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Learn Spanish The Gringa Way

The Gringa

Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Spanish is very literal BUT cannot be translated literally from English to Spanish.

    Spanish is very literal BUT cannot be translated literally from
    English to Spanish. Instead you need to think in a more abstract way when you want to translate your English thoughts into Spanish.
    Here are some examples to show you how Spanish is literal.
    • ¿A quien le toca?- Who’s turn is it (literally translates as, who does
    it touch?)
    • anteojos - glasses (literally translates to, before eyes)
    • echar la culpa- to blame (literally translates as, to throw the blame)
    • Tengo calor - I am hot (literally translates as, I have heat)
    • ¿Cómo te llamas?- What is your name? (literally translates as, How
    do you call yourself?)
    • ¿Cuántos años tienes?- How old are you? (literally translates as,
    How many years do you have?)
    • hacer la maleta - to pack (literally translates as, to make your
    • cama matrimonial - double bed (literally translates as, marital bed)
    • guardaespaldas - bodyguard (literally translates as, back guardar)

  • You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover

    False Mirror Images

    Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t judge a book by its
    cover”? Well in terms of alot of words in Spanish, this expression holds
    true. There are many words in Spanish that when read, look as if they
    resemble an English word. A lot of times people will see a Spanish word
    and think that just because it looks like the English word, that it has the
    same meaning. That is not always the case. Be very careful with some words, as the way they look does not translate to their

    Embarazada is NOT embarrassed. The way you say
    embarrassed in Spanish is avergonzado/a. Any guess what
    the real meaning of embarazada is? It means pregnant!
    Yikes, that is a big difference in meanings! And yes,
    you will feel embarrassed if you use the word embarazada instead
    of avergonzado/a!!!!!! This is probably the most widely used false
    mirror image and in my opinion the biggest difference in meaning to
    how the word appears and what the actual meaning is!

  • Spanish you already know but might not think you know!

    Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant here in the States? Have you ever ordered food from Taco Bell™ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taco Bell) or ever heard of a state by the name of Florida? Then chances are you have already spoken and know some Spanish! Was it hard for
    you to place your order at the Mexican restaurant? Probably not. Why? Because when you go out to eat in a Mexican restaurant, it is second nature to you. You might not realize that by ordering “salsa” or your “enchilada” that you are speaking Spanish. Granted, you might not be saying “Me gustaría tener una enchilada por favor” (I would like to have an enchilada please) but by merely saying ‘taco”, or burrito”, you are speaking Spanish! Now you might not know what the words really mean but the whole point here is that you may know more Spanish than you think you do and you learned these words without any frustration or any inhibitions, right? That is the way you need to move forward learning Spanish. People get tripped up on learning things when they actually become conscious that they are learning or studying! They look at it as a daunting task or one that is going to require effort. Like I mentioned earlier, it is all in your mind and your outlook!

    Let’s go over some words you might already know:

    • sí - yes
      no - This is actually how you say no in Spanish!
      Hola - Hi
    • cerveza - beer (comes in a can, bottle, draft and keg)
    • taco - I would like a chicken one please with extra queso (cheese).
    • enchilada - Great menu item that usually comes with chicken, beef or shrimp
    • burrito - Bigger than an enchilada
    • chimichanga - A deep-fried burrito that is popular in Southwestern U.S. cuisine
    • tortilla - A tortilla is daily bread in Mexico – a flat, pancake-like disc made from masa harina or wheat flour and baked on a griddle
    • tequila - Needs no explanation!
    • piñata - Well known for being used at kids birthday parties where candy flies out when you hit it
    • amigo - As in the movie ¡Three Amigos!
    • siesta - As in I am tired and going to take a siesta/nap (note- siestas are taken seriously in Spanish speaking countries. When I was living inSpain, the city would literally shut down for two hours in the afternoonfor siestas!)
    • Los Angeles - Meaning (“The Angels") is the most populous city in California
    • Florida - You are probably a little stumped with this one. Didn’t
    • know this was a Spanish word? This comes from the discovery in
      1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La
      Florida ("Flowery Land") upon landing there during the Easter season. (Pronounced FLOR-E-DUH in Spanish)
    • Puerto Rico - The US owned island (meaning rich port or harbor)
    • Livin' La Vida Loca - (Living the Crazy Life”) - is a song by Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin. You probably didn’t even think about this one as it went so mainstream in the US you probably forgot that you were actually signing or listening to some Spanish when this song came on!
    • Yo quiero Taco Bell - If you live in the US and haven’t been living under a rock, then chances are you have heard this very popular slogan! This slogan means “I want Taco Bell™” In Spanish. This slogan is a completely grammatically correct sentence in Spanish. If you have ever said this slogan, than congrats, you have already spoken a complete sentence in Spanish!

    Okay, so that was easy right? You already know some Spanish! Good,

    Now try and think of more words that you may know that are not listed here. You could be quite surprised at how much Spanish you already know!

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