Archive for the ‘Vocabulary’ Category

Tricky Words: Parte Uno

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Tricky Words.When learning Spanish we’ve all run into some of these words that resemble English words, but have a completely different meaning. In my years of Spanish study, I’ve come across quite a few of these, and I thought I’d share some of them.

In no particular order:

Receta. This word refers to a medical prescription or a recipe for cooking something. It never means “receipt”, which is better translated recibo, comprobante, nota, or even ticket, an Anglicism.

Vocabulary: accountability = contabilidad?

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

AccountabilityHow do you talk about being accountable in Spanish?

I was just in a session that was being interpreted simultaneously from English to Spanish, and I had the benefit of being able to listen in on both versions, which is a good way to learn a lot about how to speak Spanish fluently. But in this session, the main topic was accountability and unfortunately, the interpreter started off translating this as contabilidad.

That’s just wrong.


The most useful Spanish words you can learn

Monday, February 5th, 2007

When it comes to learning a language it can seem like you’re trying to cross the Himalayans on a pogo stick. Forget the botched metaphor. What I’m trying to say is that there are a lot of words in Spanish. A good-sized college-level Spanish dictionary typically has about 100,000 words. I’d be hard-pressed to memorize them all. So the most logical approach would be to pick the most useful words and learn them first, saving the stray, little-used technical vocabulary for last.


Brand-new Spanish words

Monday, January 29th, 2007

RAE DictionaryThis is not exactly breaking news anymore, but last November the Real Academia Española (RAE) published a list of new words that they were officially accepting into the Spanish language. All in all, the new version of the RAE’s dictionary contains more than 1,000 new headwords, and more than 4,000 new meanings of words that already exist.

So you want to see some of these newly accepted words?


Seguridad jurídica

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Seguridad Jurídica I ran across the term seguridad jurídica in a newspaper article. Unfortunately I didn’t save the paper, so I can’t quote the sentence I found it in. This term has stumped me for a while, and I want to write about what I found and ask for help defining it.

An Example

Here’s the headline and a clip from an article containing “seguridad jurídica”.

50 mil familias, sin seguridad jurídica en su vivienda
La venta de tierras ejidales detonó en Torreón un problema de irregularidad jurídica en 20 por ciento de las colonias de la ciudad. Unas 50,000 viviendas no tienen un dueño definido y el gobierno del estado apenas intenta una solución.

In this story, about 50,000 families have problems with their titles to their homes due to legal problems with the way the land was claimed. In other words, their homes are not legally theirs.