Spanish villagers, catetos and adios guapa

December 15th, 2011 in Learn Spanish and No Comments

One of the crazy things I love about living in Spain is the small village culture, which can be very narrowminded and closed to all outside influences, but is still fascinating nevertheless.

Cateto is the word used to describe a vilager who is also a person with no manners, who is rough and course just like the landscape. The word can be translated to mean someone who is boorish, a redneck, yokel, country bumpkin. When used in Spain it is mostly considered offensive, though sometimes can be used with a sort of fondness.

Anyway, catetos are usually loud and have no concept whatsoever of privacy. Pretty much everyone in a small Spanish village knows everyone else. Family, friends, feudal enemies, anyone at all who comes from the village is known to them. Outsiders are tolerated but even 3 or 4 generations later are still considered foreigners.

Villagers who are considered cateto will stand at a bus shelter and greet a complete stranger, and then simply start pouring out their heart to them. Nothing is private, they’ll tell about their finances, their sex life, problems their cousin has with almost anything.

It’s very amusing watching them, but after they leave all the city folk look around at each other with incredulity, then everyone laughs and smirks, catetos are such strange folk.

There is one village custom however that you still find in the cities, and which I like very much. When saying hello or goodbye Spanish people have no problem using the word guapo which means beautiful. And not just with people who are beautiful. Old, young, fat, thin, atractive, ugly, or any combination of these, you’ll still hear people saying ¡adios guapa!

Quickly Change an English Word into Spanish

April 23rd, 2010 in Learn Spanish and No Comments

Here’s something a little different for my website visitors who wonder when am I going to add more about learning Spanish, after all I do live in Spain and I do have a few articles about the language, but sometimes I get distracted with other topics like SEO.

Well, today I got an email from Marcus Santamaria whose list I subscribe to about instantly adding a bunch of words to your Spanish vocabulary to help you understand and speak more confidently, and all you need to do is change one letter in many English words to instantly convert it to Spanish.

Here’s how it works, any word that ends in TION in English can become CION in Spanish, so information => informacion, collection => collecicon, solution => solucion, vacation => vacacion etc. Actually Marcus has translated a Beatles song into Spanish to show how easy it is to get to grips with Spanish; Read More »

Ir, the Spanish verb to go

July 7th, 2009 in Learn Spanish and topic/s . No Comments

Being able to tell someone you’re going somewhere, or that you will do something is an incredibly useful part of conversation, and strangely is ignored in many entry level Spanish courses that I’ve looked at.

Just this morning I had to email a colleague and tell him that I’ll send more information next week, and like in English, the verb ir in the future tense is similar to saying shall or will.

Let me give a couple of examples, “voy a supermercado” translated as I’m going to the supermarket. Or “yo iré enviar” translated as I will [go] send. Note in the second example we don’t use go in the English example, but in Spanish the future tense of the verb is used.

The verb Ir is irregular, and can take a lot of getting used to, not least because all of the tenses look so completely different from each other. Eventually it starts to make sense, so persevere.

Here is a breakdown of the verb ir;
Present tense
Yo voy – I go
Tu vas – you go
el/ella va – he/she goes
nosotros vamos – we go
vosotros vais – you (pl) go
ellos van – they go

Simple past tense
Yo fui – I went
Tu fuiste – you went
el/ella fue – he/she went
nosotros fuimos – we went
vosotros fuisteis – you (pl) went
ells fueron – they went

Imperfect past tense
Yo iba – I used to go
tu ibas – you used to go
el/ella iba – he/she used to go
nosotros íbamos – we used to go
vosotros ibais – you (pl) used to go
ellos iban – they used to go

Future tense
Yo iré – I will go
tu irás – you will go
el/ella irá – he/she will go
nosotros iremos – we will go
vosotros iréis – you (pl) will go
ellos irán – they will go