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Spanish is the Language of Costa Rica
By Josep Bernandez Blazquez

OPINION – I’d like to introduce myself, I am a Catalonian boy. Catalonia is a Spanish territory, which for over 30 years suffered the repression of the Spanish dictatorship, depriving us of our own language, as much in the social environment as in daily life. It is a town that, following a war and dictatorship, knew to rise up and conserve its culture, customs and language, in spite of everything.

I lived in Nosara, Costa Rica for 15 months, a splendid land, marvelous people, but I found something that at first surprised me and now sometimes upsets me. I’ll explain myself. As a Catalonian, I cannot see how people submit to tourists who come here from outside of Costa Rica and speak another language, usually English. Many will tell me that Costa Rica lives off of tourism, okay I accept that. But many tourists come to Catalonia, thinking that they are coming to a Spanish territory, and therefore they can speak in Castilian. What a surprise for them to find that the people who live there speak to them in Catalan. They are shocked and don’t know what to do, but the Catalonians continued to speak in Catalan. According to official tourism data, in 2007 Catalonia received 1.8 million tourists, therefore, people live off of tourism there, too.

In the 15 months of living in Nosara, I have seen that the Ticos here do not look after their language, do not look after their roots. They look too much to the foreigner and they don’t pay for it now, but they will in the future. How so? One day a Tico will not be able to have a piece of land because the prices will be too exorbitant or a Costa Rican will not be able to work because he won’t know English.

It bothers me to see the ease that is always given to the foreigner…it bothers me to see or go to places in Nosara, restaurants for example, and not see a menu in Spanish, only in English; to see personnel that only speak English and do not attend to people in Spanish and not be bothered by this and many don’t even know the language. In Catalonia businesses are required by law to have signs in Catalan, menus in Catalan. Another excuse that I’ve heard is that only “gringos’ come here, seriously? I know and see French, Swiss, German, Argentinean, Uruguayan and a large eclectic group of people almost everyday. Now we’re not only disrespecting the Ticos, but we’re failing to respect any non English-speaking tourist as well.

In conclusion what I would like to see as a result of this writing, that the people of Nosara wake up right away. People can treat foreigners as they should be treated, that is, in a hospitable, educated, and service oriented manner, but let it be done in Spanish. Let the foreign tourist or resident learn the Spanish language. Costa Ricans: Love your language and your culture more!

Business owners: It is not civilized to treat someone poorly if they do not speak English, to treat them as if they are not worth anything or they do not have money, as if the English speaker certainly must. I can speak from experience because it has happened to me on more than one occasion.

And to the foreigners, from you I ask for a little bit more humility, education and respect for the language of the land.

More Community News

Nicoya Public Library with Internet Room

The Nicoya public library has entered the modern world and now has ten computers connected to the Internet.

The project was initiated by the National System of Public Libraries (Sinabi) and relies on support from the Nicoya Municipality, which took charge of remodeling the building in order to install the computers and provide better service to users. More >

More News from Escuelita de Verano

Thank you to everyone who has come to support us at the Organic Market. We have made some progress selling calendars and passports, but we still have many to sell. If you have not purchased a calendar yet you can now find them at many shops, restaurants, and hotels around town. With every calendar sale you will be sponsoring a child to attend this year’s program. More >

It's all happening at the Organic Market

Get your market bags and coolers ready for another season of fresh, local foods; crafts and a lot more. On December 12th, Giardino Tropicale, in Playa Guiones, officially started its 3rd season of Nosara’s only local, outdoor organic market. And every year the market gets bigger and bigger! The market runs every Saturday from 8AM to 1PM, in the parking lot of Pizzeria Giardino Tropicale. More >

Free Evening Talks offered by Blue Spirit

The newly opened Blue Spirit retreat center is offering the Nosara community the opportunity to come together and be inspired by a group of world-renowned thinkers and leaders in their fields.

Blue Spirit has created the series of five free talks that will be held every Monday from January 4th to February 15th from 7:30-8:30 pm. The series will be hosted at The Yoga House, located in Guiones. More >

Alianza Verde Starts Community Garden

SÁMARA– We decided to beautify the field next to the police department and gathered up all the trash and debris and cleaned up the area. We planted 20 palmeras given to us by Tyrone Jackson and Laura Ellington of Intercultura as well as some plants. Coldwell Banker donated some supplies and one of their workers, Afro, helped us clean up the area. More >

Letter to the Editor – A War Caused by the Water

I could have never imagined that it would occur in my peaceful country, but today we are experiencing a war caused by the water thanks to the current management of the ASADA at Nosara’s American Project. This association is run by foreigners who do not respect Costa Rican Laws and, on the contrary, they show great skepticism and disdain towards the government and the country in which they so comfortably reside. More >

The Beach & Beyond – Rise And Shine 2010

When the New Year arrives it’s traditional to revisit the highs and lows of the previous year. 2009 gave people in Nosara and the world at large more to contemplate than celebrate. A lot of people lost their heads and then lost their shirts which pulled the rug out from underneath the rest of us. Given the number and intensity of economic disasters combined one could say we’ve been living dangerously, even say we’ve suffered an acute case of collective denial. More >

Why Collaborate with the Committee to Protect the Childhood and Adolescence of South Esperanza?

In order to collaborate with the communal development association, with the important priority attention to all the relative aspects of underage people. To watch for the effective defense of the rights and guarantees of underage people.

To function as a center for mediation in conflict resolution in which the committee has the opportunity to intervene and protect, under the principles of free assembly, the transparency, equality and confidentiality of underage people. More >


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