Tag Archives: language

Basilmania and monarquía: Or how to make pesto sauce without any pomp or circumstance

Basil is so named for basileus meaning “king” in Greek, supposedly because it’s meant to be the king of the herbs. If Leo can be king of the jungle, I guess Basil can be king of the herb garden. Word … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Life Long Learning

This past year I have had great fun learning the ropes to my new life in Gijón. From how sidra is poured (more experimentation needed) to ensuring I don’t order cow’s brains for lunch. From the meaning of “no te … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Spanish influence on English and the English in the New World

Undoubtedly, Spanish began mixing with other languages the moment Christopher Columbus landed in the New World (October 12, 1492 in the modern-day Bahamas), giving us new words by the boatful. By the time the Spanish met the English in what … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

So chunky you can eat it with a tenedor

Do we learn language according to rules or in repeatable phrases that are trotted out to fit the occasion? To be sure, regular idioms fill up most of our day: How are you?, Good morning, Where is the bathroom? It’s … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More translated food for thought: Am I my film maker’s keeper?

Lost in Translation isn’t just a movie, but what happens when we try to map one culture onto another. It’s like a game of Broken Telephone, where what goes in doesn’t always come out the same at the other end. … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Translation 101: Our many language shores

In his play Translations, the Irish playwright Brian Friel wrote about the difficulty of describing place names in different languages and the meanings for native and visitor alike. Is the ancient local place name Poll na gCaorach (literally “hole of … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Teacher, teach thyself

When an English speaker starts to learn Spanish, the hard sounds are the r as in perro and arroz, the j as in jamón and ejemplo, and the g as in Sergio and Gijón. The sounds are a bit guttural, … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Espere … Ctrl-Alt-Supr only as a last resort

Living in a new country is daunting. Living in a new country with expat language skills can be terrifying. Insanity soon prevails, from opening a bank account (8 separate signed pages needed) to signing on at the local police station … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Help me por favor, más despacio

The language learner in a new place is full of doubts, insecurities, and fears – big breaths in through the mouth and out through the nose are essential. As is a big L sign hung around the neck to indicate … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where English meets Spanish: Las tiendas and on the telly

For the language learner, I think that the order is eye, mouth, and then ear, that is, we learn first to read a word, say it, and finally hear it (and hopefully understand it), firstly on its own (which is … Continue reading

Posted in Spain | Tagged , , | 2 Comments