Hablar Una Lengua, Es Un Arte.

I find myself involved in interesting conversations regularly with clients and students on the subject of Spanish. No wonder why some people wish to learn Spanish; it is a language winning people’s hearts for obvious reasons: it’s sassy, attractive and passionate.

Because of my profession, I’m incredibly curious and open to learn about people’s perceptions of languages. I enjoy knowing about the way they use it as an instrument to communicate. At the end, we as speakers are the only owners of our verbal message, the one and only manipulators of the “tongues of the future”. We decide how we want to echo messages.

One of the goals of a linguist is to study how those echoes began, how language came into existence AND how, in one way or another, we as a civilisation agree to communicate along and among in “our times”. A linguist by heart will never tell you there is a “good or wrong” way to speak. Language is not math. Therefore, any language: Dutch, English, and imperialist French, for example, should never be perceived as an instrument that could only be “played” in a certain way, or as something pure, and treat it as a wall. Don’t be intimidated by people correcting you: “it’s theatre, not theater”, says Charles. “It’s both, let’s just agree which one to use in a specific context” or, “which variety I fall for to cultivate”, you may well opt to answer.

We all could live and breathe with the assortment life offers with its extensions: races, cultures and language. Don’t we?

WHAT is Castellano and no-Castellano varieties?

“Spanish comes from Spain! From Castilla, where the noun Castellano originates. We all should call it that” proclaims Luisa, a dear friend from Spain whose look I consider trapped in a cloud of irritation. “I doubt anyone declares Spanish originates in Tanzania – Is it?” I reply.

As a language instructor I tend to give my students less archaic answers for what I consider, a humble up-to-date understanding of language. When it comes to defining Spanish, also many linguists agree to categorise its varieties into Castellano and no-Castellano.

Castellano belongs to Spain, and no-Castellano to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world.

WHY Castellano and no-Castellano varieties?

If we think twice, it’s convenient and simple to tag the language this way.

Firstly, because locals in Spain learn to pronounce the “c” and the “z” differently than in the other 20 countries where Spanish is also an official language. Since in Spain are other regional languages with different grammar and vocabulary than that of Castellano, many Spaniards consider that if they call the language “español”, in a way this would be as neglecting the other official languages. For natives from Cataluña or Coruña per say, calling Spain’s language “español” and not Castellano, is “too” generic and shocking as “español” would embrace only one region in the country.

Because of the linguistic regionalism in Spain, natives from Barcelona, or Santiago de Compostela or País Vasco, learn Spanish as a second language and some, even neglect to speak it.

Moreover, Spain is the only Hispanic country using the formal and plural pronoun “vosotros” instead of “usted” (you). WATCH OUT! In Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, Argentina and Uruguay (and in other regions of Central America as Colombia), you hear “vos”. However, “vos” is rather different from “vosotros”. “Vos” is also a pronoun, but refers only to one person and it’s used for a casual approach, as the widely used “tu” (you).

Another characteristic of the Iberian Spanish is the pronunciation of the letter “j” (as in “jinete”, “joroba”, “japonés”). Mostly, many Spaniards tend to stress the articulation of “j” with joy and lust as in “joder!” (A local expression exclaimed widely with a pitch of fervor to spattering an impact.)

No-Castellano varieties are also linguistically rich. However, the purpose for now is to prove the classification of Spanish in: Castellano and no-Castellano varieties. (I hope to document soon, each single meaning of the words, idioms and nuances of the non-Spaniards: a deep wish).

In Spanish as in English, no language variety is better than the other. Castellano is not better than no-Castellano. Have you heard a person from Panama speaking Spanish? If you haven’t, you are missing something enchanting!

At the end, it’s up to you to give a word the “meaning” you fancy and spread it among friends and family, in the same way as when kids. Who didn’t ‘have’ linguistic codes when younger? I recall one. My mom would think I was talking about the mollusk sea animal swimming in the ocean called “shrimp”, when I meant a whole something else.

So, why not agree? Castellano and no-Castellano varieties do exist and this tag helps to simplify a rather easy issue, where many, get lost.

Do you or did you ever want to learn Spanish? Then click here for a great start!


Text: Art of Words © MMIX-MMX