Existe una manera fácil y simplificada de explicar las diferencias básicas entre los verbos SER y ESTAR, sólo recomendable para la clase de nivel A1, ya que en niveles más avanzados se introducen diferencias menos “básicas”. Recomendable, sobre todo, para estudiantes de habla inglesa.
SER equivale a DO IT!
|Description||=> descripciones: soy moreno y alto|
|Origin||=> origen: soy de Madrid|
|Identity||=> Identidad: soy María, soy profesora|
|Time||=> hora: son las 10 de la mañana|
ESTAR equivale a HELP!
|Health||=> salud: estoy enferma|
|Emotions||=> emocines, sentimientos: estoy triste, estoy cansada|
|Location||=> lugar: Barcelona está en Cataluña|
|Present Progressive||=> presente continuo: estoy trabajando|
Before we talk about euphemisms, we must explain what taboo words mean. These kind of words refer to topics that are unpleasant for a culture, topics that are considered unpolite or bad taste if they are mentioned in a conversation.
The taboo words often refer to religion, sex, scatological, death or illness. Breaking a taboo is seen as an unforgiveable behaviour by the society or culture that imposes it.
As already mentioned above, the taboo words are different in each culture. In Spanish, some examples are: 'criada' (maid), 'viejo' (old), ‘diablo’ (devil) ... In othe ultures ‘sangre’ (blood) is also a taboo because of the religion.
As this type of words may be offensive to certain communities, euphemisms appear as words or phrases that speakers use to replace the taboos.
According to the RAE (Spanish Royal Academy of Language), it has to do with "gentle and decent manifestations of ideas whose bare utterance would be coarse or outrageous.”
The word ‘euphemism’ comes from the Greek word ‘euphemo’, which means "auspicious / good / fortunate speech" . The word 'euphemo' derives from the Greek roots eu (εὗ), "good / well" + pheme (φήμί) "speech/speak". Eupheme was originally a word or phrase used in place of a religious word or phrase that should not be uttered out; etymologically, it is the opposite of ‘blasphemy’ (devillike speech).
Euphemisms are widely used in every society. Here are some examples used in Spain.
|Empleada del hogar (Housekeeper)||Sirvienta, criada (servant, maid)|
|Anciano, de la tercera edad (elder, senior,elderly)||Viejo (old)|
|Hombre de color (coloured man)||Negro (black man)|
|Sin techo (homeless)||Vagabundo (tramp)|
|Necesitado (needed)||Pobre (poor)|
|País del tercer mundo (Third World country)||País subdesarrolado ( underdeveloped country)|
|Paciente (patient)||Enfermo (sick)|
|Grande, pesado, rellenito (large, strong one, heavy)||Gordo (fat)|
|Institución correccional (correctional institution)||Prisión (prison)|
|Cuota (fee)||Multa (penalty)|
|Pasado de copas, tomado (drinkin past, taken)||Borracho o alcohólico (drunk or alcoholic)|
|Perder la vida, pasar a mejor vidalose one's life)||Morir (die)|
|Inodoro (rest room)||Retrete, water (loo, john, toilet)|
|Invidente (sightless)||Ciego (blind)|
|Discapacitado (disabled)||Minusválido, Disminuido (handicapped, invalid)|
Even though euphemisms have been created to describe people, actions or objects without hurting anyone’s feelings, sometimes the creation of such words/phrases is likely to cause misunderstandings between speakers. It often happens that certain terms are created only to get abandoned after a period of time and replaced with those previously regarded as taboo.
A good illustration is the 'ciego' (blind), who had to be referred to as invidente (sightless) and then blind people themselves seemed to prefer the term ciego, or take black Americans: first they were simply ‘negros’ (blacks), then they became 'gente de color' (colored people) or 'morenitos' (darkies), later ‘Afro-Americanos’ and other words, to return to the original 'negro' (black), and still avoiding the most offensive word 'negrata' which is accepted among members of those ethnic group.
Many of the words of the Spanish Language have a Latin origin but they have evolved over the years. But there are still some words that have suffed none or very little change from the original ones in Latin. These words are known as cultismos, with examples such as: “laicismo” (secularism), “helenismo” (Hellenism), “malévolo” (malicious) ...
