When English-speaking people speak Spanish

Silent Damian   Wednesday, June 16, 2004, 15:40 GMT
Xatufan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 02:45 GMT
Maybe "Callar és morir" is the pronounced the same, but not spelt the same, as in Spanish we don't write an accent in "és". It's just spelt "es".

(Silent) Damian: Learning Spanish is very important, especially in US. Vale, is not as important as English, but almost 30 countries speak it. And it's true: En boca cerrada no entran moscas. El español es un idioma fácil para pronunciar, no como el inglés!!!
(Vale means OK in Castillian Spanish. My French teacher who was born in France speaks Spanish perfectly, but she says Vale, and that's not very usual).

Jordi y Joan: ¿Son catalanes? Saludos.
Orion   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 03:07 GMT
Hah. Speaking of French people speaking Spanish... Due to some odd quirk of fate, every Spanish teacher I've had, from high school through college, was from France. I don't hear a difference in my intonations myself, per se, but the summer I spent in Mexico, two people asked on separate occasions whether I was from Europe instead of the US.
Jordi   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 04:33 GMT
Yes I'm Catalan and it's true that "és" has an accent in Catalan and not in Spanish. Jordi is George in Catalan, the patron saint of Catalonia.
Juan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 08:34 GMT
Does Catalan have vowels than Castellano, Jordi?
Jordi   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 09:06 GMT
Catalan does indeed have more vowels than Castilian Spanish. a,é,è,i,o,ò,u and there is a "e" that sounds exactly like a schwa or French "e" in at least half the Catalan speaking territories. Actually this schwa sounding "e" is perhaps the most important dialectal difference between the western and eastern Catalan dialects. Homë (pronounced in a similar way as French) or Home (pronounced with a closed "e" as in Spanish "hombre"). Therefore, there are at least 7 and up to 8 basic vowel sounds (and slightly different vowel qualitites for a trained linguist's ears). In Spanish, as you know, the system is basically 5 (a,e,i,o,u). This is why you'l find Catalan texts have different accents on top of the "e" and the "o". The Catalan phonetic system (vowels and consonnants) is closer to other European languages whilst the Spanish one is very simple. Catalan, for example, makes the difference between "s" and "ss" whilst Spanish only knows "ss". Try and make a real adult native Spanish speaker say "poison" in English. He'll probably say "poisson". If he doesn't he might well be a native Catalan speaker and, therefore, not a native Spanish speaker. Actually, when Catalans speak Spanish they tend to have quite a heavy accent. Just like the Scots when they speak English, if you know what I mean.
Juan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 11:08 GMT

That is so funny. How did Spanish end up being a lot simpler than other European
Jordi   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 12:16 GMT
It would seem that Spanish was born in lands in Northern Spain close to what is now the Basque Country or Euskadi. When the Romans arrived some sort of language related to Basque was spoken in this area and Basque related dialects were spoken in a much wider area than today until the early Middle Ages. The Spanish phonology seems to be heavily influenced by this Pre-Roman language that left its trace as all languages do. As you know, Basque is the only non Indo-European language in Western Europe; it already existed in a primitive form from which Modern Basque comes from. Therefore, Spanish was born in a unique situation and Catalan was much closer to Southern Occitan Latin in what is now France, for example. I'm sure there is much more to this but Basque shares with Spanish a very simple phonetic system although the languages are absolutely different.
Xatufan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 21:21 GMT
Muy interesante... Now the question with unknown answer: Where does Basque come from?
Spanish has inherined a lot from Basque, for example: the hate Spanish language has for the letter f at the beginning of words: (note that "farine" is in French, "farina" in Italian, "farinha" in Portuguese, but "harina" in Spanish. This also happened to hijo, hormiga, hoja, etc.)
Jordi   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 21:58 GMT
The fact is Indo-European languages invaded old Europe a few thousand years ago and Proto-Basque, the language from which Modern Basque comes from, already existed in its prehistoric form. It probably had other sister or cousin languages around but the Indo-European ones took over and only Basque remained because of its isolated situation in the far western Pyrennees. It became more or less influenced by Latin but never lost its structure, which makes it so different to the rest and so unique. Languages are a part of World Heritage and when a language is lost it's as if a species disappeared from the planet. There are a few theories around but the fact is Basque didn't come from anywhere really because it was already there long before the others arrived. And if it did come from somewhere else it was a few thousand years before the rest. It's a similar story regarding American nativge languages. Where did they come from? The fact is they were there long before the European languages arrived and, if you're lucky enough, you should try to keep them. What does Xatufan mean, since it very much looks like an enigmatic word?
Xatufan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 23:24 GMT
Jordi: Si te refieres a mi nombre, es enigmático porque no es real. Podría explicar su etimología si alguien me lo pidiera en el WWW.

