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Juan Fuentes

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Everything posted by Juan Fuentes

  1. Someone has mention false friends within different dialects on the same language. Some of them are very colorful. The expression "blow a fag" in british english is a good example. In spanish there are just too many, but I'll try to list some: - Concha: In most spanish speaking countries, it means "shell". In Argentina, it's also a slang for vagina. - Polla: In most spanish speaking countries, it means "chicken" (female, before turning into a hen, I guess). In spain, it's slang for penis. - Bicho: In most countries, it means "bug" (any bug, not one in particular). In Puerto Rico, it's a slang for penis. - Torta: In some spanish speaking countries, it means "cake". In others, particularly in Mexico, it means "patty". Curiously enough, "cake" in Mexico is called "pastel", yet in Venezuela, "pastel" means "patty". There are many more. Just remember to be careful with what you say and where you say it
  2. In german I like "fräulein". I like how it's pronounced, and I like it better than miss, mademoiselle or señorita. In french, more than a word, I like the expression "s'il vous plait". First, because it took me a while learning how to pronounce it, and also because, while it's used as "please", its literal meaning is "if it pleases you". It reminds me of Game Of Thrones. While spanish is my native tongue, my favorite word is "diecisiete", the number "seventeen". There are many reasons for this, some are more personal. What I can tell you is that, when I'm exaggerating, I always use this number. For example "I told you to wash the dishes about seventeen thousand times!"
  3. There are many related TV idioms, usually stay around while the TV show is present, and then slowly fade out when the TV show is cancelled. Lately, terms like "Bazinga!" or "Winter is coming" are commonly used on forums. But sometimes you can also find people saying "I pity the fool..." or "Holy ..., Batman!" When Friends was at its peak, you would find people saying "Unagi" or "How you doin'?" a lot. It drove me crazy. I never liked the show Friends that much.
  4. "Ignorance is bliss", meaning that as long as you don't know something, you don't have to be worried about the implications of that something, which in the end means "happiness" for the one that doesn't know. I use it all the time. Another one I like is "A wolf in sheep's clothing", for people who pretend to have good intentions when they actually will try to harm you. For some reason, I have a very vivid image, from maybe a movie or a book, of a wolf disguised as a sheep.
  5. - "A bird in a hand is worth two in the bush", meaning that is better to stick to the one thing you have than to get lost looking at things that you don't have. - "like a bat out of hell", meaning something going really, really fast. An then there are all the different types of animal droppings that are used with different meanings. For example "bulls..." or "horses..." to mean "lie", or "going apes..." to mean going really mad.
  6. I always enjoy to read Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. One of my first interests when learning how to speak english was to understand exactly what "The Raven" meant. Also, from Poe, one of my favorites is "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Also, Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" and Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" were previously mentioned here. You can't go wrong with either of those. As for tales, my favorite reading when I was a kid was Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". I still read it every now and then.
  7. It happened to me with French, as well. I believe in school (sometimes even college) you sometimes study just to get some grades, not to try to incorporate what you learn in real life. I have to say, though, that I'm starting to pick french up again (this time, I'm trying to do it my way, by self teaching) and at first it has been easy to pick up on those things that I had previously learned. Still a long way to go, though...
  8. The problem is usually within particular expressions of that country. For example "concha" in Venezuela means "fruit peel". In Argentina it can also mean "vagina". But in a normal conversation you will understand most of the time. It happens in english as well. For example, I understand the expression "blow a fag" in England means "having a cigarette". In the US, though....
  9. I don't agree with this. I live in a Latin American country, and "rolling the r's" is as difficult for us as for anyone else. However, since kids are practicing it since pre-school, they all end up learning very early in life. I, on the other hand, learned how to roll the r's properly on my mid 20s. I don't think it's a mouth structure thing related to your descent. While I'm sure different people have different mouth structures, I think it's more related to practice. Since you practice your native tongue since you're very young, you get accustomed to a certain pronunciation. When presented with a different pronunciation later in life, it's going to take some time to adapt.
