Category Archives: Language

Ojalá and Insh’Allah

ojala

One of my best friends is Muslim, as are a few other friends and acquaintances, so I’ve become used to seeing the word “insh’Allah” added to the ends of sentences online over the years to mean “hopefully” (or literally, “if Allah/God [is] willing.”)

At some point it occurred to me that “insh’Allah” sounded very similar to one of my favorite Spanish words, “ojalá” – which also means “hopefully.” Could there be a connection? I wondered.

If you haven’t guessed by now, “ojalá” does indeed derive from the Arabic “insh’Allah,” thanks to the Moors who ruled Spain.

(Since knowing this, when I text or email my friend something I’m hopeful about, I often type “hopefully/ojalá/inshAllah.”)

Another Spanish word that allegedly derives from Arabic: ¡Olé!

According to the book, “Everything You Need to Know About Latino History: 2008 Edition” by Himilce Novas, “Olé is a Spanish word adapted from ‘Allah,’ the Arabic name for God. So when Spaniards cry ‘¡Olé!’ at a bullfight, they are saying ‘Praise Allah!’ — even if they really mean ‘Viva,’ which is Spanish for ‘Long live!’ or in some circles, ‘Man Alive!’”

While looking through lists of Spanish words of Arabic origin I spotted several of my favorite words:

ajonjolí
albóndiga
almohada
arroz
azúcar
barrio
café
calabaza
chisme
fideo
jarabe
jirafa
lima
limón
loco
naranja
papagayo
tamarindo

I bet you didn’t realize how much Arabic you speak! (Check out more HERE and HERE.)

And since we’re on the topic, I may as well close with one of my favorite Spanish villancicos, “Peces en el Río,” which has a decidedly Arabic feel to it. (This is a rather lively version from Colombian group, Las Mujeres de mi Tierra.)

“No hay gatos en America…”

Photo by: Flickr user MPD01605, Adapted by: Latinaish.com

Photo by: Flickr user MPD01605, Adapted by: Latinaish.com

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

“No hay gatos en América, y las calles están pavimentadas con queso”, cantan los ratones en la película animada “An American Tail.”

Me encantó esa película cuando era niña, antes de que pudiera comprender realmente mucho sobre la inmigración y que la película refleja la vida real para algunas personas. Salió en 1986, así que yo tenía 7 años y me acuerdo de verla una y otra vez con mi hermanita sentadas con las piernas cruzadas en la alfombra mirando fijamente al televisor, (la película estaba en una cinta “beta”).

De todos modos, me estaba acordando de esta película el otro día cuando le pregunté a Carlos lo que tenía de conceptos equivocados acerca de los Estados Unidos antes que venía. Él me dijo que se imaginaba que las escuelas secundarias en los Estados Unidos estaban todas exactamente iguales como veía en “Saved by the Bell” y que todas las casas eran tan agradables como las que aparecen en los comerciales estadounidenses.

Si inmigraste a los Estados Unidos, ¿qué conceptos equivocados tuviste antes de venir?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

“There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese,” sing the mice in the animated movie “An American Tail.”

I loved that movie when I was little, before I could really comprehend much about immigration and how the movie drew from real life. It came out in 1986 so I was about 7 years old and I remember watching it over and over again sitting cross legged on the carpet with my little sister staring up at the television, (we had it on a beta tape.)

Anyway, I was remembering this movie the other day when I asked Carlos what misconceptions he had about the United States before he came. He said that he imagined American high schools were all exactly like what he saw on “Saved by the Bell” and that everyone’s houses were as nice as the ones depicted on American commercials.

If you immigrated to the United States, what misconceptions did you have before coming here?

Do What Makes You Feliz

felicidad

This morning I looked up “Dichos de Lupita” on YouTube because I was in the mood to hear the song, but instead of an official video from Los Tucanes de Tijuana, I came across this video. I don’t know why, but it really made my day.

Maybe it made me happy because I can tell he loves what he’s doing and he’s made time to do it. I don’t know the real story behind why this guy makes accordion videos in what seems to possibly be a closet or very small room inside a brick building (perhaps a school?) while wearing a uniform with his apellido on it, but I imagine he does these videos on his lunch break at work for his own enjoyment. I also imagine people walking by in the hallway must hear him in there sometimes and smile to themselves – at least I would.

Whatever the story is, I like his voice and his accordion playing, and I love that he’s doing something that makes him happy – That’s what life is all about.

On a side note, if any native Spanish-speaker from Mexico could find it in their heart to translate the lyrics to English, I’d be most grateful. When I sing along I don’t understand half the song and I’m not sure if it’s because the words are so very Mexican or if they’re completely invented. “Yuju yuju yuju, chupale pichón, lero lero lero, si chuy como ño” isn’t exactly in the Diccionario Real Academia. All I got out of that whole stanza is “suck a pigeon” which I’m assuming is a colorful idiom not appropriate for polite company?

