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PV Living: Attempting to Learn The Spanish Language

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April 8, 2019

Knowing how to speak Spanish is no longer a prerequisite for those visiting or living in Puerto Vallarta but, as guests in this country, you should at least learn to correctly pronounce the names of some of the places you visit.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - As years go on in our residency of Puerto Vallarta, we've found it amazing how many people speak English; the waiters, the ladies at the lavanderia, bartenders, the veterinarian we take the pup to see for his yearly exam. Even some of the taxi and bus drivers.

It is an honor to live in a country where the locals have made it their business to learn our language so as to better serve us. In turn, we have worked hard to learn how to say some of the more difficult pronunciations, out of respect.

Even when we badly garble the Spanish and Nahuatl, we feel like we've at least tried and found locals cheerful and accepting of our solemn attempts. Nahuatl is a local tongue, spoken by many indigenous people, many of whom don't speak Spanish.

It causes us to chuckle sometimes, but we also feel a certain amount of frustration when we hear visitors, as well as some long-time residents in Puerto Vallarta, abbreviate some of the simplest pronunciations.

Basilio Badillo is a main street in Puerto Vallarta. Located on this street are entertainment venues, fine dining and taco stands, art galleries, boutiques, locally run shops and street vendors, and the path to the tunnels that lead out of town. As of late, we have heard it being referred to as "BB Street." Basilio Badillo is not difficult to wrap one's teeth around. The two L's make a Y, and the rest of it is completely phonetic, just like the Spanish alphabet.

Pitillal is not PTL, though surely anyone would know what you're talking about when you refer to it as such. PTL is often used for 'Praise The Lord,' and though there is a large church in the middle of town, there is no relation to any ministries, nor to 'Pushing The Limit,' another meaning for this acronym. We've also heard it pronounced "Pity-L." The correct way to say the name of this quaint little suburb of Puerto Vallarta is Pee-Tee-Yall.

Harder to pronounce perhaps, is La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, the name of anther town about 25 Km north of Puerto Vallarta. It's perfectly acceptable to simply say "La Cruz" (The Cross) but it's nice to know that Huanacaxtle is a type of wood found in the area, of which a cross is erected at the entrance of the village.

Cuates y Cuetes, often called "CYC" or "C-and-C," is a favorite watering-hole at the beach, next to the pier. It, too, can be easily pronounced, if one gets a handle of the Spanish alphabet and realizes that the language is amazingly phonetic, compared to English, and doesn't contain a lot of there/they're/there types of conundrums. Cuates y Cuetes is pronounced Coo-wtt-es E Coo-wt-us. Simply saying "Cuates" is considered entirely appropriate.

PV is probably the most annoying for locals. To them, it's a sign of gringos who are always in such a hurry they can't even take the time to learn how to pronounce the name of the town, Puerto Vallarta.

Que es cmo es.

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