriculture and so many middle class families did not want their children to speak the language as it was negatively associated with the rural peasants.

In the late 1990s, language revitalization efforts began and initiatives from within the community started. By 1999, the revitalization of Silbo Gomero was furthered by education policies and other legislative measures. It now has official protection as an example of intangible cultural heritage.

More information: La Gomera-Islas Canarias

Many people in La Gomera speak Silbo Gomero, but their expression of the language deviates in minor ways which show the different origins of the speaker.

As reported in a 2009 UNESCO report, all the people living in La Gomera understand the language, but only those born before 1950 and the younger generations who attended school since 1999 can speak the language. Those born before 1950 were taught the language by their elders in their homes, and those who have attended or are attending school since 1999 were taught the language formally in school. Those born between 1950 and 1980 understand the language but are unable to speak it, as the language was hardly used and negatively viewed during their time of language acquisition.

A Silbo Gomero whistler, La Gomera
When this medium of communication was endangered in the late 20th century, revitalization efforts were generated at both community level and governmental level. 

A combination of initiatives from the La Gomeran community and policies implemented by the authorities saw Silbo Gomero being revitalized and maintained as a cultural asset. These revitalization efforts were well-documented by UNESCO as part of the proceedings for the selection of the 2009 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In a bid to preserve Silbo Gomero for the island’s youth, expert whistlers sought to obtain authorization, which enabled them to teach the language on a free and voluntary basis at a dedicated centre. This initiative by the senior islanders garnered encouraging responses, with parent-teacher associations extending it to all schools.

The first of many revitalization measures was thus adopted at the grassroots level, not by public or private entities, which reflected the language attitude of locals towards Silbo Gomero. Education policies which were implemented later were inspired as such -revitalization began at the grassroots and escalated to the highest government bodies.

More information: UNESCO

On 26 June 1997, the Parliament of the Canary Islands approved a motion calling on the government to include Silbo Gomero as part of school curriculum. Silbo Gomero then became a mandatory subject in primary and secondary education, as of July 1999. The provincial government was supportive in its implementation of education policy and also the establishment of a formalized Silbo Gomero curriculum through the publication of El Silbo Gomero, Materiales didácticos (Educational Materials on the Silbo Gomero).

In addition to the compulsory learning of Silbo Gomero at the primary and secondary level, an Island School of Silbo Gomero was established for post-secondary students who wish to continue to train in Silbo Gomero until they become accredited professional instructors.

Students of the Island School work to become capable of teaching Silbo Gomero to not only their fellow citizens, but also tourists who visit La Gomera. This facilitates the sustainability of the revitalization and also works towards language maintenance. 
Learning Silbo Gomero at school
Thereafter, the Ministry of Education, Universities, Culture and Sport of the Canary Islands developed a staff training plan in order to ensure that the elderly expert whistlers can be replaced in the near future by qualified professional teachers with relevant diplomas. This comprised training courses on proficiency in and teaching of Silbo Gomero. The training plan was launched in 2007, with the participation of 18 teachers.

Besides the implementation of education policies, the authorities also sought to strengthen the corpus of Silbo Gomero by developing a project to digitize all recorded audio material. Local, national and worldwide distribution of documentaries on Silbo Gomero were also made. The government also raised the status of Silbo Gomero by selecting the whistled language of La Gomera via the National Historical Heritage Council in the nominations for inclusion on the 2009 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Members of the Gomeran community treasure Silbo Gomero as part of the island’s identity and use the whistled language in traditional rituals and festivities on the island. One of these includes bajadas, which are processions dedicated to the Virgin or the patron saints of the community. On 15 March 1999, Silbo Gomero was declared as part of the historical ethnographic heritage of the Canary Islands. The annual celebration of School Encounters with Silbo Gomero was also inaugurated in La Gomera.

More information: Hello Canary Islands

In 2005, the monument to Silbo Gomero was inducted in Garajonay National Park.

According to different studies, the Silbo Gomero Language has between 2 and 4 vowels and between 4 and 10 consonants. The language is a whistled form of a dialect of Spanish. Silbo replaces each vowel or consonant with a whistling sound. Whistles are distinguished according to pitch and continuity. As with other whistled forms of non-tonal languages, Silbo works by retaining approximately the articulation of ordinary speech, so the timbre variations of speech appear in the guise of pitch variations.

Silbo Gomero is a complex language to learn, with its whistling techniques requiring physical precision, and a strength of the body parts used in mechanism of the language, that can only be acquired with practice.

