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pacomartin
pacomartin
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September 29th, 2011 at 1:47:23 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

It seems to me Spanish speakers add ito/a and isimo/a at the end of just about any noun.



From everything I've read, among Spanish speakers it is much more common in Mexico than in other countries. American English in particular is very wary of diminutives, especially in names for adults. They are much more widely used in British English.

It's tempting to draw cultural distinctions, whereas the Americans are very concerned with status while the Mexican culture, even when it is violent, is obsessed with family and home life.

Sometimes in English we use phrases like "nice and easy". But a Mexican might describe a mattress as "blandito" when they mean "nice and soft", but calling it "blando" has the negative connotation of being "too soft". In a similar manner "flaca" might imply a bony almost angular woman, while "Flacita" is a nickname which is affectionate.
Wizard
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September 29th, 2011 at 2:02:51 PM permalink
It seems to me that Spanish has more of a softer and affectionate ways of putting things than English. For example, I seem to see the words besos and abrazos a lot (hugs and kisses). Now, I don't claim to know German very well, but I was on a kick to learn the language for about a year in 1999-2000. By comparison, that language seemed very orderly and efficient.
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Nareed
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September 29th, 2011 at 6:55:55 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

From everything I've read, among Spanish speakers it is much more common in Mexico than in other countries.



I made the same point. But there are exceptions.

Quote:

American English in particular is very wary of diminutives, especially in names for adults. They are much more widely used in British English.



I don't know. Every single person seems to have a diminutive ready for his or her name. How many people even know that Max is short for Maxim?

Quote:

Sometimes in English we use phrases like "nice and easy". But a Mexican might describe a mattress as "blandito" when they mean "nice and soft", but calling it "blando" has the negative connotation of being "too soft".



That's news to me :)

Quote:

In a similar manner "flaca" might imply a bony almost angular woman, while "Flacita" is a nickname which is affectionate.



Well, no. "Flaca" is a common nickname for a svelte woman, for that matter "flaco" is too for a man. On the other hand, a fat man or woman will be called "gordito" or "gordita" rather than "gordo" or "gorda." But on the gripping hand, "gordo" and "gorda" for some rason qualify as endearments between married couples or people who are dating. Don't ask me. I just live here.

Oh, and BTW, the letter C sounds like an S when used with the vowels E and I. The diminutive for "flaca" is "flaQUita"
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Nareed
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September 29th, 2011 at 6:58:47 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

It seems to me that Spanish has more of a softer and affectionate ways of putting things than English. For example, I seem to see the words besos and abrazos a lot (hugs and kisses).



It depends on what you're reading. It's true, though, that people on TV will send hugs and kisses to the audience, FWIW.

Quote:

Now, I don't claim to know German very well, but I was on a kick to learn the language for about a year in 1999-2000. By comparison, that language seemed very orderly and efficient.



Oh, the German jokes I could tell... I don't speak it, either, but I've heard plenty of German jokes.
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pacomartin
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September 29th, 2011 at 7:33:55 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I don't know. Every single person seems to have a diminutive ready for his or her name. How many people even know that Max is short for Maxim?



Looking at the Wizard's 100 most popular names for boys in the USA, I see only Jack, Alex, and Max. Those names are short versions, and none use a diminutive.

A similar list in the UK has Jack, Harry, and Charlie in the top 10, and then Alfie, Max, Jamie, Ben, Henry, Archie, Alex, Freddie, Sam, Joe, Billy, Corey, Jay, and Theo.


BTW, Nareed has an extremely detailed knowledge of American pop culture (especially SciFi). I had to google on the gripping hand since I didn't recognize it.
Nareed
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September 29th, 2011 at 7:49:26 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

BTW, Nareed has an extremely detailed knowledge of American pop culture (especially SciFi). I had to google on the gripping hand since I didn't recognize it.



Thanks for the compliment, but it's just not so. I have knowledge of American culture, pop and otherwise, but it's been picked up more or less randomly and has some rather big gaps.

Take SF for instance. I know a lot about Asimov, parts of the Golden Age, much of Heinlein (but not all), virtually all of Niven, a little of Bradbury (whom I think is overrated) and that's about it. past the 70s I'm spotty except for Niven. I read what i like and nothing else. Oh, I know a lot about Trek, too.

