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Carron

Jan 13, 2009, 7:17 AM

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What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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My oldest daughter married a Puerto Rican and they lived in Miami. When my son was 14, he was just beginning to study Spanish in school. She invited him to spend the summer with them in Florida. Her husband had a 14-year old cousin he invited from Puerto Rico also for the summer. Roberto was just beginning to learn English. The boys bonded immediately, and spent the first week exchanging all the dirty words either knew in his native language!! By the end of the summer both were fluent in more acceptible words as well.

When I took high school Spanish, we learned the proper response to an introduction was "Con mucho gusto en conocerle". I was so proud of myself when I finally mastered this tongue twister! Now the people I meet just give a nod and a handshake and say simply "mucho gusto". Works for me.

The first phrase I learned when I moved to Chiapas was "que le vaya bien". I had never heard it before and could not find it except in one obscure book of Spanish/English. The translation was "Have a good day." So once I proudly got my tongue around this, I said it to everyone I spoke with. My daughters finally told me I was embarrassing them. Apparently you only say this to someone who is leaving, not to someone who is staying and you are doing the leaving. One of the best teachers is children who speak the language better than you and shame you into speaking it correctly!

Is "have a good day" "que tiene Ud. un buen dia"?? At least I have never told anyone "estoy embarazada".


(This post was edited by Carron on Jan 13, 2009, 7:19 AM)



esperanza

Jan 13, 2009, 8:03 AM

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Have a good day...qué tenga buen día.

When I moved to Mexico in 1981, I spoke no Spanish, not even 'buenos días'. Nothing.

One afternoon shortly after my arrival, a truck blocked the driveway where my car was parked. My bilingual companion said, "Tell the driver, 'No puede mover tantito su camión?' He said it was the 'tantito'--just a little bit--that was the key word, letting the driver that he was in the wrong spot but that it was no big deal.

Ah, the magic of the Mexican diminutive! I imitated my friend's pronunciation and inflection and bingo! The driver moved the truck and we were free.




http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Carron

Jan 13, 2009, 8:44 AM

Post #3 of 14 (5672 views)

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Re: [esperanza] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Mil gracias. When my 1/2 Puerto Rican granddaughter was a pre-schooler (and living with her Spanish-speaking grandmother in Miami) I asked her "hablas espanol?"

She grinned, held up her thumb and index finger just a centimeter apart and replied "un poquito". Yes, the power of the dimuitive. I use this same little gesture and phrase almost daily here in Mexico. It tells people I am trying, but I am not too good at it. It also seems to make people slow down and speak more distinctly and more simply, as in speaking to a child. Works for me.

The actual first phrase I heard when I moved to Chiapas in 1998 was when my daughters and I stepped off the plane at Tapachula out onto the tarmac in the middle of the night during a torrential rainstorm. A gentleman with one umbrella hurriedly assured the passengers "momentito, momentito, momentito" and made that same little finger gesture I had learned from my granddaughter. I knew right away we were in for a very long wait. And we were.


sioux4noff

Jan 13, 2009, 6:29 PM

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Quote
held up her thumb and index finger just a centimeter apart


I have seen that used much more in refernce to time than anything else.
I wish I had as good luck with telling people I speak "un poquito" speaking slowly. I haven't figured out any magic key to getting people to speak slowly. Although I admit Mexicans tell me they have no luck gtting English speakers to slow down, either.


morgaine7


Jan 14, 2009, 7:00 AM

Post #5 of 14 (5635 views)

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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I knew no Spanish on arrival and was hit with so much at once that I can't recall what came first. But one of my most important early phrases was "con permiso". Once I got the usage, it seemed that opportunities to say it came up almost constantly!

Kate


Rolly


Jan 14, 2009, 8:00 AM

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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The earliest I can remember was from high school.