Chicle

canelschicle1

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Me encanta el chicle. Usualmente compro chicle sin azúcar para no dañar los dientes, pero no pude resistir comprar estos chicles marca Canel’s. El hombre que me los vendió en el mercado de pulgas rió al verme tan feliz. Estos chicles me recuerdan de mi visita a Tijuana y los niños que venden chicles en la calle. Carlos me dijo que también en El Salvador tienen chicles del mismo estilo pero de otra marca.

He escogido dos de cada sabor para probarlos todos, pero resultó que violeta es mi favorito.

¿Qué sabor de chicle más te gusta a ti?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I love chewing gum. Usually I buy sugarless gum so I don’t damage my teeth, but I couldn’t resist buying these Canel’s brand gum. The man who sold the gum to me at the flea market laughed to see how happy I was. This gum reminds me of my trip to Tijuana and the kids who sold gum in the street. Carlos told me they also have similar gum in El Salvador but of a different brand.

I chose two of each flavor to try them all, but it turned out that violet is my favorite.

Which flavor of gum do you like best?

Slingshot = Hondilla

slingshot1

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

¿Sabes qué es en la foto? Es una “hondilla.” Así se le llama en El Salvador. Otros países tienen otros nombres. Le pregunté a mis amigas hispanohablantes como se llaman a un “slingshot” en español. Aquí están sus repuestas:

En México se llama “resortera.”
En Bolivia se llama “honda.”
En Puerto Rico se llama “honda.”
En Panamá se llama “biombo.”
En Cuba se llama “tirador.”
En Peru se llama “honda.”
En España se llama “tirachinas.” (¡Pero no es lo qué piensas! “Chinas” significa “piedras” en España.)

¿Qué palabra usas tú por “slingshot” en español?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Do you know what that is in the photo? That’s an “hondilla” [slingshot.] That’s what it’s called in El Salvador. In other countries it has other names. I asked my Spanish-speaking friends how they say “slingshot” in Spanish. Here are their answers:

In Mexico it’s called a “resortera.”
In Bolivia it’s called an “honda.”
In Puerto Rico it’s called an “honda.”
In Panama it’s called a “biombo.”
In Cuba it’s called “tirador.”
In Peru it’s called “honda.”
In Spain it’s called “tirachinas.”

Which word do you use to say “slingshot” in Spanish?

A Chico le Gusta ver la Tele

chico2013

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Aunque no quería la responsibilidad de tener una mascota de nuevo, el año pasado adoptamos a Chico porque pensabamos que sería bueno por la salud de nuestra familia. Tener un perro ayuda a reducir el estrés, y si uno tiene un perro igual que Chico, le da sonrisas cada día con sus bayuncadas.

Aquí les muestro que hizo Chico de chistoso anteayer. Carlos estaba viendo las noticias cuando salio un reportaje sobre un día de celebración en El Salvador por los perros callejeros. (O como les dicen en El Salvador, “chuchos aguacateros.”)

Como lo pueden ver, bien le gusto el reportaje a Chico, y bien curioso está de sus primos en El Salvador.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Even though I didn’t want the responsibility of having another pet, we adopted Chico last year because we thought it would be good for the health of our family. Having a dog helps to reduce stress, and if you have a dog like Chico, he’ll give you smiles each day with the silly things he does.

Here I’ll show you what funny thing Chico did the day before yesterday. Carlos was watching the news when a report about a celebration for street dogs in El Salvador came on. (Or as street dogs are called in El Salvador, “chuchos aguacateros.”)

As you can see, Chico really liked the report and he’s very curious about his cousins in El Salvador.

3 Chéveres Revistas en Línea

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Recientemente descubrí ISSUU, un sitio web de revistas en línea. Aquí hay tres de mis revistas favoritas en este momento.

MarrakechMagazine - final-1

#1. “Let me introduce you to…” por Melissa Wong es una revista educativa para niños llena de información interesante, dibujos maravillosos y actividades divertidas. Cada edición es sobre una cultura o país diferente. La primera revista es sobre Morocco. Léela aquí.

(Aquí hay algunas imágenes adicionales de la parte interior de la revista porque me encantan estas ilustraciones. Publicado con el permiso de Melissa Wong.)

bldgs_melissawong

camels_melissawong

#2. La revista, “InPrint” está llena de arte e inspiración para gente creativa. Léela aquí.

InPrintmag

#3. No es necesario tener dinero para viajar – echa un vistazo a las grandes fotos e historias en “Travel World International Magazine.” Léela aquí.

travelworldmag

¿Qué revistas impresas y revistas en línea lees tú?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

3 Awesome Online Magazines

Recently I discovered ISSUU, a website featuring online magazines. Here are three of my favorite magazines at the moment.

