NOTE: I improved the intro and sections and cut the article down a bit, but it’s still too long and I’m having trouble figuring out what else I can do to condense it! Brennan had preferred cutting down the sections enough to add one more dialect, if possible, but that can’t happen unless we cut things down a LOT. What isn’t really necessary or contributing to the article and its angle?
Comment [ML1]: I tried to cut a lot out—let me know what you think works and what doesn’t.
Ryne Steinacker “Culture: Life,” 774 words
This Wasn’t In My Travel Dictionary! When he visited an ordinary home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Guevara Labrin was a little surprised by his host’s parenting methods. The woman turned to her unruly daughter, ready to give her a scolding, and said sternly in Spanish, “I’m going to give you a pineapple.” What? “At first,” Guevara says, “I was thinking—I completely fail to understand how receiving a pineapple can qualify as a punishment. Can I have a pineapple if I do something wrong?” Guevara later discovered that “piña,” a word meaning “pineapple” in his native Chile, actually means “punch” in Argentina. (Thus, his host was actually saying, “I’m going to punch you”—a much more fitting scolding!) Many travelers have discovered, like Guevara, that the real language of their travel destination differs from the one that they studied or knew before their trip. But never fear! As Dr. Neil J. Anderson, PhD, explains, what you need to do when encountering a new dialect is to simply “slow your brain down” and recognize the linguistic differences you’re experiencing. Then just relax, listen, and try to grasp what you’re hearing. New dialects can be like new friends—they have their own characters and personalities. Here’s a heads-up on a few dialects you may encounter during your world travels: Cockney English and MLE Let me guess. You saw My Fair Lady, and you’ve dreamed ever since of running into Eliza Doolittle on the streets of London. You’ve even practiced your own pert and perky Cockney accent to match hers. News flash: if you want to see your “Eliza,” then If you’ve seen MyFair Lady and have ever wanted to meet a real-life Eliza Doolittle, you’d better hurry! According to linguistic experts, the winds of change are a’blowin’, and the Cockney dialect will likely disappear from the streets of London within a generation. What you may need to look for instead on your London trip is the emerging dialect of Multicultural London English (MLE), or “Jafaican” as it is called colloquially. MLE is “heavy with Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean inflections,” according to The Independent—like clipping the word “face” to be “fehs”—but it
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also features influences from areas ranging all the way from South America to the Middle East. Check the Independent article below to see a great MLE slang dictionary. http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/celebrate-cockney http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/from-the-mouths-of-teens-422688.html
Castellano, AKA Rioplatense, AKA Porteño—Featuring: Voseo and Lunfardo! You’ll probably hear the residents of Buenos Aires say that they speak “Castellano,” but relax; it’s still Spanish. Technically termed as Rioplatense Spanish (for the Rio de la Plata) or “porteño” Spanish (for the port of Buenos Aires), this dialect is delightfully different from standard Spanish not only in its vocabulary, but also in its grammar. It features the voseo form of address, an informal personal tone that replaces the standard use of “tú.” Emphasis in voseo is usually found on the last syllables of words, giving this dialect a distinctive rise-and-fall cadence. Buenos Aires is also home to lunfardo, a street slang with its own unusual vocabulary. Piña, as you’ve learned, means “punch” instead of “pineapple.” Instead of calling a liar “falsa” (false), Buenos Aires residents would call her “trucha” (which sounds the same as the Spanish word for “trout”). There’s lots of lunfardo to learn, but don’t worry about knowing it before you take your trip. If you speak standard Spanish, then you’ll do fine in Buenos Aires until you can learn the words on the street (pun intended). http://www.voseospanish.com/
“Pirate Chinese” from Beijing’s Bronx Just what constitutes “Chinese” can be up for debate. China covers a huge geographical area (surprise!) and a variety of dialects are actually spoken there that fall under the umbrella term of “Chinese.” Even the most common dialect, Mandarin Chinese, is actually a collection of related dialects spoken in various parts of the country. But there’s good news for you, according to student traveler Bronson Terry: if you know the standard version of Mandarin, then you will be able to speak with most Chinese in your generation or the one once-removed. Some of the older generations do struggle to speak Mandarin, but you can even communicate with them through their posterity. One of the more interesting Chinese dialects that Terry has encountered is that of Beijing, an area that he says has “all sorts of different slang, like being in the Bronx. Their words all carry a heavy ‘r’ sound.” He’s often heard foreigners call the Beijing dialect “pirate Chinese,” and he agrees that “it does sound mildly Pirates of the Caribbean-esque.” Though this dialect may sound shocking or humorous to speakers of standard Chinese, Terry feels a special affinity for it, saying that it is a “hearty, earthy Chinese” that is a lot of fun to listen to.
Comment [ML2]: Wait, I don’t get the pun. Lol Comment [ML3]: Maybe we can cut out this statement and similar ones about not worrying as long as you know the standard dialect. Maybe it just needs one statement like that at the beginning of the article.
Comment [ML4]: See above comment
He Says, She Says (Sidebar)
Scan this QR code or go to <link> to watch and hear speakers of â€œpirate Chineseâ€? and other dialects in a veritable language smorgasbord!