12
votes
6answers
392 views

No supo la respuesta

Why do people say things like: Se lo pregunté, pero no supo la respuesta Sabía seems more natural to me, and I've been told that either is fine, but I'm still a bit fuzzy on why somebody would ...
7
votes
3answers
251 views

Translating “actually” (as in a change of mind)

There are many times I run into conversations like this: Waitress: Would you like some water? Me: No thanks. She walks away for a second, then comes back Me: Actually, could I get a ...
7
votes
4answers
449 views

Translating “I hear (that)…”

How do you translate the phrase "I hear (that)..." as in: I hear that you just got back from your vacation. I hear that it rained all last week in Seattle. I hear you got an A on your history final. ...
9
votes
3answers
537 views

“De donde fue” instead of “De donde estaba”

In Nicaragua, addresses are usually given as directions from a landmark, for example: From the stadium, go 5 blocks south, then 3 blocks east Sometimes the landmark is a place that used to be ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I say “colmo” properly in English? [closed]

There is an expression in Spanish to denote something that is absurd or unexpected. Usually it can be the maximum expression of expertise and talent. I wondered about this mainly because in Spanish ...
6
votes
2answers
366 views

Origin of the name “Jesucristo”

The name Jesus translates simply as Jesús, and Christ as Christo. So why is Jesus Christ translated as Jesucristo rather than Jesús Cristo or Cristo Jesús? Google gives me a plethora of explanations ...
6
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
25
votes
10answers
6k views

How should I ask someone to repeat something they've said?

When I learned Spanish in school, I was taught to never say ¿Qué? when I needed someone to repeat something they just said. Rather I was taught to say ¿Cómo? Later, my wife taught me to say ¿Mande? ...
19
votes
5answers
384 views

What does “lo” in “(no) lo es” refer to?

English: In this sentence, for example: El dinero no lo es todo en la vida. What does this "lo" refer to? Can it be omitted ("El dinero no es todo")? Español: En esta frase, por ejemplo: ...
32
votes
3answers
7k views

Why “buenas noches” when it's only one night?

Why are buenas noches and buenas tardes said when they refer to only one night/afternoon? ¿Por qué se dice "buenas noches" y "buenas tardes" cuando solo se refieren solo a una noche o tarde?
7
votes
3answers
1k 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)?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Translating “looking forward to”

In English, we often used the phrase looking forward to when we are excited about something in the future: I'm looking forward to seeing you next week! I'm really looking forward to finals ...
3
votes
3answers
312 views

Various translations of “ticket”

The English word ticket (that is, a slip of paper used to grant access to something) can be translated several different ways in Spanish: boleto pasaje billete ticket entrada resguardo What are ...
4
votes
5answers
276 views

Can “los cristales” be translated as “mirrors” or “looking glasses”?

I'm trying to translate another poem by Jorge Luis Borges into English: Mis Libros Mis libros (que no saben que yo existo) son tan parte de mí como este rostro de sienes grises y de grises ...
11
votes
4answers
156 views

Is there any subtle difference between the two forms of the imperfect subjuntive?

The imperfect subjuntive has two forms. For example: Ojalá viniera. Ojalá viniese. I think both has the same meaning. However, is there any subtle difference?
5
votes
4answers
294 views

How regional or widespread are the colloquial “pa” / “pa'” in place of “para”?

In Mexico I sometimes heard or saw the colloquial variant pa' or pa used for para. But is this just a Mexicanism, also used in Central America, all Latin America, or even in Spain?
5
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
1k 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
288 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
766 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
118 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
295 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
990 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
359 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
680 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
2k 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
237 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
682 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
2k 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
2k 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
443 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
3k 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
526 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
5k 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
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
411 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
783 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
133 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
8k 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
755 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
978 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
4k 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
1k 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
167 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
579 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
2k 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
414 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
210 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
1k 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 ...

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