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Wizard
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May 19th, 2011 at 7:30:58 AM permalink
Fecha: 19 de Mayo
Palabra del día: DEDO


Dedo = Finger or toe.

That's right, finger and toe have to share the same word in Spanish! If it isn't clear from the context, I think one would say dedo del pie to refer to a toe.

My suggestion to the Real Academia Española is to come up with a word specifically for toe.
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May 19th, 2011 at 7:40:59 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That's right, finger and toe have to share the same word in Spanish! If it isn't clear from the context, I think one would say dedo de pie to refer to a toe.



It can be clear from context only rarely. Say you drop a bowling bowl on your foot. If you then say "me lastimé los dedos," it's clear you're talking about your toes.

BTW It's "dedo deL pie," or "dedo de EL pie." I'm sorry to be so critical, but these are the tiny details that drive language students crazy. "Dedo de pie" means something ike "standing finger" :P
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pacomartin
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May 19th, 2011 at 9:40:35 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

That's right, finger and toe have to share the same word in Spanish! If it isn't clear from the context, I think one would say dedo del pie to refer to a toe.



The word "toe" originally referred to either the appendage on the hand or on the foot. The use in the sense continued up until 350 years ago. The word finger developed from the same root word as five. The latin word, digitus referred to either, and so does the Spanish word.

We still have 10 digits in our numerical system, and sleight of hand is often called prestidigitation.

=====================
If I refer to the Latin origins of Spanish and of English Vocabulary, you should note that Spanish did not start becoming the dominant language derived from Latin in present day Spain until the 12th-14th century. Before that it was on par with several other languages. It's ascendancy came with the political and military power of The Kingdom of Castille. Even today several languages derived from Latin still exist in Spain (approx number of speaker):

Catalan: 11.5 million
Galician: 3-4 million
Leonese: 25K-50K
Asturian: 150K-400K
Aragonese: 30K
Aranese: (revived from near zero to thousands)

The language not derived from Latin is
Basque: 670K in 2006

The language Galician is derived from Latin, but much of the core culture is celtic. They have bagpipes and kilts like the Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Brittany.
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May 19th, 2011 at 9:51:51 PM permalink
Tengo una pregunta. Sabemos que:

Gato = cat
Gatear = to crawl

¿Es una casualidad?
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pacomartin
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May 20th, 2011 at 1:36:33 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Tengo una pregunta. Sabemos que:

Gato = cat
Gatear = to crawl

¿Es una casualidad?



In this case it is a coincidence, since gato and cat both come from a different Latin word which translated in French as chat and became a "g" in Spanish.

I think arrastrarse! is more of the military command. Also reptar, which means to crawl very low to the ground. Gatear is more to crawl like a child does with their head up looking around. I believe the word is more related to "el lagarto" "the lizard" (with a similar root as alligator). Some kinds of lizards crawl with their head up looking for predators or prey.



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May 20th, 2011 at 5:17:31 AM permalink
Thanks Paco! With that fine answer, I think we'll keep gatear as the word of the day for May 20.
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May 20th, 2011 at 1:32:46 PM permalink
In the 1920's, Charles Kay Ogden decided the Esperanto was never going to work as a universal language. He set out to do some massive research to try and come up with a 1000 word vocabulary in English that would span almost the entire world of communication. There were only 18 verbs in his language and no conjugations. But the verbs were assumed into a group of 100 words he called "operators". The grammar was vastly simplified from English grammar.
In the 1930's people became very excited about the idea of world where everyone would learn this simplified English and for the first time since the Tower of Babel everyone in the world could talk to each other. HG Wells wrote a novel featuring world government where everyone could speak this language. Charles Ogden never envisioned this "scientific pidgin" replacing all other languages, but it would be a second language for general communication.

Naturally, any project of this nature faces huge criticism. TRIVIA: What novel features the most famous skewering of the work of Charles Kay Ogden as mind control? We all read it in school! One of the criticisms is that in order to keep the vocabulary list as short as possible, mostly words of Old English or Old Norse derivation were used. These words have the widest range of meanings.

While the core concept has largely been lost in time and replaced with ideas such "Voice of America English", "Airplane Mechanics English" and "Oxford 3000" (the core vocabulary list of 3000 words developed by Oxford dictionary), the original vocabulary list is still helpful. Since these operators are capable of describing the full range of concepts (admittedly in a crude way), it gives you a core vocabulary list to learn in another language.

Since only 5 words are from old French (and ultimately from Latin), you concentrate on the words that you use all the time, but have no direct Spanish equivalent.

