6
votes
4answers
970 views

What exactly is “repocheta”?

Another food related question I collected on my trip through Central America five years ago is repocheta Again it's not in Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Larousse Gran Diccionario, Google Translate, or ...
4
votes
4answers
254 views

What does “sobadito” mean?

Here is one more food word I collected in Costa Rica: sobadito In my notes I have only written that it has some connection with food. It's from about five years ago so I don't recall anything ...
3
votes
3answers
676 views

What is “surime”?

I've been trawling through my collection of interesting Spanish words and found one more wich is not in the DRAE, Wiktionary, Larousse Gran Diccionario, Wikipedia, or Google Translate. surime My ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

What is the origin of the word “tascalate”?

Another unusual Spanish word I collected in my travels is tascalate. It's a drink in Chiapas, Mexico and there are Wikipedia articles about it in English and in Spanish. But it's not in Wiktionary ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

What does “tracatera” mean?

I've been collecting unusual Spanish words for years. I've been going through them to find any that are not in my dictionaries and found this one: tracatera f It's not in the DRAE, it's not in ...
7
votes
3answers
557 views

What Spanish term (or terms) work best to describe a glass jar as used for coffee, jam, etc?

A bit earlier in the chat room I mentioned that I needed to buy a new jar of coffee, but that I didn't know how to express that in Spanish. I want to know a good Spanish word for "jar" in the sense ...
14
votes
4answers
335 views

Does using “tío” imply a negative opinion?

I've seen the word tío used to mean "guy" or "bloke", but can't recall (in my admittedly limited experience) having seen it used to imply a positive opinion of someone. If I refer to someone as "Ese ...
7
votes
4answers
537 views

How did the words “mataburros” and “tumbaburros” come to mean “dictionary”?

The recent question about irregular plurals led me to a couple of odd and interesting words that apparently mean "dictionary" in at least one sense each: mataburros tumbaburros The connection ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there any nouns with irregular plurals in Spanish?

In English, some nouns have regular plural forms ending in -s or -es and fewer are irregular. Fish in the plural is still fish while child becomes children. In Spanish, nearly all nouns are regular, ...
12
votes
3answers
218 views

“Guion” vs “Guión” - Are there other words which could be written in multiple ways?

My dictionary uses guión while Wikipedia writes guion. I tried Google ngram and was nearly convinced that Wikipedia was wrong because nobody else seems to use that spelling today. I was really ...
8
votes
3answers
618 views

Words that mean different things in the preterite

There are some verbs that seem to have quite distinct meanings in the preterite tense. I don't know whether they also seem to change meanings to native speakers or if it just seems completely natural ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

¡Buenas! greeting in morning

Another question brings up the fact that in many countries, ¡Buenas! is used as a greeting (as an abbreviation of Buenas tardes or Buenas noches). In regions where this is the case, what should be ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Bueno as hello or greeting?

In the US State I live in, I sometimes hear Spanish speakers greet one another by simply staying "Bueno". I didn't hear this when I was recently in Mexico, although I realize I may just have not ...
6
votes
2answers
287 views

Historical pronunciation of letters “b” and “v”

In another question, a Wikipedia article was quoted saying: The letters ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ were originally simply known as be and ve. However, there is no longer any distinction between the sounds of ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the most idiomatic translation of “no way!”

The phrase "no way" is similar to this question about the expression "you wish!" but is perhaps more of an expression of disbelief or rejection of what the other speaker says (short for There is no ...
8
votes
2answers
392 views

Best translation of “just wanted to”

In English, I often use "just wanted to" to soften the force of a question or statement: I just wanted to ask if it was okay with you. I just wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

The letter “k” in Spanish

The letter "k" is rarely seen in Spanish. What is the origin of Spanish words containing a k? Are most recent loanwords from modern languages, influences from older languages (Latin or Greek), or of ...
6
votes
5answers
828 views

