This is a work in progress: come back again to get more insights :)
If you've been to Spain - or want to move there - you may know that Andalusia, the southernmost region is where Spaniards live better. It is, however, also the most difficult dialect - even for native Spanish speakers.
Tips to understand Andalusian, or beginning to decipher it:
- If you hear ao or á, it is most likely -ado in origin, in Spanish. "Cansado/a" would become cansao, cansá.
- The equivalent of the French liaison exists in Andalusia: "se ha caído" would become sa caío. Everything that can be contracted, will be.
- Andalusian merges most things even with consonants. It is very hard to pronounce certain consonants at the end of a word, so there's a way to "soften" them. La moto (the motorcycle) will become amoto, and la radio will become arradio.
- The seseo: in most of Andalusia, the "z", "s" and "c" in front of "e" and "i" will become S. Simplify. If you can say sapatiya instead of "zapatilla", you will.
- LL becomes Y. As in me yamo Sonia. That's how it sounds.
- L gets often turned into an R, especially with articles, if there's a liaison coming - then el tío ese (that dude) would become er tío ese.
- Verbs like espérate and escúchame will become pérate and cúchame. Too many consontants. Let's throw them away.
- There are many words (particularly adjectives) that aren't used at all outside Andalusia. If you really want to learn Spanish, I'd suggest you go around with a pocket notebook and a pen to write down those words that you don't understand and may not be found in a dictionary. Ask them to write it down, for your mental health's sake.
- With some things you'll be able to decipher certain words from the context. Some other words, unless you know Arabic, will not come easy to mind. That is because Andalusian, due to its historic Islamic heritage, has a huge amount of Arabic loanwords that are used instead of the Latin word that is used in most of Spain. I grew up with alcoba instead of habitación, and alacrán instead of scorpion.
- Andalusia has its own measuring units. At first you may be terrified, but then you'll love them and use them (there are even comedy stand-ups on this). They are generally known to be as follows, from smaller to bigger: un pelín, una mihilla, un peazo, una jartá, una pechá, and un huevo. Some even add un puñao, and una chispilla.
- Anything that is little or you want to turn into a diminutive will have the suffix -illo or -ico.
If you don't understand the word even without the Andalusian factor, it may be slang. Get your teacher to help you with slang, or ask me.
Ala, more on Andalusian to come soon!