Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

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kanewai
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby kanewai » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:12 pm

Axon wrote:Fantastic post! I loved every word.

There's a wonderful book called Walking the Woods and the Water that details the author's seven month trip from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul by foot. I've read it at least three times. Your post reminds me of it, but this time it's about languages too! How great!


Holland to Istanbul ... wow ... there's something to dream about! Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like my kind of book.
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kanewai
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby kanewai » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:25 pm

more random tidbits ... mostly on food this round.

- Americans are taught, or used to be taught, that the French call waiters garçon. I learned that German students learn this in school too! I wonder how antiquated the term is. It's certainly not used now.

- I asked about the difference between oui and ouais. Some people always seemed to use one or the other. One girl told me she uses ouais to imply something non-committal, like, yeah, sort of. Others couldn't really explain why they used one or the other.

- Salade can mean a huge, main-course salad with cheese and smoked meats and foie gras and all sorts of other delicious things on a bed of lettuce, or it can mean, literally, a piece of lettuce. In a restaurant 'salade' was always a big plate. In the home 'salade' was always a piece of lettuce. I'd get thrown when someone would ask to pass the salad ... when all I could see was a plate with three dry pieces of romaine on it.

- Speaking of food, we had cheese every single night after dinner, except once. The place claimed to be bio, or organic. Apparently French cheese didn't meet their definition of organic, so they didn't serve any. And this murmur went around the table: pas de fromage ... c'est vrai? ... pas de fromage? The other diners were having a hard time believing this was real. It amused me to no end.

The next day I was told that most French people avoid anyplace that advertises themselves as being bio.

Mostly, though, the food was amazing - except for the pasta. For some reason the French are great at cooking everything but pasta.

My Spanish is a lot weaker than my French, so I didn't pick up as many new terms. One that stuck with me was chupito ... a small shot of strong alcohol, like orujo, that is served after dinner.

I never did learn proper 'tapas' terminology. I'm not even sure that word is used at all in the north of Spain. Maybe someone can help out here?

The bars would offer pintxos and raciónes. I'm pretty sure that pintxos refer to a small bite for one person, and raciónes to a small plate that can be shared. But I also picked up that these terms weren't exclusive to bar food. In the morning you'd ask for a pintxo de tortilla, a 'piece of tortilla.' It also seemed that sometimes the words were associated with certain foods. One afternoon I asked for a 'pintxo de chorizo' thinking I'd have a few pieces of chorizo to snack on. Nope. I was told you can't do that, that chorizo was a ración. So I ordered a ración - and ended up with far too much chorizo for one person.

I'm not even sure what the general term would be. The Americans (and other English speakers) would say, "let's go out for tapas." Or, for those paying a little bit of attention, "let's go our for pintxos." I never picked up whether the Spanish had a comparable phrase or not.

Anther surprise: a 'martini' in Spain is not a gin drink. It is a glass of vermouth, a la "Martini & Rossi." I learned that the hard way. But I also learned that vermuterias are trendy now in the cities. A lot of places had some excellent house vermouths. I wonder how long before the hipsters in SF and Brooklyn pick up on this trend? It's a good one.
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:31 pm

I ordered a Martini my first night as an exchange student in Germany. (I was 19. I did not know what I liked to drink.) Straight Vermouth it turns out is *not* my drink. An older classmate suggested a gin and tonic. Bliss!
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby nooj » Sun May 20, 2018 9:42 am

kanewai wrote:I'm not even sure what the general term would be. The Americans (and other English speakers) would say, "let's go out for tapas." Or, for those paying a little bit of attention, "let's go our for pintxos." I never picked up whether the Spanish had a comparable phrase or not.


Tapear, ir de tapas. In the Basque Country, potear, ir de poteo.
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby Ogrim » Tue May 22, 2018 9:35 am

kanewai wrote:more random tidbits ... mostly on food this round.


I only just discovered this latest post of yours in this thread. Great stuff, and I just wanted to comment on a couple of things.

Garçon - don´t use this word in the meaning of waiter, many serveurs will find it insulting. I really don't know if they still teach this in schools and in courses, but they shouldn't.

Indeed, a salade can be a main course or just a small side order. If it is a main course the menu will mostly list the different ingredients, or it will come under a name like Salade niçoise or Salade César. As a side order it is as you say, just lettuce served with a vinaigrette.

I learnt pretty quicly that, when inviting French people for lunch or dinner, I should always serve some cheese between the main course and the dessert. First time I organised a dinner at my place, I did not have any cheese and one of the French guests was a bit sulky the rest of the evening... As I love cheese myself, I now always include it, and I often prefer just the cheese instead of a dessert.

Regarding the difference between tapas and pintxos, the Spanish Wikipedia has a good article about tapas which can give you an insight, and I also found this article quite enlightening.
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Re: Languages and Dialects on the Camino de Santiago

Postby Andy E » Tue May 22, 2018 11:36 am

kanewai wrote:Last summer and fall I walked a couple sections of the Camino de Santiago - 1700 km over 80 days through southern France and northern Spain. It was a phenomenal experience, both on a personal level and on a language-learning level.

.................

Lyon. Arrival. I ask for wine in a restaurant. Je voudrais un verre de vin rouge. The waiter asks me what language I'm speaking, and if I speak French or English. I am not off to a good start. Five years of study, and it comes to this. Have I been deluding myself all this time?

.................

La Rioja. Week seven. I order a beer, and the bartender asks what part of Italy I'm from. I'm American, I tell him. Then why did you order in Italian? he asks me. Aye. I wanted Spanish immersion. Instead I'm getting Italian immersion.


The entire post made me smile and several bits made me laugh out loud. Absolute classic!
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