Al blog de Visual Spanish
¿Che, como estás?
Beloved tango legend Carlos Gardel is one of Argentina's national icons and has been celebrated throughout Latin America for his espousal of tango music. While its believed that Gardel was born in France, he grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and thus spoke in a rioplatense dialect, which he uses in the lyrics of his tangos.
In Argentina and Uruguay, it’s most common to vosear or to use the vos conjugation instead of tú, which means ‘you’ in English. Other countries in Latin America also use vos, however, the vos has completely replaced the tú in Argentinean and Uruguayan Spanish, making it a very obvious way to note these regions' form of speech.
Check out his song Por una cabeza for more context.
In the first couple of lines of the tango, Gardel sings:
Por una cabeza, de un noble potrillo
Que justo en la raya, afloja al llegar
Y que al regresar, parece decir
Today, we're drawing on the popular Argentine rock trio Enanitos Verdes (which translates into green midgets) to help you figure out the Spanish si clause.
Ever think you'd get a Spanish grammar lesson from green midgets? We didn't either, but there's a first for everything
Si clauses indicate possibilities, or things that may or may not become reality. These conditional sentences have two parts: the condition (the si part) and the main or result clause, which is the part that indicates what will happen if the condition of the si comes true.
In the chorus of Mariposa, the trios famous hit, lead vocalist Marciano Cantero uses the si clause when he sings:
Si te vas no tengo nada
Si te quedas puedo hasta el mundo cambiar
O quizás no habré crecido
Dejando mariposas escapar
If you leave, I don’t have anything
If you stay, I can change even the world
Or maybe I wouldn’t have grown
Españoles are big milk fans. Milk is an integral part of the typical Spanish café con leche and its estimated that each Spaniard drinks an average of 70 liters of milk per year. But the leche obsession doesn't stop there - there's a whole range of milk-related phrases that are thrown around every day.
Check em' out here:
'Estar de mala leche'
Literal translation: ‘To be a bad milk’ (Meaning: To be in a bad mood)
Example: Mi hermana viene de mala leche porque no ha aprobado su examen.
'Dar una leche'
Literal translation: Give a milk’ (Meaning: To hit someone)
Example: ¡Como vuelvas a hacerlo, te doy una leche!
'Me cago en la leche'
Literal translation: ‘I sh*t on the milk’ (Meaning: To express anger)
Example: ¡Me cago en la leche Merche!
'A toda leche'
Literal translation: ‘At all milk’ (Meaning: At a very fast pace)
Example: Ven a toda leche, que la boda ya esta por empezar.
'Ser la leche'...
Tener and ser are two essential verbs when it comes to describing people (Gwen Stefani included).
Tener, which means to have, is an irregular verb, and therefore its particularly important to have its conjugation down. Broadly speaking, it's used to describe possession in descriptions of people, possession in descriptions of people and age.
Review it here:
Yo tengo los ojos verdes
Translation: I have green eyes.
¿Tienes el pelo rubio?
Translation: Do you have blonde hair?
El tiene 24 años.
Translation: He has 24 years - *In Spanish, you say 'to have' years, rather than to be
Ser, on the other hand, means to be and is generally used for the qualities and characteristics of character, size, appearance, as well as nationality and profession.
¡Go fix yourself a dang quesadeeyuh!
If you've seen Napoleon Dynamite, you know just how terribly his grandma's Spanish pronunciation is. Here's a reminder (if you haven't seen it yet, brace yourself):
Here's where grandma Dynamite goes wrong:
In Spanish, the ‘Ll’ most often sounds like the English letter ‘y’ like in the words “you” and “yellow”.
The exact pronunciation the ‘Ll’ can vary from region to region, but this is a good rule to guide when in doubt.
So, rather than 'queisadilluh', the correct pronunciation would be 'quesadeeyuh.'
Here are a couple more examples of how the Ll sounds:
Llave (key) – 'yave'
Bella (beautiful) – 'beya'
Amarillo (yellow) – 'amariyo'
Remember this tip and you'll automatically be more well-liked by each and every Spanish speaker out there
Literal translation: 'Don’t suck' (Meaning: Stop messing around)
Example: ¡No mames wey! Tienes que estudiar.
Literal translation: 'Not even mothers' (Meaning: Nothing)
Example: ¡No entiendo ni madres!
Literal translation: 'I don’t believe you nor mothers' (Meaning: I don’t believe you at all!)
Example: ¡No te creo ni madres que hayas terminado tus deberes!
Literal translation: 'What a non-mother' (Meaning: What a mess)
Example: ¡Qué desmadre! Hay que limpiar la cocina ahora mismo.
¡Chinga tu madre!
Literal translation: 'F*ck your mother! (Meaning: F*ck off)
Example: A mi hermana no la vas a insultar....
Ser and Estar are oftentimes tricky to differentiate. After all, they technically both translate into 'to be'
Let's clear up their subtle (but very important) differences:
For starters, ser is used to talk about WHAT something is (in a permanent state), and to describe characteristics that are an essential part of the thing we’re talking about. Estar on the other hand, is used to talk about how something is, so it’s used for conditions, locations, emotions, and actions (temporary states).
Uses of ser:
Place of origin
Example: Es de Nicaragua.
Example: Es ingeniero.
Example: Es estadounidense.
Religious or political affiliation
Example: Es demócrata.
The material something is made out of
Example: Es de madera.
Example: Es mío.
Relationship of one person to another
Example: Es su hermana.
Where an event is taking place
Example: La boda es en la catedral de Barcelona.
Let's see if you can figure out the meaning of this Spanish pun:
What is the most patient fruit?
(As you can tell, the Spanish language also has its share of cringe-worthy puns!)