Monday, April 30, 2007

¿Habla español?

Or if you do - can you hold a conversation with someone in Andalucia?

Some years ago, when we first came here camping, we went to a fine bar. Ok, I'll be honest, it was Bar Guerra in Los Boliches.

We practised our best Spanish there and the guys were really nice. So nice, that one day, one of them said, in superb English - "The day you can hold a conversation with me in Spanish as well as I can speak to you in English, then we will speak in Spanish."

That was a bit of a put-down, it has to be said. And this guy didn't just have the sort of "One beer, one glass white wine" English, he had really good conversational English. As he said in fact.

I went back on my own a few years later. He spoke to me in Spanish. My Spanish hadn't improved that much, but it was getting there. He also knew that he had seen me before, but couldn't remember when. Why would he? He must see thousands of tourists a year, some regular, some semi-regular. But that time we spoke Spanish together and he didn't bother with the English. I think we were discussing the lack of water/rain ie drought to be honest. We could have the same conversation now.

Well now I'm living here, I have a slightly different take on things. Or as Gaynor said to me (Pepe and Gaynor), "There is a difference between proper Castilian Spanish, and Andalucian Spanish." Thanks sweets, I'm not entirely stupid.

I thought about this when I took the dog for a walk the other morning. It was pretty quiet, but we met one of the guys who lives a few streets behind us who was off to look and see what had been chucked out at the local rubbish bins. As you do.

Hola, says me. Buenas dias, says him.

Ok, this guy did not say bwennas deeyas, as the books/tapes/CDs and Gaynor instruct. He actually said, or growled, bonna dia. It's nearly Portuguese the way they say it. (Portuguese - bom dia).

Sometimes it's bommm dia, or bonnn dia. Or buena(s). Or, as one of our neighbours said to us for ages bwrrrr. After a while you get the idea. It's a pretty loose variation on a theme. But it is never Buenas Dias. Unless you are speaking to someone from a city or the north where they speak much more clearly than in Andalucia.

I knew I had cracked "the Spanish of my pueblo" (as much as I ever will) when I could understand "aarr eeee oooohhh pahjah".

Meaning of course, that my next-door neighbour's husband had gone up to her daughter's garden just up the street.

"Ha ido por alla." You also need to know where pahjah is exactly. This involves many previous conversations because pahjah could mean the daughters house, the sister's house, the niece's house, you get the idea. It's important to know which pahjah it is, and you only know that if you have discussed each pahjah before. A lot.

So this is español. It's also Andalucian Spanish, from my particular pueblo.

I was going to write more but this has taken long enough. It took me long enough to learn too. I think I will write about my chichi next time......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I was never able to study Spanish sufficiently in school and feel like I learned more from your blog entry than I learned in one semester in class!

Thank you and keep up the good work!