Linguistic adventures in Cuba

My linguistic adventures started on the flight out to Cuba, during which I was sitting next to an electrician from Germany. I tried speaking a bit of German with him, but he seemed to prefer using English, which he spoke very well. I also tried out my Spanish on the cabin staff and did my best to understand the announcements in Spanish.

When in Cuba I used my Spanish as much as possible. Some of the people I encountered didn’t speak English, so I had to speak to them in Spanish and was able to communicate fairly well. Other people spoke English and some preferred to practise their English with me rather than to speak Spanish. One feature of Cuban Spanish I noticed was a tendency to drop esses, particularly at the ends of words. For example, they say buena dia rather than buenas dias, and ecuela rather than escuela.

I met some Germans and Austrians and was able to converse with them in German, though I kept on having to use English words when I couldn’t remember the German ones. Not bad considering I haven’t used my German much since leaving school many years ago.

One member of the group was Chinese and I spoke some Mandarin with her. Another member of the group was an Irish speaker and I spoke some Irish with her, though she found it a little difficult to understand me as I speak Donegal Irish, while she speaks Munster Irish. The differences between these dialects are not huge, but they take some getting used to.

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This entry was posted in Chinese, German, Irish, Language, Spanish.

7 Responses to Linguistic adventures in Cuba

  1. Laci the Hun says:

    Feliĉan novan jaron mi deziras al vi! :)

  2. Kelly says:

    Cuban Spanish sounds a lot like the Andalucian dialect….we tend to drop our s’s too. :p

  3. Evans Knight says:

    having taken Castilian Spanish in school, the dropped esses were the most difficult part for me to figure out. not figure out, i guess, but it took me months to actually figure out what my stepmom’s family was saying half the time. unfortunately, now I have picked it up, so any of my friends who don’t speak Cuban spanish have difficulty understanding me.

  4. Crawford says:

    The dropping of S’s is common all over the Spanish-speaking world. A notable feature of Cuban Spanish, as well as other varieties of Caribbean Spanish, is the pronunciation of GUA as WA.

  5. Nishiki says:

    What about Yoruba language in Cuba? :)

  6. Simon says:

    Nishiki – the Santería religion apparently involves some Yoruba, particularly in the names of the Orishas, such as Babaluaye.

  7. Declan says:

    Tá difríocht saghas mór idir na dhá Ghaeilge nuair atá dúchasach ag caint.