Spanish and Canarian expressions you must know before visiting Tenerife
Support for the Canarian culture and traditions has become a hallmark at Hotel Suite Villa María. It is a factor that is lived and breathed in every corner of our hotel, either through the architecture that is inspired in the towns of the archipelago, through the gastronomy or the personalized attention, something very much in line with the friendly character of the Canarian people.
The history of the Canary Islands is full of influences. The Atlantic feeling of Portugal, the music and iconography of Cuba and Venezuela, the heritage of British and European trade in the sixteenth century or the evolution of new expressions with the tourist boom of the islands are just a few examples that can help us to understand this relationship with the outside world.
The experience of travelling to any place is always more complete when one is concerned with knowing in depth the peculiarities and curiosities of the destination. Even though here in Tenerife we are able to understand each other perfectly well with all the visitors that we welcome, we are sure that the Spanish and Canarian expressions that we are about to tell you will be very interesting and, above all, very useful during your stay on the island.
Essentials when travelling in Spain
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, but it is also one of the most difficult to learn. It has a multitude of exceptions and interpretations, but you should not fail to give it a chance. Although we live in a globalized world, not everyone can speak English on the Islands -especially older people-, so you will need to remember a few words and expressions.
To say hello, there is nothing like the classic and universal Hola (hello). If you intend to advance to the next level, you can use Buenos días (good morning) in the morning, Buenas tardes (good afternoon) from 12:00 and Buenas noches (good evening) as soon as the sun sets.
Equally important as greeting is knowing how to interact. When you want to request something, don’t forget to use the expression Por favor (please), but if you want to express gratitude, a simple Gracias (thank you) is sufficient -of course, it’s better if it’s accompanied by a smile- ;)On the other hand, if it’s you wish to respond to a thank you, you can respond with a De nada or No hay de qué (you are welcome).
These are just a few basic terms and are very easy to use. Learning a new language is always an adventure and we can guarantee that Spanish can become really exciting.
The best known Canarian terms
Who hasn’t smiled when they hear a local Canarian refer to the bus as a guagua? Probably, this is one of the best known words in the Canarian lexicon and its origin is attributed to the relationship with Cuba. Its explanation is not entirely clear, although two versions stand out: one is the adaptation of the name of the company Wa & Wa Co. Inc. (Washington, Walton, and Company Incorporated), the first to export buses to the island; the other is the Spanish evolution of the English word wagon.
Another of the expressions that most attracts the attention of travellers is cotufas, although this has its own version in the province of Las Palmas, whose substitute would be roscas. This word, which is used to refer to the classic popcorn, is so common that it can be found directly in cinemas and shops. It comes directly to the Islands from Venezuela, although many also claim that it is an adaptation of the English expression corn to fry.
But without a doubt, if we have to refer to a Canarian word that makes us fall in love, gaveta wins the prize. It is nothing more than the term we use to refer to the drawers of the furniture and its origin, like that of many other words, is in the Portuguese language. It is one of our favorite words because of its sonority, although we must warn you that it is also a fairly common term in Latin American countries, such as Chile.
Our particular way of expressing feelings
Learning words from scratch is very difficult, especially if you are not Spanish-speaking, so we have preferred to mention some Canarian locutions easy to use and with which the natives will be able to understand you perfectly.
Expressing feelings is not easy, that’s why we like to use onomatopoeic words like ños or chos, which we usually use to reflect surprise. In this sense, it is not advisable to confuse them with fos, which is basically used to say that something we don’t like or disgusts us.
But if what you are looking for is to be an expert in Canarian lexicon, we recommend to write down three phrases with which you will not go unnoticed among the locals: se me fue el baifo (something like my Little goat run away), to clarify that you are absent-minded or have a mental lapse; tengo jilgorio, if you want to express that you want to eat; and, finally, ya el conejo me enriscó la perra (the rabbit threw my dog), a hunting term that is used when you learn a lesson after a conflict.
Many of these phrases or expressions may seem strange to you, but we invite you to use them during your stay in our hotel. Every day languages disappear all over the world and giving them the importance they deserve is a everyone’s job.
Moreover, if you are interested in the subject, we recommend two references for you to learn other terms and expressions: one is the website of the Academia Canaria de la Lengua (Canarian Laguage Academy), where you will find many documents of interest and will be able to consult the meaning of many words; and another is the book Expresiones Canarias (Canarian Expressions), by Juan José Doras Brito, which collects the main phrases and terms of the Islands, not without ignoring the humor that characterizes many of the stories behind them. We are sure you will love them!