Erre con erre barril
Erre con erre cigarro
Rápido corren los carros
Los carros del ferrocarril

Rolly Pirate


nancyinpdx

Jan 14, 2009, 4:49 PM

Post #7 of 14 (5607 views)

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What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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¿hola, Luisa, que tal?
Estoy bien. Y tu, Tomas, ¿como estas? ¿A donde, vas?
Voy a la oficina.
¿Donde esta el bano?
¿Como se dice?
¿Como se llama usted? Me llamo nancy.
¿Habla usted espanol? ¿Si, un poquito.
¿Como esta afuera? Hace calor.


husker

Jan 14, 2009, 4:54 PM

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Re: [nancyinpdx] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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O Cisco...O Poncho! Arriba


Oscar2

Jan 14, 2009, 5:21 PM

Post #9 of 14 (5603 views)

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Back then but even today, not as often though, I periodically find myself asking with a smile and sort of a visible semi small pinch with my index finger and thumb: Lo agradezco mucho si me puedes hablar un poquito más despacio, gracias.


Georgia


Jan 19, 2009, 10:57 AM

Post #10 of 14 (5555 views)

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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I know you mean in Spanish, but I have to share the first English phrase my son learned when we moved to the US from Colombia: we didn't have cable tv, or any tv for that matter, just the VCR. So, I purchased a lot of musicals and Disney films to help them learn English. His first sentence was from "Peter Pan": "a little less noise, please!!" The next one (the King and I) was (very imperiosly) "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera." (feet apart, hand on hip, opposite arm up with index finger pointed in the air). He named things: a "summer car" was his version of a convertible. A "wizard" was a blizzard. I spent a lot of my time stifling.


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 20, 2009, 12:29 PM

Post #11 of 14 (5521 views)

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Have a good day--que tenga un buen día (formal), que tengas un buen día (informal). The subjunctive tenga is used instead of indicative tiene because you are expressing a desire. Subjunctive is almost always used when expressing desires, feelings, and probability.

Que le vaya bien. A good phrase to know, and as you figured out, to be used only when parting with someone. You usually hear "que le vaya bien" or "que les vaya bien" much more often than "que te vaya bien." Reason being this expression is often used in more formal relationships (distant relatives, casual acquaintances, basically anyone you see infrequently). So if you don't expect to see the person again soon, you say "que le vaya bien." For close relations and people you'll see again the next day, a casual adiós or nos vemos is fine. The "long-term" feeling of que le vaya bien makes it great for saying goodbye to someone you want to dump. Sort of ironically or sarcastically polite, or just plain distantly polite, depending on your mood.


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 20, 2009, 12:41 PM

Post #12 of 14 (5517 views)

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Re: [Carron] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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The irony of the diminutive! Any word with -ito on the end deserves a big red warning flag. Un momentito means "pull up a chair, get comfortable, and make sure you know where the bathroom is, because you're going to be here forever." Un poquito, said when someone offers you food or drink, is a polite way of saying, "Bring me plenty because I'm starving but I'm too polite to say so." Con permisito means something like, "I'm in a big hurry, I've already said excuse me five times, and you ignored me. Get the hell out of my way!" And get ready to count to a thousand if hubby comes along and says, "Hay un pequeño problema."

Sometimes the meaning varies. Ahorita is either "right now!" or "whenever I feel like it, which probably won't be soon." Un poquito is one of the few expressions that really means "just a little bit."


sioux4noff

Jan 20, 2009, 1:47 PM

Post #13 of 14 (5511 views)

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Re: [sergiogomez] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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You contradicted yourself:
1. "Un poquito, said when someone offers you food or drink, is a polite way of saying, "Bring me plenty because I'm starving but I'm too polite to say so." "
2. Un poquito is one of the few expressions that really means "just a little bit."

I thought if someone offered me food and I say "un poquito" I would get a smaller amount than they may have otherwise given. Seems to work that way, at least.

You are spot-on by saying that sometimes the diminutive really means a smaller item or less of something, and other times actually is an ironic way of expressing more of or a bigger item. Context is everything!


sergiogomez / Moderator

Jan 20, 2009, 2:31 PM

Post #14 of 14 (5506 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] What Were The First Words or Phrases You Learned?

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Generally speaking, I mean. Context is everything. I wrote this between classes, so didn't keep track of everything I wrote.
 
 
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