The first time I heard someone say this was last week when I was at the vet's office leaving the little monsters before my quick trip to Loja and Vilcabamba. Bear had slipped out of her hands, trying to follow me. Venga! Venga! Venga! I had to figure out how to spell that! I just didn't know how to ask. It did remind me of the famous scene in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar when the title character exclaimed "Veni! Vidi! Vici!", which is Italian for " I came! I saw! I conquered".
On my trip back to Paute, the bus stopped for a group of people and the bus driver said "Venga! Venga! Venga! This has become my new catch phrase.
In the Spanish language, all vowels are pronounced and they only have one sound each. The "a" is as in the sound the doctor tells you to make when he tells you to open wide. "Ahhhhh". The "e" sounds like the "a" in cake. The "i" actually sounds like an "e" as in the english word keep. The "o" has the long and definite sound as in oh. Finally, the "u" sounds like the double o sound in stoop. I have a dog named Bear. When my Spanish speaking friends call his name, it sounds just like a southerner in the U.S. ordering their favorite alcoholic beverage at the local bar.
When I first moved to Ecuador, I was intrigued by the word zanahoria. First of all, I could never remember it. It is the Spanish word for carrot. Second of all, it didn't seem Spanish. It didn't flow well to me. When I asked my Ecuadorian friend in Vilcabamba, Lucia, she gently told her gringa friend it was not a Spanish word at all. When the Muslim crusades came to Spain, part of their language was left. Zanahoria is an Arab word.
As with English, which was shaped through the Roman, Germanic and French conquests of the British Isles, Spanish also has the elements of war and conquest. Just the very presence of Spanish in South America is a result of the invasion of Spain more than 500 years ago. The Spanish in Ecuador is a little different from the Castilian Spanish spoken in Europe because some "loan" words come from the indigent Quechua language. In fact, there are 8 to 10 million Quechua speakers in South America. It even has the status of being an official language in both Bolivia and Peru along with Spanish.
History is a passion of mine. The study of the history of languages is called Etymology. Hatians speak a version of French. Vietnamese have some French mixed in their native tongue. Brazilians speak primarily Portuguese. English and a version of Dutch called Afrikaans is spoken in South Africa. There are scatterings of French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch throughout Africa even though there are studies showing anywhere between 1500 and 2000 native tongues in use on that same continent today. The official language of the Congo us French and of Angola, Portuguese. In Asia, Malaysians speak more English in their own country than they do of their traditional Malay.
Yes, learning about languages is fun with a dash of the dark side of war and conquest. I read a book recently that my daughter recommended by Jared Diamond called Guns, Germs, and Steel. It is an amazing history of why some societies succeeded over others and consequently changed the verbal landscape of the conquered lands forever. I recommend it highly.
There are no pictures to compliment this post because pictures of people talking just wouldn't transfer well. I decided to include some fun photographs taken around Paute and Cuenca.
In the meantime, Venga! Venga! Venga! And that is directed to a certain sailing enthusiast in Canada.
|There is a Panama Hat store in Paute. Panama hats were originally created in Ecuador.|
|Awesome graffiti art in Paute.|
|Kids need to have fun!! This was the work of an American in Paute.|
|This is so strange. Young girls wanted to have their pictures taken with me in China, too.|
|Someone to watch over me!|
|Gorgeous art college in Cuenca. I thought it was a church!|