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In English, the groundhog and the marmot are not the same thing, the groundhog being a subcategory of marmot or distinct altogether, but in spanish there is but one word for the both: "marmota". How can I distinguish between the two when writing in spanish?


En inglés, hay dos animales con nombres diferentes ("groundhog"/"marmot") que en español tienen la misma traducción: marmota. ¿Cómo puedo distinguir entre el "groundhog" y las otras marmotas cuando escribo en español?

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WordReference also gives the term "marmota americana" (wordreference.com/es/translation.asp?tranword=groundhog ) for "groundhog." –  neizan Aug 6 '13 at 7:18
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

By clicking on the Spanish translation of the Wikipedia page you provided for Groundhog, we see that the Spanish translation is Marmota Monax, or Marmota Canadiense.

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But would you use "marmota monax" in day-to-day language? It sounds so scientific. –  neizan Aug 6 '13 at 7:20
    
@neizan If you see the distribution map, these animals are basically in US and Canada, so a "day-to-day" translation is almost imposible because we never really use the word. I certainly never have. –  Newbie Aug 6 '13 at 21:21
    
@Newbie, good point. But keep in mind there are a lot of native Spanish speakers in the US and Canada...I'm sure they have a word for it. Maybe one of them will see this comment and enlighten us. –  neizan Aug 8 '13 at 10:06
    
@neizan I agree with you, it will be really helpful. –  Newbie Aug 8 '13 at 14:40
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For things like this, where a word is only used in an area where Spanish is not natively spoken, it's common to use the native (English, in this case) word. I could very easily see a Spanish-speaker living in the northern U.S. say "Ayer vi un Groundhog". –  Flimzy Aug 8 '13 at 20:16
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