Silbo Gomero uses the tongue, lips and hands of the users, differing greatly from conventional language, which uses the mouth cavity to blend and contrast several acoustic frequencies. The whistling mechanism, in contrast, is limited to only emitting a single basic pitch between 1,000 and 3,000 hertz. The physical precision comes in the skill of the whistler being able to vary the frequencies at different speeds and to start and stop the production of the sound waves.
Teaching Silbo Gomero at school
This technique is handed down within La Gomera’s community, with unchanged teaching methods that date back to the late nineteenth century.

The same pitch can represent many sounds, so it has much fewer phonemes than Spanish. This means that communication in Silbo can be ambiguous at times. Context and appropriate choice of words are thus important for effective communication.

The vowels of Silbo Gomero are described roughly as sustained lines of high and low frequency that are distinct from each other.

The high frequency /i/ vowel represents the /i/, /e/ vowels of the spoken language being whistled, while the low frequency whistle of the dark /a/ vowel represents the vowels /a/, /o/, /u/. It is said that it is not possible to produce any vowels with intermediary frequencies as the whistling mechanism does not have the same functions that the vocal mechanism possess.

The theory that Silbo Gomero has only two vowels was theorised by Ramón Trujillo of the University of La Laguna in his published book El Silbo Gomero. Análisis Lingüístico in 1978. His work, containing almost a hundred spectrograms, concludes in a theory that there are only two vowels and four consonants in the Silbo Gomero language. In Trujillo's work Silbo's vowels are given one quality, that of pitch, being either high or low. However, in a more recent study, the work of Julien Meyer gives a statistical analysis of the vowels of Silbo showing that there are 4 vowels statistically distinguished in production and that they are also perceived so.

More information: BBC

Also in 2005, Annie Rialland of the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle published an acoustic and phonological analysis of Silbo based on new materials, showing that, not only gliding tones, but also intensity modulation plays a role in distinguishing different whistled sounds.

Trujillo's 2005 collaboration with Gomeran whistler Isidro Ortiz and others revises his earlier assertions to state that 4 vowels are indeed perceived, and describes in detail the areas of divergence between his empirical data and Classe’s phonetic hypotheses. Despite Trujillo's 2005 work acknowledging the existence of 4 vowels, his 2006 bilingual work, El Silbo Gomero. Nuevo estudio fonológico, inexplicably reiterates his 1978 two-vowel theory. Trujillo's 2006 work directly addresses many of Rialland's conclusions, but it seems that at the time of that writing he was unaware of Meyer's work.

A Silbo Gomero whistler, La Gomera
Meyer suggests that there are 4 vowel classes of /i/, /e/, /a/, /u, o/. However Meyer goes on to say that there are 5 perceived vowels with significant overlap. Rialland (2005) and Trujillo (1978) both agree that the harmonic of the whistle matches the second formant of the spoken vowels.

Spoken /a/'s F2 and whistled /a/'s H1 match in their frequency (1480 Hz). However, there is a disconnect in harmonics and formants near the frequency basement. Spoken speech has a wide range of F2 frequencies (790 Hz to 2300 Hz), whistles are limited to between 1200 Hz and 2400 Hz. Vowels are therefore shifted upwards at the lower end (maintaining 1480 Hz as /a/) increasing confusion between /o/, spoken F2 freq 890 Hz, whistled <1300 Hz, and /u/, spoken freq 790 Hz, Whistled <<1300 Hz.

In whistling the frequency basement must be raised to the minimum whistle harmonic of 1000 Hz reducing frequency spacing in the vowels, which increases misidentification in the lower vowels.

Consonants in Silbo Gomero are modifications of the vowel-based melody line or vocal line. They may be rising or falling or can also be modified by being broken, continuous or occlusive.

More information: Francesca Phillips

The documentation on the official Silbo Gomero page on the UNESCO website is in line with Trujillo’s 1978 study. Trujillo (1978) suggested that the consonants are either rises or dips in the melody line which can be broken or continuous. Further investigation by Meyer and by Rialland suggest that vowels are stripped to their inherent class of sound which is communicated in the whistle in these ways: voice (/k/ vs /ɡ/) is transmitted by the whistled feature [-continuity].

A silent pause in the whistle communicates [+voice] (/ɡ/), while a [+continuous] consonant gives the quality [-voice] (/k/). Placement of the consonant (dental, palatal, fricative) is transmitted in whistle by the loci, the sharpness or speed, of the formant transitions between vowels.

