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Spanish language Development   You are logged in as Guest
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clevblue

 

Posts: 120
Joined: Jun. 29 2012
 

Spanish language Development 

I think some of you may be interested in this new book, reviewed in "The Economist" this week, the fascinating growth of the Spanish language into one of the big ones today.


""THE Iberian peninsula was conquered and settled many times, but only one of those conquests was a long-term linguistic success. The languages of the Celts and the Iberians left little mark on Spain. The Phoenicians were no more successful, although they bequeathed a memorable nickname to posterity: I-shepan-ha, “land of hyraxes” (more familiar as Hispania). The Romans had better luck. Their soldiers’ and settlers’ vulgar Latin (always distinct from the written, classical kind) spread to the masses

The overrunning of Spain by Germanic-speaking Goths failed to root out that rustic Latin. Nor did the long-term Muslim conquest of “al-Andalus”, beginning in 711 and continuing until the fall of Granada to Christian monarchs in 1492. Arabic gave many words to the local Castilian, but never replaced it. Nor was it ever obvious that Castilian would one day become Spanish. Of the kingdoms that reconquered Spain for Christianity, Castile was one of the least important. Neighbouring Asturias and Navarre were originally much bigger. But Castile’s place astride the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela helped it grow richer and more important, and after its merger with Léon it leapfrogged the others to lead the reconquest.

This and much more is recounted with good cheer in “The Story of Spanish”, a popular history by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, a Canadian couple who have written a similar history of French. Combining academic research with interviews on their travels, they tell the story of how a modest northern Iberian dialect became mother tongue to over 400m people""

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21578631-spanish-has-more-native-speakers-any-language-other-mandarin-yet-its-success
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 13:05:37
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to clevblue

Sounds like a very interesting read. I have always loved the Spanish language. My mother's side of the family (gringos all!) had deep roots in Northern Mexico, as my grandfather was employed there until they came to the U.S. So I grew up with a family-inspired interest in things Mexican, and later Spanish.

I am always amused by those who claim that Spanish is an easy language to learn. I know what they mean, but I would state it differently: Spanish is an easy language to learn to speak poorly. Just one example is the subjunctive. We hardly use the subjunctive in English any more, but if one is speaking proper Spanish, the subjunctive is probably used 50 percent of the time. Yet, many foreigners who speak Spanish avoid it. They can usually be understood, but they are speaking Spanish poorly. Easy indeed.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 15:33:52
 
FredGuitarraOle

Posts: 898
Joined: Dec. 6 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

I am always amused by those who claim that Spanish is an easy language to learn.

Who says that? I bet English or American folks who only speak english.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 15:45:09
 
LaVaquera

Posts: 41
Joined: Jun. 2 2013
From: South East USA for now

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to clevblue

I probably would describe my Spanish as "Pidgen Spanish", for lack of a better word. My grammar is poor but I am working on it. I speak Spanish every day, and can tell when I have made a grammar error by the way my client smiles. They appreciate that I try to be understood by them and try to understand them in return. I also try to communicate with Arabic speakers. I sometimes get the two mixed up, and it can be quite humorous. My husband's first language is Arabic, and I suppose it is not possible for me to become as fluent as someone who has either Spanish or Arabic as their fist language, but I am trying.

The prevalence of the Spanish speakers in the Southern USA is amazing. I am a lawyer for criminal defense and immigration. No court can function without having an interpreter, even at the most local backwater Alabama town.

The Economist article is timely and appropriate. I can give examples of the differences in the way Spanish is spoken. My Mexican clients understand "edificio" is the courthouse, but the Guatemalan client use "casa grande". They never heard of edificio, but the Mexican clients laugh at me if I use the term casa grande because it isof rustic usage.

_____________________________

Love, Liberty and Happiness to you all,
LaVaquera
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 17:53:06
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1806
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

We hardly use the subjunctive in English any more


Speak for yourself! If I were not to use the subjunctive, I should be ashamed of myself

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 18:17:08
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1806
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

I am always amused by those who claim that Spanish is an easy language to learn.


At least it’s completely phonetic. Even Italian doesn’t give you any means of knowing which syllable the stress falls on.

Pity the poor wretches who have to deal with English as a second language.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 18:24:38
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Speak for yourself! If I were not to use the subjunctive, I should be ashamed of myself


I agree, Paul, and use it myself. Nevertheless, there are many who do not use it much anymore. It may have something to do with a cavalier attitude toward the proper use of English in the U.S. Remember my example of the critical need for punctuation, something many do not consider of great importance?

First sentence:

"Woman without her man is nothing."

Second sentence, adding a couple of punctuation marks:

"Woman: without her, man is nothing."

Punctuation completely reversed the meaning of the sentence.

Your excellent use of the subjective above ("If I were not to use the subjunctive...") is likely to be rendered more times than I care to count as, "If I was not to use the subunctive...."

In any case, my point was that many who consider Spanish an "easy" language to learn fail to speak it correctly, and use of the subjective is a critical component of correct Spanish. Thus, my conclusion that Spanish is an easy language to learn to speak poorly. In fact, I would say that any language requires a lot of work in order to speak it correctly.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 18:42:50
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to BarkellWH

One of the things I like about Spanish is a certain elegance in its "dichos" or sayings. For example, to describe someone in an impossible situation is commonly expressed in English as: "Between a rock and a hard place." The meaning is clear, but it sounds sort of clunky compared to the equivalent expression in Spanish: "Entre la espada y la pared" (Between the sword and the wall) which, to me at least, is a much more elegant turn of phrase.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 20:03:12
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1806
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Your excellent use of the subjective above ("If I were not to use the subjunctive...") is likely to be rendered more times than I care to count as, "If I was not to use the subunctive...."


Then there’s what my wife and I call the tennis-player’s subjunctive: If I would have known this, I would have done that.

Even Roger Federer has now picked this, and his English used to be near-perfect

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 20:09:10
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2013 23:46:26
 
Spencer

Posts: 34
Joined: Mar. 27 2008
From: Bargara Beach, Australia

RE: Spanish language Development (in reply to clevblue

Loving the thread.

My love of flamenco has led me to make two trips to Spain (a long trip from Australia). Inevitably and unavoidably this has resulted in me starting to learn Spanish.

So now, not only am I grappling with the music, but I am also faced with the seemingly Herculean task of grasping the language!!! Tough on a late starter (53 years of age).

The music, the language and the culture seem inseparable.

And equally absorbing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 13 2013 4:02:43
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