4
votes
2answers
262 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
2answers
200 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
615 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
385 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of “oso” to express embarrassment

I have heard the expression: ¡Que oso! It is used to express embarrassment by a former acquaintance from Colombia, but I have never met another Spanish speaker who uses this expression. My ...
7
votes
1answer
155 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
279 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k 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
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
467 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
41k views

Forma correcta de “nisiquiera”

Al escribir siempre he tenido la duda de cuál es la manera apropiada del término o frase. ¿Es "ni si quiera", "ni siquiera" o todo junto "nisiquiera"?. When writing I've always worred about which ...
1
vote
3answers
531 views

American style TV shows in Spanish [closed]

Are there American style TV shows that could be used to practice listening Spanish. By American style I mean Each episode around 30 minutes in length Although it helps to watch them in sequence, ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Proper placement of inverted question mark

What is the proper placement of the inverted question mark in sentences that are not completely questions? A common example: Hello, how are you? (¿)Hola, (¿)cómo estás? Or: That's ...
1
vote
2answers
240 views

Words and phrases with non-evident prejudice

Hace poco aprendí que el origen de la palabra algarabía es la pronunciación de árabe en la lengua árabe. Otro ejemplo notable es la palabra morisqueta. ¿Existen otras palabras o frases de común uso ...
7
votes
1answer
528 views

Usage of the compound preposition “para con”

Wikipedia mentions that para con is rarely used, but I hear it often enough to warrant this question. On the other hand, the Wikipedia article references the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas with ...
8
votes
2answers
297 views

How can I tell someone what I'm reading about?

I was reading a book, and someone asked me, "¿Qué estás leyendo?" I answered, "Estoy leyendo sobre ..." The person looked at me funny, but seemed to understand what I said. Looking back, it makes ...
2
votes
2answers
107 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
202 views

Single or multiple word names of numbers

Should numbers above 15 be spelled as a single word (diecisiete, veintidos, etc.) or multiple words (diez y siete, veinte y dos, etc). Does the Real Academia Española have a official opinion on the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Names of letters “b” and “v”

The letters b and v have several possible names in Spanish. Is there an official, language academy-sponsored name for these letters? If not, what are the most common and standard names?
9
votes
2answers
710 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?
8
votes
2answers
731 views

When should I use the pure passive voice in Spanish? ( fue/fueron [past participle] )

I know Spanish often avoids the passive voice by using the active instead or 'se' to change the subject of the sentence, but when do Spanish speakers use the 'pure' passive with `fue/fueron ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is the “X” in México and Texas pronunced as the letter “J”?

English Even as a native speaker I don't know the reason of this. Another example would be Xavier. Español Aunque el español es mi primera lengua, no sé por qué razón sucede esto. Otro ejemplo ...
5
votes
2answers
511 views

Proper spelling of “beisbol”

I had the privilege of attending the 2011 Panamerican Games last month, and went to the brand new baseball stadium in Lagos de Moreno. The stadium said in big letters: Estadio de Beisbol My ...
6
votes
2answers
643 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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! ...
5
votes
2answers
520 views

Is there an equivalent, in Spanish, for the interrobang?

In English, we have the interrobang -- ‽ (often represented by ?! or !?) -- which can express incredulity and surprise in-text. Does Spanish have an equivalent punctuation mark? If so, would it, like ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre «también» y «tampoco»?

Yo sé que se debe usar también cuando una persona se pone en acuerdo con una otra (en inglés, "You like movies? Me too!" será, "¿Te gustan las películas? ¡A mi también!") pero no se las reglas de usar ...
1
vote
1answer
783 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
1answer
3k views

Difference between “hay”, “ay” and “ahí”

These are commonly misused when writing, and can be very confusing for someone that is learning Spanish. These three words have a very different meaning and they are used in a very different context. ...
2
votes
1answer
238 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?
22
votes
1answer
5k views

Preterit of ser and ir

Español Pretérito de ser: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron Pretérito de ir: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron ¿Cómo han evolucionado los verbos "ser" e "ir" para tener ...
14
votes
3answers
511 views

Does an accent mark change the pronunciation of single-syllable words?

I know that some single-syllable words (most pronouns, for example) come in two varieties, with and without an accent mark on the vowel. "Él" has a different meaning than "el", but is it pronounced ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to Translate “Sabor A Mi” into English

"Sabor a Mi" is the title of a song in Spanish. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/los_panchos/sabor_a_mi.html Usually, sabor is a noun. But in this context, it seems to be used more like a verb. ...
22
votes
10answers
7k views

Are there native-born Spanish speakers that can't trill their R's?

ENGLISH It seems that one of the greatest difficulties some native-English speakers have is learning to trill their R's. Some, it seems, are completely incapable of performing this task. Is this ...
3
votes
1answer
634 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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
214 views

How can I know if a word or phrase should be avoided due to regional variations?

Say that I want to write some blog posts or news articles in Spanish. Are there any useful resources (e.g. books, websites or guidelines) that one could use in order to write “neutral” Spanish, that ...
6
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
697 views

Use of “Que” in “Que todo te vaya bien”

Que todo te vaya bien. Que nos reunamos a las 6. I've seen, and used, que in this form - it's as if the verb has been dropped, say, espero. What is the origin of this usage? Is it ...
7
votes
4answers
268 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
9k views

How to translate the idiomatic expressions “I wish!” and “You wish!”

What's the best way to say "I wish!" as in... A: I hear you're a good dancer. B: Ha! I wish! Or... A: Will you help me move this piano? B: Ha! You wish! What is the best way to ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

“Está hecho de…” why not “es hecho de”?

I've seen "Está hecho de ..." used to mean "It's made of ...". Why is the verb estar and not ser? Isn't this an adjective that's permanent and not going to change? I can understand phrases like "la ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Approximant vs. fricative realization of /b/, /d/, /g/

According to the Wikipedia article on Spanish phonology, the phonemes /b/, /d/, and /g/ are realized as approximants or fricatives instead of plosives in all but certain contexts (after a pause, nasal ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

“Maje” (or “mae”) in Nicaraguan Spanish

What does the word "maje" (pronounced "mae") mean in Nicaraguan Spanish? Could the word be considered offensive, and, if so, in what contexts is it appropriate to use?
3
votes
3answers
482 views

Translation of “raw milk”

How do I refer to raw (unpastuerized) milk in Spanish? Leche cruda is the obvious translation, but I have learned that cruda and raw have some different uses and subtleties about them. And I know ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

“It was great to see you”

What is the most natural translation of the English phrase "It was great to see you" (as in what you would say after seeing a friend you hadn't seen for a long time)?
44
votes
5answers
2k views

Origin and usage of “¿” and “¡”

English I was wondering what the reason is that the inverted exclamation mark ¡ and the inverted question mark ¿ were introduced into the Spanish language and not into most other languages. Any ...

15 30 50 per page