Now you’re Speaking My Language!!

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, traveling on October 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

As you know, I recently moved in with my paisana, Natalie. It’s so lovely to be living with another Canadian. Carnival really tries to let you live with friends, or people from your country and I’m very grateful. Everyone here is wonderful and I love diversity and I love learning about new cultures and languages. However, when you’re far away from home and there’s barely anyone for your country around (there’s 7 Canadians out of 1,160 crew members, I checked yesterday), it’s the most amazing thing when you can reference a Shoppers Drug Mart and not have people look at you as though you’re insane. Natalie said something about Future Shop the other day and I almost cried. Also, being able to speak English really quickly is something I’ve missed. English is such a complicated language (especially when you factor in all the slang) that there are certain nuances that are very difficult to teach. Even people who have been speaking English as a second language for years, while their English is lovely, it’s just not the same as someone who speaks English as their first language. I imagine it’s the same with any language, your second or third or dozenth is never going to be as completely comfortable as your first. I find that as much as I want to learn more languages, there are so many people who want to speak English more fluently, and while I’m very happy to help them, it’s amazing to get to come home at the end of the day and be totally understood. Another thing I’ve had to get used to in the language department, is making my emails very simple and concise. As GSAs, we send emails all over the ship, to all different departments. Sometimes, for the people reading them, English might even be their third or fourth language. Sentences or words that I or some of my colleagues might consider easy to read, may be difficult for others to read, so I have to really concentrate when I send emails to make sure that I’m conveying precisely the message that I want to be conveying, and not confusing the whole ship (sometimes I’m confusing, I’m aware. I’m a work in progress).

While we’re on the language topic, I feel as though I should just write something about ship language. Obviously there’s the typical ship language that is pretty standard; port, starboard, forward, aft. The usual terms. Then there’s the funny ways that the crew speak to each other on a daily basis. In any given day I will use words from at least 5 different languages, only two of which I actually speak fluently. What you end up with is people speaking mostly in English with a medley of accents and a plethora of random words thrown in the mix. Such as:


Paisana/paisano = Italian word meaning a person from your country. (I actually used it at the beginning of this post)

Ciao = also Italian, meaning hello or goodbye, we use it constantly, when entering a room, leaving a room, passing in the hallway or starting/finishing a conversation.

Buenos Dias/noches = good day/night in Spanish (spelling might be off, my spell check is in English, sorry!)

Hola = hello in Spanish

Banana = not actually the fruit. We use it when we’ve gotten in trouble or scolded for something. For example; “I got banana yesterday from my GSM because I forgot to follow up with a guest.” Or “I can’t believe you did that, when the HD hears about it, you’re going to get banana for sure.”


That’s just a few that everyone knows and uses! I also use a few Russian words (which I won’t even bother trying to spell) with my Russian friends, and more Spanish/French words when I’m with someone who speaks those languages. That’s really just a very small sample of the languages around here. There are SO MANY!! It’s such an amazing environment, I love hearing all the languages everyday and I’m dying to learn more! I was working on learning a little Croatian at breakfast this morning!!

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