  10. I once read one of these "study guide books". It was the one for "Much Ado About Nothing" from William Shakespeare. I felt that it interrupted the flow of the play, so what I did was reading the play in its entirety first and then read it again using the study guide. I think they're good, though, specially if you're learning the language.
  11. One of my favorite movies from all time is "Fight Club". It's an adaptation of a book written by Chuck Palahniuk. Another one I love is "into The Wild", which is an adaptation of a book written by Jon Krakauer, this one actually based on a real life story. Both are great movies that I highly recommend.
  12. Well, my favorite quote of all time is: "Do. Or do not. There is no try"... Yoda It is, of course, a movie character. Yet it always comes back to me when I'm going to start doing something I'm not sure if I can manage to do. It helps me to keep positive.
  13. Here is one that comes to mind, in english and what it's used in spanish to convey the same message: - "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree", which is sort of the same as "like father, like son". In spanish, we say "de tal palo, tal astilla".
  14. I think if you're going to learn a language from scratch, it's best if you get a real life teacher. He/she can help you better with the basics of the language, can answer all the usual questions you will have, being new and all. After you're, let's say, intermediate, you could use the language learning apps to keep your language fresh, and as means to do some self assesment as well.
  15. In my country, more than pick-up lines, men have this custom of using lines that, while they convey admiration for the female, will probably not get you anywhere. For example, when a beautiful girl is walking around with her mother, some guys would shout out to her mother "Suegra!" (mother-in-law). And also "si no tiene quien se la cuide, yo se la cuido con gusto" (if you have no one to take care of her, I will gladly do so). Most of them are actually kind of vulgar. The least one that I could share here is "si así es el camino como será el pueblo" (if that's how the road looks like, I wonder how the town is). It's not vulgar in itself, but it's used when a girl is showing her stomach, back or cleavage, and you want to mean that you wonder how her private parts look like.
  16. I think a person needs to have a basic structure of the language first, but once that's done, movies and TV shows are very helpful. When I first got HBO in my country, everything was in english with english closed-captioning, so I was forced to try to understand. I used to have an english-spanish dictionary always at hand. Something I did a lot when I was younger was watching an english movie a couple of times with spanish subtitles first, just to completely understand what was going on, and then the third time I would watch it with english subtitles. I'm starting to learn french, by the way. Any good french movies you could recommend for applying this method as well?
  17. Back in 96, when I was 15 years old I once had a date with a brazilian girl. I was in Aruba for a family vacation, and I was at the reception talking to one of the bellboys, when a school group from Brazil came in. I started to look at this one girl and when she started looking back the bellboy said: "do you want to meet her?" I didn't know any portuguese, so the bellboy basically went to the girl and set me up on a date. It was... interesting and funny in a way. We came down to eat at the hotel's restaurant and then we hung out by the pool. We mostly saw things and laughed, she would talk in portuguese and gesture, and I would do the same in spanish. Since some words were similar, we sometimes would understand each other. When we went up to our rooms, I walked her to her room and she invited me to come in. She had other friends in her room and started introducing me. While this was happening, someone knocked at the door. It was one of the teachers, who was really upset because I was there. I didn't understand what she said, but when the girl turned to me, I saw in her eyes that I had to go. That was it. A couple of days later I left and I never saw her again.
  18. While in spanish "embarazado" doesn't mean "embarrased", the word "embarazoso/a" means "embarrasing". For example: "an embarrasing situation" can be translated into "una situación embarazosa" One that usually cracks me up is "Floor" and "Flor". They are pronounced almost exactly the same. Yet in english "Flor" means "Flower", and in spanish "Floor" means "Piso".
