Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chingate, you crazed Castilian cunt

I took Spanish for 4 years in school. Back in the day we learned proper Spanish, which means we learned Castilian. It also meant that by the time I left school no one else who spoke Spanish in Southern California could understand what the fuck I was saying.

My teacher for most of those years was a short, tiny woman from Spain, who had married the German teacher at our school. Her name was.... Well, never mind what her last name was. It rhymed with "psycho," so we called her "Mrs. Psycho." As a bonus, if you were a student sitting in the back of the class room, Mrs. Psycho could not tell whether or not if you were calling her by her real name or her nickname.

She was psycho, which was how she got the nickname. She cared far, far too much about how we pronounced our Spanish words, and would make us repeat them endlessly until we got the pronunciation and accent correct. We were required to speak grammatically, and with proper inflection. I, with my Valley Girl accent, was a hopeless case. Much like singing class, I could understand what the teacher wanted me to do, and I could understand the way it was supposed to sound, but I could not make those sounds come out of my mouth. I can still hear Mrs. Psycho's voice, in my head, shouting "¡No, no, y no! ¡Es incorrecto!" every time I go to say something in Spanish.

She also liked to whack students' desks, aiming as close to our hands as possible. I believe she must have been educated in a Catholic school, as you could tell she was just itching to be able to whack us directly, and she frequently invoked the help of the Virgin so that she could have patience with us gringos estúpidos. She took Spanish very seriously, as only a native Castilian, descended from the proud hidalgos, can. Here in Southern California, we just wanted to be able to order a beer, find the bathrooms, and possibly ask where the donkey show was ("¿Dónde está la demostración del sexo del burro lo que esta con el burro con el pene gigantesco y la puta rancia?"), once we grew up and visited Tijuana.

We were taught the correct Castilian pronunciation of words, which involved a purposeful lisp (theta). A "z" or "c" in Castilian is pronounced as "th." In Castilian, of course, you say "platha" for "plaza," and "thero" for "zero." If you speak this way in a country where the majority of Spanish speakers are from Mexico, and do not use the theta, you end up sounding like Thorro the Gay Blade, if you know what I mean.

It's like if you're an American visiting England, and you go up to your average English tosser-on-the-street, and ask him in your best posh accent, "I say, old chap, could you possibly tell me where I might find a jolly good cup of tea whilst I am visiting your fine country?" If you try this you will get twatted upside the head, and rightly so.

If you speak Castilian Spanish to a Mexican, they will not twat you upside the head, as Mexicans are a polite people (which is surprising considering how they stand so close to you and breathe all over you and thing), but it will be hard for them to control their laughter. It is best to know the Spanish vernacular of Mexico while having important conversations with a Mexican, like buying a taco, asking the price of his daughter, or purchasing marijuana. If you do not know the vernacular, they will think you are an idiot, or a narc, and neither of those is a good thing, as the Federales will happily butt-fuck either.

My daughter, the Fledgling Sparrow, is taking Spanish in school, and she is not learning a damn thing, as they teach something called "Conversational Spanish" nowadays, which means that the lazy teachers don't have to teach the students Spanish spelling, or grammar, so I have to do it at home. She has the best accent in the class, better than the barrio kids even, as I hound her about it often. The muchachos pendejos del barrio resent being taught Spanish, as they think they already know it. I resent the fact that the school even has the cojones to call the class "Spanish," when in fact they are teaching Spanglish.

The school is misinforming the students, by letting them think that they are learning proper Spanish, and they are not even teaching them truly practical Spanish, like cursing. That is a shame, because Spanish is a beautiful and expressive language to curse in, far more imaginative and effective than cursing in English. Also, it is good to know when people are talking shit about you, especially in foreign languages, and it helps to know exactly what people are yelling at you as they cut you off and give you the international sign of goodwill while you are driving. That way, when the Highway Patrol ask, you can inform them in detail exactly what was said before that stupid fucking Mexican shot at you on the freeway. It has been a long time since I have had a car, but I still remember the rules of the road, you know.

Because of this, I have tried to keep my Spanish cursing up to par, and I am teaching it to my daughter at home, since the fucking fregado profesores cricas won't teach it to her. Don't worry, her accent will be perfect.

Fat Sparrow

27 comments:

Philip said...

I believe the term is gringos estúpidos,, unless you want to sound really es-tu-pee-do.

Fat Sparrow said...

What? (says she, all innocently, and with a completely straight face) You must have misread it. It looks fine to me.

Conan Drumm said...

Learned all my Spanish from Speedy Gonzalez. "Ariba, ariba! Andale, andale!" That stood to me for many years, but when I added "Un cerveza, por favor" I found I had a complete vocabulary. I ran into a Galician once and he just didn't get it at all.

Medbh said...

Yes, the move to "conversational" language courses means that students are completely on their own with learning a language. The instructor does very little.
I studied Spanish for two years in college, but sadly never learned how to curse.

Simoney said...

Hey! We English don't twat people because we're impolite, but simply because it makes us feel better.

Late for the bus, crammed on a tube train, rained on incessantly, splashed by a passing car? Find a little pikey oik who looks at you the wrong way, and thump on him.

