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. “Culture: Life,” 644 words

This Wasn’t In My Travel Dictionary! In an ordinary home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Guevara Labrin watched a mother turn to her unruly daughter, ready to give her a scolding, and say sternly in Spanish, “I’m going to give you a pineapple.” What? At first, Guevara says, he didn’t understand how receiving a pineapple would be a punishment. Can I have a pineapple if I do something wrong? he thought. 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 get to know the personality of the new dialect.. Here’s a heads-up on a few dialects you may encounter during your world travels: Cockney English and MLE If you’ve seen My Fair Lady and you want 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 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. 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 informal voseo form of address (replacing the standard “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”).

Comment [Ryne S.1]: This article has been cut down a LOT, 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 (four total), but that still can’t happen unless we cut things down a LOT. Should we even still try for four dialects? If so, what isn’t really necessary or contributing to the article and its angle? I don’t want to cut out too much because I like your voice in the article. However, I can find more to cut out in the next edit if you would like me to. If you wanted to, you could probably add more in an online exclusive. Talk to Brennan and see if that would be a possibility. (Kathryn)

Comment [K2]: If you’re attached to this sentence, then I would definitely say keep it. But if you are looking to cut more out of your article, This is one that I think could go.

Comment [Ryne S.3]: This is a really long subheader, but I wanted clarify that we basically have three names for the same dialect here. I figured this makes it kind of showy/theater-y.

Comment [K4]: You could cut this and make an online exclusive.

“Pirate Chinese” from Beijing’s Bronx Just what constitutes “Chinese” can be up for debate. Even its most common dialect, Mandarin Chinese, is actually a collection of related dialects spoken in various parts of the country—but if you know the standard version of Mandarin, says student traveler Bronson Terry, then you’ll be able to speak with most Chinese in your generation or the one once-removed. One of the more interesting Chinese dialects that student traveler Bronson 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 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. But if you know the standard version of Mandarin, says Terry, then you’ll be able to speak with most Chinese in your generation or the one once-removed.

He Says, She Says (Sidebar)

Scan this QR code or go to <link> to watch and hear speakers of “pirate Chinese” and other dialects in a veritable language smorgasbord!

Comment [K5]: I think this is what most of your article is about, so you are probably ok to cut this out. Comment [Ryne S.6]: I’ve tightened this, but I still feel it’s important for travelers to know that they’ll be okay if they speak standard Mandarin. Does this work? (Ryne) Yes! If we still want to cut some stuff, maybe you could cut out the first two sentences on Chinese and then add the third one to the end of the paragraph? Dana I feel that it would flow better at the beginning rather than the end. Let’s leave this comment up and get some input from the senior editors. (Ryne) I think I agree with Dana. You can see what I would do from my edits. Kathryn


survey of dialects spoken around the world