  19. I think it will be more difficult for an native english speaker to learn spanish than the other way around. However, I also think that an english speaking person will have less trouble talking in spanish than a native spanish speaker trying to talk in english. While grammar seems to be more difficult in spanish, pronunciation is way more difficult in english. For example, there are only 5 vowels in the alphabet. In spanish, all five of them have a distinct sound, that never changes, no matter where they're placed in the word (although there are a couple of rules for two vowels together, but that's not the point). In english, though, there are different pronunciations for the same vowel. For example, in the word "experience", there are two different pronunciations for the "e" vowel. This usually gives a hard time to native spanish speakers, since they would only know one pronunciation for that vowel.
  20. My native language is not english, and I'm pretty much self-taught. While it was not the only method I used to learn, I used to listen to music with the lyrics in one hand and a English-Spanish dictionary on the other. That was back when I was a kid and had time for that. It does help a lot, specially with recognition of spoken words, and it also helps a lot with expanding your vocabulary. Since you will probably listen to songs over and over again, once you find out what the words mean, repetitive listening will get them stuck in your brain.
  21. Ok, let me start with english-spanish "false friends": 1) Pan (same pronunciation in both languages) - In english, it means "cooking instrument to fry stuff" or "mythical creature". - In spanish, it means "bread". 2) "Carpet" (english) and "Carpeta" (spanish). Almost the same pronunciation, except in spanish it ends with "..tah". - In english it means "floor cover made of some sort of fabric". - In spanish, it means "folder". 3) "Avocado" (english) and "Abocado" (spanish). Almost the same pronunciation. . In english, it means "exotic fruit" - In spanish, it means something like "to be determined to go on a path or to approach something" Those are the ones I can think of right now. This is fun, though! Thanks for sharing this idea.
  22. This post made me smile. In fact, there are a lot of different pronunciations within spanish speaking countries. I'll give you a few. 1) The "double L": For words like "lluvia" (rain), in most countries the "double L" sounds like the letter "y" in words like "youth". However, in Argentina and Uruguay, the double L (and the "y" as well) sounds like the phoneme "sh" in words like "shower". 2) "C", "S" and "Z" This is a tough one. In Spain, these three letter have different phonetic sounds. However, in most latin american countries they sound exactly the same. So, in Venezuela, for example, the word "casa" (house) and "caza" (hunt) will sound exactly the same. Other examples are: "cede" and "sede", "cocer" and "coser", "taza" and "tasa", amongst others. 3) The silent "S" This one happens in all spanish-speaking countries, and it's the tendency of not pronouncing the last "s" on a word. Your example of "Los pescados", it would end up being "lo pescao". Hope this helps you understand spanish a bit better.
  23. While not exactly a novel, I highly recommend "Cuentos de la Selva" (Jungle Tales) from Horacio Quiroga. One of my favorite writers, he wrote these kids stories and dedicated them to his own children, as he had a house in the jungle where he would spend a lot of time with them. It's basically a collection of short stories. The names of some locations and animals might be a little confusing or unknown, since Quiroga used names that are primarily from Uruguay's lexicon. But apart from that, the language is very simple. And the stories are fun to read, my favorite ones are "El paso del Yabebirí" y "La guerra de los yacarés".
  24. I completely agree with Trellum's last paragraph. However, since you asked for them, there are some more not listed here: Grax = Gracias (Thanks) x = por (this word has many meanings in english. One of them is "by", hence the "x" for multiplication) xq = Por qué? (Why?) ta = Te amo (I love you) dcs = dices (you say) toy = estoy (I am) (this one is very old, used in verbal communication as well) n = en (in) When combined, they usually make up horrible sentences, such as "toy n la uni, xq?" which would translate into "I am at the university, why?"
  25. While the exact, textbook, word for word english-spanish translation of "I am spiritual" would be "Yo soy espiritual", in common spanish you don't have to use "yo" to be understood, since the word "soy" in spanish is used only as the first person conjugation of the "to be" verb. So, "soy espiritual" would be correct. More importantly, any spanish-speaking person who reads your message will understand what you're saying.
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