bathroom in spanish
On here bathroom is el baño, but I think it should be el cuarto de baño. Baño means bath and cuarto de baño means room of bath
This is a really important one, in any language, if you plan to actually use it.
It is actually confusing, because it's mostly misused, but let me first say that, as in any language, there are a large number of words for it, some less polite, some more polite.
So baño actually means bathroom. However it's largely misused to refer to "toilet room" (not the toilet itself, which is inodoro... ironic? probably. Also retrete and váter, from English Water Closet not to forget escusado, already mentioned). With that you can get pretty much everywhere...find a toilet, this is;)
Servicio and aseo is more correct for what you would name as "toilets" in a public space. This would then be appropriate to use when looking for the loo in a place, public toilets.
In a house, you may use baño.
It of course depends on how much you know the other person, the situation and so on, but all these words are correct to use, no problems with politeness.
You may want to take a look here : http://duolingo.com/#/comment/205550
I notice a grocery store near my house here in Texas uses "baño" to label the restroom.
Sure, people tends to use it, so it has taken over "aseo" and "servicio". However it is, to some extent, a misuse. I would recommend to use those and be aware of the current problem ;)
It's okay if it's a misuse... Not a problem! In English people often say "bathroom" of a room that has no bath in it, as long as it has a toilet and hopefully a sink.
I know in the States they also call it a restroom, which has always struck me as incredibly silly. Do you go to the toilet to take a nap?
In Canada "washroom" is very common and this seems a good compromise, but it's all really just us silly humans dancing around the fact that we don't want to say "shitroom" or something along those lines.
I find very funny this thing of "the men's room" though. It has such a veil of mystery...
Regarding "shitroom", this is your lucky language. Cagadero is the word you're looking for. (meadero can also be used). However this is not exactly polite, as you may imagine. I cannot recommend anyone to use it, but is fairly common.
Moving this to the Spanish discussion where others from the Spanish learning community can jump in. :)
If i am not mistaken el bano is used by South American countries and means bathroom (US) and it's the equivalent of los servicios in Spain which means toilets (UK). So people might get confuse depending on where you are from, end where you intend to use your spanish. My answer might be even more confusing for you. :-)
Es correcto! While in Spain, I made the mistake of asking where the baño was - Dónde está el baño? The woman, who worked at the tourist desk, looked at me like I had a third eye! Apparently, I had asked the woman where the toilet was in her house! A French speaking woman came to my rescue and explained to me what I had requested and informed me that the correct term is aseo publico.. In some parts of Spain they are not very tolerant of English speakers. The French woman explained to me that the tourist office woman most likely knew what I wanted (really needed!!!) but it was her way of showing her displeasure that I did not speak fluent Spanish.
Perhaps you asked: ¿Dónde está su baño? This might raise some eyebrows. Still, tourist information people should be well acquainted with such things. I believe your example just reinforces that statement about Hydrogen and stupidity.
It would not have been very strange to say ¿Dónde tienen el baño/aseo/servicio?
I also believe that your statement about the tolerance of English speakers is somewhat bold, as they are actually encouraged to go to many places, as they leave good money. At least they used to, before the Euro and before all prices in Spain tripled, but in some places tourism is THE (only) business.
As I said, baño instead of aseo/servicio es very commonly used by native speakers, so nobody would even blink.
Normally, Spanish speakers are fond of English speakers trying with Spanish. Perhaps because the native Spanish struggle with English, they normally see with some sympathy the situation reversed. Actually for many, they would rather deal with a bad Spanish that embarking in treacherous waters with English, though this is somewhat a comic description, often can be seen. I hope this event did not leave you a bad taste... In addition, It could be said that a lot of people working at those positions, some times lack some ... skills. The funniest I've ever seen in a Tourist Office was this guy in Pisa, who would refuse to speak or stand up from his very low chair and just point at the stack of maps on the table. One of the visitors was so baffled that asked him (in Italian): Do you understand me? the guy nodded, but that was it. After some seconds of mutual staring, the customer said: Do you understand Italian? and the guy nodded again. It looked straight out of Monty Python :)
LOL! This is why I love traveling! You just have to go with the flow! For the most part, my broken attempts at speaking the native language are met with open arms. My friend, who lives in Madrid, thinks that the ''cold shoulder'' we received was because Spain has only recently begun emphasizing English in the Spanish educational system whereas most other European countries teach English along with the country's native language. Some Spaniards are just a bit insecure with the English language because they don't have much exposure to it.
I like the French who just call it what it is....a toilet. That word said with a questioning look on your face will quickly get you to the nearest public bathroom.
I think is "Vocabulary stuff". You know.. may be it doesn't make sense in English, but it's called like that: BAÑO. Not room of bath... Is like when you go to the kitchen.. In English it's ok if you say the room of the kitchen, but it sounds really ridiculous LOL. So it's just BAÑO :)
Just to add to this discussion: Home Depot, a EE.UU. national chain store, has everything translated into Spanish. I noted the other day, they use EL BANO on their large sign for the customers. In Chile I used "el bano" with a real country guy, and he understood completely and directed me to the right place. Bless him.
Maybe it's a plumbing paradise in that Home Depot chain :P
As I said it's largely misused, and seems to cling on.
In any case, In Spain, as the rest of Europe, large public spaces have given up and sign everything with W.C., even sometimes going for the premium version of the sign, with the glyph of man, woman and baby.
Funny thing is that in Spanish it's mispronounced as "uve ce", no "uve doble" (BTW as BMW, which is be eme uve). As far as I can tell, it's just laziness, but everybody does.