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

Monday, June 13, 2016

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

If you haven't read part 1part 2part 3part 4, part 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. Let's jump straight in!

1. The Navarran accent - any word in the past tense ends with the sufix -ado, which is pronounced ah-doh but in Navarra, they simply say ow. For example, gustado means "liked" and should be pronounced goo-stah-doh but in Navarra is pronounced goost-ow. Not confusing at all!

2. The Navarran use of subjunctive - hubiera/hubiese are the two different auxiliary verbs in the past subjunctive, but in Navarra and Pais Vasco, it is common to hear them use habria (the conditional) instead. [author's note: my Spanish isn't strong enough to give you examples, so just understand that it is weird and difficult to understand for non-native speakers.]

3. Masculine and feminine - All adjectives and most nouns in Spanish have a masculine version and a feminine version, except third person pronouns, like su, "his/her" and the verb es, "s/he". This is the opposite in English, where no adjectives and few nouns have masculine and feminine version, but all third person pronouns do.

4. Venga - "Alright/come/let's go/OK/plus more definitions" is a common filler word. I say it a lot as it makes me feel more spanish, especially before saying goodbye. Venga, hasta luego!

5. Boca a boca - not "mouth to mouth" like it seems, but rather "word of mouth". For some reason the Spanish don't seem to talk to your ear, but rather directly into your mouth. This can be confirmed any time you talk to someone you don't know and they cross deep into your personal territory so they can talk into your mouth. 

6. Tal y cual - "and such". I love this expression. It is a way to make your list seem longer without actually having to list specific things. Perfect for small-vocabulary-havers. 

7. Cabroncito/a - It is so weird that this is an endearing term as it literally means "little a**hole". Ah, Spanish affection.

8. Si, no? - "Yes, no?" At first it sounds like they are being indecisive, but it is just the Spanish way of saying "right?" or "isn't it?". 

9. Tiquismiquis - "picky" or "selective". I love wordreference's translation of this to English as "fusspot". What in the world is a fusspot???

10. Caña - "beer/ fishing rod/ great guy". Eres la caña para darme la caña y una caña. means "You're a great guy for for handing me the fishing rod and a beer".

11. Negar - "to deny". White Americans will likely steer clear of this word, simply because it sounds so close to a hotly debated racial term. 

12. Friki - "fanatic/geek". It is so funny when a Spaniard tells an American that they are friki ("freaky" is what is what it sounds like). Where will that conversation go next? But, usually it is used when they want to say how much they are into something, for instance, Star Wars or bicycling. 

13. Ultra - it roughly means "extreme" or "extremist", but is used also to say someone is going over the top in something. 
-Desayuno clavos! "I eat nails for breakfast". 
-Este tio es ultra! "This guy is extreme!"

14. Chirmiri - it sounds like it a Mexican food, but it actually refers to light rain, when it is "drizzling". And, you say "it is falling" chirimiri.

15. Random things that are punny (funny because of a pun, therefore not funny because few people understand, but if you do understand, are hilarious, like to me):

-Bicarbonato sounds like "Be carbonato". What if i don't want to be carbonato? 

-Me voy sounds like "meh boy". Me voy,  but you girl. 

16. Words that are advanced in English, but everyday in Spanish (aka, things I've heard Spanish 4th graders saying in English):


17. Funny mistranslations - some common ways Spanish people say certain phrases, that are not necessarily wrong in English, but sound funny: 
We go? = Are we going? / Can we go?
It's ok for you? = Is that ok with you? / Does that work for you?
Is going. = S/he is going.
I like it very a lot. = I like it very much.

18. Fun with common Spanish names and their literal definitions:
Benjamin = youngest child in the family
Alma = soul
Paloma = pigeon
Pilar = pillar
Blanca = white

19. And these are a play on English words:
Ainhoa = "i know a.."
Iñigo = "in ya go"

What do you think? 

Thanks for reading! Remember to read part 1part 2part 3part 4part 6, part 7For more on my life in Navarra, check out VEN con TMax.

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)



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