Differences Between American and Castilian Spanish

Jordi   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 21:05 GMT
Dear friends,
I found this interesting article in the Washington Post called "The Blond Blue Eyed Face of Spanish TV". It doesn't speak about Spain at all. Would you imagine the title was about "English TV"? Everybody in the US would think they were speaking about England. It should, obviously, speak of "Spanish language TV in the US."

Ed   Monday, August 23, 2004, 00:18 GMT

By Spanish TV they means Spanish-language TV in the US, and since it's an article in a US newspaper, everyone will know it's about Univision and Telemundo, and not TVE, for example.
Xatufan   Monday, August 23, 2004, 00:33 GMT
TVE... I watch in TVE a soap opera called "El Secreto". It is rather old (first broadcast in 2001!!!). There's a woman (Patricia, the lawyer) that "cecea" (uses only the pronunciation of the <z> and never the pronunciation of the <s>). I think she's from the southwest part of Spain, but I'm not sure.

Is it true that French people usually smell badly? A person told me that he smelt a bad odor in a French airport. According to my parents the airport with the worst smell is Aruba's airport.

How do people from the Congo speak French?
Jay   Monday, August 23, 2004, 03:17 GMT
I just finished watching "L'auberge espagnole", about a French student on scholarship in Barcelona. A fellow Belgian student asked a professor to conduct the class in Castillian not Catalan, as he was doing. Whereupon he suggested that she go to Madrid or South America, if she wanted to hear Castillian.

I assume the professor replied in Catalan, because in trying to be true to the story, the other foreign characters actually spoke English, French, Spanish, and what I presume to be Danish, since I don't know that language. Even though the professor's dialogue was short, I understood him clearly. So, out of a litlle curiosity, is there a large difference between Catalan and Castillian, and can anyone give some examples?
Jordi   Monday, August 23, 2004, 05:28 GMT

Català: Si vols que et donin les classes o escoltar castellà hauries d'anar a Madrid o a Amèrica del Sud.
Castellano: Si quieres que te den las clases o escuchar castellano deberías ir a Madrid o a Amèrica del Sur.
English: If you want to receive the classes or to listen Castilian Spanish you should go to Madrid or South America.

Catalan is a language that is a bridge between Iberian and Gallic Romance languages. Portuguese is closer to Spanish in many ways, specially the written language. Accent and intonation are clearly different between Spanish and Catalan. If one speaks a Romance language and wants to follow classes in Catalan it takes only a few weeks or months to do so. It only depends on how keen you are. Catalan and Spanish are both official in Catalonia. At university the professor can choose the language, which is previously announced. Students know, well in advance, which courses are in Catalan, which courses are in Spanish and which courses might even be in English. When a foreign student enrols, often halway through a course, he shouldn't try to change the language. I've known many foreign students to follow courses in Catalan after living a few months in Barcelona. Many French can't understand how Catalan is official in Spain whilst it is not taught at all in French Catalonia (capital city Perpignan or Perpinyà). The fact the professor gives the course in Catalan doesn't necessarily mean you have to hand your papers in Catalan. You can do so in Spanish and very often, depending on the professor, in English.
Jordi   Monday, August 23, 2004, 06:31 GMT
Regarding the other question it is a well known fact that Americans call Spanish anybody who is a native Spanish speaker, whilst they only call English people who are from England. I remember a few times when Americans have told me I don't look Spanish. If Spanish means from Spain I can assure you most people in my region look pretty much like I do. Only people from Spain can be called Spanish or Spaniards. You could then tell me that it means Spanish Culture. Do Americans belong to the English culture? If so they should also be called English.
Furthermore, for some odd reason, all Europeans are classed as Europeans in the US except Spaniards who are often classed as Hispanics. European Portuguese are always classed as Europeans. Anyway, many Spanish Basque, Galician and Catalan speakers are not native speakers of Castilian Spanish since we learn it, very well indeed in many cases, as a second language. I never learnt Spanish until I went to school and neither have my wife or two children.
Xatufan   Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 00:08 GMT
Spanish people are usually dark-haired (brown or black colors). But in Norway people are usually blond...

Some classes are given in Catalan?!! My father wanted me to study in a prestigious university in Barcelona (he told me the name but I can't remember it). I'll have to study Catalan! I hope it's not like French!

I like French, but it sounds pretty horrible, not much like Latin...
Juan   Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 01:31 GMT
Xatufan sez:
<<Spanish people are usually dark-haired (brown or black colors). But in Norway people are usually blond...>>

It's irrevelant how people look. Those that do care have issues.
Xatufan   Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 16:42 GMT
Yes, look isn't important, but Barbie-looking anorexic girls say it is.
Jay   Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 19:36 GMT

Thank you for those excellent examples. It seems that the professor was speaking in Castillian when he replied to the Belgian student, or else I would not have understood him.
Juan   Tuesday, August 31, 2004, 11:17 GMT
Xatufan sez:
<<Yes, look isn't important, but Barbie-looking anorexic girls say it is.>>

Yeah, you could say that. LOL