Archive for February, 2010

Spanish Noun: Lengua

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: Lengua

Pronunciation: Layn-gooah

Translation: Tongue

Function: Noun

‘Lengua’ is frequently translated as “tongue”, “language” or “idiom”, but it should be used just for the first two, as “language” is related to ‘Lenguaje’, and the Spanish signification is associated with an individual practice: each person has his or her own language.

A nation has a ‘lengua’ and each one of its citizens, has a version of her own: her ‘lenguaje’. In English that is not the case. Both tongue and language refer to the same set of symbols.

Example:

Es una lengua muy rica en adjetivos

Translation:

It is a tongue very rich in adjectives.

Spanish Noun: Disculpas

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: Disculpas

Pronunciation: Dees-cool-pahs

Translation: Apologies

Function: Noun

When it comes the time to apologize in Spanish don’t use ‘me disculpo’ [I apologize myself] or ‘Doy una disculpa’ [I give an apology], because apologies are, like in English, offered… and they could even be rejected.

‘Ofrezco una disculpa’ [I offer an apology] is the right way to do apologize in Spanish, although you might find some countries in America where the wrong-way form ‘pido una disculpa’ is used the most.

Example:

Por favor acepte mis disculpas

Translation:

Please accept my apologies

Spanish Noun: Cometa

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: Cometa

Pronunciation: Koh-may-tah

Translation: Comet

Function: Noun

‘Cometa’ can be translated straightforwardly as “ comet”, but it could also mean “kite” in both Spain and America. The context will tell you what people are talking about.

There are still more terms for ‘Cometa’ as a kite too, at least in some Latin-America countries: ‘papalote’ and ‘papagayo’ are the words used in Mexico and some Central American nations. In America you will find them as ‘barriletes’

Example:

Papalote

Translation:

Kite

Spanish Noun: Software

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: Software

Pronunciation: Sohft-wah-ray

Translation: Software

Function: Noun

Words with no Spanish counterpart are rare, but “Software” is one of them. ´Programa´ [program] is not the right translation, as software means also the data of those programs. To makes things harder, there is also software in other areas different from computer science, as in the musical field.

It is an intangible and it relates only to the information: the ordered elements of code or musical notes existing in a hard disk or CD. That is the reason you will find the word in Spanish untranslated. Don’t try to find a translation. And then… there is yet one neighbor: “Hardware”.

Example:

Hardware

Translation:

Hardware

Spanish Word: Comidas

Friday, February 19th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Comidas

Pronunciation: Coh-mee-dahs

Translation: foods

Function: Usage

Beware when asking for fruits and some vegetables in Latin-America or Spain. They may look the same, but their local names can vary: USA’s zucchini is known as ‘calabacin’ is Spain, ‘calabacita’ in Mexico, ‘zuquini’ in Bolivia, and many more instances -almost one different per country-

The same goes for beans of Latin-American: ‘frijoles, frijoles, frejoles y porotos’, they all are ‘judías’ in Spain. The same goes for some fruits, like South-American ‘damascos’, a.k.a. ‘chabacano’ in Mexico and ‘albaricoque’ in cuba or Peru.

Example:

Maíz, Elote

Translation:

Corn

Spanish Word: dio, o

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 | Permalink

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Spanish Word: dio, o

Pronunciation: deeoh

Translation: gave

Function: Monosyllable

Only one exception is allowed for the conjunction ‘o’, bearing the ‘acento’, as in: ‘5 ó 6 pares de zapatos’ [5 or 6 shoe pairs], but only when it is in between numbers, to avoid confusion with digit ‘0’.

Many written ‘monosílabos’ [monosyllables] no longer require an ‘acento’ [stress mark] because they were found as having a single unequivocal meaning. There are many of them. Some of the most important ones are: ‘fe’ [faith], ‘fue’ [was] and ‘vio’ [saw]

Example:

Yo no fui

Translation:

It wasn´t me

Spanish Word: -ez

Monday, February 15th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: -ez

Pronunciation: Ehs

Translation: Mac-

Function: suffix

This is a very common ending in ‘patronímicos’ [patronymics] present in last names, it means “son of”, just as “mac” does. One example explains by itself: in Spain you can find the last name ‘Martínez’, meaning ‘hijo de Martín’ [son of Martin], while in Ireland you have “MacMartin”, meaning “son of Martin” too.

There are many examples and here are the most common ones: ‘Sánchez’ – son of ‘Sancho’, ‘Pérez’ – son of ‘Pedro’; Álvarez’ – son of ‘Alvaro’; González’ – son of ‘Gonzalo’; Fernández’ – son of ‘Fernando’.

