4
votes
2answers
124 views

Backchannels (listener responses) in Spanish

In linguistics, the term backchannel is used to describe the short words or sounds a listener makes during a conversation to acknowledge what the speaker is saying and make known that he is still ...
2
votes
2answers
387 views

What is the most common way to end a phone call?

Similar to my other question, what is the most universal way of ending a phone call in Spanish (the last thing you'd say after ending your conversation before hanging up)? In English, we'd say things ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most common way to answer the phone?

What is the most universally-used greeting when answering the phone (i.e. way to say, "Hello?")? Are there any circumstances where the greeting would be different (for example, when answering a phone ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

Usage of “millar” vs “millón”

First the context. There are two similar words that cannot be confused: Millar  →  Conjunto de mil unidades.  →  Set of one thousand elements. Millón ...
7
votes
1answer
525 views

Rules applied to the separation of syllables

As a native speaker it's natural for me to know how a word is separated in its constituent syllables. But I want to know if there are any established rules to know how a word is separated into its ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

“Desde luego” meaning and etymology

Español Esta pregunta me recuerda a una frase similar, "desde luego", que no es eso literalmente, sino que significa "por supuesto" (según el DRAE): luego. [...] desde ~. loc. adv. ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Gender illusions?

This is a multiple question about genders. Recently I just wondered about this subject while writing and thought: Why is juez or concejal considered masculine while agente and detective are not? ...
5
votes
3answers
256 views

What is the imperative without pronoun of 'Saber'? Why?

Okay so I suddenly have no idea how to say the imperative of saber. This was my reasoning until arriving to a comical dead end: Ir = Ve Comer = Come Ser = Sé Saber = Se? Sabé? ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the difference between “dentro” and “adentro”?

English: How can I tell whether I should be using Dentro vs. Adentro? I've read that they both mean 'inside' and looked at some examples, but I still can't always figure out which one to use. Are ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'?

I know it is rather rude to think of it this way and I don't want to offend anyone religiously, but being dead is usually thought of as a very permanent condition in the United States. So why does ...
4
votes
2answers
315 views

Understanding “desde ya”

I have heard the phrase "desde ya" used to mean "in advance." Literally, it means "since already." How is it understood to mean "in advance," or is it simply an idiom with a nonsense literal meaning? ...
11
votes
3answers
198 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent for “OP”?

The English abbreviation OP for the term Original Poster is widely used over the internet. Do the abbreviation and/or the term have widely used equivalents in Spanish?
7
votes
1answer
133 views

“Liking” a musician or other artist

The verb gustar, when used with people, conveys a romantic interest (e.g. Ella me gusta. -> I have a crush on her.). How then, can you convey that you like a musician's music or an artist's paintings, ...
1
vote
1answer
678 views

Translating “how is …?” and “how was …?”

What are the options for translating the phrase "how is" or "how was," as in: How's the steak? How is your day so far? How is the traffic today? and How was your vacation? How was the meeting? ...
9
votes
3answers
938 views

Difference between “broma” and “chiste”

Both words broma and chiste translate to the English word joke. What's the difference between these two Spanish words, and how do I know when to use each one?
9
votes
2answers
531 views

What's the difference between “debe de” y “debe”?

Is there any difference? What's their usage? When should one be used instead of the other one? Examples: El niño debe de hacer su tarea. El niño debe hacer su tarea.
-4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does “no sé” mean “I don't know?” [closed]

If "no" means "no", and if "se" means "is", why does "no sé" mean "I don't know"? This has been a bit of stumbling block for me as I learn the language. I as learn how to learn, I like to know the ...
9
votes
3answers
11k views

What's the “ísimo” in the following words?

What's the "ísimo" doing on the following adjectives? What rules should be applied to convert the adjectives to the corresponding "ísimo" adjective? Can this be applied to all adjectives or just a ...
7
votes
2answers
138 views

What's the function of “mismo” in this sentence?

What's the exact function of "mismo" in the following sentence? For example: Se llevo a cabo la ceremonia y el mismo presidente le entrego la medalla al soldado. I'm a native speaker and I ...
6
votes
1answer
265 views

Pluralize words ending in a tonic vowel

I'm a native speaker. I'm pretty sure that the plural of tabú is tabúes, I've seen it used in writing, in the press. For similar reasons that the plural of marroquí is marroquíes. I argued with ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Counterpart of “gutter language”

In German we use Gossensprache, in English gutter language seems to be the most common synonym, but my dictionaries don't show me a spanish word for the language/jargon (often vulgar) spoken by ...
7
votes
2answers
153 views

“to feel ashamed for an unknown person” or a cringe-worthy experience

Since the upcoming of talk- and music-casting shows in Ger & US TV in the last two decades, Germans created the compound verb fremdschämen, e.g., when somebody is embarrassing in his actions or ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

judging something as poor (objectively) , bad (emotionally)

In GLU we had a question on difference between schlimm-schlecht (bad-poor). My rule of thumb was: use bad if something feels bad, affects you emotionally in a negative sense use poor to judge ...
4
votes
1answer
831 views

What's the best way to say “perífrasis verbal” in English?

"Perífrasis verbal" seems to be used pretty consistently at least in some references to refer to grammatical constructions like ir a. But I'm not sure if it's a set grammatical or linguistic term, ...
2
votes
1answer
201 views

Are there other “feminine only” adjectives in Spanish besides “embarazada”?

In most if not all Spanish dictionaries I've checked, embarazada is only ever listed in its feminine form unlike all other adjectives I can think of. Is this semantic because it's considered that ...
12
votes
1answer
427 views

How to avoid the lexical redundancy in the literal Spanish translation of “to ask a question”?

