Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Language Thought

Ok, so I was going to start getting ready for dinner, but I thought I should write this post down while it's still fresh in my head. It's about learning spanish, what else.

So, lately, when I've been listening to the radio here or reading my book, I've noticed something neat happening. I'll hear/read something in spanish and translate it over to english. Then I'll think to myself that this isn't how you'd say it in english and then I realize, wait, this is spanish, not english. They don't say things in the same manner here as they do in the states, and I'm coming to understand that.

A good example is "todo el mundo," which here means "everyone." However, in literal english, it means "all the world." We'd never say "all the world" when we want to say "everyone" when we speak english, but Argentines don't translate everything to English, like I do, before they say it. When they say "todo el mundo" it means "everyone" NOT "all the world." I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm beginning to realize that everything doesn't translate, and it shouldn't. These are two different languages and people who created Spanish didn't consult with the people who created English to make sure everything worked out just peachy during translation. I'm learning to say things the way they're said down here, instead of always using the english phrase's spanish equivalent.

Another thing that happens when I'm reading a book is that I can completely understand the idea of a sentence, but I can't, for the life of me, create the same sentence in english. I know exactly what they're saying but when I try to translate it word for word in English it just doesn't make sense. I guess I'm starting to read Spanish now, instead of English translations.

Un Abrazo


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1 comment:

Matthew Barbot said...

< obiwan > You've taken your first step into a larger world. < /obiwan >

Seriously, though, the reading thing is great. Once you reach that point where you're understanding without translating, you're golden.