Spanglish: enjoying the mix

My wife is from Spain, I am from the USA. For the first 3 years of our relationship, we spoke Spanish. Then she learned English and we managed to switch. Now her English is better than my Spanish. At home, I speak a mutant mix of the two, which the rest of the family can decipher. While the kids were growing up I heard some interesting sentences from them: “he pissed on my foot” (pisar meaning “step on”), or “he’s molesting me”,  “…so I took the graper and graped the flower to the stem.” (grapadora is a stapler)

A few thoughts about the difference between the two languages:

Why does realizado mean “self-actualized”, while actualizado means “realized”?

Why are braces on the teeth called brackets in Spanish?

Why is Algeria Argelia? And why is crocodile cocodrilo? Which language made the typo?

As with all languages, Spanish does some borrowing from other languages, especially new words like “internet”, and words that sound more polite if you use someone else’s language (the English language likes to use French for that). Some of the peculiar English adaptations are:

water (pronounced ‘batter’) is the common name for toilet.

sexy shop is a sex shop.

In other sports, the Spanish chose to take futbol from the English — British English that is, as opposed to futbol Americano, which doesn’t really touch the feet too often — though they stuck with Spanish for balonmano, which has nothing to do with what we call handball. Lately I’ve been playing padel, which is not at all like the paddleball I played in high school gym class.

Spain has a fascination with the English ‘ing’ ending. Their attitude is, just throw on the ‘ing’ and voila! it’s English! So they add it to ‘foot’ and get ‘footing’, which means jogging. Two of the soccer teams are ‘Racing’ and ‘Sporting’. In 2007, one of the vogue words is ‘zapping’ (or ‘zaping’) (changing the channel). Sometimes they try to spell the word in Spanish (‘parquing’, ‘ranquin’), sometimes not. This ‘ing’ is such a joke now that the Barcelona City Hall decided to call their public bike program ‘bicing’. The new airlines is called ‘Vueling’ — naturally they’ve chosen a marketing campaign dedicated to Spanglish.

Spanish words that the English language could use, and their very rough translations:

hortera: tacky person
guarro: dirty person (in mind or body)
maruja: housewife type
macarro: heavy metal type
cotilla: gossipmonger
gafe: person who brings bad luck
pijo: preppy
pendon (disoreja’o): playboy/partyer
paleto, cateto: hick
gamberro: vandal type
pringado: the person who gets stuck doing the things no one else wants to do
petardo: noisy person

Is there really no word for “commute” in Spanish? Nor is there a word for “nostril”: only “agujero de la nariz”. Nor “wedgie”.

Rule 1: Spanish slang must have the “ch” sound:

chacha: maid
chachi: fun
chacho: kinda like “wow” or “you’re kidding” (literally: short for muchacho)
Chechu: short for Santiago
chichi: pussy
chicha: meat
Chichos: band from the 80’s
chocha: senile
chocho: same as chichi
chucha: a hug
chuche: candy
chuchi: dear, honey
chucho: dog
chuchu: train noise

Note that “CH” is officially no longer a letter. As of 2010, the Spanish Language Police banished it from the alphabet, along with “LL”. But the foreign letter “w” did sneak into the Spanish alphabet.

For the Spanish teachers of the world:

“Ready, set, go!” in Spanish is preparado, listo, ya!

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” in Spanish is:

Pito pito, colorito,
¿Dónde vas tu tan bonito?
A la era verdadera,
pin, pan, fuera.

Or the second verse, if one doesn’t like the initial result:

Una mosca puñetera
se cayó a la carretera,
pin, pan, fuera.

Some Spanish palindromes (palindromas):
Dábale arroz a la zorra el abad.
La ruta nos aportó otro paso natural.

The Spanish version of “ambidextrous” or “facetious” where all five vowels are used is “murcielago”.  And the “aeonium” family of plants that I love are native to the Canary Islands.

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