https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin

8 Spanish words that don't have a direct English translation

revdolphin
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Someone sent me this article today: http://www.biobiochile.cl/2014/05/28/9-palabras-del-espanol-que-no-tienen-traduccion-en-ingles.shtml
Here, in English, are the essence of the eight words as described in this article (this is not a direct translation):

  1. Sobremesa - The conversation you have with your family after a meal has ended.
  2. Estrenar - Trying something on for the first time.
  3. Vergüenza ajena - Discomfort surrounding the actions of someone else that doesn't directly affect you.
  4. Desvelarse - Being unable to sleep.
  5. Tuerto - A man with only one eye.
  6. Friolento - Someone who is very sensitive to the cold.
  7. Te quiero - Although usually translated as "I love you," it actually represents a concept somewhere between "I like you" and "I love you."
  8. Tutear - To use the informal "tú" with a person in place of the formal "usted."
4 years ago

81 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

I can see why sobremesa does not have an English equivalent. We don't even eat together at the table, much less hang around talking to the family.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marc_B
Marc_B
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My family talks after meals.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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Here in Colombia we also use the word "sobremesa" to talk about the drink you have along with your meals.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/darshbakshi

does that mean the use of this word differs from country to country?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

There are approximately 22 countries in Latin America and there are many difficult natural obstacles separating countries and cities (jungles, deserts, rivers, mountains). So when Spanish first came to Latin America it evolved differently in many places. An example is the word palanca which generally means handle, but in Venezuela, it is often used to mean the "handle to the door of political power." There are thousands of these regionalisms known as "modismos." In Mexico a flour wrapper for other foods is a "tortilla" while in Venezuela a "tortilla" is an omelette.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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I don't really know, with this meaning it is not a word used in "formal" language anyway.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ColinIsCool123

I guess other Spanish speaking countries have more of a tradition of talking after meals.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ValePla

Maybe Vergüenza Ajena could be translated as second hand embarrassment?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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I would translate "tener vergüenza ajena" as "to be embarrassed for someone."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/desantisanne

Thank you mmseiple! I agree 100% and would add that this is a common phrase in English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamesB84
JamesB84
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Wouldn't it be a form of empathy?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel766

too vague

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/herekittykitty99

The first thing that came to my mind was to be stuck in the same room when a couple starts arguing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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If that's the case, then I experience this every day. I'm so in touch with other people's feelings...sigh.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oleron3
Oleron3
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What about rincón? In English it means, roughly, an "inside corner," but there is no precise equivalent. I've always liked that word. There's something cozy and intimate about it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinaLock
AlexinaLock
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I agree, that's one of my favorite words

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Funnily enough, sobremesa means dessert in Portuguese.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlbertoMelgar30

hahaha I was about to say that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fraxinus

Could "Desvelarse" be translated as insomnia?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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  • Insomina -> Insomnio (noun)
  • Desvelarse -> Reflexive verb
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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In addition, "desvelarse" often means to be kept awake by something or to stay awake for a reason, so it's not necessarily just insomnia.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mGonz96
mGonz96
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Shut up and take my lingot!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Soy una persona muy friolenta!! <sub>brrrr</sub>

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

Yo tambien. Me gusta esa palabra porque es muy util para mi!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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No cierto si es siempre "friolento" or si a veces puedo usar "friolenta" cuándo referir una persona en general...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rachvx
rachvx
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Soy no friolenta en el más mínimo. De hecho, estoy no muy poco sensible al frío.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dr_revelator

I wonder if "Vergüenza ajena" could also be applied to the "discomfort comedy" (or "cringe comedy") genre that has popped up in the last decade? This article talks about it...http://entertainment.time.com/2013/05/13/discomfort-zone-10-great-cringe-comedies/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ana_81
ana_81
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If this means that "the awkwardness of social interaction" and "people’s lack of self-awareness" are supposed to make you cringe while watching the show, then yes :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alejandromx95

I never found a word that is the translation "relajista" (loud fun most of the time, when they are talking and laughing in groups such)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FlamingoDingo

To expand on "te quiero," I use it when I am talking to my family members or perhaps a really good friend ("love you bestie!). I would even use it with a boyfriend or food (which is the equivalent to be honest). I would NOT use "te amo" with any of my family members or friends, maybe food, mainly because that is a romantic love and is used only with a romantic partner, and is more serious than "te quiero".

So, you can go ahead and say, "Yo amo ese foto, y yo te amo mi amor," to your significant other at a museum and say, "Mami, te quiero mucho, chao!" to your mama.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MThoriqMalano
MThoriqMalano
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Since the verb Tutear exist, does the word ''Vosear'' exist too?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Agustin-

It does exist, but I´m 40 and never heard it before (only read it in books). It´s VERY obscure and not many people will know it, much less use it. Do not confuse it with "vocear", which is a bit more common and means to say something aloud.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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Yes, Vosear

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kangaroopouch
kangaroopouch
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it seems like "vergüenza ajena" is "Fremdschämen" in German.

"tutear" is "duzen" of course and there also used to be a word in English: "to thou". Isn't there an equivalent of German "siezen" in Spanish?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ana_81
ana_81
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siezen = tratarse de usted (we don't have a specific verb for that)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pickle1
Pickle1
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Thanks. How would you use dozen in a sentence in German? Mochten Sie duzen?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pickle1
Pickle1
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or Mochten Sie duzen mit mir? I can't write an umlaut

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kangaroopouch
kangaroopouch
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It' s a verb that requires an object, so your sentence should be "möchten Sie mich duzen" or "möchten Sie, dass wir uns duzen"

Another possibility once you've established the du is to say "wir sind per du." (of course this makes for easy puns with French)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/filippo-b

In italian friolento is freddoloso and tuerto is guercio.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/larry.
larry.
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I work with a friolento, I think she just needs to eat something

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Agustin-

I think she would be friolentA :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/larry.
larry.
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I knew as soon as I posted that it would come back thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M.Knize
M.KnizePlus
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Friolento! Now I finally know what to call my coworkers who claim that the office is freezing every day!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sgates5

ummmmm Cyclops?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill-Roca

Only if the single eye is in the center of his forehead :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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Cyclop translation would be "cíclope", but as said before, not the same ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Terrapod
Terrapod
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From what I understand, 'Tuerto' is more of an insult?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Julian_L.

