My Friend Spanish: Lesson 243 – don’t call it Spanish

The other day I was taking out some money from an ATM machine (in about a hundred years, all we will speak in is acronyms), and I came across a surprise.  It wasn’t that I was taking money out, nor that I had any money to even withdraw, though it might raise a few eyebrows, but rather that the section indicating the language I wanted use to proceed with the operation (I was tempted to go for Turkish, but don’t know know the word for “checking account”, and noticed that one choice said “español”.

     Now a bunch of you may be saying, “duh, no kidding Brian.”  Others may think I am under the 2:45 a.m. effect, and most may have moved on to another website, but if you are still hanging on, let me say that you are in for a few lines of immense illumination: it shall be your prize for patience and perserverence.

    You see, as odd as it may seem, most ATMs don’t denote the language as such, but rather as “castellano” or the language of Castile, which in a sense is the most accurate term.  You see, there are five official languages in Spain, none of them are English or Turkish, but rather Spanish and four regional tongues of greater or lesser presence.  Two are actually identical, but I have discussed that in another post.

      Anyway, many people in Spain (especially)  take offence to the use of español because they feel it is an imposition and they do have a point.  Afterall, it would be as if we called English (the language of England) “British”.  The Welsh and Scots would have good reason to take issue with the term.   It’s not the only language they use on that island.  The same thing here.  The thing is, “español” has been the term used for centuries and volumes have been written on the subject.  But “castellano” is equally valid and common.

    Where’s the problem?  None really, other than that it has become somewhat politically correct to called “español” “castellano” so as not to ruffle any feathers, which is why you see it in so many official places. What grabbed my attention was that the ATM machine belonged to a Catalan bank (Catalonia being one of the most fervent defenders of its language).  Now that makes sense…then again the Catalans also have the reputation of being Spain’s shrewdest businessmen…so maybe it does.

        Ok.  You can go to another website.  That’s all I have to say for today.  Oh…It’s three in the morning…be gentle with my lax proofreading…