The truth is: I'm Crying. :=(
Jordi has remembered us to conitinue using forgotten languages. That includes Scottish Gaelic, did you hear Damian?

Jordi, sé que tu intención no fue esa, ya que el vasco nunca ha dejado de existir. No soy español, pero reconozco que cada lengua regional, sea vasco, gallego, catalán, etc., es parte importante en el corazón de los españoles. Sé que hablan las lenguas regionales, aunque no sé cuánto, pues nunca he escuchado a un español hablando en su lengua nativa. Por cierto, creo que el nombre más común en Cataluña es Jordi; veo a menudo un programa llamado "Saber y Ganar", donde el animador se llama Jordi y siempre salen Jordis concursando.
Xatufan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 23:44 GMT
Jordi: I'm a native Spanish speaker, and when I speak French, I can spot the difference between poison and poisson. I pronounced this words differently. If I didn't, the results could be very dangerous...
Jordi   Friday, June 18, 2004, 04:58 GMT
Ya dije que Jordi es el patrón de Cataluña y lo celebramos el 23 de abril. Sabrás que es catalán por Jorge. Y te aseguro que el catalán es una lengua viva pero que muy viva. Tiene unos 8 millones de hablantes entre Cataluña, Baleares y el País Valenciano. Y también se habla en una cuantas comarcas francesas cercanas a la frontera y con capitalidad en Perpiñán o Perpignan aunque el nombre real en catalán sean Perpinyà. Y no dudo que sepas pronunciar bien la "s" sonora y la "s" sorda porque siendo todavía un adolescente también sabes hablar inglés. Me refería a hablantes adultos monolingües que tienen más dificultades para aprender nuevos fonemas. Siempre hablo catalán en casa: con mi mujer, mis dos hijos, mis padres, abuelos, hermanos, primos y con la mayoría de mis amigos. Y siempre me dirijo primero en catalán a los desconocidos que encuentro por mi pueblo. Para mi el castellano es una lengua de comunicación bellísima pero la única lengua de mi corazón es el catalán. Existe una cadena de televisión en catalán que también emite por satélite. Se llama TV3 y pienso que podrías sintonizarla allende los mares.
MJGR   Friday, June 18, 2004, 09:32 GMT

What do you mean when you say that "Catalan" is the language of your heart (Have I translated it well?)? That you like it or that you dislike talking in another languages?
Is it easier for you to talk in Catalan that in Spanish? Do you feel that you can express your ideas as well in a language as in the other?
If you think in a future where people would have forgotten Catalan, that would make you feel bad?
Do you think that too usually different languages are a cause of artificial divisions between people?
Also, a controversial comment: according to a lot of people in Valencia, Valencian and Catalan are different languages. The same with Catalan and the Balearic dialects.
Another think: I see that you posted your message at 04:58 GMT, that is 7 in the morning in Spain. Jordi, are you becoming an Internet addict?
Jordi   Friday, June 18, 2004, 11:22 GMT
I start to work (for a living) at 8 in the morning and check mail usually in the early morning, lunch when possible and late afternoon. Are you worried about me being an addict or are you displeased with my opinions? I spend many weeks without going into places like this because I travel a lot and simply don't have the time. I have been rather active, I agree, the past week or so since I had the feeling I'd made a couple of unknown friends. And it isn't the first time you ask about Catalan being several languages and not one. Who's interested in breaking the Catalan language? Could you please tell me?
Regarding Catalan dialects you should know that differences are much lower than between English dialects and that the Valencian Academy of the Language acknowledges the unity of Catalan and uses exactly the same spelling, with very minor differences, as between British or American English.
Everybody has a language of the heart. You haven't translated that I said that "Spanish is a beautiful language of communication" but it isn't my mother tongue. It simply never was and that is a fact of life. Linguistic divisions are never artificial. They are the consequence of a long history. And I remind you that all human beings are born equal in their rights and duties. 90% of the population of the town where I live speaks Catalan. Do you suggest we all pass to Spanish? Is there a special reason for this or could we rather choose English or Chinese? I feel Switzerland, Belgium or Spain are very democratic countries as far as collective rights go.
I can assure you I can express my ideas quite well in several languages but I never heard a word at home that wasn't in Catalan. It's as simple as that.
Would you feel bad if people in the future had forgotten your mother tongue? Come on, let's be sincere and try not to fool the rest.