Definition of escuela and colegio

Spanish has two generic words for school: escuela and colegio. I have heard different explanations for what phases of schooling each word refers to. For example, I've been told that colegio refers ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Age range of niño, chico, muchacho, joven, etc

Spanish has several words for referring to children: niño/niña chico/chica muchacho/muchacha joven Some dialects add others like chavo or chavalo. What are the approximate age ranges these words ...
7
votes
1answer
346 views

“Ser” and “Estar”: Spanish vs. Portuguese

The English verb to be typically translates to either ser or estar in both Spanish and Portuguese. Is there any instance in which the ser /estar distinction is different between Spanish and ...
8
votes
3answers
486 views

Are there any subtle differences between “de nuevo” and “otra vez”?

There are two very common ways in Spanish to say the equivalent of "again": de nuevo otra vez But I use them pretty randomly because I've never been able to pick up on any differences in how ...
8
votes
2answers
124 views

Are there any true nouns containing a hyphen in the Spanish language?

In this Spanish Wikipedia: about Guion ortográfico I found mentioned Separar algunas palabras compuestas. but there are no examples given. Are these foreign words or are there proper examples ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

¿Cómo se pronuncia un número de siglo?

Cuando leo artículos de Wikipedia, o libros historicales, es muy común encontrar una frase como siglo [numeración romana]. Por ejemplo, Aljedrez, tal como se conoce actualmente, surgió en Europa ...
5
votes
1answer
566 views

When should you use the preterite or the imperfect to express past time?

There are two ways to express simple past time actions and conditions in Spanish. One is the preterite, Comí tacos. (I ate tacos.) Besé a una chica. (I kissed a girl.) and the other is the ...
4
votes
2answers
728 views

How to translate “It's for the best”?

How does the phrase "to be for the best" translate into Spanish? My first thought was "es para lo mejor", but as this is fairly idiomatic in English I figured the translation might not be that ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

When to use “igual” and “lo mismo”?

English I often get corrected when using either the word igual or mismo, and haven't really figured out when to use which yet. What are the rules for when and how to use igual, and when and how to ...
10
votes
1answer
520 views

When is “Te quiero” used to mean “I love you?”"

I can come up with three phrases to express affection: Te adoro. Te amo. Te quiero. The first two are fairly clear in intention. However, I have heard "Te quiero", which literally translates as "I ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Is there a name for words having two opposite meanings?

In the question "Are there any words that have opposite regional meanings?" there is a list of Spanish words each one having two opposite meanings. Is there a name (in Spanish) for this kind of words? ...
2
votes
1answer
394 views

How does portuñol work and how effective is it? [closed]

I've briefly read about Portuñol, which is supposedly a code switching method for Spanish and Portuguese. How does it function, and what sounds are switched? Also, is it an effective method of ...
9
votes
1answer
853 views

Words for “East” and “West” in Spanish?

The words I learned when beginning Spanish for east and west are este and oeste, which are basically cognates of their English equivalents. But I've been told that there are other words to denote ...
8
votes
2answers
336 views

What makes a question in Spanish rhetorical?

In German, the placement or usage of single words shifts the meaning of a rhetorical question, in English, additionally distinct marker phrases are common for this purpose. Are there specific ...
5
votes
2answers
185 views

Matutino and Vespertino

I see matutino and vespertino, meaning morning and afternoon, used to describe parts of the daily schedule in schools and church. They sound very formal. Are there more words like them to describe ...
10
votes
3answers
715 views

Was “rr” ever considered officially a letter of the Spanish alphabet?

Everybody agrees that the Spanish digraphs "ch" and "ll" used to be officially separate "letters" up to the time the RAE changed the rules of Spanish alphabetization in 1994. But when it comes to the ...
7
votes
1answer
321 views

How to Explain the use of vosotros to refer to an individual in the movie, “El Laberinto del Fauno” (Pan's Labyrinth)?

The movie "El Laberinto del Fauno" by Guillermo del Toro was set in Spain, with actors well-known in Spanish film, but was created by a Mexican crew (del Toro is Mexican). In the movie, a Faun often ...
13
votes
1answer
102 views

Is “al” a relatively new word?

