I just spent 4 weeks in Guatemala travelling around the country and speaking Spanish. I spent nearly 40 hours in Spanish lessons over the course of two weeks. I haggled in markets, warded off unwanted advances by virile Guatemalan males, and completed complex administrative tasks during my stay.
My diploma, pictured above, says I have a high-intermediate level of Spanish.
Chilean Spanish is hard (for me). Guatemalan Spanish is slow, deliberate. Guatemalans pronounce all their letters. I got over-confident with my Spanish level.
I have been Chile for two full days now and I feel like I don’t understand anybody. I have to ask people to repeat themselves. The most commonest of phrases are unrecognizable to me because people here don’t seem to pronounce the letter “s” in words. And Chilean Spanish is fast… REALLY fast. Gone is the relaxed, slow way of speaking I have become accustomed to in Guate.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Chilean Spanish. It is sexy. It is fast. The accent is exotic in that it’s different than what I’m used to. There are a zillion and one slang words and different ways of saying things here.
What I’m trying to say is: I love the variety of Spanish here, I love the code.
I just wish I could understand it.
That being said, this IS coming from the girl who has problems understanding Irish, Scottish, and Australian English- and I’m a native speaker.
Has anyone else had the experience of speaking a certain dialect/variety of a language, only to not understand people when you get to a region with a different dialect/variety?