However, languages have introduced (and keep introducing) other words to its system. These new words are called "neologismos".
According to the RAE (Spanish Royal Academy) neologismos are "words, meanings or new nuances in a language." This concept includes both foreign words borrowed from other languages and newly created words, formed by the morphological processes of the language, or by semantic change.
There are different types of neologisms:
• "Neologismos de forma". Words created from morphological changes of existing words in the language itself. For example, “telenovela” constructed from the words “televisión + novela”).
• "Neologismos del sentido". New words that are built with words that already exist in the language but which suffer changes in the meaning. A good example is “camello”, whose original meaning is camel (the animal) but now is also used refering to a drug dealer.
• "Extranjerismos". These are words borrowed from other languages either as the only word with that meaning or as an alternative to other existing expressions in the language. Sometimes the same script remains (“basket”, “puzzle”...) and at other times it is altered to fit Spanish, like “chalé” from the french word "chalet". Lexical and semantic borrowings can also be found among the "extranjerismos"
- Lexical borrowings are those which take the form and meaning of a linguistic unit belonging to another language. The adoption involves an adaptation of the original pronunciation and, most frequently, the spelling: football --- fútbol --- scanner escaner
- Semantic loans adopt the meaning of a foreign word for a form already existing in the target language. For example, mouse --- “ratón” (information technology), window--- “ventana” (information technology).
Neologisms are moving in the direction of an increasingly complex society which need to name new aspects of human relationships.Computing and telecommunications are the areas where more neologisms appear. For example, “ciberespacio” (cyberspace), “cibernauta” (surfer), “hipertexto” (hypertext),...
However, today there are all kinds of neologisms in any area of life. But not all of them are born with the aim of naming new concepts. Some of them already have a word with that meaning in the Spanish language, but the neologism is adopted and used more frecuently as the origianl. A notable example is the word “iceberg” which has displaced the Spanish "témpano".
Anyway, many neologi are just trendy words which are soon replaced.
After 11 years of preparation, the 22 Academies of the language have created the 'New Spanish Grammar' officially presented this month. This grammar has more than 3,000 pages and will be very useful for any Spanish speakers and especially for journalists, as it tackles every possible grammar problem.
One of the most apparent novelties in this new edition is the extinction of the letters "ch" and "ll", which brings down the Spanish alphabet into 27 letters instead of 29. Some of these have also been disrupted, such as the ‘Greek i’ which is now called "ye", ‘i latina’ is simply "i", "b" is just “be" (neither long nor short) and "w" will be ‘double u’.
There are also some changes concerning written accents: the adverb “solo” (‘only’) doesn´t need an accent any more. Nor do demonstrative pronouns (‘este’, ‘esta’ - this) or monosyllables with a diphthong (‘guion’, ‘truhan’). The word ‘o’ will not be marked with an accent when located between numbers (5 o 6).
Another innovation revolves around prefix "ex-”. From now on it will be written together with the lexical base if it affects one word (‘exmarido’).
Besides, there have been some changes in the spelling: "quórum" replaces "quorum", "Qatar" will be "Catar" and "Iraq" will be "Irak."
Also to be found in the "New Grammar" words that previously had no place in its pages:
- “De gorra”: means free, without paying. In some Central American countries other expressions are used such as ‘de fai’, ‘de grolis’ and ‘de cachete’.
- “Palabrita del niño Jesús” (Little word of Child Jesus): Alternative to “palabra de honor” (word of honor), honestly, an exclamation equivalent to the expression ‘I promise’.
- “Quiquiriquí”: One of the few onomatopoeia with more than one syllable, like ‘blablabla’, ‘cataplum’, ‘cricrí’, ‘gluglú’ and ‘rataplán’.
- “Sofases”: unlikely plural form of ‘sofa’, in the same way as “cafeses” from ‘café’.
- “Whisky”: although adapted to the Spanish sound system as “güisqui” both the originals ‘whisky’ and ‘whiskey’ are widely used.
- “Y sanseacabó” (And that’s all) concludes in a blunt statement or explanation, the same as ‘y punto’ ‘y ya está’ ‘y listo el pollo’ ‘y chau pinela’.
Because some writers have shown disagreement with this reform, the Spanish Royal Academy has stated that these changes are a proposal, not an imposition.