I rather like the use of "on the gripping hand" when it's called for :)
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Nareed
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September 30th, 2011 at 7:11:31 AM permalink
Quote: Doc

I think that expression started going out of vogue and died a lingering death when hardly anyone was left carrying a pocket watch.



That sounds reasonable.

But it brings up a new question. Pocket watches were called watches. Why?

My thinking is there were clocks first which were too big to carry arouns. So they were fixed or largely immovable, like pieces of furniture in the home and office, or parts of buildings for larger, public versions. Why, then, when technology allwoed for making mobile versions, were these not called "pocket clocks"?

Quote:

I have known a few people who carried them, but not many.



They're not easy to carry. besides they belog to a different time. Back then men wore vests more often. A suit without a vest was unthinkable, partly because the vest had the pockets for a watch and its chain. These days if a man asks for a suit with a vest, he'll be greeted by puzzled looks; he might as well ask for a suit with wings or flippers.

Quote:

I now own a gold one that has long been in my family: it has an inscription inside the case noting that it was given by my great-grandparents to my grandfather on his 21st birthday in 1914. I keep it on display in a curio cabinet in my foyer and wind it every night, but I would never consider carrying it on a daily basis.



According to conventional wisdom, that was the time when the pocket watch era began to end. The common story goes that WWI soldiers began to attach watches to leather straps worn on the wrist, so they could tell time while leaving their hands free. It makes sense, as raids and other maneuvers are often coordinated by time. Therefore knowing the time is important to a soldier, at least to an officer.
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Nareed
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September 30th, 2011 at 7:20:45 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Looking at the Wizard's 100 most popular names for boys in the USA, I see only Jack, Alex, and Max. Those names are short versions, and none use a diminutive.



Oh, well, for full names that may be so. Still, many people use a diminutive form of their name more often than their full one. Not all, of course, but I'd say the majority do. And this goes back a while. You're more likely to know people as Phil, Harry, Jack, Mike, Bill and Jake than as Philip, Harold, John, Michael and Jacob.

For that matter, may I poit out "Paco" is the diminutive of "Francisco"? But of course you're aware of that.
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September 30th, 2011 at 8:13:41 AM permalink
Fecha: 30 de Septíembre, 2011
Palabra: ASISTIR


Today's word is yet another false cognate/friend. You would think asistir would mean to assist. Actually, it means to be present or to accompany. I'd be interested to know if the roots of both the English assist and the Spanish asistir.

Ejemplos time.

Tengo un reuníon a asistir. = I have a meeting to attend.

¿Te puedo asistir al baile? = May I accompany you to the dance?

Quote: Nareed

How many people even know that Max is short for Maxim?



I thought it was short for Maximillion.
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Nareed
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September 30th, 2011 at 9:04:04 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Fecha: 30 de Septíembre, 2011
Palabra: ASISTIR


Today's word is yet another false cognate/friend.



Not entirely.

Quote:

You would think asistir would mean to assist.



It does. But,

Quote:

Actually, it means to be present or to accompany.



It also means that.

Quote:

Tengo un reuníon a asistir. = I have a meeting to attend.



"Tengo que asistir a una reunión" or if you want to be unclear and verbose "Tengo una reunión a la cual asistir". The more colloquial way, though, would be to say "Tengo que ir a una reunión." And if it is a business meeting, the word "junta" is more common.

Quote:

¿Te puedo asistir al baile? = May I accompany you to the dance?



The Spanish phrase translates best as "Can I help you to the dance?" To say what you wrote in English, you'd say "¿Te puedo acompañar al baile?" or "¿Puedo ir contigo al baile?" or "¿Quieres venir conmigo al baile?" and so on. You woulnd't use "asistir." You could, but it would come out like "¿Puedo asistir al baile contigo?" but that sounds too formal and unnatural.

In any case, "asistir" does mean to help or to assist. It isn't used much. A sales clerk, for instance, would ask "¿Le puedo ayudar en algo?" or "¿Necesita ayuda para encontrar algo?" But if he said "¿Le puedo asistir en su compra?" he'd be correct and easily understood.

I think the word came up before, BTW.
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