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
453 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
924 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
140 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
870 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
1k 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
5k 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
177 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
624 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
458 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
225 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
425 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
110 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
131 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
3answers
480 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
188 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
127 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
203 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
433 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
691 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
908 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
799 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
203 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
79 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
608 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
352 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
944 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: ...
8
votes
7answers
880 views

Are there any words that have opposite regional meanings?

Following in the footsteps of EL&U, are there any words that have opposite meanings in different Spanish-speaking regions? We are looking for words that are the same, but have different meanings ...
6
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Determining gender of words ending in “e”

When learning Spanish, there are basic rules taught about word gender: words ending in o are usually masculine, words ending in a are usually feminine. What about words ending in e? Are there any ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

“ir a «infinitive»” vs. future tense

There are two ways to indicate a future action, ir a «infinitive» and the future tense. How do I decide which to use when? Is one form more common when spoken or in writing? Is there a regional ...
12
votes
5answers
963 views

¿Cómo se pueden identificar palabras árabes en español?

Español Yo sé que los musulmanes, cuando conquistaron España, impactaron en gran medida al idioma. Hay palabras en español que son prestadas (y ahora son una parte del idioma). ¿Hay un método con ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the correct order of object pronouns?

I know that there are (at least) three types of personal pronouns in Spanish (well, and English): direct, indirect, and reflexive. In cases where all three (or at least two) are present, what is the ...
17
votes
3answers
422 views

How do I know whether to attach a direct object pronoun to the infinitive?

I often struggle to decide what sounds right when I need to use direct object pronouns. Lessons on these pronouns have not been much help because they teach that when using a direct object pronoun it ...
4
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Was the word “bomb” only used as slang in Chile and only in the '80s?

In the hit novel Mala honda by Chilean author Alberto Fuguet I remember the word "bomb" being used a lot. It's obviously a slang word. I think it was only used in dialogue. I got the impression it ...
8
votes
2answers
377 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
262 views

What's the origin of the Panamanian word “biñuelo”? Is it merely a corruption of “buñuelo”?

I was in Panama about five years ago and there was a common deep fried street food called "biñuelo". Of course there's a regular Spanish word "buñuelo" which means fritter. So is "biñuelo" just the ...
11
votes
2answers
650 views

Usage of “oso” to express embarrassment

I have heard the idiom ¡Que oso! ...used to express embarrassment by a former acquaintance from Colombia but have never met another Spanish speaker who uses this expression. My questions: ...
5
votes
1answer
104 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Do “alborada”, “amanecer”, and “madrugada” refer to the same thing?

In English we have the two words "dawn" and "sunrise". But in Spanish there are three words, "alborada", "amanecer", and "madrugada". Do the three Spanish words refer to the same thing? Or is one ...
9
votes
4answers
927 views

How to decide between “ahora” and “ya” for the sense “now”?

I know that ya has additional meanings besides simply now, such as already. But considering just the sense of ya which does mean now, when should I use it and when should I use ahora, which only has ...
5
votes
1answer
585 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...

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