Observations From Salamanca

Salamanca Travel Blog

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I find that when I encounter a person here in Spain, particularly official positions, they do the job very well and to the letter.  But you have to do your bit correctly too.  I now know the ´turno´ system and use it properly now after my 1st few foul ups.  The 1st time I went to buy train tickets there were 3 counters free so I walked up to one and asked for a ticket.  The guy said go away and get your turno.  Well I did not know what one of those was.  We walked around the station for 10 minutes looking for a turno, asking various people.  Finally another passenger pointed out the very small machine attached to the BACK of a post in the ticket room needed to have its button pressed and then it produces a ticket which is your turno.
  The turno has a number and tells how many people are in front of you in the queue.  I did not need the ticket to tell me that there were none.  Then your number flashes above the counter, which as no one was at a counter displayed immediately.  Then the guy gave us his full 100% attention.  Nothing was going to stop him from doing this job properly we had the ticket for our turn, the money and instructions were all done with full concentration and various arguments and interruptions were completley ignored we were his customers and we were going to be dealt with correctly.
Also I have found that Spanish people have a far better knowledge of language than we do in NZ.  I said that to one of the teachers and she that could not be the case as some people do not know the infinitive of the verb in some cases.
  I replied that many people in NZ probably do not know what a verb is, let alone the infinitive.  When I explain to people that I am learning the language they ask what I know and tell about the language and its structure and what things are important.  They have a lot of pride.  At times it can go a bit far.  They look down on the Spanish American form of the language as being íncorrect´.  But having learnt a few words only used in South America during my classes in NZ my hosts have to ask me during Hispano-American TV shows to do the interpreting in the house as the words are completely different for them.
Faces I know appear on advertising here.  Hugh Laurie is the face of Schweppes on all the buses in Granada.  In NZ McCains have the saying Oh McCain You´ve Done it Again.  Now here when you take a foto you do not say cheese for people to smile you say patatas (that is potatoes).  McCains trucks say Patatas Patatas.  The product and smile smile.
santafeclau says:
Well, as an spanish speaker but from Latin America, I have to say that most people from Latin America know well spanish vocabulary (from Spain I mean), but spaniards do not understand a lot of words that we use.
That's because we use words that aren't in use in Spain, they have modernized the language and they don't know a lot of words of 50 years ago. That's also because of most of spanish people hasn't read the classics of literature as Quevedo, Calderon de la Barca or even Pérez Galdós, Pío Baroja, in whose books you can find the way we speak in Latin America despite being spaniards writers.
A lot of spaniards think that the spanish from America is incorrect but that's ignorance, I can affirm that.

Posted on: Oct 02, 2008
najiah10 says:
ooh yes they use "patatas" in Spain! :P i had no idea it meant "potatoes" and assumed it meant "smile". so back in Singapore when i was having some spanish lessons, my teacher had a good laugh when i used "patatas" instead of "sonrisa". it was so embarrassing!
Posted on: Sep 26, 2008
nanipu says:
i barely took the train when i was in spain (oooh that rhymes =P) but instead took the bus.

yes, it is true about the knowledge of language. even when learning new forms, conjugations, etc., my classmates and i become clueless and say that we don't know them by their names.

i had no idea about "patatas". i was wondering what they say when it's time to smile for the camera because it couldn't be "queso" hehehe. i heard it was "whisky" but maybe it was a different spanish-speaking country.
Posted on: Sep 25, 2008
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