Okay, what language are we speaking here exactly?

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

¿No se puede hablar español? ỊSi, pero a veces yo creo que no puedo entender Canario!

Sometimes it has to be said we can be a bit late off the starting block. Although we’ve been paying national insurance stamps for years, we’ve never actually had anything back in return. By this I mean reduced prescriptions, or reduced travel etc.

It’s our own fault; to get these involves a few more hurdles which, in true ‘mañana’ fashion, we’ve never gotten around to vaulting.

The other day we decided to take the bull by the horns and apply for a ‘tarjeta sanitaria’ (national health card) and, as Andy tackled the Correos, I headed to the health centre in Puerto de la Cruz armed with every document issued to me in the last 40 years (I’m not sure that the Duke of Edinburgh award was going to be helpful, but I thought that a certificate showing that, amongst other things, I was a marksman might come in handy…just in case anybody really pissed me off).

The first surprise was that the reception was almost completely empty. I began to think that maybe it was my lucky day, but as I approached the counter and asked the receptionist if I was in the right place, he told me that that a new centre had opened in a different part of Puerto de la Cruz and I’d have to go there. Or at least that’s my take on what he said. What he actually said was:

“Blah, Blah centro nuevo blah blah blah La Dehesas blah blah blah. Blah blah llegando blah blah arriba blah blah…entiende?”

Actually that’s not 100% accurate, because there are far more consonants in blah blah than this guy used. I don’t know if he was practising ventriloquism or something cos I swear, his mouth didn’t move a muscle.

My Spanish is nowhere near as good as it should be; I’m only too painfully aware of that. On the other hand how can anyone understand people who don’t P-R-O-N-O-U-N-C-E their words? I know I’m going to struggle with the old guys up in the hills, but I sort of expect someone whose job is to man an information desk to maybe speak a bit clearer.

If someone dropped you in the Gorbals in Glasgow, the chances are that you would find it difficult to understand some of the locals – but that wouldn’t mean you couldn’t speak English. Same can apply here. I was reading on a forum recently about a guy who had a Spanish girlfriend from Malaga who struggled to understand some Tinerfeños.

There are signs in some government buildings which say that if you don’t speak Spanish you should bring an interpreter. I’ve always believed that it was aimed at the punters…maybe I was mistaken.

  1. Mike says:

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