Today I mostly played catch up – see yesterdays post for the shame filled admittance of linguistic neglect.
I went in to London today to meet a friend from the conversations meet up. Our lunch turned into coffee and coffee turned into visiting the British Museum – because I’ve been enough times I can play tour guide pretty easily!
We didn’t speak much Spanish, but it gave me an opportunity to ask questions id been wanting answers to – and to learn a few things in Spanish that wouldn’t be taught in apps!
These ‘colloquialisms’ … (let’s be honest, she taught me to swear, and I taught her to swear) … are useful in terms of chatting away to locals, and also (in my experience) knowing when people are being rude about you/people around you.
We talked about Colombia, and Spain, and the difference between the two places – differences in culture as well as in language. This is something that fascinates me about languages in general – think about how differently a Californian speaks compared to a Glaswegian. I know Benny Lewis talks about changing up his accent in Portuguese when speaking to a person from Brazil – so I know it is possible to make te active change.
Perhaps understandably all the podcasts say that it doesn’t hugely matter which regional variation you learn – Mexican, European, “general Latin” (a term which confused me, because according to other sources there is a huge range of accents and differences within Latin America too…?). Though the cynic in me notices that the one service that talks about this the most is the one with 80% Mexican Spanish and 20% “other” and that same cynic says that of course they would say that because they don’t want to dilute their product…. But maybe I’m to cynical.
I know that my Mexican friend had trouble in Spain when because they spoke so much faster than she was used to. The differences that I find super interesting are things like the “v” and the “b” sounds. So according to one podcast, these sounds are baaaaaasically interchangeable and those who speak Spanish can’t always differentiate between them – and they make a note that the only people they know of that make separate “v” and “b” sounds are those who grew up in Los Angeles, USA. I feel like this is probably the influence of American English on them, because English has such a distinct difference between the sounds it kind of …. Bleeds over?
I don’t know, not a linguist. If you ARE a linguist and know the answer, please let me know!