4
votes
3answers
432 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it bad to address a young male as “señor”?

I was recently in Mallorca, at a restaurant I address the waiter as "señor". He was probably in his early 30's, he said that I should not use señor, but another word (which I unfortunately don't ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Greetings for presents and cards

What phrases and greetings can you use for christmas presents / cards? Are there "general purpose" phrases which can be used for presents which are used the whole year, like an iPod? For example: ...
5
votes
1answer
182 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
3k 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
111 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
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
99 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
485 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
992 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 ...
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! ...
8
votes
2answers
163 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
669 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
1k 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
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
2answers
761 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
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
1answer
1k 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
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
210 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? ...
14
votes
3answers
228 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?
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
125 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
215 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
87 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
266 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
870 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
647 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k 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.
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
157 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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
637 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
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 ...
-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 ...
1
vote
3answers
4k 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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