In English we have different words for the verb to ask and the noun question. But in Spanish to ask is preguntar and question is pregunta. This always causes me to stumble when speaking Spanish and ...
4
votes
5answers
154 views

Translation of 'I was the one who did it'

What's the correct way to translate 'I was the one who did it'? By a literal translation it would be: Yo fui el que lo hizo. However, I know in Spanish the verb is often made to agree with the ...
5
votes
3answers
188 views

“Habría” or “Hubiera”

Given the following sentence: Si lo hubieran anotado, después no les hubiera (habría) costado tanto recordarlo. we see that the first use of hubieran is well used, but the second one is ...
6
votes
2answers
216 views

Why is a comma used before a “y” in some cases?

I was taught that a comma must be used this way. One (of many other uses) is when you want to enumerate a list of items you have to use the comma and before the last element of the list the comma ...
6
votes
1answer
89 views

Referring to a specific “bisabuelo(a)”

When talking about grandparents, you can add "materno(a)/paterno(a)" to refer to a specific one. Example: abuelo paterno. Is there a way to refer to a particular "bisabuelo(a)" (great-grandparent)?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Spanish abbreviation for the United States of America

What is (or are?) the suggested abbreviation(s) for the United States of America in Spanish? I've seen: E.E.U.U. EE.UU. EEUU EUA USA (And only the last two actually makes any sense to me!)
4
votes
1answer
874 views

Spanish phrasal verbs

The most difficult feature of English language (at least for myself) are "Phrasal verbs". Today I stumbled upon one sentence from a newspaper that made think about Phrasal verbs in Spanish. If we ...
5
votes
1answer
712 views

Translating medicine names to Spanish

I have sometimes run into cases where I want to translate the name of a medication into Spanish, but can't find the specific medicine name in a dictionary (e.g. amoxicillin, acetaminophen). This is ...
11
votes
3answers
348 views

adjectives for “same thing” vs. “same kind of thing”

In German, das gleiche refers to We both read the same (das gleiche) book (everyone has its own, but they look exactly the same) while das selbe refers to We both read the same book ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “¿Qué hora es?” or “¿Qué horas son?” preferred?

Admittedly, it has been a very long time since I've studied Spanish, but I distinctly recall that we always used "¿Que hora es?" for "what time is it?". However, on a trip to the Dominican Republic, ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

Counterpart of “John Doe, Joe Public”?

In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form. What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?
4
votes
5answers
1k views

“¿Qué te interesa?” or “¿Qué te interesan?”

To ask somebody about their interests in Spanish I understand you should say: ¿Qué te interesa? Would it ever be appropriate to say: ¿Qué te interesan? As if I was to ask such a general ...
4
votes
1answer
516 views

Latin /f/ to Spanish /h/

Many (most? all?) Spanish words containing the letter h come from corresponding Latin words containing the letter f. Through what process did /f/ get softened to /h/? During what time period did this ...
6
votes
1answer
502 views

“Perdón”, “permiso”, “disculpa”, … ?

I always struggle with the correct usage of the various ways one could say the equivalent of I'm sorry or Excuse me. Of course there are many reasons I would say these things and I was often looking ...
3
votes
1answer
339 views

Debuccalization of /s/ to [h]

What is meant in Spanish phonology by the debuccalization of /s/ to [h]? What dialects does this phenomenon primarily occur in? In those dialects, does it take place in all cases or only in some ...
6
votes
2answers
491 views

Article usage before country names

I have heard several countries expressed in Spanish with a definite article before the country name (e.g. los Estados Unidos, la Argentina, la India). Is there a rule for when this occurs and when it ...
8
votes
3answers
821 views

Why is Usted sometimes abbreviated as Vd. instead of Ud.? Is there any difference in usage between the two?

I've noticed that the word Usted can be abbreviated at least 2 ways, the most common of which being Ud. and Vd. to my knowledge. I see how Ud. makes perfect sense, but why is a V used instead of a U ...
5
votes
2answers
293 views

What are leísmo, loísmo, and laísmo?

What are leísmo, loísmo, and laísmo? How common are they, and where are they primarily encountered?
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Different words for “sign”

Spanish has several words that could be translated "sign" in English: letrero rótulo señal indicio cartel pancarta seña What are the differences between these words? In what situations can each be ...
5
votes
2answers
179 views

Different words for “hole”

Spanish has several words that could be translated "hole" in English: hoyo agujero hueco bache boquete brecha madriguera What are the differences between these words? In what situations can each ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Words for strong or weak rain (sprinkling, drizzling, pouring)

This question on English.StackExchange made me wonder about words for rain in Spanish. In English, a light rain can be a drizzle, sprinkle, or mist and a heavy rain can be a deluge, downpour, or ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the accentuation rules in Spanish?

Many native Spanish speakers have trouble determining when accent marks (tildes) should be used and where. What are the rules for accent placement in Spanish? How do you determine whether the vowel on ...
6
votes
2answers
259 views

How would you express giving a command to yourself in Spanish?

As there is no singular first person imperative form for Spanish verbs (as far as I know), I was wondering whether there is an equivalent to the, possibly idiomatic, English expression of a person ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why don't Spanish words start with “sp”?

I've noticed that there aren't any words in Spanish that start with sp. Latin words are altered to include an e in front of the sp. Even loan words are often modified to esp...: spaghetti => ...
4
votes
5answers
334 views

Is there a colloquial Spanish equivalent for “to get it” in the sense of grasping a concept?

I was just writing in our chat room that I didn't "get" what one of the other questions was trying to ask. But I was writing in the chat room in Spanish and realized I didn't know how to say "get" in ...

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