Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Say what?

I used to think the most difficult Spanish in the world was Chilean Spanish. It probably still could be considered more difficult than not. Why Chilean Spanish is difficult to learn is that Chileans mostly:
  • speak softly
  • speak in a monotone
  • cut off the last syllable of many words (e.g. cansá instead of cansada)
A Cuban guy came to fix my stove upon moving into our apartment. His Spanish was wonderful. (His English was pretty good too!) I could understand every word he said in Spanish. This only confirmed my knowledge that Chilean Spanish is the hardest.

And then my sink wasn't draining well, so last week, a different Cuban guy came to fix it. Oh my god was his Spanish difficult!!! His English was non-existent, so we communicated in Spanish, but I had to ask him to repeat himself often. When I asked him what had caused the semi-clog in the drain, I didn't understand one word of his reply! So I asked him, "Estaba tapado?" He replied, "Sí". And I had to get rolling anyway, so I saw him to the door and left myself. I think if I had conversed with him for a while, I eventually would have caught on. He left me pretty floored however.


Renée said...

It all depends on the individual. This happens with my English cuñado and me all the time IN MY NATIVE LANGUAGE. He'll say something quickly and I'll be like "What the heck was that?" His response: "This is how English sounds when it's properly spoken."

All about the person and how well your ear is trained, I guess.

sarabeck said...

I agree with Renee. I had to work with a lot of different Latinos from all over and sometimes Cubans were difficult to understand and then sometimes they were some of the easiest. It was strange like that. I wonder if it has to do with the town they were raised in, their level of education, and possibly when they arrived in the US so their exposure to other accents.

But, I had always heard that Cuban Spanish was harder than Chilean and I have to disagree! After living in Chile for years, I still, on occasion, struggle to understand a new person, yet that happens less with a Cuban.

Maeskizzle said...

@ Renee, I guess I don't always understand English speaker either. That's a good point. Your cunado's response is great too! hahaha

@ Sara, that's interesting that you've experienced the same thing with Cubans. I find it totally crazy that I could understand one PERFECTLY, and then with the next one, communication was not always made! hahaha. I also had heard once that Cubans had one of the more difficult accents, and now I understand why they are known for that!