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Spanish is the official language of the flower business.

Spanish is the official language of the flower business.

Spanish is the official language of the flower business

I decided to have a little fun with this subject today. Let me first declare that I live in Miami where the official language is only one ‘cafe con leche’ away from being Spanish.

Of course the Global flower business is mostly conducted in English for the same reason that the airline business is conducted in English. It is widely used and there needs to be a universal standard.

Obviously the preferred language is dictated by the country where the business is conducted. Dutch in Holland, Italian in Italy and Spanglish in Miami. With that said, and since we know that lots of flowers come from South and Central America, it is not a far reach to make the claim that the official Flower language is Spanish, at least from where I sit.

If you were dropped off in the middle of the Miami flower district (or anywhere in Miami) you would be wise to know the difference between a colada and a colonoscopy. The floral business here in this most northern South American city is, for the most part, conducted in Spanish. The employees of truckers, airlines, warehouses, restaurants and everyone in between are likely to greet you and conduct business in Spanish before English.

Unless of course you look like a real gringo, in which case they will wonder what you are doing there and assume you came from, “up north” and are lost.

Once the flowers have been domesticated, the language switches to English as the North American customers are all speaking English as a first language. At least for now!

The backdrop for all of the Latinness is Miami, Florida which is more and more Latino every day.

I do not state these facts with any regrets as I love the multicultural element of Miami and the fact that I can speak a little Spanish allows me to, get by. The city is a vibrant place full of culture but it can be very challenging in many ways when your language skills are put to the test as a, long time, English speaking resident.

When in Miami one needs to do little more than listen to your surroundings to discover that “you’re not in Kansas anymore”. Even the dogs in Miami understand Spanish!

Miami is a city where it is possible to exist quite comfortably speaking only Spanish. To get any retail job you must speak at least Spanish and some English. Miami is also a city where just about any kid older than ten can act as a translator for you. That alone is enough to make a New Jersey grown man move to another city.

With all of the latest talk about immigration one could casually observe Miami and make a case that the city has been taken over by Latinos and I suggest that you would not be wrong.

But using the “Latino” word is too simple if you live here. Those from the southern hemisphere might all speak the same language they are from very different countries. Miami is a melting pot of many Latin cultures and there are differences between Colombians, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Argentineans, and a Spanish mouthful of other countries.

Miami is the poster child of immigration and if you embrace her she will welcome you but if you think everyone should speak English like you do then “adios amigo”.

Remember to wear your sunscreen Miami is “Caliente”

 

2 Comments

  • Mauricio

    Indeed that should be a subject discussed here. And I welcome any and all comments.

  • Hi Williee,

    RE your “there needs to be a universal standard”.
    Handling & logistics of flowers, from origin to the retailer(as any other perishable), are key to their performance at the vases.
    Should that not be an important topic in this site?

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