Someone pissed you off at work? Wank over your neighbour's cat.

Cat wanked over your neighbour? Move out of the fuckin hood man, that's weird...

Philip said...

What's Chingate, anyway? A political scandal involving Kirk Douglas?

whyioughtta said...

So those donkey shows really happen, eh? Oy, que hazco.

I learned Castillian Spanish too (studied in high school and uni); I did use it alot in Spain, but every other Spanish speaker on the planet looks at you like you're a moron when you "th" all over them. I don't really blame them. And you're too right about needing to actually learn how to speak the language if only to understand what native speakers are saying about you. I was on a metro in Spain with my Spanish friend when two girls discussed killing us and "shitting down the necks of our whore mothers". My friend is Spanish (from the north) but looks German; I'm clearly celtic, so they didn't realize we both spoke the language. We wished them a good afternoon on our way out...

We have similar issues with language training here, being a bilingual country. (Studying French is mandatory for Canadian kids.) For some reason, I never had a single French Canadian french teacher ever, from 4 year-old kindergarten to grade 13. Not one. All of them were from France. Not really useful for communicating with your own countrymen, let me tell ya. Canadian French is a world apart from France French.

Let's Kill Saturday Night said...

Donde esta la biblioteca, Juan ?

Lord Milky said...

Obviously you will have to get your daughter to show the teacher all the extra curricular vocabulary she had been learning. And what better way to do it than during a speaking exam?

Manuel said...

I'm off to Madrid and Seville in a few weeks, give us some cool/amusing phrases? Eh will ya?

The Little Cheese said...

I have just dusted off my 'teach yourself Spanish' book and scoffed. I mean, the first three chapters of Holas and Donde estas are all slang English, right? Its those darn Emo kids. I blame The Killers.

Xul said...

Ah, you're bringing back fond high school memories for me. I had three Spanish teachers within two years of classes. The first, a gringa, the second, a Cuban, and the third, a Costa Rican. Our textbooks were great--they had Latin American Spanish as well as Castilian Spanish--and we learned the grammar. I distinctly remember the first teacher tell us to ignore the Castilian because nobody will know what the hell you are talking about. She also taught us a good deal of the curse words--and that was a parochial school!

fatmammycat said...

I learned all my Spanish in Barcelona, where it's pronounced Barthelona- although no naturally english speaking sports reader says that, and yet they all say Balencia for Valencia. Odd fuckers sports readers.
There were Pla-th-as everywhere, but there's never a seat in the sun because scabby catalan families would take them buy uno chupito between nineteen of them and sit there for eight hours. Now, not only do I speak a vile local brand of Spanish, I speak it by sprinkling liberal amounts of Catalan through it and my waving my arms a lot. And looking disgusted as I say ' Tio, hombre! Que tonto!!" This would amuse the hairy faced, cigar smoking women in the bank to no end as she charged me for taking my own money out.
Now that I am home in bonny wet Ireland, I have reverted back to swearing in English, but the hand gestures have remained - and been added to.
Nothing is more delightfully sweary than the universal sign language for wanker.

Lord Milky said...

The Cat is correct. In English, more specifically European English speaking countries, our hand gestures make up for our lack of spoken sweary prowess.

During my ill advised time as a teacher, my foreign students would belittle the lack of English swear words I had to offer, but were impressed when I showered them with the full range of gestures that fill the void.

Pink Drama said...

i swear you did not grow up in california, you grew up in mississippi, with me.

our teacher's name was Mrs. Black. because the translation sounded too much like an insult, we called her mrs. black.

at the foriegn language fair, i won a very highly coveted ribbon for speaking spanish. they said i sounded like a native. i didn't have the heart to tell them it's just because i read fast and can pronounce anything. i didn't understand a word i read.

that really confused my teacher.

oh, and when asked why didn't i take french, i responded..."because, dumbass, i figure i'm closer to going to mexico than canada."

i should have responded that i was trying to learn the new de facto language of the USA.

Eddie Waring said...

I took Spanish 101 last year and it was a fuckin' ball buster. I got an A but have already forgotten most of it through lack of use. I can still conjugate like a mofo though.

Old Knudsen said...

Why aren't we making those greasy cunts speak English? fuck I miss the Empire.

Fat Sparrow said...

Conor -- "but when I added "Un cerveza, por favor" I found I had a complete vocabulary"

Being a laydee, lah-dee-dah, I have found it necessary to add a few more useful phrases, such as "¿Dónde está los baños para las damas?" as I find it inconvenient to piss against a wall. Not impossible, mind you, but inconvenient.

Medbh -- "I studied Spanish for two years in college, but sadly never learned how to curse"

There are books out there on the subject, and a really funny little tongue-in-cheek book, "Wicked Spanish for the Traveller," which teaches you how to slag people off in Mexico without cursing.

Simoney -- I am all for twatting people, and in fact usually have to be restrained from doing it.

Your cat comment reminded me of when one of our cats was sleeping on my daughter's bed, and had a wet dream. I got to clean up cat jizz, yuck. And that's how we found out the cat had not been neutered, even though he had been to the vet's and came home drugged and dozy, and we were charged for it. I guess the vet missed that one when he did the rest of the litter.

