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A Question About Gallego

kstaylor

Member
How similar to Portuguese is Gallego? I'll be walking to Santiago from Porto starting mid-April and hoping I can get by without lugging a Spanish-English dictionary with me. By the time I get to Tui my ears should certainly have adjusted to the differences between the Portuguese I learned in Brazil many years ago and the way it is spoken in Portugal. Will I be able to understand Gallego, at least enough for a basic conversation?

I've looked at the online newspaper, Galicia Hoxe, and find I can read most of it -- the main stumbling blocks are political names, acronyms, local organizations, etc. But that is not the same as hearing it. Is the Gallego 'x' pronounced like the Portuguese 'j'? Would 'hoxe' in Galicia be pronounced the same as 'hoje' in Portugal?

Thank you,
Kit Taylor
http://www.arovingvision.com
kst@arovingvision.com
 
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Galician is a sort of half-way house between Portuguese and Castilian. Back in the times of the Cantigas de Sta Maria, Galicians and Portuguese used the same language, but the Portuguese deliberately accentuated the differences with Spain, so they drifted apart. Galician has the same definite articles for instance, and, yes, the 'x' is as in Portuguese, though Galician has the Castilian lisp. But it doesn't have the peculiarities of Portuguese like final 's' as 'sh' which makes Portuguese harder to understand (at least for me :) ) than Castilian. Personally, I find spoken Galician much easier to understand than Portuguese - tho I'm afraid I know nothing about the Brazilian version. And no doubt if I spent any great time in Portugal, I would soon get used to the lingo.

As Ivar suggests, try the TV or radio, tho I suspect if they think you're a foreigner Galicians will address you in Castilian anyway, not Galician

Topographically and climatically, Galicia belongs with N Portugal, not Spain. I suspect if it hadn't been for the cult of Santiago making Galicia central to the Spanish identity, Galicia might well be part of Portugal today :)

Oh, and in Galician it's Galego - Gallego is the Castilian spelling :)
 

kstaylor

Member
Ivar & Peter,

Thank you, I'll check out the TV.

",,,it doesn't have the peculiarities of Portuguese like final 's' as 'sh' which makes Portuguese harder to understand (at least for me :) ) than Castilian."

In Brazil it is just pronounced as a final 's' -- one of the most notable differences between the two versions of Portuguese. It threw me for a while when I was in Portugal in 1980. It took me about three days to tune my ears to understand it well, although the Portuguese understood me right off.

"...I suspect if they think you're a foreigner Galicians will address you in Castilian anyway, not Galician" -- until they hear my clumsy attempts at Castilian, :)


"Oh, and in Galician it's Galego - Gallego is the Castilian spelling" Thank you -- that explains why I was confused about the spelling.

Kit Taylor
http://www.arovingvision.com
kst@arovingvision.com
 
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henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
It’s certainly ‘de la frontera’. You’ll understand everything you’re likely to need, but better to stick to Portuguese and Castilian if you want to communicate with certainty.

It may just be me, but I find it easier to read the Castilian-written newspaper Voz de Galicia, than I do newspapers in Madrid. I wonder if it’s written in slightly more accessible grammar?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
First, Galician and Portuguese are sister languages; they evolved from a common ancestor, not one from the other.

The Langfocus YouTube channel has these Portuguese related videos. They are presented in English.


And here's one about about Portuguese sounding like some Slavic languages (I think it does)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is a very old thread but a fun topic.

I have watched the TV news in Galego and am surprised at how much I understand. My impression, though I may be wrong, is that all of the broadcasters are native Castilian speakers. But when I am in the villages, I cannot understand one word of Galego.

The video in the first post of this threadis a good example. I think anyone who speaks good castellano can understand the speaker, though she is speaking in Galego (in fact one forum member thought she was speaking Spanish!). It bears very little resemblance to what you will hear in bars and stores in Galician towns.
 
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Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Ooh, one of my favorite subjects! As someone who already spoke Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, I found that I understood Galego quite easily once I made an effort to. On my first couple of trips to Galicia, I could read signs effortlessly but didn't catch much of what I heard on the streets. A few years later, though, when I actually started learning Galego, I was able to listen to podcasts, watch videos and read books from the beginning.

As for whether someone who spoke only Portuguese but not Spanish would understand Galego, I would say largely yes. But, as Peter Robins said above, the difficulty will be in convincing locals to speak to you in Galego. Prejudices against the language are deeply ingrained, and many people still consider it to be suitable only for speaking at home, not in formal contexts (such as at a doctor's office) and not with foreigners. And sadly, these days many people in Galicia simply can't speak it, especially the younger generations.

But if you persevere, breaking through into the Galego-speaking world is very rewarding and offers up the chance to understand Galicia on a much deeper level.

Here's an updated link to Galician television to replace the one that Ivar left back in 2010: http://www.crtvg.es/tvg

There are also some great YouTube channels in Galego these days. I can recommend a few if anyone is interested, starting with my own ;-)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
And here's one about about Portuguese sounding like some Slavic languages (I think it does) -
Although it's not about the Galician language but about the Portuguese language, thank you for posting the link to this video!!! Really interesting and I learnt a ton of stuff!

And, yes, I am one of these people who have to strain their ears to make sure that they hear the speaker talk in Portuguese and not in Russian.

Obrigada & спасибо.
 

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