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Tag Archives: speaking Spanish

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This blogpost brought to you by the letter R

Husband got a new keyboard, his old one used to randomly refuse to render the letter “r”, which made using it a bit tiresome. Do you remember the drill from Spanish class?Now I can type it! rr con rr cigarro rr con rr barril rápidos corren los carros en el ferrocarril. Using Husband’s computer to post is much easier now. Unfortunately all my photos are all on my laptop. Not that I don’t want to use my laptop, but he has a game called Shi-sen Sho that I like to play. It’s a matching game using mahjongg tiles. From playing Shi-sen Sho I gravitated to reading blogs. Reading other people’s blogs leads to writing on my blog. So here I am! We’ve been trapped in the house this week, listening to a steady tap tap tap.It wasn’t the Count of Montecristo digging out of prison but rather the refurbishment of some vintage tiles. When a friend did some additional renovation ...

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Constructive Language

Yesterday, Husband and I dropped into the big Fernandez store on Calle 70. I don’t know why we don’t go there first when we need construction supplies for our house. They have a huge parking lot, are very close to our house. We have even walked there. Breaking old habits takes conscious effort. I wonder if I need to put up a sign saying “How about checking Fernandez, the lumber yard, the ferroteria down the street, Comex, for it? ” in our bodega? The wait at Fernandez is never very long, the clients know what they want and the assistants are bright and eager.  It’s an easy place to shop, once you know the system. You take a number, when your number comes up on the monitor ,you place your order. The counter person inputs your choices into the computer. While you are paying, a stock person is bringing your merchandise from the back. After matching his computer printout to ...

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What cut is that?

A lot of the times when something is written in Spanish, I don’t bother to translate it. I know what it means and until someone else asks me what the word is in English, I just don’t think about it. My style of cooking generally requires a chunk ‘o meat that gets sliced or diced before being incorporated into a dish. With the exception of chicken, I don’t generally worry about where on the animal it came from.  If I need pork, I either buy milanesa, trocitos, pulpa or chuletas. Milanesa is paper thin steaks that are generally breaded and pan fried, though I think they are perfect to use for stir fry or satay when cut into strips. Trocitos means little pieces or chunks and chuletas are chops.  Until today, I never thought about the English equivilent of pulpa. Google translates “Pulpa” as pulp, and “pulpa de puerco” as pork flesh. So hunk o’ pork wasn’t too far off. ...

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Not really useful in Mexico, but fun anyway

My father sent me these in an email. I doubt that I will hear too many of them on the street in Mérida, but I decided to share them anyway. I have no idea where this originated. The kilo that they refer to is the name of a Cuban coin not weight measurement.Maní is Spanish for peanut, in México they use cacahuate Cuban Slang The Original Cuban Saying CUBANICS The Intended English Meaning No me importa un pito I don’t care a whistle I don’t care at all Me importa tres pepinos I care three cucumbers I don’t care at all Me sacaron el hígado They took my liver out I worked like a slave Me sacaron el kilo They took the penny out of me I worked like a slave Le pusistes la tapa al pomo You put the lid on the jar You really messed up this time! Tú no pintas nada You don’t paint anything This doesn’t ...

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A kinder, gentler me?

I woke up this morning with a bee in my bonnet. I wrote a scathing post about laziness in language, but you won’t get to read it. I erased it. Deleted it, tossed it in the recycling bin. I often get irked when people refer to pueblos as pueblas and botanas as botanos. It just grates on my nerves, because English speakers can’t seem to understand that nouns have gender. Is it really that hard? Then again,who am I to correct them? I am not the gender police. Maybe it’s a big step for that person to even remember that word in Spanish, and to get the gender correct is just too much to ask. I certainly have used the wrong word before. Recently, I said “Sofia es el nombre de una empresa (enterprise or company) ” when I meant to say “de una emperatriz (empress) ” which completely changed the meaning of my sentence and made me sound a ...

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The benefits of bi-linguality

People always ask “Do I need to speak Spanish if I am moving to (insert name of Mexican town here)?”The other day I can honestly say that speaking Spanish really made a difference to us. I usually listen just enough to phone solicitors to tell them “no thanks” and then hang up. I have to admit that I am a bit rude about it, I don’t wait for them to ask me a question or even to take a breath, I just say no and hang up immediately afterward. In my imagination, they are still talking even though they hear a dial tone. Most of the phone calls seem to be from banks offering us credit cards but Telmex likes to get us to agree to deals too.Coincidentally, I had just opened our phone bill and was musing over the fact that the amount seemed to be more than usual, when Telmex called. The opening gambit got my attention. The ...

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a slight detour

Hammockman does haikos on his blog, my poetry tends to me more in the way of limericks. I decided to try to make a limerick in Spanish. ¡Que sabroso!dijo el oso cuando acabo el mozo. Debo dejar una buena propina pero no hay nadie en la cocina ¡Que escandaloso! Están escondidos en el pozo. so what do you think??? maybe I should stick to prose?

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Coriander? It’s right here next to the horse dewormer.

In a forum that I frequent (Yolisto ) someone recently asked if speaking Spanish would make the transition easier. I think they were asking how much easier, since the poster also qualified they knew that the short answer was “yes”. It’s like me asking someone who has perfect pitch if that would make singing on key easier. How would they know? They have always had perfect pitch and can’t figure out why I can’t tell the difference between sharp and flat. I get confused enough here and I have a fairly good grasp on the language, it would be so much worse if I didn’t speak Spanish at all. Case in point, coriander. I doubt that I would ever have found it if I didn’t speak Spanish. No matter what store I went to I could not find any. I realize that coriander is cilantro and in Spanish it’s called semilla de cilantro, so it wasn’t like I was overlooking ...

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losing it

I think I am losing my ability to spell in English. Today, I did a search on the nutritional content of pecans. I kept spelling nutrición (without the accent mark) instead of nutrition and couldn’t figure out why my search returned pages in Spanish instead of English. Then there is my new tendency to forget to capitalize words like English and Monday . Despite my preference to spell color, colour and some other blatantly British spelling variations, I have always been good at spelling. My first job was correcting papers for a blind elementary school teacher. Originally, I was hired to do bulletin boards but my main job ended up being correcting papers. My first bulletin board was in the teacher’s lounge, where I was supposed to make the background resemble the Italian flag. I only remember because I ran the stripes in the wrong direction. Another symptom of my diminishing English language skills, Husband and I were watching tv, ...

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signs of the times

One of my friends is taking the written driver’s test for the second time. This morning his wife and I combed the driver’s handbook in order to make a study sheet. We have come to the decision that taking the test in Spanish (if you are sufficiently fluent) is the best way to go. The test is computerized so you never know what questions you will draw, from the bizarre to the mundane. We decided that the best way to take the test is to eliminate the obviously wrong answers and chose from the ones that are left, no matter how improbable they seem at first reading. One of the questions from the test involved choosing the signal for stop from three line drawings of a policeman, A) a sideways view B) the arm straight out (palm facing upwards but you really couldn’t tell) C) the arms straight at the sides. A) The policeman is turned sideways, he is directing ...

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