Is just a person or animal with only one eye. If someone uses it as an insult, is because they want do it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Terrapod
Terrapod
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Ok, thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/G2u3
G2u3
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I've heard (and I'm curious how often it's true) that many descriptors that are insulting in English are perceived as neutral in Spanish, especially physical bodily traits, maybe with the sense that they can't be helped. It's not even supposed to be a 'tough love' sort of thing among friends; Latin American culture (the claim goes) is simply less superficially judgmental. Any insights?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ana_81
ana_81
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I don't think there is a "Latin American culture" in the sense you describe, our countries are very different and in mine in particular, we can be very, very superficial... but I guess it's more or less the same everywhere, some people are good and others not so much. It's just as Julian_L. said (If someone uses it as an insult, is because they want do it.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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I actually learned "Friolero" (not "Friolento") from my one of my friends from Spain. I'm not sure if "Friolento" is also used there.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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"Friolero" is used in Spain, while "friolento" is used in Latin America: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2008725 I've actually had conversations with friends on how we need a word for this in English, haha.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Around here when someone gets chilled easily we say they are cold natured. If they don't chill easily, we say they are hot natured. I don't know how common that is in other areas though.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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I've never heard "cold natured" used that way. When I was a kid, we would call someone "cold-blooded" if they got cold easily, but of course that's not accurate.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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Thanks, interesting!

  1. Friolento - Someone who is very sensitive to the cold.
    • friolero? (according to RAE).
  2. Te quiero
    • one word (like: one-word)? ;)
  3. Tutear
    • not really applicable in English (but in German: Dutzen)

The other ones are perfectly defined (according to RAE).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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"Quiero" in "te quiero" isn't really just "like," though. If you say to your mom, "Te quiero," you mean, "I love you," not, "I like you."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NathanLeee
NathanLeee
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Well even in English saying "I love you" can have different connotations, so this is nothing foreign. I think tone often makes this distinction in English.

To your child - A caring parent.

To a stranger's kid at the park - pedophile

To your mother - A loving child

To your friends mother - well...

To your wife - A loving husband

To your friends wife - awkward.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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I agree. I was just responding to the poster above who proposed translating it as "like." I personally wouldn't have even included "te quiero" on the list, since it translates pretty easily as "I love you."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VictorRivasG

sensitive-to-cold

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ricaloca

"Sobremesa" probably would be covered about 150 years ago with "port and cigars" for the gentlemen, and "drawing-room conversation" for the ladies.

Wouldn't "desvelarse" mean "insomnia"?

We also used to have "to thee and thou somebody" that took care of #8. As the thees and thous went away, so did this expression.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moclon
Moclon
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Vergüenza ajena = Second hand embarrassment.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/willurd

Wouldn't the direct translation of desvelarse be insomnia?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Desvelarse is a verb. Insomnia is a noun.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/willurd

Ah, I see. Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Agustin-

What irtward said. Insomnia would be "insomnio".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/willurd

Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AkshayKale2

tuerto can also be termed as man with no eyes?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Agustin-

You would normally refer to a man with no eyes as "ciego" (blind), even though it refers to the lack of ability to see and not the phisical disability. Tuerto is for those lacking just 1 eye.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AkshayKale2

thanx bro

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pickle1
Pickle1
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These are great! Thanks! I'm trying to put some of these in sentences to practice. Do you think these are correct? Comments? 2. Yo voy estrenando esta blusa. 4. Anoche no pude dormir - Me desvelé. 5. Esta hombre es tuerto. (blind in one eye). 6. La mujer es friolenta. 8. ¿Quieres usar tutear?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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My inexpert analysis: 2. Yo voy a estrenar esta blusa. 5. Este hombre es tuerto. (use masculine form of "this"). 8. I believe "tutear" is a verb, so you might say something like, "¿Quieres tutear?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pickle1
Pickle1
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Yes, you're right. I wrote those in too big of a hurry. Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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Also "tuerto" implies not only being blind in one eye, but physically not having one eye.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
mmseiple
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It can actually mean either/or, i.e. having both eyes but only being able to see out of one or only having one eye.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ana_81
ana_81
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2- Yo estoy estrenando esta blusa (present) or, as revdolphin said, Yo voy a estrenar esta blusa (future)

8- ¿Quieres que nos tuteemos? or ¿Podemos tutearnos?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dexterneutron

4.-Although the sentence is grammatically correct it's redundant; desvele is usually used with a complement that describes the reason why you didn't sleep, for instance: "Anoche me desvele estudiando".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdrianoMai1

Some similarities in Portuguese : Sobremesa in Portuguese means desert Estrenar =Estreiar (the noum is "a estréia") Vergüenza ajena = vergonha alheia Tuerto = caolho (be careful with "torto" that means crooked, not straight) Friolento = friorento or friento

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KnifeChicken

Doesn't "Desvelarse" translate to isomnia?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rachvx
rachvx
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Very interesting!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinaLock
AlexinaLock
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Desvelarse means for me, a native Spanish speaker, to stay up late and can mean that you can't sleep, but doesn't necessairly mean that, does anyone else think of it as I do? Or have I always just thought of it wrong?

4 months ago
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