The most commonly used verb in English that comes from Latin is use which has the Spanish equivalent usar. That verb is not on the list of 100 operators because Charles Ogden used it as a noun only.

One problem with this language, is that I may be able to understand someone speaking it to me, but he wouldn't understand me unless I had special training. I would end up using a larger vocabulary, or using words in non-specified manner. But that problem is also present if you are running a factory and the workers only speak pidgin english.

# English Spanish Root Orig English Spanish Root Orig
1 come venir cuman Old English between  entre betweonum OE
2 get hacer geta Old Norse by por bi OE
3 give dar giefan OE down abajo ofdune OE
4 go ir gan OE from desde fram OE
5 keep mantener cepan OE in en inne OE
6 let que lætan OE off fuera æf OE
7 make hacer macian OE on en an OE
8 put poner putung OE over sobre ofer OE
9 seem parecer soema ON through através þurh OE
10 take tener tacan OE to de to OE
11 be ser beon OE under debajo under OE
12 do hacer don OE up arriba uppe OE
13 have haber habban OE with con wið OE
14 say dicer secgan OE as como alswa OE
15 see ver seon OE for por for OE
16 send enviar sendan OE of de of OE
17 may poder mæg OE till hasta til ON
18 will estar (futuro) willan OE than que þan OE
19 about aproximadamente abutan OE a una an OE
20 across a través de cros OE the el þe OE
21 after después æfter OE all todo eall OE
22 against en contra de agan OE any todo ænig OE
23 among entre onmang OE every todos los æfre OE
24 at en æt OE no demás na OE
25 before antes beforan OE other otros oþer OE
26 some algunos sum OE now ahora nu OE
27 such tales swylc OE out acabo ut OE
28 that que þæt OE still todavía stille OE
29 this este þis OE then a continuación þanne OE
30 I yo ic OE there hay þær OE
31 he él he OE together juntos togædere OE
32 you eow OE well bueno wel OE
33 who que hwa OE almost casi eallmæst OE
34 and y ond OE enough lo suficiente genog OE
35 because porque par cause French even incluso efen OE
36 but sino butan OE little poco lytel OE
37 or o oþþe OE much mucho micel OE
38 if si gif OE not no nawiht OE
39 though si þo ON only sólo ænlic OE
40 while mientras que hwile OE quite bastante quite Fr
41 how cómo hu OE so lo swæ OE
42 when cuándo hwænne OE very muy verai Fr
43 where dónde hwær OE tomorrow mañana to morgenne OE
44 why porqué hwi OE yesterday ayer geostran dæg OE
45 again una vez más agan OE north al norte norð OE
46 ever cada vez æfre OE south sur suð OE
47 far lejos feorr OE east este east OE
48 forward hacia adelante forewearde OE west oeste west OE
49 here aquí her OE please por favor plaisir Fr
50 near cerca near OE yes gise OE
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May 20th, 2011 at 1:41:18 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Naturally, any project of this nature faces huge criticism. TRIVIA: What novel features the most famous skewering of the work of Charles Kay Ogden as mind control? We all read it in school!



1984?
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May 20th, 2011 at 2:09:09 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

1984?


Correct. Good good response. No thoughtcrime for you.
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May 20th, 2011 at 2:12:47 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Correct. Good good response.



I was going to pass it over, then I recalled Newspeak.

Anyway, back to today's word:

"Gatear" is used for describing what babies do while they figure how to walk, and also crawling on all fours.

In Mexico, at least, crawling while nearly flat to the ground is called "pecho tierra." At least that was the custom during mock military play at summer camp back in the late 70s...

The other words Paco used are correct, but seldom used.
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pacomartin
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May 20th, 2011 at 2:48:52 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

In Mexico, at least, crawling while nearly flat to the ground is called "pecho tierra."



I don't know if there is a special English verb to distinguish the two. It' usually called an army crawl or a "military crawl".

As far as vocabulary lists, the 501 Spanish verbs has been around for 50 years, and nearly every student has one. There are an additional 1000 verbs in an appendix that follow the examples. Many people also have electronic translators but everything always seemed inadequate. Every day someone would use a verb that wasn't in the book or electronic device. But the speaker would always claim it was a common verb. It got frustrating.

They say a college educated person knows 17,000 word lemmas, which alway seems daunting.
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May 20th, 2011 at 3:15:17 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

I don't know if there is a special English verb to distinguish the two. It' usually called an army crawl or a "military crawl".



