Thursday, August 30, 2007

Social Spanish for the Weekend

[By popular demand, here we go again]

The first thing you say is hola, me llamo María. Of course, claro, if the person you selected for the language adventure is nice, he/she will reply: Mucho gusto, María. You should return the courtesy by saying, el gusto es mío.

To further the conversation you might comment on the beautiful weather: ¡Qué lindo día! If raining: ¡Qué lluvia! But don’t talk too much about the weather; it will relegate you to the category of those inferior conservationists.

If you can’t talk about the weather with a perfect stranger, asked my student, de qúe hablo? De = about. Qué = what. Hablo = I speak.

Argentineans talk about el analisis and sus analistas. Only Manhattan surpasses Buenos Aires in the number of psychoanalysts per capita. La familia, la economía, las finanzas, Latinos talk about politics, la política. Talking politics, issues, los asuntos, bound to come up are: asuntos internacionales, asuntos hemisféricos y asuntos de política interna. Speaking of hemispheric issues, América in Spanish refers to the entire continent, from Alaska to Patagonia, not the United States, Estados Unidos. However americano is becoming a synonym of American citizen and gringo. Note that in Spanish nationalities are not capitalized: dominicano, ecuatoriano, colombiano and cubano.

One issue that is both domestic and international is la inmigración. An intelligent take on immigration: La inmigración es un derecho humano histórico. La historia de la humanidad es una historia de inmigraciones y migraciones. Las plantas toman raíz (take root) pero los seres humanos (human beings) tienen píes (have feet), están diseñados (designed) para el movimiento.

Latinos also talk about art. And they feel passionate about their music. La música es la expresión artística que más apasiona a los latinos. That’s why Latinos whistle, silban, more than other ethnic groups. Speaking of music usually leads to dancing, a bailar, otra pasión latina.

Los colombianos bailan cumbia y vallenato. Para los dominicanos después del (after) béisbol lo más importante es el merengue. A los argentinos les gusta el rock y el tango. Los españoles sienten (feel) su flamenco como los boricuas (Puerto Ricans, from the Taino name for the Island, Borinkén) la plena. And all over Latin America people dance salsa y regetón. Even senator Obama has regeton in the background to his Spanish-language website. Latinos love to dance. So if you run out of words, jut reach out and say with confidence: ¡bailamos!

One clarification on the verb to love. Spanish has at least three equivalent verbs: Encantar, amar and querer. Amar is the poetic verb: Te amo más que al aire que respiro (I love you more than I love the air I breathe). Querer is used to express real love, passionate and filial, te quiero con locura (I love you madly), but also quiero a mis hijos (I love my children). Encatar is used to demonstrate superlative liking: Me encanta la profesora denotes you like her teaching very much but quiero a la profesora connotes carnal love. If you say me encanta el helado you are showing a weakness for ice cream, but if you say amo el helado you are showing kinkiness.

Useful Expressions For Casual Love
¿Te conozco? = Have we met before?
Me pareces una persona muy profunda = You strike me as a deep person.
Tu casa o mi casa = Your place or mine.
Mi casa es tu casa, pero no te lleves nada, por favor = My house is your house, but don’t take any thing, please.

End Note
Adiós is the universal good-bye. The Italian ciao is widely used with a spelling variation: chao or chau. If feeling religious you can say: Vaya con Díos (go with God, a longer verssion of adíos). If feeling optimist, you can say, hasta la vista, baby (until we meet again, darling).

1 comment:

Chus said...

Notes only for you :)

Bueno, ya sé que casi todo el mundo cree que todos los españoles bailamos flamenco, pero realmente es algo que se hace sólamente en el sur de España, el flamenco es 1 arte andaluz.

Years ago I emigrated to the north of Europe. Every time I told I was Spanish, people asked me if I could dance flamenco. As I said to them that I could't, they used to continue asking... then you play the guitar... no, was my answer, you like bullfights... "no, I've never seen one"... you sleep "siesta"... "neither". At the end, almost all used to ask me what kind of "spaniard I was"...