Conversations at Casa López – Part 9

Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Telivision/Boxing Match: …the new champion, de Sinaloa México, Gilberto “El Zurdo” Rámirez!

Tracy: Wow, he’s deaf?

[Confusing the word “sordo” which means deaf, and “zurdo” which means southpaw/left-handed]

Tracy: You see? That bird has the same beak as that one. They’re both Cardinals but that one is a female, the red ones are males.

Carlos: Beak?

Tracy: Beak, pico.

Carlos: But that’s how you pronounce it? Like Vick-Vaporu?

Television/Chavo: Es que la Chilindrina me preguntó ¿con que “v”?
Television/Doña Florinda: Pos, con los ojos.
Television/Chavo: Sí, pero, ¿de vaca o de burro?

Tracy and Carlos: [laughing]

14 year old son: What’s funny?

Tracy: Chavo wanted to know whether you write “bicicleta” with a “v” or a “b” because they sound the same in Spanish and they call them “big b” and “little v”, or you can say “b de burro, o v de vaca” – so he asked Doña Florinda “Con que v?” which sounds like “What do you use to see?” and when Doña Florinda said “ojos”, Chavo said “cow eyes or donkey eyes?”

14 year old son: [blank stare]

Tracy: It kind of gets lost in translation.

Tracy: El Salvador is north of the equator, right?

Carlos: Right.

Tracy: Wait, so which country does the equator pass through?

Carlos: [amused expression] Ecuador.

Tracy: Oh my God…I feel stupid now.

17 year old son: What’re you watching?

Carlos: It’s about Billy the Kid.

17 year old son: [sits down to watch]

Carlos: Didn’t you study him in school?

17 year old son: I was more into Jesse James.

Carlos: Is he a gang bang, too?

Tracy: We’re almost out of bird feed again.

Carlos: Again?!

Tracy: It’s those big, black birds – the Grackles. I think they’re eating it all. I read that they’ve been known to devastate crops, they come down as a huge flock and eat everything.

Carlos: Ohhhh, those are the ones that do that?

Tracy: Do they do that in El Salvador, too?

Carlos: I don’t know.

Tracy: How do you know about them then?

Carlos: There was an episode of Pink Panther…

(Here’s the episode of Pink Panther if anyone wants to watch. I had to look it up after that conversation, and then watching it made it even funnier.)

Conversations at Casa López – Part 8

Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Tracy: Police officers in England don’t use firearms and you never hear about mass murders there, do you?

Carlos: What about Jack the Stripper?

Tracy: [picks up a ghost-shaped Halloween cookie] Booooooooo!

Carlos: [picks up a pumpkin-shaped cookie] Booooooo!

Tracy: Um, no.

Tracy: He wants K.D.’s for his birthday.

Carlos: What?

Tracy: K.D.’s, it’s a type of fancy Nike shoe named after the basketball player Kevin Durant.

Carlos: Kevin Duran? Is he Latino?

Carlos: I have sarpullido.

Tracy: What’s that?

Carlos: That’s how you call rash in El Salvador – sarpullido.

Tracy: Oh, that’s so cute. Sapollido because when a person is rashy they get bumpy like a sapo!

“You’re lucky I’m phone-lingual.”

– My 17 year old son [who owns an iPhone] after I asked him to figure out something on my Android

Conversations at Casa López – Part 7

Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

17 year old son: I got to speak Spanish twice today. All the Latino customers keep choosing my line when they see me.

Tracy: Really?

17 year old son: Yeah but I don’t just start speaking Spanish to them cause I can’t assume, you know? So I start in English, then they like test me out with one or two words in Spanish to see if I know it, then we start talking in Spanish.

13 year old son: We got to choose names in Spanish class.

Tracy: But your name is already Spanish.

13 year old son: It wasn’t on the chart to pick from. I chose Rafael, like from Jane the Virgin.

Carlos: What’s the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?

17 year old son: Meteorites are like the “-ito” in Spanish. They’re little pieces of the meteor.

17 year old son: I’m not sure if jeans would be proper attire. What do you think?

Carlos: A tire?

17 year old son: Yeah.

Carlos: Like una llanta?

17 year old son: What does una llanta mean?

Carlos: A tire.

