5
votes
1answer
153 views

Usage of “donde la espalda cambia de nombre”

In this answer to this previous question of mine, the answerer used the phrase Antonio se hirió donde la espalda cambia de nombre. as an example of a milder version of Antonio se hirió en ...
8
votes
3answers
621 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Analog to “sustainability”

I asked a question on english synonyms of "sustainability" alrady on ELU. In Spanish, dictionaries and ngrams give out several options: Comparing with the english ngrams chart I conclude la ...
4
votes
2answers
859 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
404 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 ... ...
3
votes
3answers
252 views

How can I translate “un ámbito cerrado” into English?

Here's a poem by Borges that I tried to translate into English: A Un Gato No son más silenciosos los espejos ni más furtiva el alba aventurera; eres, bajo la luna, esa pantera que nos es ...
4
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
798 views

Translation of “contact info”

What is the best way to say contact info in Spanish (as in a list of phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc. of a person or business)?
5
votes
1answer
74 views

What does the Mexican term “predialazo” refer to?

There's a word whose definition has been requested on Wiktionary (perhaps by me but I can't remember) that seems to be mostly used in Mexico if you Google for it: predialazo But it's not in the ...
3
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
500 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
888 views

How to translate “make it count”

This evening a friend saw a poster in English that said something like: If you have only one chance at opportunity, make it count. She asked me what it meant. She knew enough English to make out ...
7
votes
4answers
501 views

Why should we use estar over ser for being old or fat?

I can understand why we would use estar for temporary states. But there are conditions that people have that are not temporary, such as being old (or for some people, being fat). ¡qué gordo está! ...
8
votes
2answers
129 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
359 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
448 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
553 views

What are some terms of endearment for a girlfriend/wife? [closed]

What are some Spanish terms of enderment you could use for a girlfriend or a wife? In English I'm thinking things like sweetheart, sweetie, darling, cutie, babe, etc.. Any others that are unique to ...
8
votes
2answers
372 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

How widespread was (or is) the phrase “La mamá de Tarzán”?

I came across the phrase "La mamá de Tarzán" when reading Los años con Laura Díaz by top Mexican author Carlos Fuentes. The part of the book was set in the early part of the 20th century if I recall ...
5
votes
1answer
651 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

Are there regions or dialects which use both “tú” and “vos”?

In my experience most places use either "tú" or "vos" for the second person singular intimate/informal pronoun. But I haven't been to every Spanish speaking country and area. Are there places which ...
6
votes
1answer
162 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? ...
13
votes
3answers
197 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?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

List of most commonly used Spanish words [closed]

When learning vocabulary in a new language, it is useful to focus on very commonly used words first. Are there any resources online (or in print) that give a list of the most frequently occurring ...
13
votes
1answer
105 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)?
8
votes
2answers
284 views

Usage of “adiós” in the Basque country

People in the Basque country commonly use local words, such as agur instead of adiós. According to our former Spanish teacher, usage of adiós is unadvisable in the Basque country because of its ...
5
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
77 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
525 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
415 views

How should we translate “everything but the kitchen sink” or “the whole enchilada”?

There is an idiom that is popular (and old) in English that states "everything but the kitchen sink". This is a phrase that means "everything that could be conceived". Som examples: "I realized ...
15
votes
2answers
585 views

What is the difference between: “aquel” and “aquél”

I see both "aquel" and "aquél" used in similar context and was wondering if there is any difference in meaning of those two words.
7
votes
2answers
577 views

What is the future subjunctive and how was it used?

I've heard that there used to be another tense in Spanish called the "future-subjunctive" ¡A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres! I've heard the above means in a literal sense, "to where you will ...
6
votes
3answers
278 views

Regional use of “genial”

What parts of the Spanish-speaking world regularly use the word genial? Is it only encountered in Spain, or is it common in other regions as well? Edit: It seems like it's more widespread than I ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Por qué es la palabra «mano» femenina?

En español, tenemos una regla en la cual, generalmente, se puede tener fé. Si una palabra termina con -o, es masculina. Sin embargo, palabras que terminan en -e o -a también pueden ser palabras ...
5
votes
1answer
72 views

What does “barrocanrolera” mean?

In the novel Los años con Laura Diaz by top Mexican author Carlos Fuentes there is a word, "barrocanrolera", which is not in the DRAE, the Gran diccionario Larousse, Wiktionary, or Google Translate. ...
5
votes
1answer
402 views

How to interpret “dar a” or “dar a conocer”?

I only know "dar" in its literal sense of "to give". And I know "conocer" in its literal sense of "to know" or "to get to know". But in reading Cien años de soledad I came to this passage: ... y ...
5
votes
2answers
209 views

How to choose between “carecer” and “faltar”?

I've always used "faltar" to mean "to lack, to be missing". But in my reading I find that "carecer" seems to mean exactly the same. When should I use the one or the other? Are there some ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Infinitive instead of past participle in Maná's “El Verdadero Amor Perdona”

In Maná's song "El Verdadero Amor Perdona" one of the verses contains the lines: Cómo pude haberte yo herido / engañarte y ofendido I'd think it should be "Como pude haberte yo herido / engañado ...
6
votes
1answer
306 views

Etymology of “usted”

What is the etymology of the pronoun "usted"? What formal pronouns existed before, and when did the current "usted" come into existence?
2
votes
1answer
153 views

Are there vulgarities in Spanish that are universal throughout the language?

The vulgar words I'm familiar with all seem to be local slang. Does Spanish have any words that are universally accepted as vulgar or profane?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

When is it written with and without accent: porqué/porque/por qué?

Can anybody explain to me when each of this variations of "porque" should be used?
3
votes
1answer
352 views

Pronunciation of words ending in -n

It seems that some people pronounce words that end with -n almost as a "ng" sound. "Bien", for example, seems to come out as "Bie[ng]". Is this a regional issue? What regions use this ...
7
votes
4answers
164 views

How to translate “open source” and “free software” and keep the distinction?

In English, when describing software you say "open source" to refer to software that's source code has been made available under a license. "Free software" refers to 'truly free' software that can be ...
-4
votes
1answer
668 views

In general, how well does Google Translate work? [closed]

I've had troubles with translations programs in the past. It seems that most take a word-for-word approach to translation. Obviously this falls short in most circumstances. It seems that Google's ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Translating “to be excited to…”

What is the best way to translate sentences like: I'm so excited to see you next week! He's really excited about graduation. We're excited to have you come visit for Christmas. Do emocionado and ...

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