"Pecho tierra" can't be easily translated. it's a phrase, not a word, made of two nouns. the literal translations is "Breast/Chest ground."

Quote:

As far as vocabulary lists, the 501 Spanish verbs has been around for 50 years, and nearly every student has one. There are an additional 1000 verbs in an appendix that follow the examples. Many people also have electronic translators but everything always seemed inadequate. Every day someone would use a verb that wasn't in the book or electronic device. But the speaker would always claim it was a common verb. It got frustrating.



That's why it's better to use a dictionary in the language you're learning. Even a heavily abridged, pocket edition is likely to be much better. The electronic and computer translators are limited by the anture of computer translation anyway, even if they carried every word imaginable. I haven't bothered with them for years.

What is common or not varies by region and time. Back when we visited the grandparents in Monterrey, a soda was called a soda while in Mex City it was "refresco." The last few times I've been there, more people seem to use "refresco" and less use "soda." Likewise you probably won't hear anyone over 12 anywahere in Mexico use the verb "coger" to mean grab or take. Spaniards use it that way all the time. Funny thing, though, mexicans use the verb "recoger", meaning to pick something up, without a second thought or even a mild blush.
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May 20th, 2011 at 4:06:50 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Correct. Good good response. No thoughtcrime for you.



I missed that.

You get a failing grade on Newspeak. While thoughtcrime is a word, you missed using plusgood in the middle sentence. Please report to thoughtpolice for immediate transfer to minilove.

As I recall, in the novel Winston writes an entire newspaper entry in newspeak, and O'Brian dictates official correspondence using it. Other than that it was used in isolated words. Even the telescreen announcers dind't use it consistently. I'd look it up, but that book still gives me the shivers.
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May 21st, 2011 at 6:50:14 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

full transcript
video of routine



BTW Paco I found the lyrics for Les Luthiers complete works:

http://www.lesluthiers.org/listado.php?modo=Obras

Look up Cantata del Adelantado Don Rodrigo Diaz de Carreras...
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May 21st, 2011 at 7:54:04 AM permalink
Fecha: 21 de Mayo
Palabra del día: TERREMOTO


In honor of judgement day, the word for today is terremoto = earthquake. This one is pretty easy to break down, although I'm sure Paco can take it even deeper.

The "terre" seems obviously a derivative of tierra = earth. In English the root "terr" can be found in lots of words having to do with the ground, such as: terrace, terrain, terrarium, terrestrial, and territory. A good question for Paco would be do the words terrible and terrific stem from this use of "terr"? If so, how, if not, why the "terr"?

The "moto" seems obviously a derivative of mover = move/shake. How the second "t" got into terremoto I don't know, perhaps Paco can explain it.
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May 21st, 2011 at 10:28:41 AM permalink
INTRODUCTION
One thing you learn from studying ancient languages like Latin or Greek is that language structure has gotten simpler over the last few thousand years, while vocabulary has gotten much more extensive. A single word could spawn a verb and a noun and a whole bunch of different spellings, suffixes, and prefixes which generated all the English and Spanish words today.

BACKGROUND
The Latin noun for earth is obviously one of the best known Latin words today, terra. But all Latin nouns had declensions. Declensions are almost completely absent from English, and largely absent from Spanish except for the dreaded gender. Although we recognize that nouns can be subjects, direct objects, or indirect objects in both English and Spanish, in neither case do we change the spelling or endings of the noun, but rely on word placement and helping words to explain the difference.

So the related noun terror in Latin (one of those very rare words which has come to English completely unchanged) is declined as follows:
Number Singular Plural
nominative terror terrōrēs
genitive terrōris terrōrum
dative terrōrī terrōribus
accusative terrōrem terrōrēs
ablative terrōre terrōribus
vocative terror terrōrēs


As a verb, which means "to frighten" you have
infinitive terrēre,
perfect active terruī,
supine territum (the supine aspect is lost to both English and Spanish)
present active terreō,

Latin verbs have the following properties:
three persons: first person, second person, third person
two numbers: singular, plural
two aspects: perfective (finished) and imperfective (unfinished)
six tenses: Present, Imperfect, Future, Perfect, Pluperfect, Future Perfect
three finite moods: indicative mood, subjunctive mood, imperative mood
four non-finite forms: infinitive, gerund, participle, supine
two voices: active voice and passive voice
- In Latin you have well over a 100 endings for every verb as you try to cover all of the above cases. A fully conjugated verb in Latin looks overwhelming.