17 year old son: Ok, um, yeah, do you think jeans are proper attire?

Carlos: I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Tracy: Attire, babe. Attire means clothing, ropa. Not tire like llanta.

Carlos: Clothing?

Tracy: Yes.

Carlos: Why didn’t he say clothing?

Carlos: The lady didn’t type in my email right. She said ‘v as in vase?’ and I said yes.

Tracy: Why did you say yes? There’s no ‘b’ in your email.

Carlos: V! V as in vase!

Tracy: B as in bass?

Carlos: What are you saying? Big b, or little v?

Tracy: We don’t need that in English but when you say them they sound the same.

Carlos: Are you making a vaca negra?

Tracy: If that means ‘Coke Float’, then yes.

Conversations at Casa López – Part 6

Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Tracy: Mejor el perro malo que conoces que el perro que no conoces.

– Tracy mixing up the dicho “Más vale lo malo conocido que lo bueno por conocer.”

Carlos: “Tracy, why are you talking so loud? You’re like a vieja tamalera. ”

– Carlos when I was apparently talking too loud early in the morning

13 year old son: How do you say ‘pig’ in Spanish?

Tracy: Cerdo.

13 year old son: … But I thought it was ‘cuche’?

(“Cuche” is Salvadoran slang for pig.)

Tracy: The boys both need new earbuds again.

Carlos: Again? Both of them?

Tracy: Yeah… Hey, is there a Salvadoran Spanish word for someone who always breaks or loses things?

Carlos: Yeah, irresponsables.

13 year old son: You’re always watching that.

Tracy:: [shrugs] I like it and they always play re-runs.

13 year old son: But you never finish it. Is “La Fea Más Bella” a series or a movie?

Carlos: It’s a soap opera.

13 year old son: What’s that?

Tracy: A telenovela.

13 year old son: Oh. Why didn’t you just say that?

Tracy: ¿Estas tortillas son hechas de harina o de trigo?

Carlos’s friend: Maíz.

[I was trying to ask if they were flour or corn tortillas but for some reason I stupidly asked if they were tortillas made from wheat or flour – which is the same thing. Basically, “Are these flour tortillas or flour tortillas?”]

Carlos: I got everything we need to make the Smurfs.

Tracy: S’mores.

Carlos: Oh, right. Smurfs are pitufos.

Pingüino Rodríguez

notes

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!

Ustedes ya saben cuanto me gusta el tema de malentendidos entre lenguajes, entonces les presento este video bien chistoso sobre hispanohablantes que cantan mal las letras de canciones en inglés. ¡Disfrutenlo!

(Gracias a Nyn Vasquez por mandarme el video!)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

You guys already know how much I like the topic of misunderstandings between languages, and so I present this really humorous video about Spanish-speakers singing incorrect lyrics to songs in English. Enjoy!

(Hat tip to Nyn Vasquez!)

Conversations at Casa López – Part 6

Carlos has been on a roll lately with bilingual mix-ups! Here are a few of my favorites. (I’ll definitely have to do a post like this soon with just my own Spanish mistakes to keep things fair!)

Carlos: The coffee doesn’t taste good with just a little sugar.
Tracy: The problem is you don’t want to go cold turkey. You’ll get used to it faster like that.
Carlos: But I don’t want to be a cold turkey.

[Watching “The Hunger Games”]
Carlos: Wait, so where is Cactus right now?
Tracy: Her name is Katniss, not Cactus.

Tracy: You need to just let it go and move on.
Carlos: No way, I’m not going to just throw this under the rock.

[Carlos confusing the idiom “Sweep it under the rug.”]

[Switching around the radio stations in the car. “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on the radio.]

Tracy: I’ll leave it for you, I know you like this song.
Carlos: Yeah, but I like better the one with Chris Rock.
Tracy: I think you mean Kid Rock.

