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Language

The further you go from cities and tourist resorts the less chance there will be of finding an English speaker. Basques (call it Euskade if speaking to a Basque) Galicians and Catalans all speak their own language but will understand Castilian. Fortunately (unlike English) Spanish spelling / pronounciationis entirely logical and regular. Once you have learnt the rules you will be able to make yourself understood from your phrase book. You can then ask 'closed' questions with a 'si' or 'non' answer. ( say "is the town square this way" while pointing, not "where is the town square" which will get a complex reply that you may not understand). Spanish is one of the worlds most widespread languages and is of course invaluable in South America.

'Rough and ready' pronunciation guide.


There are just a few rules to learn here but the good thing is there are no exceptions, so once you know these you will be able to pronounce any spanish word you see. "J" is sounded rather like "h" and "Z" like "th". So the town where sherry comes from (Jerez) is "hereth". "ll" is not double "l" but a single letter sounded as "yah". Therefore a Spanish omelette (tortilla) is a "tort-ee-a" and a sandwich (bocadillo) is a "boc-a-de-yo", Another single letter "Ch" is sounded as "chey", rather similar to english but beware when using the dictionary (after C, before D!). "C" and "G" are softened/lisped when followd by "e" or "I". The town of Caceres is "Ka-the-res". Guerrilla is "Ger-ree-yah". Gigante meaning large, often applied to a maize snack is something like "Hiy-gant-ee" just think of Manuel in Fawlty Towers saying "How are you". The letter "Z" followed by an "a","o" or "u" is pronounced "tha" "tho" or "thu". You will sometimes find some imported words like "Zinc", also lisped. Every letter is sounded - unlike French - so pronounce "e" at the end of a word- Lanzarote "lanth-a-rotay", Tenerife "tenner-reef-ay". Emphasis is placed on the penultimate syllable - "MADrid" "O" is a short sound as in "cot", don't add a "w" sound to the end as we often do in english. An accented "" is "ni" or "ny". The Boy "El Nio" is "neenyo" not "knee-know". "H" is silent but emphasises the following letter. "Hotel" is "Otel". Of course you already knew Mallorca (or Majorca) is "ma-york-ah" didn't

you? In Gallego (Galician), Basque and Catalan "x"s are common. "Txakoli" (the Basque wine) is pronounced "Chack-o-lee". Some gallego words replace the "j" with an "x" as in "Xunta" for "Junta" (town council) or "Xose" for "Jose" which are then pronounced "chunt-ah" and "choseay" respectively. In Catalan the "x" sound is closer to the castilian "j". The alphabet

Mountain vocabulary
andnn, majada - an alp or flat area on a ladern,ladera - mountainside, mountain arroyo- small river arista- arete agarre- hold aguja- spire or pinnacle bed cabezo- rounded hill caldera,calderilla - crater caminoreal - old public path (paved) or transhumance drove road*. canal- gully caada- flat gravel bed (former lake) cara -face cima -summit cornisa,repisa, vira - ledge degollada,horcado - coll embalse- reservoir hillside ladera- small gully or valley on hillside lago -lake lomo -slope or ridge mesa,meseta - literally table, plateau or tableland neve -snow neveron- snow peak mirador- viewpoint montaa- mountain morro- one of those vertical sided, flat topped mountains you see in westerns!Are they bluffs? puerto- pass pico -peak piolet- ice axe

barranco,barranquillo - ravine, dry river llano- flats, plain

* ten drovers trails cross Spain from Leon, recorrido- ascent(distance)


Roija and Cuenca in the north to south. risco- cliff senda- path vega -high pasture,alp (hence Las Vegas-the meadows!) Extremadura, Andalucia and Valencia in the roque- rocks, outcrops