The thousand obstacles of the Spanish language

The Spanish language(let’s call it that, for the moment) has been exposed to many debates. Due to its length, the racial and ethnic diversity of its speakers presents many variations. At the moment, the differences do not cause difficulties of understanding between us, but on the contrary, a genuine misunderstanding between those who speak foreign languages ​​is assumed. One of its biggest problems lies in terminology. For a Spanish student, for example, an English speaker who studies it is “Spanish”. Nobody taught him to distinguish between “Castilian”, “Peruvian” or “Andalusian”, for example. This is one of the difficulties they encounter when they want to express themselves in our language. If the student learns in Madrid, they will tell you that he is speaking in Castilian. If he does it in Argentina, they will tell you that he speaks in “Spanish” or colloquially, “gashego”.The debate between “Castilian” or “Spanish” is endless and does not help understanding the language. It does not interfere in the life of native speakers, but rather in those who learn the language. It helps further muddy the situation of a tourist lost in a sea of ​​terms and dialects.

The evil of being a multicultural language
English also has similar problems due to its global expansion. Suffice it to note the known differences between British and American English. However, the Anglo-Saxon language is less exposed to cultural enrichment than the Hispanic one. This is due to the, let’s say, little understood, character of the British. Historically, English colonization was deeper in the economic and political sphere than in the social sphere. This is why his language has not acquired many exotic variations and loans. The case of the Spanish language is exactly the opposite. Evangelical missions brought Castilian from all corners of Spanish rule. And the language acquired loans and peculiarities of all the languages ​​it replaced. For this reason, the idioms and dialects of the Spanish language are practically innumerable  in all its expansion area . This wealth of nuances is a curse for foreign students. So many tourists visit our country without studying our language. In the Iberian Peninsula alone, tourists face four main dialectal groups: central Castilian, Andalusian, Levantine, Asturian – Leonese – Galician. With other regionalisms such as the extreme language.

The vulgarization of the Spanish language, other risks
Furthermore, the Spanish speaker is usually less methodical than the Anglo-Saxon one. The greater semantic flexibility of the Spanish language allows grammatical changes which in other languages ​​would be incomprehensible. The vulgar Spanish is strongly rooted in society. It is not a cultural or sectoral deformation. In reality, what is difficult to find is a person who speaks strictly correct Spanish, as the standard reports. The foreign student wants to be understood in our country, and learns a very complex language with enthusiasm. When he reaches our country, he finds himself with someone who happily violates the rule, costing him a lot of work to understand it. It also depends on where you learn and where you travel, that even more incomprehensible differences are encountered than the harsh grammatical rules he had to memorize. Difficult to deal with this confusion.

We write as we speak, but the others don’t.
One of the virtues attributed to the Spanish language is its spelling pragmatism. ” Spanish is written as it is spoken ” the classics of the Golden Age said proudly. It’s true. Basically we Hispanic speakers pronounce every vowel and consonant we write. Is this an advantage? Certainly for us yes. But for speakers of other languages ​​it’s not that simple. The peculiar pronunciation of certain words in our language, in the mouth of English or French, proves this. The same happens when we try to learn their languages. For many foreign speakers, the Spanish language is a rough language. They find it difficult to listen, quick, guttural. They have difficulty changing their tone in ours. How many times have we heard a tourist asking us to speak slowly? It does not include our abuse of articles and determinants. In fact, only our relatives novels: French, Galician, Catalan and Italian use many articles like us. To an Englishman to say “la casa roja de Juan” is enough to say “John’s red house” . They are so thrifty that with the Saxon genitive they express what we express with two articles and an adjective. It will be the Spanish character which is a bit austere, even when speaking. Maybe we have spent words, but we do it because our ears are used to this.

Mutual difficulties
On the other hand, it also costs us to adapt to the economic way of speaking and expressing ourselves. Just listen to any Spanish politician, speak English. It makes us shiver, but it’s a reality. It is difficult to find someone who speaks English (or French) worse than Spanish. It sounds like a small problem, but the tone of a language is an important issue. Spanish is used to a direct, fast, “practical” tone, so to speak. Nothing to do with an Englishman’s “pseudo-courtesy”. And even less with the “delicacy” of a Frenchman. How many times have we heard friends and family say that foreigners quickly identified them as Spanish abroad? It is not always because of our jovial character or our carefree attitude. It is also because of our proverbial clumsiness when we express ourselves in a foreign language. Obviously, we are generalizing and exaggerating the problem. The fundamental problem is obviously in training. But to solve problems like shades, you need to learn a language abroad. Living abroad for years to acquire all the peculiarities of that language. The problem is that many people today cannot afford it.

Learning the language is the number one rule
Despite all the difficulties and problems that we have faced, for a correct socialization in the country where you plan to live, learning the language is the golden rule number one, so that the our experience is not a disaster where we meet to stay in a bubble of isolation. The ideal would be for all foreigners who visit us to learn the Spanish language. And it would also be what we Spaniards had a correct training in different languages. We are trying to achieve this, through bilingual or trilingual education programs, in some communities. But for these programs to have the desired effect, several generations are still missing. We hope readers will enjoy thisarticle on the Spanish language , and who received the message. We wanted to present a problem in some lighthearted way, without going into harsh methodological reflections. We hope to have succeeded.

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