Educational Materials on the Silbo Gomero
Consonant classes are simplified into four classes. Extra high loci, near vertical formant loci, denotes affricates and stridents, rising loci denotes alveolar, medial, loci just above the vowel formant, denotes palatal, and falling, low loci, denotes pharyngeal, labial, and fricative. 

This gives 8 whistled consonants, but including tone gradual decay, with intensity falling off, as a feature on continuous and interrupted sounds gives 10 consonants. In these situations gradual decay is given [+voice], and continuous is given [+liquid].

The representation of /s/ is actually treated as a broken high pitch when whistled in Silbo. However, in the spoken language, /s/ is a continuous high pitch consonant. There are two reasons for this anomaly. Firstly, in functional terms, the /s/ consonant is high in frequency, thus being extremely useful. Secondly, as the continuous high-pitched consonant of Silbo already represents many other consonants of the spoken language (/l/, /ʎ/, /n/, /ɲ/, /ɾ/, /r/, /d/ and /ʝ/), it would be very confusing to add on to the extensive list. Thus, as the broken high-pitched consonant does not fully represent /t͡ʃ/ and /t/, it can be used to represent the frequently used /s/ consonant.

Last studies have shown that Silbo Gomero speakers process the whistled register in the same way as the standard spoken language. Studies carried out by Manuel Carreiras of the University of La Laguna and David Corina of the University of Washington published research on Silbo in 2004 and 2005. Their study involved two participant groups of Spanish speakers. One group of Spanish speakers spoke Silbo, while the other group did not. Results obtained from monitoring the participants' brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging have shown that while non-speakers of Silbo merely processed Silbo as whistling, speakers of Silbo processed the whistling sounds in the same linguistic centers of the brain that processed Spanish sentences.

More information: Busuu

 The limits of my language means the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wednesday, 27 February 2019


Tina Picotes in San Sebastián de la Gomera
Today, The Grandma is visiting La Gomera with her friends Claire Fontaine, Joseph de Ca'th Lon and Tina Picotes, who has just arrived to the island.

The Grandma loves volcanoes, native tribes cultures and languages and visiting La Gomera is a great privilege for her because she can visit a volcanic island with an ancient history and with a singular language named the Silbo.

All friends have visited the Garajonay National Park a wonderful an amazing natural site considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Before visiting the park, The Grandma has studied a new lesson of her Intermediate Language Practice manual (Grammar 16).

More information: Passive 1

La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. With an area of 369.76 square kilometers, it is the second smallest of the seven main islands of this group. It belongs to the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Its capital is San Sebastián de La Gomera, where the headquarters of the Cabildo are located.

La Gomera is part of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is divided into six municipalities: Agulo, Alajeró, San Sebastián de La Gomera, Hermigua, Valle Gran Rey and  Vallehermoso.

The island government, Cabildo Insular, is located in the capital, San Sebastián. The island is of volcanic origin and roughly circular; it is about 22 kilometres in diameter. The island is very mountainous and steeply sloping and rises to 1,487 metres at the island's highest peak, Alto de Garajonay. Its shape is rather like an orange that has been cut in half and then split into segments, which has left deep ravines or barrancos between them.

The Grandma visits el Castillo del Mar, La Gomera
The uppermost slopes of these barrancos, in turn, are covered by the laurisilva or laurel rain forest, where up to 50 inches of precipitation fall each year.

The upper reaches of this densely wooded region are almost permanently shrouded in clouds and mist, and as a result are covered in lush and diverse vegetation: they form the protected environment of Garajonay National Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The slopes are criss-crossed by paths that present varying levels of difficulty to visitors, and stunning views to seasoned hikers.

The central mountains catch the moisture from the trade wind clouds and yield a dense jungle climate in the cooler air, which contrasts with the warmer, sun-baked cliffs near sea level.

More information: Turismo de la Gomera

Between these extremes one finds a fascinating gamut of microclimates; for centuries, the inhabitants of La Gomera have farmed the lower levels by channelling runoff water to irrigate their vineyards, orchards and banana groves.

The official natural symbols associated with La Gomera are Columba junoniae, Paloma rabiche, and Persea indica, Viñátigo.

The local wine is distinctive and often accompanied with a tapa, snack, of local cheese, roasted pork, or goat meat. Other culinary specialities include almogrote, a cheese spread, miel de palma, a syrup extracted from palm trees, and escaldón, a porridge made with gofio flour.

