Monday, September 08, 2008

Strange things



The following may only make sense to my Spanish speaking readers.

Since I have arrived in Paraguay I have heard some very strange things! Let me explain, I have lived in Mexico, Venezuela, and now Paraguay and have been speaking Spanish for about 22 years. I still have some of my gringa accent, but I am fluent in the language...or so I thought. Then I moved to Paraguay.

They have a lot of words here I have never heard before! And then, they throw in Guarani, which sounds quite a bit like Ye'kwana, but it isn't. So, sometimes I hear things that sound familiar, but don't quite make sense.

For instance, I was told I had a giraffe outside my kitchen! Or something like that. And further more, I needed to replaced my giraffe if I intended to continue cooking on my stove! Come to find out, the giraffe which in Venezuela is 'girafa', wasn't what they were saying at all. They were saying 'garafa' . Which turned out to be my propane tank!

In Venezuela we call the propane tank a 'bombona'. So I asked the man where I should go for a new 'bombona'. He looked at me and pointed down the street and told me to go to the 'dispensary'. Well, he said, 'despensa' which sounds like dispensary to me. He said I could get any candy I wanted there!!!! Because candy here is 'bonbones' which is what he thought I was asking for! And the 'despensa' does not dispense medicine ! It is a 'bodega' or small convenience store.

Also I was really surprised to be asked if we had found a Paraguayan 'remera' to take to the soccer game! EXCUSE ME!! That sounds too much like another word in Venezuela, just change one vowel and it means 'lady of the evening', and no matter her nationality , we don't need one of those! But here, 'remera' is shirt.

Then we went to order beef and it was suggested we get a 'vacuno'. I really don't want any vaccinations which is what 'vacuna' is in Venezuela. But I would like a 'lomito' which is a tender loin in Venezuela but here it's a sandwich. Not the same thing at all!

And that's just the Spanish words...the Guarani is another whole disaster!

18 comments:

julie said...

That would be tough to get used to! It's bad enough deciphering different words and accents in your own language, let alone in a foreign tongue.

Pinky said...

Ahhh, that's hilarious!
Kind of like who's on first??

I bet you had a good laugh about it afterwards.

Good stuff, Rita!

Pam said...

How funny! This post brought back to mind some of my problematic words, even now!
I should post about those I guess!

Betty said...

LOL.... new country, new language.
That´s why I speak very bad spanish. In school we were tought book spanish, but once you speak with the population, it´s like a different language. And they speak so FAST, it´s really hard for me to understand them! But I´m sure you will learn quickly.

Jane said...

I guess you better be careful what you say!!! I have heard similar things from our missionary friends who have lived in Colombua, Mexico and now Venezuela. Of course, it is similar to the colloquialisms found her in the USA. Every region has its' own peculiar phrases.

redneck preacher said...

Very funny post. I think Christians have the same problem (to a lesser degree) while we live in the world. The closer a person gets to Christ the more we change our speech patterns and the more the world ceases to make sense.

Have a gay time in Paraguay. Don’t get addicted to coke while you are there stay with coffee.

HTOITA

Brooke said...

What a headache!

You'll get the hang of it, though.

:)

cube said...

lol! You must be very careful. I had the same problem with a Portugese woman who told me she spoke spanish. Um, no she didn't. I could only make out about one out of every third word.

Starla said...

That sounds as bad as us Americans in some states call soft drinks, pop and in other states they call it soda. By the way in Kentucky we call soft drinks pop, lol.

Findalis said...

English is the same way dear. Try the slang words used by Brits, Aussie or Americans and you can find yourself in the ER.

I was once asked in a British Pub to bring over my fags. Could have gone very badly if I hadn't been fluent in British English.

Tracy at Our Journey said...

Wow....just ran across your blog. Look forward to getting to know you!

Liz said...

LOL!
Rita, una garrafa es una jarra grande, o sea un garrafón.

Los bombones aquí son chocolates rellenos, te acuerdas? y en algunas culturas una chica muy linda.

I guess words are not as much trouble for you, I think is paraguayan accent what makes it difficult. I have an argentinian channel on cable and if I watch it long enough, I 'sing' (speak) like them!!!

In english I have problems with US southeners, african americans, and your day to day british. Love when people speak very polite english or new england accent, but nothing is perfect and everyday we learn something new, verdad? I sounds like you're having fun...

Jungle Mom said...

Liz, yea, everyone sings all the time!

Brenda said...

I am sure there will be many more new words for you in the months to come. Its kind of fun! :)

Papa Frank said...

Wouldn't Obama be so proud of you! Well, until he realized that you're a conservative warrior that is.

~K~ said...

I took 9th grade Spanish. Even with that little bit of Spanish knowledge was enough to confuse me in hearing and learning Russian! They have the word "nada" here, which means "necessary or needed" instead of "nothing"!

So, I understand what you meant in your post!

Thursday's Child said...

Thank goodness I don't speak Arabic well enough to get confused between Lebanese and Kuwaiti. LOL

Yes, I'm back for good. I finally have internet in my classroom and we should get ours installed at home on Thursday...insh'allah. (That's Arabic for "when h*** freezes over".)

Pen of Jen said...

I understand...I learned Spain spanish and then married Bill...Mexican spanish is not the same. Funny just like in the US Mexico has regional dialects and sayings that aren't understood elsewhere...

in our travels down south I have often been amazed:)

I am sure that you are enjoying the transition though:) I do love reading I have been lagging of late to comment.

thanks for connecting the kids...they are enjoying the visits lots!