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https://www.duolingo.com/ignatznkrazy

Is the Spanish course no longer focused on American Spanish?

ignatznkrazy
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I have noticed something odd in the Spanish course recently. The verb coger has been introduced. While perfectly fine in Spain, it cannot be used in Mexico (and some other countries in the Americas). It has an extremely profane meaning in Mexico to the point that it is never used except in that profane meaning. (I took a class with a bunch of native speakers mostly from Mexico, and when in talking about dialectical variations the prof said, "En España se puede decir 'Cojo el autobús,' " the class erupted in laughter. So yeah ...

6 months ago

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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For me, it's useful to know it since I've seen "coger" in various children's books printed in Spain. But yeah, a good dictionary or dictionary app is a good idea since some words that are perfectly fine in one country are vulgar in another. This isn't just between Spain and Latin American but can occur between countries right next to each other in Latin America.

There are probably contributors from various countries and it's likely that it's not vulgar to whomever added it (or they may have a perverse sense of humor). I do know that the Catalan course is mostly from Castillian.

Speaking of laughter in classrooms, a friend living in Spain wanted to say she was like the character Zorro but decided to feminize it with an "a" at the end. Everyone laughed and the professor patiently explained that it wasn't a good word to use. I didn't realize what exactly she'd said until I started watching melodramas set in Spain. Now, I laugh ever time I think about it. We all makes these kinds of mistakes at some point.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
Chilotin
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A fun fact: in old times, the species was called "zorra", bot males and females. I think its modern meaning can be taken from English "vixen". through films. By the way, in Chile "zorra" is an equivalent to English "pussy".

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RooyAguirre

As a Native Spanish-Speaker from Ecuador, I can tell that 'coger' is not that bad. At least in Ecuador people won't see you weird with that. But if it's used in teenagers, then it's probably why they would laugh.

If you don't know what 'coger' means, it means to grab something. For the last years, the definition of 'coger' was somehow changed and it involved a sexual meaning.

Now, I don't think it's a bad verb. It's just how other cultures (and millenials) see the word. In my opinion, I think 'coger' should be in Duolingo, because if it's not there then it will be a mistake of the course. Don't let your class laugh like that, lol. People who are using the word 'coger' as a sexual definition are just ruining Spanish.

Que tengas un buen dia amigo, nos vemos.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/redneckray

When speaking of pizza one might say, "tonight I'm gonna get me some".

But saying "tonight I'm gonna get some" without context would have every kid in the classroom snickering until the "best" girls in the room pretend to be offended leaving the poor teacher to explain why the one he can explain is different than the one he is not allowed to explain.

Sometimes kids are more adult than adults are kids.

A pity.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gaius_Plinius

It varies by country, but I'd say the situation is closer to a certain word we have in English that in the UK is used frequently, and means cigarette, but has only one meaning in the US, and that is an extremely derogatory one.

In other countries the word may not be used at all.

I don't think anyone would include that word in an English course without a discussion of where it could and could not be used.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdroege

Excellent example!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
Chilotin
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In my experience, "coger" is entirely sexual in Argentina and Mexico, somewhat sexual in Chile (not used, but understood as sexual) and no sexual in, at least, Colombia.

According to Royal Spanish Academy, it has a sexual meaning in Argentina, Bolivia, Central America, Dominican Rep., Mexico., Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (12 out 18).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gaius_Plinius

Great info.

I live a few hours from the Mexican border, so I speak Spanish mostly with people from Mexico, and I've never heard anyone say it in conversation.

The fact that it has sexual connotations in a majority of countries makes it even more sensible for there to be some warning somewhere.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
Chilotin
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A funny part is "recoger" (lit.: coger x 2), meaning "collect" or "lift", has no sexual connotations at all. You can "recoger" all things you want, but never "coger" anything.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mel211619

This is where it is useful to have a good dictionary! I never knew that, so I looked up the 1476 pages of the Oxford Spanish Dictionary and find it is listed as vulgar, meaning to f--k or sc--w.

I will never ever again be able to go into a Ferreteria in Spain to buy "un tornillo" without worrying if I am using the correct word or not :-) * * and suppose I get the size wrong as well! I could be asking for a long or a short one?

I am devastated for life!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Another bullet point perhaps? ProfesorAntonnio's link here sure makes it sound like "patatas" is a European Spanish term, but it's popping up all over the new sentence discussions.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
Chilotin
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"Patata" is entirely from Central-Northern Spain and Equatorial Guinea. In Andalusia and Canary island is "papa", just like in the Americas. The only exception are dubbed movies, because "patata" is a better choice to synchronize lips movement of "potato".

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brigida
brigida
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I would die for some Patatas Bravas right now!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gracebirdgirl

I believe it is still mostly focused on the American Spanish. If my memory serves me well, 'vosotros' is not on the Duolingo course. There are other examples of words being only used in the Americas and on the course, but I can not think of any. I think they try their best to mix the two together so you can learn whichever one you prefer.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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well you have to also learn the profane meaning right?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gaius_Plinius

Sure, but Duolingo isn't teaching that. Envision someone living in the US using Duolingo to learn Spanish without ever being told that there was an alternate meaning, especially since Duo has always claimed to teach generic American Spanish.

The situation could be cleared up in part by adding, "Coger can only be used in Spain," or something similar in the notes and tips.

Now, on principle I have no problem with swearing, but there are many cultural rules and implications around it. Who can swear, around whom, and how others view the swearer are all culturally determined and potentially fraught. People should understand all that beyond just knowing the vocabulary, but that would be beyond the scope of what Duolingo does.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
Chilotin
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Hahahaha, it is so common that it is unnecessary: almost every verb in Spanish can have a sexual meaning somewhere.

As example, "to have sex" in Chile can be said euphemistically (or not): "acostarse [con]" (to lie [with]), "afilar" (to sharpen), "agarrar" (to take, to catch), "beneficiar" (to slaughter cattle), "comer" (to eat), "desayunar" (to breakfast), "estar con" (to be with), "hacerlo" (to do it), "hacer las tareas" (to do chores, to do homework), "meterse con" (to meddle with), "pelar" (to peel), "pescar" (to fish, to catch), "pisar" (to step on), "probar" (to taste), "servir" (to serve [as food]), "tirar" (to pull, to throw). I'm not counting obscene expressions, another long list. Multiply this for 20 countries.

However, "coger" is different, because in some countries it is entirely sexual and in other countries it is entirely non-sexual.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brigida
brigida
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Being in Canada, being a child of parents from Spain and visiting relatives there a lot, the word ‘coger’ is contantly used. But having friends here that are mostly of Central and South American background, I make a point of not using ‘coger’ in their presence. I sometimes forget, and laughter begins.

The good thing about Duolingo is whatever version of Spanish it is teaching, I tend to type my Spanish translations out of habit in the Spanish that I grew up with even though the lesson might use another word. Duolingo accepts the version of Spanish that I type. That is an excellent feature since I learn new versions of words and can still maintain the version of Spanish the makes more use for me.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dmouille
dmouille
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The Mexicans (and most Spanish speakers for that matter) I know don't think of 'cojer' in a sexual term. The first time I heard about the sexual connotation was through Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. Even so, it appears to be more of a slang - and probably due to context.

Go and use it. If everyone gets a laugh, that should also be a good thing.

6 months ago