The inhabitants of La Gomera have an ancient way of communicating across deep ravines by means of a whistled speech called Silbo Gomero, which can be heard 2 miles away. This whistled language is indigenous to the island, and its existence has been documented since Roman times.

Los Órganos Natural Monument, La Gomera
Invented by the original inhabitants of the island, the Guanches, Silbo Gomero was adopted by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century and survived after the Guanches were entirely assimilated.

When this means of communication was threatened with extinction at the dawn of the 21st century, the local government required all children to learn it in school. Marcial Morera, a linguist at the University of La Laguna has said that the study of silbo may help understand how languages are formed.

In the mountains of La Gomera, its original inhabitants worshipped their god, whom they called Orahan; the summit and centre of the island served as their grand sanctuary. Indeed, many of the natives took refuge in this sacred territory in 1489, as they faced imminent defeat at the hands of the Spaniards, and it was here that the conquest of La Gomera was drawn to a close.

More information: Everything, Everywhere

Modern-day archaeologists have found several ceremonial stone constructions here that appear to represent sacrificial altar stones, slate hollows, or cavities. It was here that the Guanches built pyres upon which to make offerings of goats and sheep to their god. This same god, Orahan, was known on La Palma as Abora and on Tenerife and Gran Canaria as Arocan. The Guanches also interred their dead in caves.

Today, saints, who are worshipped through village festivals, are principally connected with Christianity. But in some aspects, the Guanches’ god-like idealising of Gomeran uniqueness plays a role as well besides their pre-Christian and pre-colonial implication and shows strong local differences.

An autosomal study in 2011 found an average Northwest African influence of about 17% in Canary Islanders with a wide interindividual variation ranging from 0% to 96%. According to the authors, the substantial Northwest African ancestry found for Canary Islanders supports that, despite the aggressive conquest by the Spanish in the 15th century and the subsequent immigration, genetic footprints of the first settlers of the Canary Islands persist in the current inhabitants.

Parallelling mtDNA findings (50.1% of U6 and 10.83% of L haplogroups), the largest average Northwest African contribution (42.50%) was found for the samples from La Gomera

Visiting Garajonay Natural Park, La Gomera
Genetic drift could be responsible for the contrasting difference in Northwest African ancestry detected with maternal (51% of Northwest African lineages) and paternal markers, 0.3–10% of Northwest African lineages, in La Gomera. Alternatively, it could reflect the dramatic way the island was conquered, producing the strongest sexual asymmetry in the archipelago.

The festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of the island, is the Monday following the first Saturday of October. Every five years is celebrated the Bajada de la Virgen de Guadalupe, the Bringing the Virgin, from her hermitage in Puntallana to the capital. She is brought by boat to the beach of San Sebastián de La Gomera, where several people host her, and transported throughout the island for two months.

More information: Gomera Experience

Garajonay National Park is located in the center and north of the island of La Gomera. It was declared a national park in 1981 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. It occupies 40 km2 and it extends into each of the six municipalities on the island.

The park is named after the rock formation of Garajonay, the highest point on the island at 1,487 m. It also includes a small plateau whose altitude is 790-1,400 m above sea level.

The park provides the best example of Canarian laurisilva, a humid subtropical forest that in the Tertiary covered almost all of Southern Europe. It is also found on the Azores and the Madeira Islands. Laurus azorica, known as Azores laurel, or by the Portuguese names louro, loureiro, louro-da-terra, and louro-de-cheiro, can be found in the park, as well as Laurus novocanariensis, known as Canary laurel

More information: Altaï

Although named as a single type of forest, the national park englobes several varieties of forests. Most humid and protected valleys oriented to the North have the richest and most complex forests. It is known as valley laurisilva, a true subtropical rainforest where the largest laurel trees can be found. At higher altitudes, with less protection from wind and sun, the forest loses some of its more delicate species. Here it is called slope laurisilva, laurisilva de ladera. At the south the forest is mainly a mix of beech and heather, species adapted to the less humid atmosphere.

Visiting Garajonay National Park, La Gomera
Other attractions of the national park are the massive rocks that are found along the island. These are former volcanoes whose shapes have been carved by erosion.

Some, like the Fortaleza, fortress in Spanish, were considered sacred by the native islanders, as well as ideal refuges when attacked. The park is crossed by a large network of 18 footpaths, trekking being one of the main tourist activities in the island.

