Around the world, the opportunities for those who are fluent in Spanish and English are greater. In terms of life and business, people who are able to communicate in both languages have the advantage of getting better positions in the world marketplace. so Learn Spanish Now !!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Words Jump the Language Barrier

Are these English or Spanish?
  • Dolores dice: Need advice? Escríbeme. (On home page for the online Latina magazine.)
  • Tengo que ir al bus stop para pick up mi hija. (Overheard in the U.S. West.)
  • Haz clic aquí. (Commonly seen on Spanish-language Web sites.)
  • Llamenos para delivery. (Seen on advertising signs in Peru.)
  • Se venden bloques. (Signs in Guatemala.)
  • Tips para marketing. (Advertisement in Mexico.)

To varying degrees, they're all examples of Spanglish, the growing use of English in the everyday speech and writing of Spanish-speaking people. Purists may be alarmed, but the fact is that Spanish is changing, as do all living languages. And these days, the biggest change is the infiltration of English vocabulary and, less commonly, even syntax into the Spanish language.

The most extreme cases of Spanglish can be heard in the United States, where some Spanish-speaking immigrants and their descendants use Spanish and English interchangeably, even in the same sentence. Such Spanglish can be heard not only on the streets and in the supermarkets, but also on some radio and television stations, although its use in writing is seems to be limited mainly to the hip young. Less extreme examples can be seen all over la Internet, where English words, especially those related to technology, often replace the Spanish equivalents. English words also are creeping into everyday speech in Spain and Latin America, spread through advertising, movies, and the other media of popular culture.

Despite some grumbling from editors and professors, among others, the incursion of English into Spanish hasn't yet generated the intense reaction that it has for French. Most of the linguistic battles in Spanish-speaking countries involve minorities such as Basques in Spain or indigenous Mayan and Incan groups in Latin America. So far, no countries have taken the extreme step of banning or limiting English words in advertising, as has been done in France and part of Canada.
But then again, while French has declined from being a contender as a true international language to its sometimes-embattled position today, the number of people speaking Spanish is increasing, if only because of relatively high birth rates in Latin America. In fact, there are more people who speak Spanish as a first language than speak English as a first language. In short, Spanish is in no danger of dying out.

How English Words Become Part of Spanish

Although it isn't always possible to accurately predict how or if an English term will be adopted into Spanish, there are some patterns that are evident. Many of them hold true whenever one language absorbs part of another. For example, the terms most likely to be adopted are those where the acquiring language doesn't have convenient terms of its own. Thus the Spanish terms adopted into English in recent years have been mostly those of foods, words such as taco, tapas, flan, enchilada and burrito, plus a few related to Mexican culture, such as piñata and machismo. And many of the indigenous languages of Latin America have adopted Spanish terms such as days of the week and other aspects of the conquering culture.

Following are examples of the different ways Spanish is adopting English vocabulary:
Outright adoption: Some words of business and technology such as marketing, merchandising, rating (as of a TV show), CD-ROM and flash (for cameras) have become more or less accepted as genuine Spanish.

Other terms, such as email and links, exist side by side and struggle for supremacy with equivalents of Spanish derivation (in this case, correo eléctronico and enlaces). Generally speaking, nouns added to the language in this way are masculine. One prominent exception is la Internet, probably because a synonymous term, la Red (the Net), is feminine. (The usage el Internat is also used, but less frequently.) Often terms that enter the language through popular culture also are adopted unchanged. Examples include OK, sexy, cool, Top 40, rock, rap, and oh baby, which have varying degrees of acceptance.

Adoption with changes to make them more "Spanish": This is especially common with verbs, which usually get the -ear suffix. Examples include tipear (to type), clickear or cliquear (to click, as with a mouse), emailear (to email), and pompear (to pump gasoline). For examples of nouns, a political meeting is sometimes called a mitin, and a block for buildings is a bloque.

