Did you know that all throughout Spain, there are varying dialects of the Castilian Spanish that is spoken. They can tend to vary so much that basic words can be easily mistaken and misinterpreted. I think it’s pretty fun and an interesting part of traveling throughout Spain, to experience these different dialects. Even though at times it can be a bit confusing when one is learning Spanish and attempting to become fluent.
The area that I’ve spent a lot of time in, Extremadura, is known for having a pretty strong dialect. The strongest characteristic of how they speak in this region, is that they drop the “s” off of words. For example…
adio, instead of adios
buena instead of buenas
nosvemo instead of nosvemos
The list goes on and on cause it occurs with practically any and every word that ends with “s”, especially it seems with the verbs. I’ve also noticed that the locals here tend to leave off the “l” and even the “r” from certain words.
fatal becomes fata
condicir turns into conduci
mujer turns out to be muje
I’m purposefully not translating these here so that you can enjoy looking them up and learning about them through other sources as well. However, what I will shed light on is that this cultural habit of leaving off the last letter and in essence shortening words, can cause the meaning of the word to change when heard by the ears of a foreigner. It usually is still the same definition and recognized as the correct word, however its tense can change and it’s use as a verb can alter to be an adjective, even though it’s actually meant as the reverse. Make sense?
Then there’s my favorite part of the dialect that is interwoven with their culture and that is with their greetings. When I’m out walking around town, people always say hello to each other. It’s great and warm and welcoming. No matter who it is, even children, you say hello to each other. Yet rather than say hola (hello) everyone here says adio (goodbye). It’s pretty funny. And it isn’t like they say it just to in response to someone’s initial greeting. Both people say it to each other…I’ll be walking along down one of the little cobblestone streets lined with white-washed walls adorned with wrought iron balconies higher up, and a person passing by will say adio! And in response I’ll say adio! I’ve noticed that even when I first give the greeting and say hola that they still respond with adio! It’s pretty interesting and enjoyable.
And last, but not least, I will end this post with one of the most endearing words to me that is literally a word for only this area: mejina. It means a little bit, tiny bit…it’s used along those lines. For example, da me un mejina de vino (give me a little bit of wine). Rather than use the traditional Spanish word poco or pocito, extremeños use mejina.
I like the differences I’ve been able to experience in all the different regions of Spain. Compared to the handful of different regions I have been in, I would say that so far Extremadura is the one that is distinctly quite different. With all these varying dialects of Spanish, we will see how my Spanish turns out over the next couple years and I as spend more time in this new home of mine.