Example:

Jiménez

Translation:

Jiménez

Spanish Word: -ction

Friday, February 12th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: -ction

Pronunciation: see-ohn

Translation: -ction

Function: suffix

This ending clearly shows that English and Spanish share a common root: the Indo-European. When you start studying one of them as a foreign language, you are told “you already know dozens of words” by changing a mere letter, as in ‘acción’ [action]Spanish Word: -ción

And that’s what this suffix main significance is: action, movement; as in ‘conducción’ [conduction] and ‘introducción’ [introduction]. It can also denote a state, as in ‘desesperación’ [desperation] and ‘aflicción’ [affliction]

Example:

Reacción

Translation:

Reaction

Spanish Word: a.m., p.m.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: a.m., p.m.

Pronunciation: ah aymay, pay aymay

Translation: a.m., p.m.

Function: Abbreviation

In Spain, they say ‘buenas noches’ [good night] from dusk till dawn. In America it all depends on the clock, and changes to ‘buenos días’ at 12:01 a.m.

These abbreviations stand for “antemeridiano” [ante meridiem] y “postmeridiano” [post meridiem]. A change from the first to the second occurs at noon. In most Latin-American countries this change also indicates you should no longer greet with ‘buenos días’ [good morning] but with ‘buenas tardes´[good afternoon] instead.

Example:

Llegaremos a las 12 p.m.

Translation:

We will get there at noon

Spanish Preposition: A

Monday, February 8th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Preposition: A

Pronunciation: Ah

Translation: To

Function: Preposition

This preposition is a tricky one, even for locals, because its use is ‘multimodal’ [multiple modes] One of the most important ones is to indicate who is receiving from who, i.e. in ‘el perro persigue al gato’ [the dog is after the cat] if you take it away you’ll get: ‘el perro persigue el gato’, and you can’t tell who is after who.

Sometimes you have to “take the ‘a’ away”, as in: ‘Antonio busca un sastre’ [Anthony is looking for a tailor] because if you add the ‘a’, as in ‘Antonio busca a un sastre’, then it means he is looking for a certain tailor he knows. In these instances ‘a’ gives personification to whatever follows.

Example:

Prefiero un albañil a un plomero

Translation:

I prefer a mason to a plumber.

Spanish Adverb: Abajo, bajo

Saturday, February 6th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Adverb: Abajo, bajo

Pronunciation: Ah-bah-joh

Translation: Below, under

Function: Adverb

‘Hacia un lugar inferior’ [toward a place below] is what ‘Abajo’ means -when paired with movement verbs, as in: ‘nadó aguas abajo’ [swam downstream]. If the associated verb doesn’t mean movement, then it has a sense of a place below: “Está allá abajo’ [he is below]

Without the ever important “movement” prefix ‘a’, ‘bajo’ can function as the “down” adverb: ‘a un volumen bajo’ [at a lower volume]. When it appears after a noun, it means in the lowest part: ‘río abajo’ [down river]

Example:

Voy abajo

Translation:

I am going below

Spanish Phrase: Modismos

Thursday, February 4th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Phrase: Modismos

Pronunciation: Moh-dees-moh

Translation: Adverbial idioms

Function: adverb phrases

There are some Spanish expressions that come from “who knows where” and follow no syntax rule, but they appear often. Here are the most popular ones: ‘a fuerza’, ‘por poco’,'en serio’,'de golpe’, ‘de veras’,'de milagro’,'poco a poco’, ‘de memoria’ and ´tarde o temprano’

They mean “forcefully, almost, seriously, suddenly, really, miraculously, little by little, by heart, sooner or later”. They all add-up “flavor” to the language and there is no other choice but to memorize and try to use them often.

Example:

A lo mejor

Translation:


Maybe

Spanish Adverb: Donde, adonde

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Adverb: Donde, adonde

Pronunciation: Dohn-day, Ah-dohn-day

Translation: Where, to where

Function: Adverb

The ‘Donde’ [where] and ‘adonde’ [to where] difference is on movement: the second one is used when the action starts at someplace and ends somewhere else, as in ‘El almacén donde compramos tu traje’ [The store where we bought your suit]

When using these words in the interrogative form, don´t forget an ‘acento’ is in order: ‘¿en dónde vives?’ [where do you live?] ‘¿adónde fuiste?’ [where did you go?]

Example:

El lugar adonde van

Translation:

The place where you are going to

 

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