I am curious about the history of the word "al". For example, was there a time when "a el" was the proper usage and "al" came later (presumably because of the slurring of speech)?
5
votes
1answer
96 views

How are «parecer», «semejante», and «similar» used to express sameness?

What is the difference between different ways of expressing similarity? I see things like, La niña parece a su hermana. Compró dos vestidos semejantes. Quiere una fiesta de cumpleaños similar a la ...
6
votes
2answers
376 views

What is the difference between different ways of expressing desire and intention?

I hear a lot of different ways to express the idea of wanting something or wanting to do something. What is the difference between them? Yo quiero (algo o hacer algo o que pase algo) Me gustaría ... ...
9
votes
1answer
159 views

Usage of “llevar a trabajar” vs “llevar al trabajo”

I have found this example (which is counterintuitive, in my opinion) in "Uso de la gramática española. Elemental", Francisca Castro, Edelsa 2000: Yo no llevo el coche a trabajar normalmente. Why ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Does indirect speech in Spanish require changes in tense, mood, etc?

In German you have to use different moods, in English different tenses for verbs to mark indirect speech (speech where you are saying what was said or expressed): He said that he had painted the ...
5
votes
1answer
119 views

What is apercibido?

Today I looked for the word desapercibido in the RAE and found the following: desapercibido, da. adj. No apercibido. Now, I know what desapercibido means, but then I was curious about ...
7
votes
4answers
185 views

Is/Was there a Basic Spanish?

There is a whole Wikipedia written in Basic English. This leads to the question if something similar exists for Spanish. Maybe a type of controlled language for teaching aboriginals a simplified ...
6
votes
2answers
291 views

Is there a standard, most common, or most neutral Spanish term for “chat room”?

Just earlier I was about to mention to somebody in Spanish that I was in a Stack Exchange chat room and I realized I didn't know how to say it in Spanish. There's a bunch of words for "room": ...
5
votes
2answers
535 views

“Iros” instead of “idos” (imperative of verb “ir”)

I have heard many times the use of the infinitive instead of the imperative in Spanish with the verb "ir". For example: Si me queréis, irse* (Instead of: Si me queréis, váyanse) [Famous quote of ...
8
votes
5answers
688 views

What is the diminutive of “pan” (meaning bread)?

Is it: pansito panesito panito panecino panecillo (Although this one has most of the time another meaning...) Why? I know short question, but seemingly difficult for me. Is there a definitive ...
13
votes
1answer
528 views

Why are certain words ending in “a” masculine?

English: I'm referring to words like "el tema" or "el lema". Most words ending in "a" are feminine. This is actually the opposite of a similar question, ¿Por qué es la palabra ...
13
votes
3answers
191 views

Is the use of @ instead of 'a' or 'o' in order to refer to both masculine and femenine accepted?

I have seen several times the use of @ instead of 'a' or 'o' for refering masculine and femenine words at the same time. For example: Hola a tod@s. Is this an accepted use?
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Rendering of “to fear”?

I once wrote an original poem in Spanish that includes the following: The question relates to the second sentence, which of two translations regarding "scare me" is "better" or correct? Or can they ...
2
votes
0answers
510 views

Suffixes used to transform an adjective into a noun [closed]

Spanish has, to my knowledge, more possible suffixes than for example English or German. Many adjectives can be transformed into nouns by adding -ness, -ism, -ity in English, or -keit, -heit, -ismus ...
4
votes
3answers
290 views

Etymological origin of “false friends” between Spanish and English

Is there an etymological origin that can be called the main one that has created the list of "false friends" between Spanish and English? I'm constantly stumbling upon a new "false friend" when ...
13
votes
2answers
651 views

Significance of adjective placement

In Spanish, adjectives typically come after the noun they modify. However, there are some cases when the adjective comes before the noun, and usually (always?) with a change in meaning. Example: ...

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