Any time you have a language as big and widely spoken as Spanish, you’re bound to face a slew of dialects. Indeed, not only are Latin American Spanish and European Spanish different in a myriad of ways, but both regions are also home to a wide range of dialects, sometimes substantially divergent. In Spain, the main distinction is between Castilian, the basis of the country’s standard language, and Andalusian, which dominates the southern portion of the country. Latin American Spanish dialects are largely derived from Andalusian, but they aren’t the only ones—Llanito is also a particularly unique descendant of Andalusian Spanish.
Llanito is the unique Spanish vernacular spoken in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory nestled snuggly at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. As a British territory, Gibraltar’s official language is English, and in recent years, English has been increasing in importance in the region, stifling the territory’s other key languages, Spanish and Llanito. Llanito is exclusive to Gibraltar, a result of the mixing of Spanish and English—essentially, it’s a Spanish dialect laced with English words and, to a lesser degree, words from other languages, such as Ligurian.
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The unique world of Llanito
Being a British territory, most Gibraltarians are native speakers of English, but given their extremely close proximity to Spain, Spanish is a mandatory subject in Gibraltarian schools. Unfortunately, the increasing importance of English in the territory is pushing out Llanito, with many younger Gibraltarians unable to speak Llanito despite a good knowledge of Spanish. Since Llanito is an important element of the Gibraltarian identity, this concerns older Gibraltarians and language activists alike.
Llanito is characterized by its intense mixing of Andalusian Spanish and British English. The language is officially classified as an Andalusian Spanish dialect, but Spanish speakers would require proficiency in English to understand the unique vernacular. Code-switching is common in Llanito, with speakers switching seamlessly between Spanish and English expressions. The language has, naturally, borrowed or incorporated a number of words from English, and literal translations of English phrases into Spanish would confuse a Spaniard. Similarly, Llanito also uses unique English phrases that have been directly translated from Spanish, such as “Don’t give me the tin,” translated literally from Spanish’s No me des la lata, meaning “Stop annoying me.”
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Llanito is unique, to say the least, and though the language is facing the threat of endangerment as the younger generation fails to acquire it, it remains a source of great pride for the Gibraltarian people. That’s why our Llanito translators, who come from all over the small territory, are passionate about translating to and from Llanito, no matter what kind of document you want translated.
With experience in different areas of translation, our Llanito translators can skillfully navigate the challenges of different types of translation, such as business translation, pedagogical translation, and literary translation. Business translation is great if your organization is moving into Gibraltar and you really want to connect with the locals—English works, but a Llanito translation of your marketing collateral shows your dedication to the proud territory. Pedagogical translation is an excellent way to help young Gibraltarians acquire the language—we can translate educational content into Llanito, regardless of the subject matter. Literary translation is always a prime approach to language revitalization—we can translate traditional Llanito stories into English to give Gibraltar more prominence on the world stage, and at the same time, we can translate books, poems, apps, games, websites, and more into Llanito, helping the language thrive now and in the future.
Our Llanito translators can’t wait to work with you, so why not send us a message today?