mōtus
mōtum
mōta
moveō , movēs , movet , movēmus , movētis , movent
movēbō , movēbis , movēbit , movēbimus , movēbitis , movēbunt
movēbam , movēbās , movēbat , movēbāmus , movēbātis , movēbant
mōvī , mōvistī , mōvit , mōvimus , mōvistis , mōvērunt
mōverō , mōveris , mōverit , mōverimus , mōveritis , mōverint
mōveram , mōverās , mōverat , mōverāmus , mōverātis , mōverant
moveor , movēris , movētur , movēmur , movēminī , moventur
movēbor , movēberis , movēbitur , movēbimur , movēbiminī , movēbuntur
movēbar , movēbāris , movēbātur , movēbāmur , movēbāminī , movēbantur
moveam , moveās , moveat , moveāmus , moveātis , moveant
movērem , movērēs , movēret , movērēmus , movērētis , movērent
mōverim , mōverīs , mōverit , mōverīmus , mōverītis , mōverint
mōvissem , mōvissēs , mōvisset , mōvissēmus , mōvissētis , mōvissent
movear , moveāris , moveātur , moveāmur , moveāminī , moveantur
movērer , movērēris , movērētur , movērēmur , movērēminī , movērentur
movē , movētō , movētō , movēre , movētor , movētor
movēte , movētōte , moventō , movēminī , — , moventor
movēre , mōvisse , mōtūrus esse , movērī , mōtus esse , mōtum īrī
movēns (moventis) , — , mōtūrus-ra, -rum , — , mōtus-a, -um , movendus-nda, -ndum

- You are clearly more aware of these cases in Spanish than in English because the language is inflected with so many different suffixes. While in English you say "I am reading", and "Reading is good for you", you don't change the spelling of "reading" even though you are using the word as a present participle in the first sentence, and then as a gerund (a verb turned into a noun) in the second sentence.
- In Spanish you would have to change the verb ending "estoy leyendo", and "leer es muy bueno".


ATTEMPT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS

Why the "terr" stem: It is probably more correct to say that "tierra" came from "terra", and that all the related English words that have something to do with the ground derived from the same word.

Terrific meant "terrifying" in English for hundreds of years, and only acquired the meaning of "excellent" in the late 19th century. I don't know specifically how it transformed. Sometimes a single influential writer can change the meaning of a word.

The second t. After my rather cursive discussion of declensions and conjugations in Latin it should not surprise you that the Latin verb movere or "to move, set in motion" had verb forms such as motus.
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May 21st, 2011 at 11:22:06 AM permalink
It is always interesting to me that people developed these complicated sets of language rules before they knew how to write or to do simple mathematics when life expectancy was probably close to age 20.

English has roughly 20% of it's vocabulary from the Germanic, Anglo Saxon, Norse history but these words are the majority of the words we use, and AS dictated our language structure. While spelling rules can be complex, it helps me to try and compare a Spanish word to the common English word that are both derived from the same Latin word. While you can easily translate a Spanish word to an Anglo Saxon English word you are going back 2000 years and there is often some fundamental differences.

Even on the most basic level, we translate "estar" in Spanish to "am, are, is, was" in English, but the Spanish word has a shared meaning with the English word "status".
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May 22nd, 2011 at 5:22:18 AM permalink
Fecha: 22 de Mayo
Palabra del día: CABALLO


In honor of the Preakness winner, Shackleford, the word of the day is caballo = horse.

That is pretty much it. I have no good memory device to help you remember it, but maybe Paco can help with that. Don't confuse it with cabello, which is a word for hair. So, how about some ejemplos.

No me gustan los caballos = I don't like horses.

Olvidé apostar a mi caballo favorito = I forgot to bet on my favorite horse.

Mi caballo es lento = My horse is slow.

Thx Nareed for the corrections.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 5:30:55 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

No me gustan caballos = I don't like horses.



No me gustan LOS caballos.


Quote:

Olvido apostar a mi caballo favorito = I forgot to bet on my favorite horse.



"Olvidé apostar...." Otherwise you're either saying "I forget to bet..." with the verb in present tense, or "He forgot to bet..."
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May 22nd, 2011 at 9:32:28 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

No me gustan LOS caballos.



Wouldn't that be saying "I don't like THE horses." I meant to say I don't like horses in general, so omitted the "the."

Quote:

"Olvidé apostar...."



You evidently didn't see me pointing backwards, indicating the past tense.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 9:37:41 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Wouldn't that be saying "I don't like THE horses." I meant to say I don't like horses in general, so omitted the "the."



