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OP Connie's comment about chavo over in the sub-par thread got me to thinking: yes, a word in Mexico can mean something completely different in Puerto Rico. Or Argentina, or probably most of all, Spain. I'm trying to think of more examples besides the one Connie offered, but while my mind stays blank, I thought I'd open this thread.
Menudo : The Puerto Rican Boy Band supposedly means "small change". Here in the US Southwest, it's stewed tripe which I somehow find appropriate.
Oops, here's a cue for me to jump in and I almost missed it!
Ooof, it happens quite often that there are differences in the meaning of the same words in Hispanic American Spanishes and the Spanish spoken in Spain. Sometimes these differences are quite extreme, more often they are just differences in secondary meanings, or they stem from environmental differences (e.g. the word "plátano" refers to different versions of the same fruit in Latin America and Spain.)
Some of the more extreme ones that spring to mind just now:
pollera : in Spain, a woman that sells chickens; in many Lat. Am. countries it's a skirt.
cuadra : in Spain, a stable; in some Lat. Am. Spanishes it's a block, like a block of houses.
saco : in Spain, it's a sack; in some Lat. Am. Spanishes it's the jacket belonging to a suit.
de pronto : an adverbial which in Spain means "suddenly", whereas in Lat. Am. it means something like "maybe".
Finally, a well-known one is coger , which in Spain means "to take" or "to grab", while in many Lat. Am. countries it means "to f***". Mind how you announce that you're going to get the bus, as it might get you arrested instead...
What I'm not so familiar with is differences between the Hispanic American countries themselves, though I'm sure there must be quite a few too.
I learned my Spanish in Mexico, my boss is from Argentina and I live on a small Spanish-speaking island in the Caribbean. In Mexico, if you say "ahorrita" or "ahorrita mismo" it means "right now" or "right away". I told my boss that I would do what he told me "ahorrita" and he told me "No. I want you to do it this minute." Well, that's what I said. (Duh-e] He told me that ahorrita means "a little later" in Argentia. Now that I think about it, sometimes it means that in Mexico, as well. I guess it depends on tone of voice and context... And he wonders why I don't understand every word he says [shaking my head-e]. There's lots of USns I don't understand every word they say, either. I'll see what else I can come up with. I find I can understand Caribbean Spanish better if I can see the mouth move. I think lip reading is one of my hitherto unrealized cognative tools! ( And I do have most of my hearing intact, for those of you wondering) How many of us do this, I wonder?
Ah, I just remembered the following:
In Mexico, if you didn't hear or understand what someone said and wanted them to repete what they said, you would say "¿Mande?" When I said it in Costa Rica or where I live now, they looked at me like I'm loca.
Here, people pronounce "verdad" velá. They also omit most of the esses from pronunciation.
Here the stop signs say "Pare". In Mexico, they say "Alto"
In Mexico, a notebook is "cuaderno", here it's "libreta".
In Mexico a ball point pen is "pluma". Here it's a "bolígrafo".
Last edited by consuelo; 12/02/05 11:24 PM.
In Ecuador the slang for 'cool' was chevre or chevre bien. Apropos of nothing, I have to use a manual brain override to pronounce the cheese correctly...
Lookey, look, look. Welcome back to the Board, Fiberbabe. We have been the less for your absence.
I find I can understand Caribbean Spanish better if I can see the mouth move. I think lip reading is one of my hitherto unrealized cognative tools! ( And I do have most of my hearing intact, for those of you wondering) How many of us do this, I wonder?
Oh definitely. I understand Indonesian much better if I can see the person's mouth.
Most peoples comprehension (of language) improves when seeing a word said. (old folks hearing decreases until the point that they need new eyeglasses!)
He-ey, Helen--nice to see you! Seems like you've been away for a while.
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