#1. “Let me introduce you to…” by Melissa Wong is an educational magazine for children full of interesting information, wonderful drawings and fun activities. Each issue is about a different culture or country. This first one is about Morocco. Read it here.

(Here are some extra images of the inside of the magazine because I love these illustrations. Published here with permission from Melissa Wong.)

#2. The magazine, “InPrint” is full of art and inspiration for creative people. Read it here.

#3. It’s not necessary to have money to travel – take a look at these great photos and stories in “Travel World International Magazine.” Read it here.

Which print and online magazines do you read?

Niños de la Memoria

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Image source: JP-Flanigan

Image source: JP-Flanigan

Recientemente fui contactada por una mujer llamada Jamie. Jamie nació en El Salvador, pero debido a la guerra civil y circunstancias desconocidas, Jamie fue adoptada cuando era una bebé, y ha vivido su vida en los Estados Unidos. Ahora, igual que muchas personas adoptadas, Jamie, con la ayuda de la organización Pro-Búsqueda, está buscando a su familia salvadoreña, pero esto es difícil en muchos aspectos. Parte de su historia y las historias de los demás se les dice en el documental emotivo, “Niños de la Memoria”, que les animo a ver.

El documental me hizo llorar, recordar que todos estos años después, la guerra en El Salvador sigue afectando a tantas vidas. Hay personas que viven con agujeros en sus corazones, en busca de la verdad de lo que pasó a ellos y sus familias. Esperemos que aquellos en el poder en El Salvador hacen todo lo que pueden para ayudar a proporcionar la información que tengan para poder ayudar en la búsqueda.

Puedes ver el documental completo en línea en World Channel y leer más sobre el documental en NiñosDeLaMemoria.com.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Recently I was contacted by a woman named Jamie. Jamie was born in El Salvador, but due to the civil war and unknown circumstances, Jamie was adopted as an infant, and has lived her life in the United States. Now, like many adoptees, Jamie, with the help of the organization Pro-Busqueda, is looking for her Salvadoran family, but this is difficult in many respects. Part of her story and the stories of others are told in the emotional documentary, “Niños de la Memoria” (Children of Memory), which I encourage you to see.

The documentary made ​​me cry, remembering that all these years later, the war in El Salvador continues to affect so many lives. People are living with holes in their hearts, looking for the truth of what happened to them and their families. Hopefully those in power in El Salvador do everything they can to help provide the information they have that can help in the search.

You can watch the full documentary online at World Channel and read more about the documentary at NiñosDeLaMemoria.com.

Tribal Wives

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Image source: Link TV

Image source: Link TV

No miro mucha televisión pero de vez en cuando descubro un programa que me encanta. Eso es lo que pasó con el programa, “Tribal Wives” en Link TV.

El primer episodio que vi fue sobre una mujer de Inglaterra que se llama Sass y ella fue a vivir con el tribu Kuna de Panamá. Me gustó ver las interacciones entre ella y los miembros del tribu, en particular con la figura materna, Ana Lida. El show, “Tribal Wives”, realmente tocó mi corazón y me hizo pensar.

Después de ver este episodio y otro, fui a buscar más información en línea sobre el programa. Encontré mucho comentario inteligente pero opinones muy diferentes. Había gente que cree que el show está explotando los indígenas y no están de acuerdo con él.

Entiendo la perspectiva y tal vez haya un grano de verdad en esta opinión, pero también me alegra ver gente de culturas diferentes aprendiendo unos de otros y teniendo amistades.

¿Has visto el programa? ¿Qué piensas tú? ¿Es ético grabar un “reality show” así?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I don’t watch a lot of television but once in awhile I discover a program I love. This is what happened with the program “Tribal Wives” on Link TV.

The first episode I saw was about an English woman named Sass and she went to live with the Kuna tribe in Panama. I liked to watch the interactions between her and the tribe, particularly with the mother figure, Ana Lida. The show, “Tribal Wives,” really touched my heart and made me think.

After watching this episode and another, I went online to find more information about the program. I found a lot of intelligent commentary but really different opinions. There were people who felt the show exploits indigenous people and they didn’t agree with it.

I understand the perspective and maybe there is a grain of truth in that opinion, but it also makes me happy to see people of different cultures learn from each other and make friendships.

Have you seen the program? What do you think? Is it ethical to film a “reality show” like this?

Señal de la Santa Cruz

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Ayer pasé muchas horas mirando las fotos digitales desde la niñez de mis hijos. Encontré unos videos cortos también que yo ni siquiera sabía que existían. Aquí es uno de los videos. En este video mis hijos están practicando cómo hacer La Señal de la Santa Cruz. Ni creo que ellos entendieron lo que estaban diciendo en español.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Yesterday I spent many hours looking through digital photos of my children’s childhood. I also found a few short videos that I didn’t even know existed. Here is one of the videos. In this video my boys are practicing the Sign of the Cross. I don’t think they even knew what they were saying in Spanish.

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