Use of English cognates or literal translations: Examples cited in a recent article in the Argentine newspaper Clarín are the use of reportear for "to report" instead of informar, and remover for "to remove" instead of sacar. Such usages are common in newspaper and magazine articles translated from English, less so in articles originally written in Spanish. Other examples include the usage, especially in Latin America, of educación instead of pedagogía for "education" and computadora instead of ordenador for "computer."

From Gerald Erichsen,Your Guide to Spanish Language.

Friday, November 09, 2007


In a technical sense, two words that have a common origin are cognates. Most often, cognates are words in two languages that have a common etymology and thus are similar or identical. For example, the English "kiosk" and the Spanish quiosco are cognates because they both come from the Turkish kosk.

Cognates often have a similar meaning, but in some cases the meaning has changed over the centuries in one language or another. An example of such a change is the English word "arena," which usually refers to a sports facility, and the Spanish arena, which usually means "sand." They both come from the Latin harena, which originally meant "sand" and came in time to also refer to an area of a Roman amphitheater that was covered with sand.
Spanish retained the meaning of "sand" (although the word can sometimes refer to a sports arena), but English expanded the word's meaning to include facilities something like the Roman amphitheater.

In a popular and less technical sense, the term "cognate" also is used to refer to words in two languages that are similar but have no common origin, such as the Spanish sopa (meaning "soup") and the English "soap."

Also in a popular and not technical sense, the phrase "false cognate" is used to refer to cognates that have different meanings, such as the Spanish molestar (to bother) and the English "molest" (to abuse sexually). A more precise term to use for such word pairs is "false friends."

Here we have the most common false cognates:

acre: sharp, sour
acre: acre, unidad de medida

actual: current, present time
actual: real, verdadero

asisistir: to attend, to help
to assist: ayudar, asistir

atender: to pay attention, to take care of
to attend: asistir a, cuidar

carpeta: file folder, portfolio
carpet: alfombra

carta: letter
cart: carro, carreta

cigarro: cigarette
cigar: puro

colegio: high school
college: universidad

conferencia: lecture, meeting
conference: junta, sesión, entrevista, conferencia

contipado: to suffer from a cold
constipated: estreñido

costumbre: custom
costume: vestuario, traje

chocar: to hit, crash
to choke: ahogar, sofocar

desgracia: misfortunte, mishap
disgrace: deshonra, verguenza

desgraciado: unfortunate, unlucky
digraced: deshonrado, avergonzado

deshonesto: immodest, indecent
dishonest: engañoso, falso

dirección: address, direction
direction: dirección

disgusto: quarrel, annoyance, disgust
disgust: hastío, asco, disgusto

distinto: different, clear, distinct
distinct: claro, visible, diferente, distinto

embarazada: pregnant
embarassed: avergonzado

equipo: team, equipment
equipment: aparatos, equipo

equivocación: error, mistake
equivocation: equívoco, subterfugio, engaño

éxito: success
exit: salida

explanar: to level, grade
to explain: explicar, aclarar

fábrica: factory, mill, structure
fabric: tela, textura

falta: shortage, lack
fault: culpa

frase: sentence
phrase: expresión, frase

grande: large, big, great
grand: magnífico, grandioso, grande

honesto: decent, pure, virtuous, reasonable
honest: honrado, integro, recto, sincero

idíoma: language
idiom: modismo

largo: long
large: grande

lectura: a reading
lecture: conferencia

liar: to tie, bind, roll up
liar: mentiroso

media: stocking
media: medios de comunicación

parientes: relatives
parents: padres

realizar: to fulfill, achieve
to realize: darse cuenta de

recordar: to remember
to record: grabar

repente: start, sudden movement
to repent: arrepentirse

ropa: clothes
rope: soga, cuerda

ruin: vile, mean
to ruin: arruinar, estropear

sano: healthy, sound, whole
sane: cuerdo, razonable, sano

sauce: willow
sauce: salsa, condimento

sensible: sensitive
sensible: razonable, sensato

simpático: nice, agreeable, pleasent
sympathetic: compasivo

sopa: soup
soap: jabón

suceso : event, incident
success : éxito

taller : workshop, laboratory, studio
taller : más alto

vaso : glass
vase: jarron