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Thebosn1

Language Barrier

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I'm an experienced cruiser but have never done Europe before.  I was lucky enough to finally book the Radiance for the summer of 2020 to NYC out of Barcelona and my wife and I are very excited about the trip.  

 

I was wondering if there is a language barrier for people who only know basic broken phrases in Spanish?  We have been to plenty of ports where the official language is Spanish, but the good people in those ports always spoke fluent English.   Is it the same in Spain or should I start to work on a little bit better Spanish in order to communicate more effectively?  

 

Thanks

 

 

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For Barcelona the language is Catalan!  Although (Castilian) Spanish is a good second.

In most of the tourist areas English is widely spoken.  Do not worry, you will not go hungry, or have to sleep on the streets for want of a few words of Spanish!  Indeed, in most Spanish ports and cities English will be widely understood.

 

Now France is another story! :classic_biggrin:

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Thebosn1, my husband & I are sailing with you on this TA. Neither of us speaks Catalan or fluent Spanish. Like you, I only know a handful of broken phrases. I visited Portugal in the past & had no problem. In fact, I picked up a few key words there rather quickly. We'll be fine.  We plan to join our FB group for pre-arranged excursions (none are planned yet). Excursions are not necessary in all ports, so we will just explore on our own.

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2 hours ago, Thebosn1 said:

I'm an experienced cruiser but have never done Europe before.  I was lucky enough to finally book the Radiance for the summer of 2020 to NYC out of Barcelona and my wife and I are very excited about the trip.  

 

I was wondering if there is a language barrier for people who only know basic broken phrases in Spanish?  We have been to plenty of ports where the official language is Spanish, but the good people in those ports always spoke fluent English.   Is it the same in Spain or should I start to work on a little bit better Spanish in order to communicate more effectively?  

 

Thanks

 

 

You will have no problems in Barcelona - English is widely spoken/understood in the tourist areas. I always write the name of our hotel to give to the taxi driver in case the driver does not speak English.

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1 hour ago, dogs4fun said:

You will have no problems in Barcelona - English is widely spoken/understood in the tourist areas. I always write the name of our hotel to give to the taxi driver in case the driver does not speak English.

Good idea!  Thanks for the info.  I imagine its the same in the tourist areas of other Spanish cities.  We also stop in Murcia and Malaga.  I always feel a little bad not being able to communicate better in the host country language.   

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Un cafe creme y una San Miguel, por favor.

 

That's the limit of my Spanish, and I'm none-too-sure I've even got that right.:classic_rolleyes:

But in many many trips to Spain language has never been a problem. And those in tourist areas speak exceptionally good English.

 

Believe me - this is a non-issue :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

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Anyone interested in learning a little more of a language before traveling should try www.duolingo.com.  It is a free app with excellent language instruction.  

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a local tour guide said Catalan is such a different dialect from Spanish taught as a language don't bother trying out your Spanish!

 

many younger people speak English probably as a result of USA films but its a different story with older generation

particularly with taxi drivers

always take pen and paper and write down name of your destination

NB  many hotels in Barcelona have similar names

our driver took us to hotel Gran via -a low budget hostel instead of 4 star hotel 1/2 mile away on same long street

also be careful specifying "port" as they may head to airport instead of cruise port[crocieres]   

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Everyone in Catalunya speaks Spanish.  99% of the people in Spain speak Spanish and that includes Catalunya.  Catalonian speakers (actually, dual speakers) represent 20% of the Spanish population.  Whether they choose to speak to you in Spanish or not is a different matter.  At this time it is more a matter of politics than not.  Those Catalonians who back independence are more apt to refuse to speak in Spanish, especially to native Spanish speakers.  They are making a point. 

Also, Catalan is a language, not a dialect.  And it is not that terribly different from Spanish.

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On 2/26/2019 at 12:02 PM, Luke Saint Joe said:

Thebosn1, my husband & I are sailing with you on this TA. Neither of us speaks Catalan or fluent Spanish. Like you, I only know a handful of broken phrases. I visited Portugal in the past & had no problem. In fact, I picked up a few key words there rather quickly. We'll be fine.  We plan to join our FB group for pre-arranged excursions (none are planned yet). Excursions are not necessary in all ports, so we will just explore on our own.

Awesome.  I'm already in one group and will definitely be looking for ideas from folks that have been to these ports before.  My wife and I have also never had a problem just getting off the ship and exploring on our own.  In fact some of our best times were the adventures we never planned.  I look for you in the group, and we are already looking forward to our first TA! 

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On 2/26/2019 at 1:56 PM, John Bull said:

Un cafe creme y una San Miguel, por favor.

 

That's the limit of my Spanish, and I'm none-too-sure I've even got that right.:classic_rolleyes:

But in many many trips to Spain language has never been a problem. And those in tourist areas speak exceptionally good English.

 

Believe me - this is a non-issue :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

Thank you.

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Actually Google has an app that translates images. But I'll second the opinion that it's possible to get away with no Spanish knowledge in Barcelona tourist sector. Also San Miguel is not that popular unless asking for it, more likely one will get Cruzcampo or Estrella on tap in Barcelona.

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We spent seven months traveling in Europe in 2018 and found that a smile and being able to say “I’m sorry I don’t speak (insert language) very well, do you speak English” served us well...along with google translate app when all else fails!

 

Of course being able to say “hello”, “thank you”, “two beers please” and “where is the toilet” in the language of wherever you are going is ALWAYS a good idea!😂

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7 hours ago, cansas.piligrim said:

I was in El Hierro last summer - it is a small island in the Atlantic . It belongs to Spain, people speak only Spanish, nobody speaks English at all. I was forced to catch  some phrases in Spanish to communicate. The new word for me was "Baraquito" - coffee with condensed milk and liqueur. I'd never drunk anything better.

