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

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

27 Aun Más Still Even Yet More Fun Things This American Has Learned About The Spanish Language

I think we all know the drill by now. If not, you should check out the other installments of this post:

Part one - New to Spanish
Part two - Getting the hang of it
Part three - Hitting my stride
Part four - Finding myself in native territory
Part five - Feel like a native for two minutes before reality hits
Part six - Realizing that I'm nowhere near native
Part eight - Still learning even though I'm not in Spain 

En arroz y habichuelas (Puerto Rican spanish = meat and potatoes)

As you see in the heading, there are many differences between Spain Spanish (SPA) and Latin American Spanish (LAS). I don't know from which part of Latin America you can find these expressions, so that is why they are lumped into one me-being-very-lazy-category. This list is inexhaustible, but here are a few that resonate with me:

1. Carro de bebes (cart of babies) vs. el coche de niños (car for children). Now it makes sense why in North America, you often see children up to 5 years old in them.

2. Zumo vs. jugo (juice). But in Spain jugoso [not zumoso] means "juicy".

3. Coger (to take/grab) vs. (to f*#$). Wow, that is not a slight difference, but a huge, potentially disastrous difference! This is not something you want to confuse. Imagine cogiendo su abuelo (his/her grandfather)... or maybe better not to imagine it.

False acquaintances

4. Ultramarino - sounds like some sort of super sailor or Popeye on steroid-laced spinach, but it is actually what they called a small store that sold a bit of everything. Similar to what we used to call a General Store in USA.

5. Sobremesa - sounds like a centerpiece or tablecloth, but it actually refers to the conversation that Spanish people have during and after meals.

Words that make you go "hmm"

6. Nini - ni trabajo, ni estudio - someone who doesn't work nor goes to school. A bum.

7. Americanada - typical American saying or behavior, or an American movie. Not "America nothing".

8. Ininterrumpidamente - without interruption. It's just a really long and difficult word to say.

9. Fulano - "so and so" or "what's-his-name".

10. Cojear - to be flawed / un cojo - someone with a limp or messed up walk. Not to be confused with (yo) cojo, which means "I take".

11. Tiovivo - a carrousel, not a "lively uncle".

12. Ganaría - just say it out loud. It means "I/he/she/it would win" but it sounds like "gonorrhea". 

Many meanings of dar

13. Dar - to give 
+ hambre = to make hungry
miedo = to scare
de comer = to feed
pena = to feel sorry for
las gracias = to give thanks
+ risa = to make someone laugh
pie = to give cause for
+ alcance = to catch up with 

I (don't) get paid to tell jokes

14. What did one spanish chair say to the other when it was leaving? Silla! - see ya - (chair)

15. What did the irritated young man say to the girl that thought he was a girl too? Me voy - me boy - (I'm leaving)

16. The frightened woman asked the Spanish cruise ship captain on the sinking ship, "I should call for help right?" And he replied, "Eso es." - SOS - (SOS)

Things that I just figured out I've been saying wrong

17. Asparagus = espárrago, but I've been saying "asparagos"

18. 700 / 900 = Sete cientos / nova cientos, but I've been saying "siete cientos / nueve cientos"

19. European = europeo, but I've been saying "europeano"

20. Sugus is a brand in Spain for fruit-flavored candied squares (what we call Starburst). I remember kids saying this when I was a teacher, but I thought they were just miss pronouncing "sugars" as a way to say candy, until I recently saw these Sugus in the store.

Errors that I can't seem to stop making

21. Gracias para should be gracias por - "thank you for"

22. Has caído algo should be se te ha caido - "You dropped..."

23. La -ema (sistema, tema, lema) should be El -ema

24. Confusing the following: esfuerzo (effort) vs esfuerza (s/he strains) vs esforzarse (to make an effort) vs fuerzo (I force) vs fuerza (strength) vs forzarse (doesn't mean anything)

25. Uno = one, but with time, el uno should be la una - "one o'clock"

26. Confusing the following: amanecer (to begin to get light) vs almacenar (to store something)

27. En seguido should be en seguida - "right away"

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading. Check out the rest of the series:


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