Archive for July, 2014

Spanish or not Spanish – that is the Question.

Our new country will never cease to amaze us. It’s like this.

Spain has several languages. That which is referred to as Spanish (español) is what we know as Castillian Spanish. This is the King’s Spanish (rather like how we say the Queen’s English) and is spoken in a big part of Spain. However, there is also Euskera (spoken in the Basque County) and Catalán (spoken in Catalonia).

And here lies an interesting story.

In the Basque Country, up that there at twelve thirty-cum-one o’clock in the country, the language is very different from Spanish and no-one knows where it originated. Some people say there is a hint of German in there but most people have no comments to make on the language

In Catalonia, where Barcelona is sited, is located at around one-cum-two o’clock and there language is also completely different to the native King’s Spanish. It is said by the Spanish that Catalonia has long wanted to be a country in its own right and they feel very strongly about their own language.

And then there’s us.

We live at eleven o’clock, just above Portugal and the best way to describe the language here is to call it ‘Geordie’. There’s a hint of the King’s Spanish in there but the King might find it hard to communicate with his subjects here. However, her, the words not only sound differently but are also spelt in a different way ( rain – lluvia – chove (here in Galicia), night – noche – noite and also daughter – hija – fija).

As I learnt Castillian Spanish many years before coming here, I try my hardest to maintain this Kings version so, every time I hear a new word, I check it in the English – Spanish (i.e. Castellano) dictionary, to see if it is there. If it is, I add it to my repertoire. If it isn’t, I bin it.

If you travel to Anadalucia at five and six o’clock, they speak the King’s Spanish but thy cut the tail of many of the words. For example three will be pronounced tres in Spanish but as tre in the Andalucian region. Buenos días (good day) will be bueno dia and gracias (thank-you) will be gracia. And so it goes. At first, I was irritated by the (for me) mispronunciation but now, after having visited there several times, I have to say that it sounds quite delicious.

So, should you be visiting Spain and wanting to dust the cobwebs off your textbook Spanish, bear in mind that, depending which region you are in, you may, or indeed, may not, understand what is being said.

After almost eight years here, I am lucky in that I can pick the bones out of Andalucian pronunciation but, with the language the way it is spoken here in Galicia, I daren’t get involved!

Forwards or Backwards? Hmmmm …. what do you think?

I have terrible motions sickness so, when travelling by train, I always reserve a seat that is facing forwards rather than backwards.  On one occasion, my reserved seat was not facing forwards and, as the train was already in motion, I was standing (yes, facing forwards!) when I told the ticket checker that I needed another seat.  He pointed behind me, saying there were more seats back there and I explained that I wouldn’t be able to go to look for one, since I couldn’t travel backwards.  That stumped the gentleman, because he pointed out that I would (obvious to all) be walking forwards.  Yes, but at a speed of four miles an hour and, since the train was already in motion at about sixty miles an hour, I would most certainly be travelling backwards!

Elementary, my dear Watson!

Oh dear, I feel sick even just thinking about it …. .