Many of the species of flora and fauna are endemic to the Macaronesian islands, the Canary Islands or La Gomera, and the Garajonay forest harbors a rich biota of understory plants, invertebrates, and birds and bats, including a large number of endemic species.

Two species of reptile, Gallotia gomerana (Gomeran lizard) and Chalcides viridanus (Gomeran skink), can be found. Amphibians include the stripeless tree frog, Hyla meridionalis.

The park is renowned as one of the best places to observe the two Canarian endemic pigeons, laurel pigeon (Columba junoniae) and Bolle's pigeon (Columba bollii).

More information: UNESCO

The peak and park are named after Guanche lore, the hapless lovers Gara and Jonay. Their romance evokes those of Romeo and Juliet and Hero and Leander. Gara was a princess of Agulo on La Gomera. During the festival of Beñesmén, it was customary for unmarried girls of Agulo to gaze at their reflections in the waters of Chorros del Epina. If the water was clear, they would find a husband; if it was cloudy, some misfortune would befall them. When Gara looked at the water, she saw her reflection clearly. However, she gazed too long and the sun's reflection blinded her temporarily. A wise man named Gerián told her that this meant that she needed to avoid all fire or else it would consume her.

Jonay was the son of the Guanche mencey or king of Adeje on Tenerife, who arrived on the island to celebrate these ceremonies. Jonay's participation in the ensuing games attracted the attention of Gara, and the two fell in love. Unfortunately, when the engagement was announced, the volcano Teide, visible from La Gomera, began to erupt as if in disapproval. This was interpreted as a bad omen and the couple’s respective parents broke the engagement.

Jonay was made to return to Tenerife, but one night, he swam across the channel that separated the two islands and rejoined his beloved. Their respective fathers ordered that the two be found. The lovers were soon trapped on a mountain, where they decided to take their own lives.

More information: The Telegraph

 All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.

Guanche Proverb

Tuesday, 26 February 2019


Visiting Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands
Today, The Grandma is visiting La Palma with Claire Fontaine, who arrived last night to this beautiful island.

Some years ago, Claire and The Grandma visited this wonderful place and now they have wanted to remember that travel returning to the same places.

Joseph de Ca'th Lon has also arrived to Santa Cruz de la Palma to start this wonderful trip with them. He likes Astronomy and he wants to visit El Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory.

La Palma is an amazing place for The Grandma, who is a great fan of volcanoes. She loves this island, its landscapes and the most incredible, its people.

Before starting their trip around La Palma, The Grandma has been studying a new lesson of her Intermediate Language Practice manual (Grammar 15).

More information: Wishes

La Palma, also San Miguel de La Palma, is the most north-westerly island of the Canary Islands. La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands. Its highest mountain is the Roque de los Muchachos, at 2,426 metres, being second among the peaks of the Canaries only to the peaks of the Teide massif on Tenerife.

In 1815, the German geologist Leopold von Buch visited the Canary Islands. It was as a result of his visit to Tenerife, where he visited the Las Cañadas caldera, and then later to La Palma, where he visited the Taburiente caldera, that the Spanish word for cauldron or large cooking pot -caldera- was introduced into the geological vocabulary. In the center of the island is the Caldera de Taburiente National Park; one of four national parks in the Canary Islands.

Volcanic beaches in La Palma
La Palma, like the other islands of the Canary Island archipelago, is a volcanic ocean island. The volcano rises almost 7 km above the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is road access from sea level to the summit at 2,426 m, which is marked by an outcrop of rocks called Los Muchachos. This is the site of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, one of the world's premier astronomical observatories.

La Palma's geography is a result of the volcanic formation of the island. The highest peaks reach over 2,400 m above sea level, and the base of the island is located almost 4,000 m below sea level. The northern part of La Palma is dominated by the Caldera de Taburiente, with a width of 9 km and a depth of 1,500 m. It is surrounded by a ring of mountains ranging from 1,600 m to 2,400 m in height. On its northern side is the exposed remains of the original seamount.

More information: Visit La Palma

Only the deep Barranco de las Angustias, ravine leads into the inner area of the caldera, which is a national park. It can be reached only by hiking. The outer slopes are cut by numerous gorges which run from 2,000 m down to the sea. Today, only a few of these carry water due to the many water tunnels that have been cut into the island's structure.

