Aspiring To AspireSaturday, March 02, 2013
(Del lat. usucapĕre).
1. tr. defect. Der. Adquirir una cosa por usucapción.
MORF. U. solo en infinit. y en part.
(Del lat. aspirāre).
1. tr. Atraer el aire exterior a los pulmones.2. tr. Originar una corriente de un fluido mediante la producción de una baja de presión.
3. tr. Pretender o desear algún empleo, dignidad u otra cosa. Aspira a una vida mejor.
4. tr. Fon. Pronunciar con aspiración.
5. tr. desus. Exhalar aromas.
6. tr. ant. inspirar ( infundir afectos, ideas, etc.).
7. intr. ant. Alentar, respirar.
Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados
Purchasing the Hoover was not an easy thing. We already had two vacuum cleaners. One used difficult to find replacement bags and the other made a very loud high pitched sound and suction was minimal. We were not prepared to spend $500 on the much distinguished and admired Dyson. A few weeks ago I looked at the features of a Multi Cyclonic Hoover in London Drugs. It was selling for $250. I went to the store manager and asked if he could plug it in for me somewhere so we could check on the noise level. It seems my request was a rare one. He smiled at me quizzically but relented. We agreed that the noise level was reduced and not in the least high-pitched. We decided to wait for a sale. That happened a few days ago.
It was in 1954 in our first rented house in Tecamachalco in Mexico City. I was 13. A man rang the bell. He represented Electrolux. My mother and grandmother let him in. He immediately did that demonstration so loved by vacuum cleaner salesman of saying, “This looks like a very clean house. Obviously you do everything possible to keep it like that. Let me demonstrate something. Let me vacuum your sofa.” Since this was the first time we ever experienced this “trick” we were appalled and embarrassed to see how dirty our sofa was as the salesman emptied the contents of the bag on a newspaper. We bought the Electrolux. I don’t know when it finally disappeared from our life but I do remember that it was beautifully made of aluminum. A had a sprayer device (you connected the hose to the other end of the machine) and you could spray DDT (yes DDT!) onto plants with the machine.
In 1976 a man rang the bell at our home on Springer Avenue in Burnaby. He was Italian and he represented a company that sold a Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner. He said there was no obligation to buy and that his sales pitch included a free steak knife set. In he came and first demonstrated how dirty our sofa was. I marvelled at its all-metal construction. It was egg-shaped and decorated in Art-Deco style. We were given the steak knives with our purchase. As in most of my personal relations with vacuum cleaners I do not remember when this machine left us.
Since I am writing about vacuum cleaners I must bring into the picture how names for things vary in different languages. A vacuum cleaner is obviously a machine that creates a vacuum by sucking air out of something. That other vacuum cleaner salesman trick was to put your dirty couch cushion into a garbage bag and then to wrap the bag around the machine until the bag was without air.
In Spanish a vacuum cleaner is aspiradora from the verb to aspirar which means also to breathe. In English this meaning of aspire (the common root is from the Latin) remains in describing internal combustion engines as either being turbo-charged or naturally aspiring.
Should you leave you vacuum cleaner to be repaired at a store and then forget about it and then to return five months later you might find out that the persons repairing your machine were not to be responsible after 30 or 60 days (read that in your receipt) and since you did not come to claim it the machine was repaired, refurbished and sold. In Spanish we have a grand verb usucapir which is a defective (defective is the Spanish nomenclature for verbs that cannot be conjugated). This verb exists only as in infinitive, usucapir and as a noun usucapción. Neat word, isn’t it? Is there an equivalent in English?
I must finish this as I am in need of Hoovering the house. I will make sure all our sofas are cleaned well. After all I do aspire for a clean house.