Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yo tengo diez palabras de Castellano


It means I have ten Spanish words. I use it a lot as a way of showing that I can manage more than "A bit" as the response to the question "Do you speak Spanish?"

By the way, I use Castilian, in Castilian, to be more precise. There are several Spanish languages - Galician, Basque, Catalan and it's many variants, Valencian (a linguistic argument to be had with the Catalans about wherther it is a language or a dialect) - and the one that is now the third most common first language in the World, Castilian. It's Castilian that is generally thought of as Spanish but, because we live in an area where Valencian is the first langauge for many people, I try to remember to say Castilian instead of Spanish

Anyway, for one reason or another I have been speaking a lot more Spanish than usual over the last few days. Notable successes have included a voicemail message that actually produced a plumber at a client's house and an enquiry about where to buy autogas that ended up with a full tank. I feel particularly cool when I am speaking to someone and then someone else I know turns up and greets me in Spanish. This has happened when Paco the man from the glass place turned up in a house where I was collecting some furniture from Consuela and when Maribel turned up as I was having a discssion with Elli on the behaviour of town councillors. One day I will be able to maintain a resonable conversation in my new language without having to make excuses as I stutter through a list of words.

The world ranking for langauges by the way is now Chinese, Hindhi, Spanish, English in that order. Though as a second langauge English is still way out in front. I felt I had to check this out when my langauge exchange pal was adamant that Castilian had more words than English. It doesn't; English probably has about twice as many words as Spanish but nobody knows for sure as it is so difficult to count them!

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