Philip -- Go fuck yourself.

That's what "chingate" means.

Whyioughtta -- "So those donkey shows really happen, eh? Oy, que hazco."

Yes, and there really are vampire bars in Tijuana. Unfortunately, as I found out, they are filled with a bunch of dark-skinned, white-make-upped, sad fucker Goths listening to Smith's cover songs in Spanish, and not Salma Hayek and George Clooney, as I had been led to believe.

LKSN -- "Donde esta la biblioteca, Juan ?"

We were more concerned with the discotecas and not the bibliotecas.

Lord Milky -- "Obviously you will have to get your daughter to show the teacher all the extra curricular vocabulary she had been learning. And what better way to do it than during a speaking exam?"

She was taught by a gringo this past year, so she was able to teach him a lot of words that he hadn't heard before. I'm hoping that's not going to be reflected in her upcoming report card.

Manuel -- "I'm off to Madrid and Seville in a few weeks, give us some cool/amusing phrases? Eh will ya?"

Oh dear, you had better hit up Fatmammycat for that, as I speak Mexican, and most ungrammatically. My most used phrase is "¡Hablar despacio, por favor, soy gringa!"

The Little Cheese -- "I have just dusted off my 'teach yourself Spanish' book and scoffed. I mean, the first three chapters of Holas and Donde estas are all slang English, right? Its those darn Emo kids. I blame The Killers."

Right; are you high, or am I a lot older and a lot more out of touch than I thought?

Xul -- "She also taught us a good deal of the curse words--and that was a parochial school!"

Doesn't everyone learn all of their curse words from parochial school?

Fatmammycat -- "Nothing is more delightfully sweary than the universal sign language for wanker."

I have to agree with you on that one. I did inside sales and support, and while I was on the phone, speaking pleasantly with customers, I would be madly flailing away with the rest of the office trying to conceal their whoops of laughter. Anyone dealing with government engineers and scientists should get hazard pay, and as I didn't, I had to vent my frustrations in other ways.

Lord Milky -- "During my ill advised time as a teacher, my foreign students would belittle the lack of English swear words I had to offer, but were impressed when I showered them with the full range of gestures that fill the void."

Do you really think so? I find them sadly lacking at times, whereas with changing the intonation on "fuck," you can make it say so many, many things.

Pink Drama -- Maybe we were separated at birth? I'm the same way, it doesn't matter if I can understand it, I can still pronounce it and read it. Spanish is soooo easy that way, thank God.

And really, the only thing anyone needs to understand in French is "I surrender!"

It pisses me off that here in California, if you're a native Spanish speaker you can take English classes for free, but I can't take Spanish classes for free, dammit. Racism, blatant racism, I tell you!

Eddie -- "I took Spanish 101 last year and it was a fuckin' ball buster. I got an A but have already forgotten most of it through lack of use. I can still conjugate like a mofo though."

I've lost most of mine, too. Even though I took it for 4 years, that was a lot of years ago. And I have a very hard time understanding different people's accents and dialects. I have found that I can generally make myself understood, but to understand, I have to resort to asking them "¿Escribir, por favor?"" before I can get it.

Old Knudsen -- "Why aren't we making those greasy cunts speak English? fuck I miss the Empire."

Just shut up and take the burrito, bitch.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I know Incy Wincy Spider in Spanglish. That's my only Spanish story, apart from a whole lot of fucked up orders from Subway.

Lord Milky said...

They were too simple to understand how intonation affects the curse. They simply bragged about how they had more words to insult people.

When I pulled out 'wanker' and 'dickhead' from my gesture box, they couldn't get enough. they even resorted to using them around the school. This may have been a contributing factor as to why I know longer am in education.

Fat Sparrow said...

Lord Milky -- "This may have been a contributing factor as to why I know longer am in education."

They always get rid of the teachers who actually manage to teach the kids something useful, don't you know.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Oi, where's my reply? What am I, salsa merde? Eh? Eh? Don't answer that.

Foot Eater said...

FE here, guerrilla-blogging from the South of France. Not much Spanish spoken here, but then I don't give a merde.

whyioughtta said...

Question regarding Lord Milky's last comment: there's a gesture for 'dickhead'??!! Please instruct.

Fat Sparrow said...

Sam -- Sorry, Sam, I missed it. My bad. How on earth did you learn "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish, anyway? And how can they fuck up your order at Subway? My God, they can just point and you can nod or shake your head. You have to be a special type of stupid to not get that sort of thing, but I wouldn't put it past Subway workers. Everyone at our Subway speaks English but still can't get my order right, as they are having important conversations about hair design and blow-jobs. And that's just the guys.

Footie -- Oh, so it's you stirring up the French vintners.

Fat Sparrow said...

And Conan Drumm, sorry about calling you "Conor" up there; I am really off my game lately, what with that and missing Sam's comment. By way of excuse, it's 97 degrees here, and we don't have central air. I'm definitely not firing on all cylinders.

rob said...

Whyioghta: The gesture for dickhead is merely the wanker sign made in front of the forehead.