El Escarabajo Dorado (a guest post)

Image source: José Luis Celada Euba

Image source: José Luis Celada Euba

Today’s guest post about a humorous turned enlightening moment had while living in Peru, comes to us from Fabianne, a high school Spanish teacher, world traveler, and the blogger behind “Blogging Is Narcissistic But…

Last year I shared an apartment in the noisy city of Trujillo, Peru with two Spanish roommates. One night, I found myself in the kitchen when a big, scary something started frantically buzzing around the room, smacking its chunky body against the walls, seemingly desperate to escape. Meanwhile, the window was, as always, wide open to cleanse the space of my roommates’ tobacco habit. I let out a little yelp and waved my hands in the air, which only seemed to offer the opposite of my intended message as it zoomed toward me in a state of panic.

I heard one of my roommates say, “She’s shouting in English again,” and the two of them came rushing to my rescue.

Cucaracha?” (Yes, that is actually how you say cockroach) asked one.

“No! I don’t know what this is!” I gasped as it propelled its seemingly light-brown body toward us. All three of us screamed simultaneously and ran for the kitchen door. Mar shut it behind us and we laughed at ourselves.

“What is that?” she shouted. “It’s enormous!”

At the time, I didn’t know the word for moth in Spanish. (Now I do. Polilla. I’ll never forget it. High stakes situations make for great learning experiences.) So I opted for the word for butterfly because once I read that most insects that appear to be butterflies are actually moths. I figured it was my best bet.

Una mariposa?” They asked, skeptical.

Algo como una mariposa pero con un cuerpo gordo,” (“Something like a butterfly but with a fat body,”) I explained. They both stared at me.

“Well we can’t just stand out here,” my other roommate Vanessa said, entering the kitchen and heroically grabbing the broom. She struck at the fat-bodied butterfly, which was still making circles around the kitchen, using two hands to wield her domestic weapon. Mar and I screamed and laughed from a safe distance, when suddenly, after one swift sweep of the broom, we watched it come spiraling down. She got it. It wasn’t dead, but injured beyond flight, rattling on the kitchen floor. Vanessa leaned over her kill to get a closer look, and let out a little gasp.

“It’s not a butterfly!” she shouted, almost angry. Yes, that much I knew, I just lacked the necessary vocabulary. “It’s an escarabajo!” A beetle, she said.

Escarabajo!” I shouted, not particularly out of concern but mostly because I love that word. So onomatopoeic. When I hear it, I picture a little black beetle scraping and digging through the dirt, making a whispery noise that sounds like, “escarabajo.” I actually only know the word because a little black one crawled into my backpack one time, and a Spaniard pointed and shouted, “Escarabajo!” I remember she told me not to kill it because “los escarabajos no son malos.” They’re not bad. Fair enough.

It turns out the escarabajo in our kitchen was a bit different than the one in my backpack. “It’s a golden beetle,” Vanessa explained. Escarabajo dorado.

I had never heard of a golden beetle and didn’t care too much until she said, “It’s a symbol of immortality.”

For some reason those words resonated with me. To be fair, this is a girl who lit the end of a small branch and waved it around our apartment to expel bad energy, and who charges her crystals by moonlight (though I know of no better way), and while I love her and admire her earthy spirit, I usually remain unaffected by her beliefs. This is not because I claim to possess superior spiritual ideology, just that I’m kind of lazy when it comes to these things. Afterlife? Can’t be bothered…But this time I felt bad. Was I an accomplice to the murder of a bug that only wanted to offer us immortality?

“It’s suffering,” Vanessa said looking at me seriously, “and you have to kill it. I did my part.”

“I don’t like to kill things!” I protested. She shot me a look of death. I get it. OK.

Both of my roommates returned to their respective rooms. The golden beetle squirmed on the floor, its gem-like shell glistening under the fluorescent kitchen lights. Not knowing what to do, I swept it into a dustpan and tipped it out our seven-story kitchen window, hoping maybe it would catch flight.

“It committed suicide,” I announced loud enough for Vanessa to hear, though she didn’t respond.

Later that night, I Google searched “golden beetle.” I found various articles about the insect, my favorite from a gardener saying she is both frustrated and delighted when she finds these beautiful pests among her plants. Another funny bug-nerd article said something like, “Everyone keeps talking about golden beetles.” Oh yeah. People just won’t shut up about them! Nowhere did I find anything about immortality, though the words that affected me most came from an article about insect collections. It recommends that you not add the golden beetle to your collection as it loses its golden color once it dries out, saying, “these bugs are most beautiful kept alive.” Ouch.