Sunday, September 20, 2009

2 new words Spanish and English never to say until you understand them

Here are 2 words or combinations that do not translate back and forth from english to Spanish or from Spanish to English even though they seem the same.

#1) Miserable - English this can be mild and not really mean anything. For example you say, "Wow whats wrong with grandma she looks miserable sitting on the patio" It doesn't really have to mean anything serious.

But in Spanish: evidently and I am still not exactly sure what it means but it is offensive. If you say "Parece Miserable" you are saying they look in really bad shape and well, again I don't know, but don't say it unless you intend to offend.

#2) Character debil - spanish, evidently this means 'sensitive' in Spanish. And does not have to imply all the things that it implies in English. It can be used to describe a child I guess, because my sister in law said it about Jimi, and I immediately took offense but they tried to explain to me that it does not mean anything negative. I just could not shake that feeling off that she said "Weak Character" About my baby, and thought that was very mean. But my husband assured me that it doesn't have to be an insult of any kind. (though he is a terrible translator so if anyone knows better please comment)

Weak Character - English, implies a multitude of psychological implications all negative. And should never be something you would refer to a child about. It can imply someone who cannot make their own decisions and leach off other people. It can imply that someone is a liar or a theif. It can described someone who is lost. Or it can just imply someone who is boring and not much of anything.

I tried to tell my sister in law, she shouldn't use that word to a native english speaker who doesn't understand Spanish 100% fluently because it is very offensive. Though she did say it in Spanish, I still had a hard time hearing anything after that. I am fine now though of course.

Since I had my own faux pau (spelling?) when I said my in laws looked very miserable last year. I always get a dirty look from my suegra when I say that, lol.

Buenas Noches,

PuertoVallartaGirl in Portland