In this part of California, we get lots of tourists. In addition, there are so many Spanish speakers that one may as well be living in a Hispanophone country. I have to remind people now and again that this is actually the USA and not Mexico. I was in the drugstore the other day and I made an official complaint to the manager. There were two aisle signs saying something about products being on sale. Only the Spanish side of the sign was visible. The English side of the side was leaning up against a row of shelves.
I complained and said that both languages should be visible. If the sign’s in Spanish, you ought to be able to walk around to the other side of the sign and read the English. They indulged me, but it’s an uphill battle around here. I think most of these damned Hispanics around here would be pleased as Punch if everything in town was in Spanish and nothing was in English. The majority of them are illegals anyway, and they are basically Mexicans first and Americans second, if at all.
Getting on to the accents.
The first one I heard was in the mountains. It was a group of tourists going to Yosemite. Some of them looked sort of Black (more like the sort of “mulattos” you see more in Latin America than in the US), others seemed sort of like Mediterranean Whites, but they didn’t look like they were from Europe.
They were speaking a Romance language that at first I thought was Portuguese. I heard these Spanish words, but lots of Romance languages sound Spanish. Thing is, if you hear Spanish words with a weird accent, you don’t think it’s Spanish. You think it’s another language. I asked them if they were speaking Portuguese. They laughed and said they were speaking Puerto Rican Spanish. It was very different!
The mulatto-looking man was a Dominican, and he was a very handsome, quiet, polite and dignified fellow in a particular manner that not many US Blacks are.
A while later, I heard another strange language. Once again, I started hearing some Spanish words, but something said it wasn’t Spanish. It sounded more like…Italian. There were a group of them, and they looked somewhat like Mediterranean Whites from Europe. They had a very “European” air about them. I asked them what they were speaking, Was it Italian? They laughed and said they were speaking Colombian Spanish.
They were from all over Colombia, Barranquilla, Bogota, and they had a very sensual, friendly, warm manner that one often finds in Mediterranean Europeans. The young woman in particular was almost seductive, but I wondered if it were more her nature than a personal thing.
I once knew an upper class woman from Bogota who spoke the strangest yet most beautiful Spanish. It almost sounded like French or Catalan. It was one of the most sensual, seductive and sexy accents I have ever heard. I also spoke with some of her friends and relatives, and they were incredibly polite, and they also spoke with this odd accent. They showered praise and honorary adjectives on me that I don’t deserve. Upper class Colombians are some of the politest and most dignified people on Earth. What’s fascinating is that the nicest people around seem to spend most of their time slaughtering each other.
And just the other day, at the ATM, I heard another Romance language. An older couple, who looked a lot like Mediterranean Whites, were talking at the teller. The guy even wore a beret or fisherman’s cap like such men wear in Europe. I could not place the language, but once again it sounded like Portuguese or Italian, but I hadn’t the faintest idea what it was. I asked them what they were speaking, and the guy said Argentine Spanish. This is probably the weirdest Spanish or all. It sounds like Italian but with Spanish words!
Once again, the guy was effusive, friendly and warm in a way that we cold Nordics are not. He came over and put his hand on my shoulder and we had a nice talk.
Lots of funny Spanishes out there! All you have to do is open your ears.