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More Adventures in Spanish

More Adventures in Spanish

Fun in Spanish

Fun in Spanish

We’ve often written about language, and especially the mistakes we’ve made.  It’s fun!  Everybody makes mistakes.  Don’t wait to speak until you are perfect.  Get out there and start talking.  As the ads say, there are 350 million people waiting to talk with you.  And if you make a mistake, have a laugh over it and learn!

September 2, 2007

I once had a nervous and grouchy boss in Mexico, who was planning an event and asked for my help.  “We will need 50 “refrigerios,” I was told, and off he stomped to do important boss things.

Now, this was in my early days, when my Spanish left a lot to be desired.  “Refrigerios” are basically “box lunches,” which I suppose makes sense.  Of course, I thought the man wanted me to order 50 refrigerators, which I admit doesn’t make much sense at all.  Nevertheless, I went about seeing how I could procure 50 fridges, until a kind soul set me straight.

And then there was the time I went shopping for baking trays of “acero inolvidable” instead of “acero inoxidable.”  Omar finally told me that instead of “stainless steel” I was asking for “unforgettable steel.”

I’m not the only one who occasionally loses something in the translation.  I was reading the other day that a famous airline wanted to promote their new leather seats to Spanish-speaking customers.  They mixed up “cuero” and “encuerado,” and instead of asking people to “Try our new leather seats” invited them to “Fly naked with us.”  The article didn’t say if there was an increase in ticket sales.

And then there is Coca Cola, who should know better.  Years ago they had the ad campaign “Coke Adds Life,” and they translated the phrase into dozens of languages.  That’s how billboards went up in Thailand proclaiming “Coke Brings Your Dead Ancestors to Life.”

In Spanish, if you don’t watch your accents or you mispronounce a word just a little, you may call your Mama a breast (Mamá vs mama), the Pope a potato (el Papa vs la papa) or—horrors—your comb a penis (peine vs pene).

All this is to interest you in Spanish—it really is fun—and not to scare you away.  The moral is, we all make mistakes, even in our own language.  We just watched gossip show favorite Niurka proclaim to the world that her ex-husband Bobby got his muscles by injecting asteroids, which must be considerably more painful than injecting steroids (esteroides in Spanish).  So you see, everyone does it.  Stop being shy—get out there and speak Spanish!

Just be very careful about asking to borrow a comb.

Dan and Omar

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.