I don't know what to tell you other than that's the way it is. Saying "No me gustan caballos" is just short of saying in English "Me no like horses."
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May 22nd, 2011 at 10:22:33 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I don't know what to tell you other than that's the way it is. Saying "No me gustan caballos" is just short of saying in English "Me no like horses."



You touched on a feature of English. If we want to use a definite article you say "the" for both singular and plural (from Anglo Saxon þȳ ). If we want to use a indefinite article in the singular we use either "a" or "an" depending on the lead letter in the following word. In English for there is no plural indefinite article. Although the word "some" is a type of plural indefinite article which refers to an indefinite percentage of the class.


So in summary, no article in English, but article required in Spanish and other romance languages for indefinite plural. Like Nareed says, there is no solid reason, but it is just a difference in the development of the languages.

Romance incidentally means, "language of the Romans". Since cheap stories of love were often written in vulgar latin, the word got associated with love stories.

"Caballus" is vulgar latin for horse, "equus" is classical Latin for horse, while "hors" is Anglo Saxon for horse. I can't think of any memory device, but most Americans know that a "caballero" is someone who rides a horse. The word should be pretty easy to remember.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 10:42:09 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

"Caballus" is vulgar latin for horse, "equus" is classical Latin for horse, while "hors" is Anglo Saxon for horse. I can't think of any memory device, but most Americans know that a "caballero" is someone who rides a horse. The word should be pretty easy to remember.



Careful. Caballero is used that way when talking about knights. Don Quijote is a good example. But the current meaning of the word is "gentleman," which carries no association with horses.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 2:07:00 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Careful. Caballero is used that way when talking about knights. Don Quijote is a good example. But the current meaning of the word is "gentleman," which carries no association with horses.



Good point. But Americans are heavily influenced by the Zorro story which was popularized by Walt Disney. While the word "Caballero" is relatively common in America, and often is put on restroom doors, it doesn't take much to picture a pre-conquest California gentleman riding a caballo.

While I said that most of the Latin words found their way into English, this seems to be an exception to that rule. Caballus morphed into the French "cheval" from where we get the word "chivalry", but other than that I can't think of a more direct example.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 4:50:58 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Good point. But Americans are heavily influenced by the Zorro story which was popularized by Walt Disney. While the word "Caballero" is relatively common in America, and often is put on restroom doors, it doesn't take much to picture a pre-conquest California gentleman riding a caballo.



Pre-conquest there were no horses in this continent. I'm sure there was nothing named California, either ;)

Pre-independence is another matter.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 5:52:28 PM permalink
I think if you asked 100 Americans in the south-west, who never took a formal Spanish class, what a caballero was, fewer than 5 would indicate it meant somebody who rides horses. It is a word we hear from time to time, but not often enough to know the exact meaning. I would suspect many Americans might confuse it with compañero, which for the benefit of others, means companion or classmate.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 6:36:14 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I think if you asked 100 Americans in the south-west, who never took a formal Spanish class, what a caballero was, fewer than 5 would indicate it meant somebody who rides horses. It is a word we hear from time to time, but not often enough to know the exact meaning. I would suspect many Americans might confuse it with compañero, which for the benefit of others, means companion or classmate.



I should have said that there is no English word closely related to caballo (except chivalry which has a somewhat complex history). You simply have to memorize the word.

Nareed, what is the word that the Mexicans use for the American conquest of half of Mexico. I clearly didn't mean Cortez's conquest of Mexico.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 7:38:53 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Nareed, what is the word that the Mexicans use for the American conquest of half of Mexico.



None that I'm aware of.

Quote:

I clearly didn't mean Cortez's conquest of Mexico.



The term "Conquista" refers to Spain's conquest of much of the hemisphere.
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May 22nd, 2011 at 8:19:23 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

None that I'm aware of.



Does Mexico or Mexicans still hold any hard feelings about that?

When I went to Panama I was worried they might still be angry about the 1990 US invasion of Panama. I asked several people about it while I was there and nobody seemed very eager to discuss it.
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pacomartin
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May 22nd, 2011 at 8:22:31 PM permalink
OK, I guess we'll call the period August 24, 1821 (Treaty of Córdoba) where Spain recognized Mexican independence to February 2, 1848 (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ) with regard to the American Southwest to be the pre-cessation period.



Usually I consider the Colonial California period to be from 1775 to 1810-1821.
Nareed
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May 22nd, 2011 at 8:24:09 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

I should have said that there is no English word closely related to caballo (except chivalry which has a somewhat complex history). You simply have to memorize the word.



