It doesn’t call a spade ‘a terrestrially extractive horticultural contrivance’, as might Sir Peter Caruana, it calls it ‘a spade’, as might Sir Joe Bossano, if not ‘a bloody shovel’. Gibraltar’s local dialect is peppered with squashed-together English expressions or abbreviated English words pronounced with a Spanish twist. However, according to Gibraltarian linguist Tito Vallejo, a few words common throughout Spain may be of Llanito origin, notably "chachi" meaning "cool" or "brilliant" (from Winston Churchill) and "napia" meaning "big nose" from Lord Napier. The word "Liquirba" in Llanito means "Regaliz" in Spanish, stemming from "Liquorice Bar". Read on to find out why. However, it borrows words and expressions of many other languages, with over 500 words of Genoese (Ligurian) medieval dialect (with additionally some of Hebrew origin). As Francisco Oda, former director of the Gibraltar branch of the Cervantes Institute, recently told a Spanish newspaper: “The new generations do not know half of the vocabulary that we know as Llanito… [A]s Gibraltar becomes more and more British, Llanito, like Spanish, is on the wane among local people.” All the more reason, then, to head to Gibraltar as soon as you can to pick up some of Europe’s most intriguing language. The British overseas territory’s native dialect is a mixture of Andalusian Spanish laced mainly with British words (often with a Spanish pronunciation) as well as many from Genoese, Maltese, and Portuguese. Who needs personal pronouns when you’ve got ‘don’t have!’ or ‘cannot!’ or the verb ‘to be’ when you’ve got ‘your mother not in’? For example, while the Tok Pisin words ‘bagarap’ and ‘bagarapim’ are derived from ‘bugger up’ and ‘bugger up him’ respectively, each has a distinct meaning. Andalusian Spanish from the surrounding Campo de Gibraltar is the main constituent of Llanito, but it is also heavily influenced by British English. , To some outsiders who speak either only English or only Spanish, Llanito may sound incomprehensible, as speakers appear to switch languages in mid-sentence, but to people who are bilingual in both languages, it can sound interesting and unique.
Gibraltarians also call themselves Llanitos.
In Spanish, Llanito means "little flatland" and has been interpreted as "people of the flatlands". Elsewhere in the world, attempts at linguistic separatism or revivalism have often foundered on petty disagreements over whether to spell a word using one letter or letter combination instead of another.
Although Llanito is largely based on the colloquial Spanish spoken in the Campo de Gibraltar, there are numerous elements beyond code-switching to English which make it unique. For example, bacon is pronounced beki; cake, keki (although, these particular words are not prevalent today); and porridge is called kuecaro (a hispanicization of the brand Quaker Oats). These are as follows. Cagona/Panaera: a Gibraltarian one-pound note, The Rock of Gibraltar; Andres Alvarado/flickr, Llanito is the weird and wonderful language of Gibraltar; Bernard-Verougstraete/pixabay, Llanito reflects Gibraltar's various historical influences; quinntheislander/pixabay, Just like its architecture, Gibraltar's language was formed by a blend of different cultures; quinntheislander/pixabay.
When speaking in English, the people of Gibraltar tend to use the word Gibraltarians to refer to themselves but when speaking in Spanish they prefer to use the word Llanitos rather than the Spanish name for their official demonym, Gibraltareños.
When, horror of horrors, the MRT, the city state’s ultra-modern metro broke down, there was an uproar in the press. However, the people of Gibraltar may also be referred to as Llanitos (female: Llanitas). In Yiddish, there is a saying ‘a shprakh is a dialect mit en army un flot’, or ‘a language is a dialect with an army and a navy’. According to the Italian scholar Giulio Vignoli, Llanito originally, in the first decades of the 19th century, was full of Genoese words, later substituted mainly by Spanish words and by some English words.  To this day, nearly 20% of Gibraltarian surnames are Italian in origin. This is because they both have the advantage of being spoken in large, sparsely populated rural areas, and used as the lingua franca, so can ‘dance like nobody’s watching’, in other words, not feel they’re constantly being judged. Llanito’s unique mixture of English and Spanish – in which many Gibraltarians are bilingual – is particularly evident in its calques, a linguistic term which refers to a phrase taken from another language by way of literal translation. "Gli Italiani Dimenticati"; Chapter: Gibilterra, Learn how and when to remove this template message, long standing Jewish population in Gibraltar, A New New English: language, politics, and identity in Gibraltar, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pffC9la_pOc, http://grubstreetenglish.blogspot.com/2010/07/people-of-rock-llanitos-of-gibraltar.html, A searchable database of Gibraltarian sayings and street signs, A weekly comical editorial in exaggerated code-switching Llanito by the daily, ‘Andalunglish’: the English words Spaniards have borrowed from Gibraltar, Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS), Political development in modern Gibraltar, European Union (Referendum) Act 2016 (Gibraltar), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Llanito&oldid=966495396, Articles needing additional references from May 2009, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2016, Articles containing Portuguese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 July 2020, at 12:24.
Ironically, Krio, once scorned as ‘broken English’ or ‘baby talk’, has been so successful as a standardised language that some in Sierra Leone now complain about ‘corruption’ by African languages, with the use of ‘a de pan kam’ (‘I the upon come’) to mean ‘I am coming’ being denounced as a barbarism by those insistent that it should be ‘a de kam’. , The truncated term Llanis is also used by the people of Gibraltar, where it can be heard all around the territory and chanted in songs during the annual Gibraltar National Day. Reflecting the blend of cultures that have shaped Gibraltar itself, Llanito is Europe’s most quirky and intriguing language.
The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation has also aired some programmes in Llanito including Talk About Town – a discussion series in which three presenters discuss local affairs, from the need to replace a street sign to important political affairs. However, while the concept of a language authority is alien to native English speakers, there might be a ‘Real Akademia del Llanito Làngwij’ today.
By contrast, Tok Pisin (from ‘talk pidgin’) in Papua New Guinea and Krio (from ‘creole’) in Sierra Leone have become languages in their own right. One example is “to call someone back”: in Spanish, this would be volver a llamar – “to return a call” – but Llanito takes the Spanish for “back” – atrás – to render the phrase literally as llamar para atrás. Andalusian Spanish from the surrounding Campo de Gibraltar is the main constituent of Llanito, but it is also heavily influenced by British English. Oh well, never mind.
Cancel Unsubscribe … However, while the ‘Speak Mandarin Campaign’ was successful in stamping out Chinese dialects, the ‘Speak Good English Movement’ fared less well trying to discourage the use of Singlish. African-American Vernacular English in the US faces a similar problem, with a racial element to it, though even some black Americans look down on it. Yes, language, as opposed to being ‘Spanglish’ or ‘code-switching’ between Spanish and English, complete with its own orthography, hence Gibraltar being transcribed as ‘Hivertà’, reflecting its pronunciation, albeit following English spelling rules. This term is commonly used in the neighbouring towns of La Línea, San Roque, Algeciras and the rest of the Campo de Gibraltar, as well as in Gibraltar itself.
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