Since setting out on this adventure almost two years ago,
Trish and I have come across quite a few different languages and regional
Beginning with the local differences between East Anglia,
Cockney London and the West Country, we then left behind the English of the UK
for similar regional differences in France and Spain.
From the Breton of Brittany, down the coast to the Vendee
and the Charente plus a quick stopover in Paris and on to the Galician of Spain’s
North West and Atlantic coasts then the Andalucían of Cadiz, Seville, Jerez and
Not forgetting Portuguese as we worked our way down Portugal’s
Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.
Back to English in Gibraltar, a sea change to Arabic in
Morocco, back to Spanish in the Canaries, English again when we made landfall
after our Atlantic crossing to St Lucia and then a see saw journey through the Leeward
and Windward islands with French, Dutch, English and each islands own patois. Spanish
again as we passed through Venezuela’s off lying islands, Dutch in the
ABC’s, Spanish in Ecuador and Colombia, the unique Kuna language in the
San Blas islands and back to Spanish for Panama and the Galapagos.
The Marquesan’s have their own Polynesian based
language although all are bilingual with heavily accented French as their
All of this is quite apart from the confusions caused by the
people we meet.
The havoc wreaked on the English language by Americans, Canadians,
South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders, the incomprehensible (to me at
least) Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Norwegian (sorry Terje) , Swedes, Danes, etc,
It’s not as if I haven’t tried....I like to
learn at least a few words but when the response for even the simplest request is
a look that suggests you have just landed from Mars you do think that it is not
worth the effort.
But Trish tells me that I should try to learn just one language.....French,
so that I can speak to any grandchildren that Katie and Yann may bring in to
this world at some stage.
But even if I did would they understand my Mancunian French?
Would I? and what sort of any language would the kids of tomorrow speak if 30
seconds of EastEnder’s is anything to go by? .
It would be easy to fall back on the well proven British
technique of simply speaking slowly and shouting at all foreigners in English
or to just hark back to times of Empire and help the locals learn the one true
language for their own benefit (they can understand pop music, TV and get jobs
in the tourist industry).
But if you do not speak the language used in the places you
visit you do miss out on the culture, social differences and the detail of all
of these interesting and beautiful places...... so with at least as many
variances still to come, I’ll keep trying even if I keep failing, it’s
worth the effort!!