8 Spanish words that don't have a direct English translation
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):
- Sobremesa - The conversation you have with your family after a meal has ended.
- Estrenar - Trying something on for the first time.
- Vergüenza ajena - Discomfort surrounding the actions of someone else that doesn't directly affect you.
- Desvelarse - Being unable to sleep.
- Tuerto - A man with only one eye.
- Friolento - Someone who is very sensitive to the cold.
- Te quiero - Although usually translated as "I love you," it actually represents a concept somewhere between "I like you" and "I love you."
- Tutear - To use the informal "tú" with a person in place of the formal "usted."
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.
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.
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.
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/
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?
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.)
That is true, in most latins countries there is no problem about using words that might be offensive in other cultures, for instance, here in venezuela is common to use surnames like: El chino"The chinese",el gordo "The fat", el ❤❤❤❤❤ "the N-word", el flaco "The thin", el turco "The meaning is -The turkish guy- but here is used with arabic people in general" and so on. Although I think those epithets are essentially rude and racist and should not be used, it's evident that in most cases people don't use it with a racist connotation.
Mmmm actually I've never heard that meaning of turco; In fact, here in Venezuela when that word is used in non arabic people means "Someone who likes to get extra-earnings by selling stuff at the office/school/church/etc" which in this context is pretty accurate, since in most Venezuelan cities, Arabic people own a great number of shops (For instance, in my city I daresay that about 90% of electronics shops are own by arabic people) and it's known they are good for commerce in general.
This makes sense, but lets carry the thought a little farther. When you go to one of these shops and want to make a deal. Who is likely to get the better end of the deal, the Turco or you? (Understand that I am not dealing in racial stereotypes but am aware of stereotypes that do exist). And I have had the experience (as a gringo) of paying for an item and the shop owner figures my change on his calculator. Luckily I had already done the math in my head so when the change did not look right I took the calculator from his hand did the math and said, "We both used the same calculator and we both got different numbers, why is that? This is followed by profuse apologies from the shop owner. I smile and say, "It is OK, it could happen to anybody." So I think, in this context Turco can mean a sharp, difficult to deal with person who wins on more deals than he looses on.
@dexterneutron and Roger_Burke, I think it is very important to keep in mind that Duolingo has a very diverse community, which includes many groups who have experienced prejudice, discrimination, as well as racism. Stereotypes are harmful to minority groups especially because these groups are often already vulnerable and suspect and stereotypes drive prejudice and this often in turn drives discrimination. Racism can operate regardless of personal intentions because it is a system of inequalities. Social narratives (or stereotypes about those groups) can easily feed into maintaining a system of inequalities. So, let's be considerate with our language while here on Duolingo and not add to an environment where minorities are being stereotyped. If continuing the conversation is important to you, please continue it somewhere other than Duolingo. Thank you. :)
"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.
"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.
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?