From the Caldera de Taburiente to the south runs the ridge Cumbre Nueva -the New Ridge, which despite its name is older than the Cumbre Vieja- Old Ridge. The southern part of La Palma consists of the Cumbre Vieja, a volcanic ridge formed by numerous volcanic cones built of lava and scoria. The Cumbre Vieja is active -but dormant, with the last eruption occurring in 1971 at the Teneguía vent which is located at the southern end of the Cumbre Vieja- Punta de Fuencaliente. Beyond Punta de Fuencaliente, the Cumbre Vieja continues in a southerly direction as a submarine volcano.

Enjoying Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
Like all of the Canary Islands, La Palma originally formed as a seamount through submarine volcanic activity. 

La Palma is currently, along with Tenerife, the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands and was formed three to four million years ago. Its base lies almost 4,000 m below sea level and reaches a height of 2,426 m above sea level. About a half a million years ago, the Taburiente volcano collapsed with a giant landslide, forming the Caldera de Taburiente. Erosion has since exposed part of the seamount in the northern sector of the Caldera.

More information: About La Palma

Since the Spanish occupation, there have been seven eruptions -all of which have occurred on the Cumbre Vieja:

-1470–1492 Montaña Quemada

 -1585 Tajuya near El Paso

 -1646 San Martin Volcano

 -1677 San Antonio Volcano

 -1712 El Charco

 -1949 Nambroque at the Duraznero, Hoyo Negro and Llano del Banco vents Volcanos

 -1971 Teneguía Volcano

During the 1949 eruption -which commenced on the fiesta of San Juan 24 June 1949 at the Duraznero, and 8 July 1949 Llano del Banco vents on the Cumbre Vieja -an earthquake, with an epicentre near Jedy, occurred. This is considered to have caused a 2.5-kilometre-long crack which Bonelli Rubio (1950) named La Grieta, to form, with a width of about 1 m and a depth of about 2 m. It attains a maximum displacement of ~4 m in the vicinity of the Hoyo Negro to Duraznero vents. It is not traceable southward from the Duraznero vent.

More information: Reservas Parques Nacionales

North of the Hoyo Negro it traverses downslope and is traceable for ~1500 m. It should be noted that the total distance from the southern rim of the Duraznero vent to the Llano del Banco is ~4 km.

Walking across tropical forests in La Palma
In 1951 Ortiz and Bonelli-Rubio published further information in respect of the eruption and associated phenomena that occurred before and during the eruption. 

There is no indication that the crack has penetrated the edifice of the volcano, and, due to the absence of Minas Galerias, water tunnels, within the Cumbre Vieja, there is no possibility of examining the internal structure of the flank.

The local economy is primarily based on agriculture and tourism. Plátanos or bananas are grown throughout the island with many banana farms on the western side of the island in the valley of Los Llanos de Aridane.

Other crops include: Strelitzia, bird of paradise, flowers, oranges, avocados and grapes, which grow well in the volcanic soil. The wine from the grapes is prized. Local ranchers herd cows, sheep and goats, from which they make goat cheese.

More information: Hello Canary Islands

Fishermen operating from Santa Cruz, Tazacorte, and Puerto Naos catch fish for the local markets.

La Palma has abundant plant life, including several endemic species. Although large areas have been deforested, the upland areas of La Palma retain some of the evergreen temperate cloud forest, or laurisilva, laurel forest, where species of Lauraceae, such as Laurus azorica and Ocotea foetens are a characteristic component. This is a relic of the Pliocene subtropical forests which used to cover the island.

The Canary Island pine, Pinus canariensis, is found on all of the western Canary Islands, but it is particularly abundant on La Palma. The pine forests are home to two recently discovered and extremely rare La Palma endemics: Lotus eremiticus and L. pyranthus.

Spartocytisus supranubius, a white-flowered broom known locally as Retama del Teide, is native to La Palma and Tenerife, being restricted to the alpine/subalpine habitats present only in these two islands. Like Tenerife, La Palma also has its own alpine violet, Viola palmensis.

Echium pininana, Tree echium, is endemic to La Palma and the tallest species in the genus, reaching over 4 m.  

Searching answers in El Roque de los Muchachos
It is related to Echium wildpretii, Tower of jewels, which occurs, with separate subspecies, in the subalpine zone of both Tenerife and La Palma.

Both species are monocarpic, producing a massive terminal inflorescence. Echium webbii, a branched shrub with several smaller, dark blue flower spikes, is another island endemic with close relatives on Tenerife.

