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A high school friend visited with my wife a few weeks ago. The three of us are American. The friend has an 11-year old son that was raised in Mexico. He is bilingual.

While the friend and my wife were chatting in another room, the son and I spent some time talking about his interests. He let me know that that he was into scouting and video games.

Then he asked me a question that took me by surprise. On the heels of our discussion of scouting, which I let him know I was a former Boy Scout, he asked, "What are you known for?"

I stammered for a bit, not quite sure what he meant. I asked if he meant with regards to Boy Scouts, and he said, "Anything." I continued by limiting the discussion to scouting.

This is a mature 11-year old, and seemingly articulate. I am wondering if he is using a direct translation of a Spanish idiom.

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Weird. I'm from Dominican Republic, a country where our first language is Spanish. We watch movies and soap operas and listen to music from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries and I think I have an idea of what it means.

Translating "What are you known for?" literally to Spanish would mean "¿Por qué eres conocido?".

It could be a question regarding "for what things people know you". Like, what is that that you do that people know you for.

If in the Boy Scout you were a good swimmer and everybody there talked about how good of a swimmer you are, then you are "known for being a good swimmer". Like in Spanish "Me conocen por ser un buen nadador", translating that to English "I'm known to be a great swimmer".

I hoped that helps.

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"I am wondering if he is using a direct translation of a Spanish idiom". No, no creo que este utilizando alguna traducción directa de un modismo en español.

Lo más probable es que quisiera referirse a los distintos lemas que tienen los Scouts. ¿Por que eres conocido?, ¿Por qué sois conocidos?, "What are you known for?", puede llevar a un simple malentendido. Lo más probable es que él quisiera saber el lema que utilizabas cuando eras scout.

"I asked if he meant with regards to Boy Scouts, and he said, "Anything." Al decir, "cualquiera", en este proceso deductivo, imagino que se refería a "cualquiera de los lemas" que hubiera utilizado mientras había sido Scouts, dependiendo de la unidad o unidades a las que hubieras pertenecido..


"I am wondering if he is using a direct translation of a Spanish idiom." No, I don't think he is using any direct translation of a Spanish idiom.

Most likely he wanted to refer to the various mottos that the Scouts have. Why are you known?, What are you known for?,(¿Por que eres conocido?, ¿Por qué sois conocidos?) "What are you known for?", can lead to a simple misunderstanding. Most likely he wanted to know the motto you used when you were a scout.

I asked if he meant with regards to Boy Scouts, and he said, "Anything." By saying "any" in this deductive process, I imagine he was referring to "whatever mottos" he had used while he had been a Scout, depending on the unit or units you had belonged to.

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