Cavalry. Cavalier (noun).
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Nareed
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May 22nd, 2011 at 8:27:33 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Does Mexico or Mexicans still hold any hard feelings about that?



There's a lot of hard feelings about America. But that seems more of a universal problem. Jealousy's like that.

Me, I'm pissed your countrymen stopped so far north. Then again my family didn't arrive to these hemisphere until early in the XX Century.
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pacomartin
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May 22nd, 2011 at 8:47:46 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Does Mexico or Mexicans still hold any hard feelings about that?

When I went to Panama I was worried they might still be angry about the 1990 US invasion of Panama. I asked several people about it while I was there and nobody seemed very eager to discuss it.




In Chicano Park in San Diego, CALTRANS objected to the word Aztlan which has been spelled out for many years. The word was considered militant. For those of you who don't know, Aztlan is the legendary home of the Aztecs before they went on their centuries long journey which led them to conquer present day Mexico City. They told Cortez, that they no longer knew where it was located. While most scholarship points to the Pacific Coast north of Puerto Vallarta, the legend was picked up by the Chicano movement in the American Southwest in the 1960's as being located somewhere in that region. The chicanos were trying to reclaim their ancestral homeland.

When I lived in Oaxaca where there is a lot of miltancy, there seemed to be little distinction between the white power elite of Mexico and that of the USA. You would invariably see white leaders of both countries in protest pictures shaking hands. But, there was not a lot of hostility towards white people in general.



With regard to the Mexican-American war, the person of Abraham Lincoln is well regarded in Mexico. First because he was adamantly against the war when he was a representative, and secondly because he aided Benito Juarez with weapons in his fight against the Emperor Maximilian in the 1860's, even though he was fighting the civil war. There is a big statue of Abraham Lincoln in Tijuana.

Wizard
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May 23rd, 2011 at 1:50:06 AM permalink
Fecha: 23 de Mayo, 2011
Palabra del día = SUEÑO


We go back to Isla Vista (island view) for today's word of the day, sueño = sleepy/dream.

For a rowdy college town, Sueño Road was indeed comparatively sleepy and quiet. Everything between Sueño and El Colegio (the college) was not as ruidoso (noisy) and lleno de gente (full of people) as parts closer to the playa (beach) or the colegio.

As is often the case with señales (signs) in the U.S., Isla Vista omits the swiggly thing above the n on the signage, which say sueno.

Two words to be careful not to confuse sueño with are dormir (to sleep) and cansado (tired).

Finally, sueño brings up what I find a strange use of grammar in Spanish:

Tengo sueño = I'm sleepy.

An amateur (ahem) might translate that as "I have sleepy," but with certain adjectives the verb tener is used to mean "I am" rather than "I have." I don't like it any more than you do, but nobody consulted me when they made the language.
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EvenBob
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May 23rd, 2011 at 5:52:38 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard



We go back to Isla Vista



When I lived in Santa Barbara, I went to Isla Vista all the time to a place called Paperback Alley, where you could trade in your old paperbacks for other used paperbacks, plus a few bucks. This was around 1980. I love Santa Barbara and would live there if they had a real casino..
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Nareed
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May 23rd, 2011 at 6:43:35 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

As is often the case with señals (signs) in the U.S., Isla Vista omits the swiggly thing above the n on the signage, which say sueno.



"SeñalEs" :)
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pacomartin
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May 23rd, 2011 at 7:01:33 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Finally, sueño brings up what I find a strange use of grammar in Spanish:
Tengo sueño = I'm sleepy.
An amateur (ahem) might translate that as "I have sleepy," but with certain adjectives the verb tener is used to mean "I am" rather than "I have." I don't like it any more than you do, but nobody consulted me when they made the language.



sueño = sleepy/dream
sueno = I sound/ring (1st person of sonar - "to sound/ring")

The "swiggly thing" is important to the meaning as well as the pronounciation. In Spanish "ñ" and "n" are different letters.

============================
The verb "tener" and 1st person present "tengo" are often translated as "to have" and "I have" but they are related to the English adjective "tender". The older English meaning of "being physically sensitive" is important, not the newer one of "being romantically sensitive". So the phrase "tengo sueño" translates literally as "I have sleepy" but it means "I feel sleepy". "Tengo frio" translates literally to "I feel cold".

Tener does not always translate as "to feel" but it usually implies either an intimate or tactile relationship between the the holder and the item. If you want to translate "to have" but the relationship between the holder and the object is more distant, you would probably use "poseer" or "to possess".

