Renfe 4 of ¿4? – Philologists wanted

You don’t need to be a philologist to speak properly and you don’t need to speak properly to drive a Renfe train.
Could a public company care less about its image in front of the people? It’s true that they can’t clean their image just with grammar, but if they can’t give a proper service, at least they should say it correctly.

It’s understandable that they employ slum dwellers to inform when there are strikes, accidents, construction work, breakdowns… Even though if today there are lots of better-mannered people, but they don’t want to get involved with Renfe.

The shameful thing is that the train drivers speak in a similar way. There are two main types of information in the train: the missing information and the imprecise information.

You get some missing information, also called absent information, when the train doesn’t move for five to ten minutes and they give no information at all. During this time, the passengers lucubrate possible causes for the phenomenon, being usually “It’s Renfe” the final conclusion.

You get some imprecise information, more common than the missing type, when the driver seems to inform, but he doesn’t actually. They do it short and grammatically wrong. The expert passenger learns to decode the empty messages.

“for reasons beyond our control” = “some idiot jumped in front of the train to bother half the population instead of cutting their veins in the privacy of their home”
“a breakdown” = “a tree fell on the railway and we’ll spend an hour putting it away or it’s just raining”

My last imprecise piece of information was new for me. It was one month ago going back home from Barcelona. The driver told us that a car accident happened between la Granada and els Monjos. The circulation would be interrupted in that stretch and we’ll wait in Sant Sadurní for a good while. At that, the passengers thought: “If there’s another station between la Granada and els Monjos, why are the three of them affected? What did the car do to affect them all?”

Later the driver said he didn’t know if we could move forward or not. Some minutes later, he said we would move to the next station. When we were approaching the station, we heard his voice again: “I’ve been told we can go on until Vilafranca or els Monjos. Well, we’ll just keep move forward until we can.” That’s it, lack of information, informality and grammatical mistakes, for it should be moving.

Philologists of the world ― and let’s add journalists ― if you don’t find a job, please, go to Renfe; the people will be grateful.


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