The daisy family, Asteraceae, comprises several La Palma endemics such as Sonchus palmensis, Argyranthemum haouarytheum Pericallis papyracea and Cheirolophus sventenii.

Several animals are native or endemic to La Palma, including the:

-La Palma giant lizard, believed extinct until rediscovered in 2007

-Western Canaries lizard, Gallotia galloti subspecies palmae

-Graja, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus, subspecies of the red-billed chough

-Canary Islands chiffchaff, Phylloscopus canariensis

-La Palma chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs palmae

-Western Canary Islands goldcrest, Regulus regulus ellenthalerae

-Canary Islands quail, Coturnix gomerae, now extinct

In addition, many other animals have been introduced, including rabbits and Barbary sheep, or aoudads, which have become a serious threat to endemic flora.

A biosphere reserve was established in 1983, and extended and renamed in 1997 and 2002.

 Every volcano is a powerful illustration of God's character. 
He is a Vesuvius of goodness, life, and energy.

Reinhard Bonnke

Monday, 25 February 2019


The Grandma arrives to El Prat Airport, Barcelona
Today, The Grandma has packed her suitcase to travel to the Canary Islands. She is going to meet Claire Fontaine, Tonyi Tamaki, Joseph de Ca'th Lon, Tina Picotes and Jordi Santanyí, who are going to arrive to the islands during the next days.

The Grandma wants to visit Nuria, a great friend from Tenerife, who is going to explain them all history of the islands and is going to take them to the Carnival, the most important event in the islands.

During the flight, The Grandma has been studying a new lesson of her Intermediate Language Practice manual (Grammar 14).

More information: Conditionals 2

The Canary Islands is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canary Islands, which are also known informally as the Canaries, are among the outermost regions (OMR) of the European Union proper. It is also one of the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such by the Spanish Government.

The seven main islands are, from largest to smallest in area, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

The archipelago includes much smaller islands and islets: La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este. It also includes a series of adjacent roques, those of Salmor, Fasnia, Bonanza, Garachico and Anaga. In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as the Fortunate Isles.

Starred Canarian Flag
The Canary Islands are the most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region.

Historically, the Canary Islands has been considered a bridge between four continents: Africa, North America, South America and Europe.

The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Teide National Park and Mount Teide, a World Heritage Site, in Tenerife, the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor, make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

The islands have a subtropical climate, with long hot summers and moderately warm winters. The precipitation levels and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. Green areas as well as desert exist on the archipelago. Due to their location above the temperature inversion layer, the high mountains of these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands.

More information: Hello Canary Islands

In 1927, the Province of Canary Islands was split into two provinces. Its capital is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in the 1910s. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a World Heritage Site, on Tenerife. This city is also home to the Consejo Consultivo de Canarias, which is the supreme consultative body of the Canary Islands.

During the time of the Spanish Empire, the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas, which came south to catch the prevailing northeasterly trade winds.

The Canary Islands from the air
The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning Islands of the Dogs, a name that was applied only to Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the Mauretanian king Juba II named the island Canaria because it contained vast multitudes of dogs of very large size.

Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, Guanches, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs generally as holy animals. The ancient Greeks also knew about a people, living far to the west, who are the dog-headed ones, who worshipped dogs on an island. Some hypothesize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are closely connected but there is no explanation given as to which one was first.

Other theories speculate that the name comes from the Nukkari Berber tribe living in the Moroccan Atlas, named in Roman sources as Canarii, though Pliny again mentions the relation of this term with dogs.

The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms.

It is considered that the aborigines of Gran Canaria called themselves Canarios. It is possible that after being conquered, this name was used in plural in Spanish, i.e., as to refer to all of the islands as the Canarii-as.

What is certain is that the name of the islands does not derive from the canary bird; rather, the birds are named after the islands.

More information: Lonely Planet

The Canary Islands offer special incentives to 
companies looking at potential filming locations.
James Costos

Sunday, 24 February 2019


The Grandma welcomes the MWC2019
Today, the Mobile World Congress returns to Barcelona as every year. The Grandma loves technology and science and this exposition is a great opportunity to know the last proposals in this sector.

Mobile has become one of the most important world markets earning lots and lots of millions, creating thousands of employments and developing incredible applications. It's impossible to stop progress although we must work to grow up respecting environment and labour conditions. Technology helps to improve our lives but destroy thousands of employments and we must arrive to a balance between create and destroy.

