On other occasions, we have talked about the diversity of Spanish in the world, but there are two variants that are not so famous.
There is a small territory to the south of Spain that belongs to the United Kingdom, called Gibraltar, and its inhabitants speak llanito, which is a witty mixture of Spanish and English.
On the other hand, the Sephardim are Spanish Jews and their descendants who were forced to leave Castile at the time of the Catholic Monarchs. They speak Judeo-Spanish and have their own characteristics.
iScribo tells you some curiosities and shows you some of their characteristics.
Gibraltar, What a Curious Place
Do you know the British overseas territory Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is located to the south of Spain, in the geographical territory of Andalusia, there on the coast of Cadiz, but it does not belong to Spain but to the United Kingdom.
Like almost all the names of locations in Andalusia, the name Gibraltar also comes from Arabic, specifically from Djebel Al Tarik (the field or mountain of Tarik). Tarik was an Arab commander.
The history of Gibraltar is very curious because it has always been considered a strategic military place, so everyone was interested in dominating it. Today we are not going to go into the history itself but we invite you to do a little research about it.
Mind your Wallet!
We are not suggesting that the llanitos, the inhabitants of Gibraltar, are out to steal your wallet, but there is a species of monkey that likes to play with tourists.
Monkeys? You heard right. They are very curious and like to pose for the pictures with tourists and take whatever they can get their hands on. They are undoubtedly the main attraction of the Rock.
Llanito, the Language of Gibraltar
Imagine the influence of Spanish in this tiny territory whose official language is English.
In other words – the llanito consists of mixing English and Spanish words with an Andalusian accent. Many people call it Spanglish and the truth is that they are right.
These are some of the phrases used on the Rock:
“Te llamo pa tras” – I’m sure you have already made the literal translation “I’ll call you back” from English. In Spanish we say “Ahora te llamo”.
“Te doy un lift” – “I’ll give you a lift”. In Spanish we say “Te llevo“.
“Pómpalo brother”, or what is the same: “Turn it up, brother”. In spanish we say “Sube el volumen, hermano”.
This is one of my favourites:
“Don’t give me the tin” – In Spanish we say “No me des la lata“, and it’s another example of the mix between Spanish and English. In English we simply say “Don’t bother me”.
By the way, I hope you haven’t forgotten to read these sentences with an Andalusian accent.
What is Judeo-Spanish
Also known as Ladino or Sephardic Spanish, Judeo-Spanish represents a sad and regrettable historical fact, as it is the language spoken by the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs and, later from Portugal.
It is a variant in disuse, so we could say that it is endangered. The new generations are learning the variant less and less, as they prefer to speak more famous languages.
It is as if the Spanish of 1492 had hardly evolved with the times – the phonemes, etymology, and expressions seem to have been taken from a work by Cervantes himself. Indeed, the grammar of the Judeo-Spanish variant is archaic.
Since Jews have had to emigrate extensively throughout history, Judeo-Spanish is spoken in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and America.
Judeo-Spanish is influenced by other languages, dialects, or speeches of the Iberian Peninsula.
“Ainda” –comes from Galician and means “Still”.
“Lonso” –comes from Aragonese and means “Bear”.
“Samarada” – comes from Leonese and means “Flare”.
“Anozar” – comes from Portuguese and means “To upset someone”.
It has more influences from other languages, such as Italian, or from other cultures, such as Arabic. All this is due to the large community of Sephardic people spread all over the world, who contribute nuances to the scarce evolution of Judeo-Spanish.
Curiosities of Judeo-Spanish
Judeo-Spanish was written in Hebrew characters until the 19th century when the Latin alphabet came into use.
The spelling is significantly different from that of today’s Spanish, but it is still perfectly understandable.
Some phonemes of Judeo-Spanish are:
ç, which is the [ch] sound in Spanish, e.g., munço (a lot).
ny, which is the [ñ] sound in Spanish, e.g., kunyado (brother-in-law).
ş, which is the [sh] sound in Spanish, e.g., buşkar (to search).