Thursday, February 21, 2013

Language Notes: Spitalian

Chatting with a Latin American student this morning, I remarked on how Argentines seem to me to speak their Spanish with an Italian flourish.  Oh yes, he said, that's well known.  And in fact--this was new to me--when Italians learn Spanish in school or as adults, they always wind up sounding like Argentinians.

Prompts me to remember an American landlady I paid rent to once in Italy.  I asked her if she spoke Italian. She said: I think so.  I have studied Italian.  But I know Spanish much better, and when I try to speak Italian, I am never quite sure which I am speaking.

Oh, and one more:  I heard one of my Shanghai students assure a Shanghai student friend that Italian and Spanish were really the same.  I guess he wasn't that far off.

Here's an instructive Wiki on the place of Italian and Italians in Argentina.

Query:  Argentinians?  Or Argentines? 


Colin Docherty said...

Combine it with the now-dead in Spain dialect of 'voseo' and you get a very strange Spanish mix. I'm an expat living in Argentina and without a doubt it's an experience to learn the 'Argentine way' - it's all their own and the influences seem like nice sprinkles rather than straight splashes like English-speaking cultures relative to the US/Britain.

Colin Docherty said...

Expats only say 'Argentines', for what it's worth.

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

What was the joke? Argentines are Italians who speak Spanish, think they're British, and harbor Germans.

Anonymous said...

i was in argentina in '46 -- able seaman on a freighter that loaded corn we brought to genova. long, long trip both ways. first we loaded in rosario, beautiful city op the la plata river from BA. then we topped off the loose corn (and the biggest toughest rats in the world) in BA. a lot of the menial work was done by descendants of italian immigrants. they had an expression "machanudo" which they'd say when they meant something was really good. it was accompanied by a twist of an imaginary handlebar mustache. there were big beer halls with german flavor, like all german custoners and where nobody disliked hitler. crossed the equator twice on that ship.