Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

14 Even Yet More Fun Things This American Has Learned About The Spanish Language

It was inevitable. There was no way that it wasn't going to happen. You all were waiting for it. You weren't sure when it would come, but you knew I wouldn't be able to resist. You knew I kept immersing myself and that I was bound to stumble upon more random and quirky things about the Spanish language. 

Apple will be jealous of the amount of people waiting outside my blog door for this new post to become available to the public. Well, for all two of you who were waiting for this moment, it has arrived. 

If you haven't read part 1, part 2part 3part 5part 6part 7, or part 8 you don't have to start with them for this to make sense, but they will be fun to read later.

1. Canguro is a kangaroo, or a babysitter. Makes sense. 

2. Greetings - Why are buenas días, buenas tardes, and buenas noches (good morning, good afternoon, and good evening) all plural? We are usually only referring to one day. And isn't día masculine, therefore it should be buenos días or bueno día

3. Fun with phonics - Eso es means "that's it", but in an English speaking country, you'd be calling for help (SOS).

4. Yay grammar! In Spanish, they never use the last comma in a list, while in English, it seems you can use it or not, depending on how you feel that day.

5. Cancer de mama - This is the way that the Spanish refer to breast cancer. It must have been an explanation to a child that caught on and now is a mainstream term.

6. Wait, what? Olive is aceituna, and oil is aceite, so olive oil should be aceite de aceituna, right? No. It's aceite de oliva. Why not just call olives olivas then?

7. Pisar means "walk on", not "to piss" - When walking around public gardens, you'll see signs that say prohibido pisar, which doesn't mean you can't pee there, but rather that you cannot walk there. Pee at will! 

8. Plural abbreviations - The United States in Spanish is los estados unidos, but the abbreviation is EEUU. This goes for time as well, as hours, minutes, and seconds are "hh","mm", and "ss". I'm sure there is an explanation but I'm just too lazy to look it up. Someone tell me in the comments please.

9. No más da - Literally means "it doesn't give anymore" but translates to "it doesn't matter". Quite useful.

10. Titulitis - If you read my spanish-language blog entry Sabes que me sacas de mis casillas pt. 3, then you will know that this is a syndrome that those who hire people get, when they value and require certifications and school over skill or experience.

11. People is - I've verified that Spanish is the only language that I know (I only know three), that makes the word gente (people) singular. Though in ebonics... people be. 

12. VIP (beep) - So, the Spanish have borrowed an acronym from the English speakers, but instead of saying each letter separately, they read it as a word. So, if you are really important in Spain, you are a "beep". Not sure if that's the censors stopping us from saying a word or if the roadrunner is Spanish, but that's how they say it. I notice, they also say other acronyms as words, like oo-sah (USA) and oo-cluh (UCLA). 

13. Es que - Working with children, I hear this one a lot, and it is almost always the beginning of an excuse. I would relate it to American English's "see what had happened was".

14. Eres un crack - No, you are not being called a drug addict, but rather that "you're great" or guay. Though it can also refer to the drug.

What do you think? 

Thanks for reading! For more on my life in Navarra, check out VEN con TMax. Remember to read part 1part 2part 3part 5part 6, part 7 of this series.

This list is based on my experiences and I'm curious if you agree of disagree. For the non-Spanish speakers, what fun expressions have you learned? For the Spanish speakers, how do you feel about these, or the inverse, from other languages?

(some of the images/videos used in this post are from other sources and not my own)

Location: Pamplona, Navarra, España


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