The Grandma remembers Noemí Bond and she wants to talk about one of the most important genius of the last century, Steve Jobs, the man who created Apple Inc., a technologic empire which has changed our lives, our present and future. He was born on a day like today in 1955.

Before talking about Steve Jobs, The Grandma has studied a new lesson of her Intermediate Language Practice manual (Grammar 13).

More information: Conditionals 1-I , II & III

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955-October 5, 2011) was an American business magnate and investor. He was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Apple Inc.; chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Steve Jobs
Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, and put up for adoption. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Reed College in 1972 before dropping out that same year, and traveled through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism.

His declassified FBI report states that he used marijuana and LSD while he was in college, and once told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life.

Jobs and Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. Together the duo gained fame and wealth a year later for the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers.

Jobs saw the commercial potential of the Xerox Alto in 1979, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984, the first mass-produced computer with a GUI.

More information: GQ

The Macintosh introduced the desktop publishing industry in 1985 with the addition of the Apple LaserWriter, the first laser printer to feature vector graphics. Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 after a long power struggle with the company's board and its then-CEO John Sculley.

That same year, Jobs took a few of Apple's members with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, he helped to develop the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of George Lucas's Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company was Pixar, which produced Toy Story, the first fully computer-animated film.

Apple merged with NeXT in 1997, and Jobs became CEO of his former company within a few months.

He was largely responsible for helping revive Apple, which had been at the verge of bankruptcy.

He worked closely with designer Jony Ive to develop a line of products that had larger cultural ramifications, beginning in 1997 with the Think different advertising campaign and leading to the iMac, iTunes, iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPhone, App Store, and the iPad.

In 2001, the original Mac OS was replaced with a completely new Mac OS X, based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP platform, giving the OS a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time.

Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003. He died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor at age 56 on October 5, 2011.

More information: Famous People Lessons

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. It is considered one of the Big Four of technology along with Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

The company's hardware products include the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the Mac personal computer, the iPod portable media player, the Apple Watch smartwatch, the Apple TV digital media player, and the HomePod smart speaker. Apple's software includes the macOS and iOS operating systems, the iTunes media player, the Safari web browser, and the iLife and iWork creativity and productivity suites, as well as professional applications like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, and Xcode. Its online services include the iTunes Store, the iOS App Store and Mac App Store, Apple Music, and iCloud.

Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer.

It was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc., in January 1977, and sales of its computers, including the Apple II, grew quickly. Within a few years, Jobs and Wozniak had hired a staff of computer designers and had a production line. Apple went public in 1980 to instant financial success.

Over the next few years, Apple shipped new computers featuring innovative graphical user interfaces, such as the original Macintosh in 1984, and Apple's marketing advertisements for its products received widespread critical acclaim. However, the high price tag of its products and limited software titles caused problems, as did power struggles between executives at the company.

More information: Apple Inc.

In 1985, Wozniak stepped away from Apple, while Jobs resigned and founded a new company—NeXT—with former Apple employees.

As the market for personal computers increased, Apple's computers lost share to lower-priced products, particularly ones that ran the Microsoft Windows operating system, and the company was financially on the brink. After more executive job shuffles, CEO Gil Amelio in 1997 bought NeXT to bring Jobs back. 

Steve Jobs shows iPhone Smartphone
Jobs regained leadership within the company and became the new CEO shortly after. He began to rebuild Apple's status, opening Apple's own retail stores in 2001, acquiring numerous companies to create a portfolio of software titles, and changing some of the hardware used in its computers. The company returned to profitability.

In January 2007, Jobs renamed the company Apple Inc., reflecting its shifted focus toward consumer electronics, and announced the iPhone, which saw critical acclaim and significant financial success.

In August 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO due to health complications, and Tim Cook became the new CEO. Two months later, Jobs died, marking the end of an era for the company.

Apple is well known for its size and revenues. Apple is the world's largest information technology company by revenue and the world's third-largest mobile phone manufacturer after Samsung and Huawei.

The company employs 123,000 full-time employees and maintains 504 retail stores in 24 countries as of 2018. It operates the iTunes Store, which is the world's largest music retailer. The company also has a high level of brand loyalty and is ranked as the world's most valuable brand.

However, Apple receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors, its environmental practices and unethical business practices, including anti-competitive behavior, as well as the origins of source materials.

More information: The Logo Creative

Great things in business are never done by one person.
They're done by a team of people.

Steve Jobs