Once again it is an artifact of English to say "I am" for a lot of subtle different meanings.

In the following cases it is easier to translate "tener" to English verb "to be" or "to feel"
Usted tiene suerte. — “You are lucky.” (literally: “You have luck.”)
¿Quién tiene razón? — “Who is right?” (literally: "Who has reason?")
Tenemos hambre. — “We are hungry.” (literally: “We feel hunger.”)
Tiene tres metros de ancho. — “It is three metres wide.”
Tengo veinte años. — “I am twenty years (old).”
Tengo frío. — “I feel cold.”

In the following cases it is easier to translate "tener" to English verb "to have". Notice that there is an intimate or a tactile connection to the thing you have. More than just possession is implied.
Ella tiene seis hermanos. — “She has six brothers.”
Tengo una pluma. — “I have a pen.”
¡Ten cuidado! — “Be careful!” (literally: “Have care!”)
Ten esto. — “Hold this.”
Este tarro tiene las cenizas. — “This jar contains the ashes.”
Él tiene mucho cariño para ella. — “He feels much admiration for her.”
Eso nos tiene lastimos. — “That makes us sad.”
allenwalker
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May 23rd, 2011 at 1:23:23 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I like her idea. Personally I have trouble with everything except the present tense. Not that I know most exceptions to the general rules for the present tense. What I do is make my best effort in the present tense and then point backwards for the past tense, and forward for future.



Despite growing up in San Antonio and two years of college-level Spanish, I'm limited to the present tense. Most bilinguals here know English as well as I do, but at times I try to use Spanish. Phrases like "Yesterday I go to the store..." are met with mild smirks, but understanding. An interview I heard yesterday on NPR discussed the book Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language (which is a year old now) that indicated that the use of a subset of English provides a bridge between speakers that don't share a common language, and that American English idioms, allusions, etc., are not used (or understood) in such exchanges. Seems similar to a pendejo Gringo like me using only the present tense - still gets the point across thanks to the knowledge of the listener.
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May 23rd, 2011 at 2:19:04 PM permalink
Quote: allenwalker

Seems similar to a pendejo Gringo like me using only the present tense



I thought that pendejo was a pretty strong slang word meaning idiot. Personally, I prefer the milder tontico. I welcome comments from the usual experts.
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pacomartin
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May 23rd, 2011 at 2:30:29 PM permalink
Quote: allenwalker

An interview I heard yesterday on NPR discussed the book Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language (which is a year old now) that indicated that the use of a subset of English provides a bridge between speakers that don't share a common language, and that American English idioms, allusions, etc., are not used (or understood) in such exchanges.



There is a couple of kinds of subsets of English circulating. Possibly the best known is Voice of America English which uses a very small vocabulary of about 1500 words.

But BASIC English has just 850 words (with another 150 reserved for technical area). That constructed language was the basis for the idea of Newspeak in the novel 1984.

E-Prime requires the writer not to use the verb "to be" or any of it's conjugations (am, are, is, was, were, being).

Then there are just modern simplified American English, like the Good News translation of the bible.

First four verses of Genesis:
King James Version (1611) BASIC English (1940's) E-Prime (1960's) Good News Bible (1976)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. At the first God made the heaven and the earth. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning, when God created the universe,
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And the earth was waste and without form; and it was dark on the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters. The earth appeared formless and void, and darkness covered over the surface of the deep,And the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters. the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Then God said, "Let light come"; and light came. Then God commanded, "Let there be light" - and light appeared.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness, And God, looking on the light, saw that it was good: and God made a division between the light and the dark, God saw that the light appeared good; and God separated the light from the darkness, God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness,
pacomartin
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May 23rd, 2011 at 2:59:51 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I thought that pendejo was a pretty strong slang word meaning idiot. Personally, I prefer the milder tontico. I welcome comments from the usual experts.



My grandfather (Salamanca region of Spain) used the word a lot, and he meant it as pretty biting criticism. It was one of those words that people have pointed out in Argentina that has a fairly mild meaning. To be called "pendejo" means you are young and inexperienced. It probably has the worst meaning in Puerto Rico.
pacomartin
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May 23rd, 2011 at 3:12:35 PM permalink
Quote: allenwalker

...
Estaba comiendo
Estaba hablando
Estaba viviendo
Estaba ocupando



Pretty good idea. However, it isn't enough to just speak Spanish, you have to read and listen to it as well.
Nareed
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May 23rd, 2011 at 5:11:01 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I thought that pendejo was a pretty strong slang word meaning idiot.



