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.