Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remember When . . . The Language Changed?

My poor hero just got shot. Fell overboard. Washed up on a Cuban beach in the Pinar del Rio province, near a few tobacco plantations.

And his poor author suddenly realized that the people there he'd be interacting with would be speaking--gasp--Spanish!

See, I took French in high school. I took French in college (and Ancient Greek). The many, many times I've had characters dealing with French-speaking folk, I do okay. Sure, I'm rusty, but I have that giant, unabridged French-English dictionary sitting on my shelf. I make do. ;-)

Spanish though . . . yeah, my Spanish is limited to what I've learned from Dora and Handy Manny, and the obligatory mannerly phrases. But there's no way around it. Cuba in the 1860s was, quite simply, Spanish. So I must dig out my limited knowledge, pull up an online Spanish-English dictionary, and also call on the help of some fluent Facebook friends who have proven themselves happy to jump into a conversation on which word for "shattered" I should use. ;-)

But the hilarious thing is that, even when I want to pepper in a Spanish word that we all know, I keep messing it up. My thoughts sound something like this: "Okay, 'please.' I know the word for 'please,' obviously. It's s'il vous pl--aggggghhh! Por favor, Roseanna--Spanish. Not French, Spanish!"

So I decided to make another character share my difficulties. ;-) See, one of the primary people in these scenes is a well-educated British man. Who would be fluent in what other language? French! So he, too, gets to keep lasping into the wrong secondary language. =)

Poor Phin will be stranded on Cuba for a couple months. Poor Roseanna will be done writing those scenes in the next couple weeks. But until then, that dictionary tab will stay open in my internet window. Those Facebook friends will remain on call.

And I'll be trying my best not to make a Spanish planter say "Merci, monsieur."


And don't forget to check out the first blog review of Love Finds You in Annapolis! (Which has a few French phrases! LOL) You can leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. =)


  1. I took 2 years of French in high school and one class of Spanish in college. I was always confused...and earned a C in Spanish!

  2. LOL What a fun way to release that frustration. :) I'm sure you'll be THRILLED to be through this part. Have fun anyway ;) (and I took three years of Spanish. Not very good at it. And WISH I'd taken greek - or Latin.)