It's more or less one of the words you can't say on TV. In middle-class and above households, a child saying that would be severey reprimanded (to say the least).

Quote:

Personally, I prefer the milder tontico. I welcome comments from the usual experts.



That word would get you laughed at in mexico. Try "menso," which falls about between dumb and idiot, "estúpido," which shoulnd't require translation, or "idiota," ditto.
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Nareed
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May 23rd, 2011 at 7:04:41 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

My grandfather (Salamanca region of Spain) used the word a lot, and he meant it as pretty biting criticism. It was one of those words that people have pointed out in Argentina that has a fairly mild meaning. To be called "pendejo" means you are young and inexperienced. It probably has the worst meaning in Puerto Rico.



There are plenty of such variations.

In México "pinche" means something like "damned" or "f***ing" Example "Pinche idiota" means "f**** idiot." In Spain the same word means something like cook's assistant or a helper to the cooks in a kitchen. There's a joke about it, even, about two Mexicans looking for work at a restaurant in Madrid.
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pacomartin
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May 23rd, 2011 at 11:06:00 PM permalink
This CNN transcript of Piers Morgan- Rob Lowe interview has the following quote:

LOWE: Once you go through your turn in the barrel, you have a unique perspective on it. And what I've learned is it's a good thing to be in the business long enough that you have your turn in the barrel. It's really easy to be, you know, a one hit wonder who never gets his turn. It's also real easy to be in the barrel and never come out of it.

Now, almost everyone knows that Rob Lowe is using the punchline of an old vulgar sailor's joke. But the phrase has pretty much worked it's way into the language so that it is not considered very offensive. But the term "glory hole" while also not actually cursing is still considered pretty vulgar. You couldn't work that into an interview without making TV censors uncomfortable. Most of the time, it is better to stay on the safe side, and not to use words that are considered vulgar anywhere.

Now that said, as an American it is pretty hard for me to consider "fanny" to be offensive, even if I know it is very vulgar in British and Australian English.
thecesspit
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May 23rd, 2011 at 11:17:00 PM permalink
I'd just go for vulgar for fanny, rather than "very vulgar".

My parents would tell me to "stop fannying around" and I'm sure at least one teacher called the football team a "bunch of fannies" for not wanting to play in the pouring rain. Even if directly meaning a ladies front bottom, it's archaic vulgar rather than as direct as the c-word or even the v-word.
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May 24th, 2011 at 6:05:32 AM permalink
Fecha: 24 de Mayo, 2011
Palabra del día: ABREGO


The word of the day comes from the northern and quiet side of Isla Vista.

Abrego = south-west wind. I assume they are referring to the Santa Ana winds, which do reach as far north as Santa Barbara. For those who don't know, these are dry desert winds that are flow into the southern California and northern Mexico beach cities via pressure conditions that tend to build up in the fall and winter. They are often blamed for spreading around wildfires.

Here is an ejemplo.

El abrego derribó mi sombrero. = The south-west wind blew off my hat.

By the way, is there some secret word for hat in Spanish we gringos don't know about? It seems like you never hear native Spanish speakers use the word sombrero, except perhaps to refer to the gigantic ridiculous-looking things that people put on for "zebra" pictures in Tijuana.

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pacomartin
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May 24th, 2011 at 6:24:30 AM permalink

I think El gorro is a knitted cap or it's modern equivalent.
Nareed
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May 24th, 2011 at 6:57:14 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

El abrego le derribó mi sombrero. = The south-west wind blew off my hat.



You've managed to use I word I dind't know.

In any case, you've got an extra "le" in your example. It's just "derribó mi sombrero"

Quote:

By the way, is there some secret word for hat in Spanish we gringos don't know about?



No. Sombrero means hat. Any hat. A fedora, those things British royals wear, etc. As Paco pointed out, gorro, and gorra, are words for other types of head coverings. Gorra is used for baseball caps, for example.

What Americans call a "sombrero" I'm sure has a proper name for its type, but I've no idea what it might be.
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pacomartin
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May 24th, 2011 at 8:45:12 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

You've managed to use I word I dind't know.



Real Academia Española ©: ábrego. (Del lat. afrĭcus). m. Viento templado y húmedo del sudoeste, que trae las lluvias.

It seems to be a word from Spain, and not common in Latin America. The word is not in "RAE Diccionario panhispánico de dudas". It is a street in Santa Barbara.

It is a surname in Mexico, one shared by a popular weather girl
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