 

 One of the smallest of the Canary Islands, very rarely visited by cruise ships. No worries about a language barrier on the more-popular islands.

 

Baraquito originates from one of those bigger islands, Tenerife.

Looks revolting for a coffee - like it should have an umbrella and a cherry or slice of pineapple.:classic_biggrin:

The look has put me off trying it - I'll give it a whirl next time. If it tastes as bad as it looks, I'll blame you. :classic_wink:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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The only place we have found someone in BCN who did not speak English was in the taxi on the way to the ship.  I had the details written down because he did not seem sure.  I think he had only just started driving taxis!!

 

My husband speaks fluent Spanish but usually speaks English when we are out and about in the city.  I am not really quite sure why, but we don't seem to have a problem.  

 

Jonh Bull - when I went to Myanmar a couple of years ago I got used to being given tea made with condensed milk.  I never put sugar in my tea at home.  I got quite used to it though and bought some packets of the powdered version to enjoy at home (none left).  

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8 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

Jonh Bull - when I went to Myanmar a couple of years ago I got used to being given tea made with condensed milk.  I never put sugar in my tea at home.  I got quite used to it though and bought some packets of the powdered version to enjoy at home (none left).  

 

Hi, O&B's mum,

 

Yes, I remember tinned condensed milk in the post-war years - for ambient storage it was that or powdered.

With "Camp coffee" - much more chicory instead of coffee. It put me off coffee for years

And much more recently I've experienced tea/coffee with condensed in the far east too.

 

But Barraquito is a very different animal - more a Canarian take on Irish coffee, though it looks more like a Tequila Sunrise !!

 

JB :classic_smile:

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On 3/2/2019 at 11:01 AM, marazul said:

Everyone in Catalunya speaks Spanish.  99% of the people in Spain speak Spanish and that includes Catalunya.  Catalonian speakers (actually, dual speakers) represent 20% of the Spanish population.  Whether they choose to speak to you in Spanish or not is a different matter.  At this time it is more a matter of politics than not.  Those Catalonians who back independence are more apt to refuse to speak in Spanish, especially to native Spanish speakers.  They are making a point. 

Also, Catalan is a language, not a dialect.  And it is not that terribly different from Spanish.

 

A followup on this subject.  It is useful to understand the social climate in the countries you are visiting and the conflicts presented by the use of language as a symbol of regional and national identity.  Catalan as a national language is an issue both in Northeastern Spain and, to a lesser degree, in Southwestern France.  This article appeared in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in February.  It refers to "ideological manipulation" in the textbook used to teach Catalan to 2nd year baccalaureate (high school) students in the Balearic islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) where Catalan is also spoken.  (Most other subjects are taught in Spanish.)  Here is a translation of the first two paragraphs of the article followed by a link to the original newspaper story in Spanish:

 


"If there is something clear for the students of the 2nd year Baccalaureate in the Balearic islands is that Sociolinguistics are part of the curriculum for the University Entrance Exams (PBAU). The schools devote an entire quarter to this subject - included in the Catalan language program -  where the children are taught to have an «active loyalty» to Catalan and not to change their language when the other speaker speaks in Spanish. One must "strive and resist", the texts maintain in reference to linguistic consciousness.

 

In Sociolinguistics you learn, for example, that Catalan is a "minority language in the Spanish state and in the French state" and that there are "governments that deny the unity of the Catalan language" by "denying the work of cultural organizations in defense of the language,"  "suppressing validations of Catalan degrees ," "not promoting the public use of Catalan" and "filling public television with Spanish content." 

 

Full article:

https://www.elmundo.es/baleares/2019/02/04/5c57e52821efa0d12d8b4681.html

 

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On 2/26/2019 at 6:56 PM, John Bull said:

Un cafe creme y una San Miguel, por favor.

 

That's the limit of my Spanish, and I'm none-too-sure I've even got that right.:classic_rolleyes:

But in many many trips to Spain language has never been a problem. And those in tourist areas speak exceptionally good English.

 

Believe me - this is a non-issue :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

 

 

Isn't it Cafe con leche?

 

I also have been to Spain many times. and I can just about ask for 2 coffees with milk, where is the supermarket and how much is that please?

 

Everyone speaks English.  But I doI take a phrase book and make the effort somewhat.

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2 hours ago, FiftyOnePlus said:

 

 

Isn't it Cafe con leche?

 

I also have been to Spain many times. and I can just about ask for 2 coffees with milk, where is the supermarket and how much is that please?

 

Everyone speaks English.  But I doI take a phrase book and make the effort somewhat.

 

Yup. :classic_blush:

Got my schoolboy Spanish & my schoolboy French mixed-up.

Realised it too late to edit, so I just hoped that no-one would pick up on it.

Now that I've been rumbled, I'll also admit that una cerveza (beer from the tap) is better value than una San Miguel

 

BTW, when I do make the effort, anywhere in the world, the reply always comes in English.

Not German, not French, not Italian, always English.

So my chances of blending in with locals are nil. :classic_rolleyes:

 

JB :classic_smile: 

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On 2/26/2019 at 6:56 PM, John Bull said:

Un cafe creme y una San Miguel, por favor.

 

That's the limit of my Spanish, and I'm none-too-sure I've even got that right.:classic_rolleyes:

But in many many trips to Spain language has never been a problem. And those in tourist areas speak exceptionally good English.

 

Believe me - this is a non-issue :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

You should ask for “Una caña”..... that is a small draft beer.   Then you say “dos mas” which is 2 more.  Repeat as necessary!!!! 

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If one needs more than cana ( which is probably close to half pint) next size is jarra (close to a pint). 2 canas will always cost more than one jarra. 100 Montaditos chain has very cheap beer, last year was 1.5€ for jarra of Cruzcampo.

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