Spanish language help

Christine   Saturday, January 17, 2004, 22:39 GMT
To Spanish speakers,
I need your assistance. I live in an overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking neighborhood in Los Angeles and practically every weekend I get people knocking on my door either trying to sell me their merchandise or services, preaching the holy word of Jehovah, or asking me if the beatup old Buick in my driveway is for sale. This is especially annoying since I work crazy hours and usually sleep in during the weekends.

I'd like to post a bilingual sign that reads "Private Property: No soliciting. No advertisements (or fliers). No disturbing of residents," but I don't know how to say this in Spanish. I've tried several of the online translators but keep getting different results. Would appreciate your help.
Jordi   Sunday, January 18, 2004, 08:04 GMT


By, the way I would leave it in bilingual English and Spanish. My experience tells me that the holy word of Jehovah (by Witnesses and Mormons) is usually preached by English-speaking US citizens who have very faulty Spanish. I live in Spain and some young blue-eyed Mormon from Salt Lake City usually wakes up Spaniards who love to have an extra hour of sleep on week-ends.
The Catholic and traditional European Protestant churches usually don't go fooling around disturbing people's rest. I very much understand you.

You're welcome.
Jordi   Sunday, January 18, 2004, 08:05 GMT
Once again too fast: You are and not You are. I'm crazy at myself.
Christine   Sunday, January 18, 2004, 23:29 GMT
Thank you for your help, Jordi.

But now I have a few more questions. I've seen signs translating "No Trespassing" to "No Traspasar". I thought "traspasar" meant something like "to transfer". Does it also mean "to trespass"? Also, are "molestar", "perturbar", and "disturbar" synonyms? Using the verb "molestar" (to bother) seems a bit odd to me for obvious reasons.

Btw, the religious crusaders who knock on my door every weekend are most definitely Latino. They're nicely dressed in suits and their Sunday best, carrying briefcases and Spanish translations of "Watchtower" leaflets. They ask if I'm a Spanish speaker or if there are any Spanish speakers in the house. I politely tell them in my broken Spanglish that I'm not interested but they are so persistent and they leave their leaflets in my mailbox.
Juan   Monday, January 19, 2004, 00:00 GMT
>>"traspasar" meant something like "to transfer". <<

Like in English, a word can have several meanings. It comes down to context.

>>"molestar" (to bother) seems a bit odd to me for obvious reasons<<

Well, every language applies certain words differently. In English you use the word "molest" to describe what a paedophile does. In Spanish it means to "bother",which is its primary meaning. I found it quite funny when I realised that you apply that particular word in that context. It never crossed my mind in Spanish. The words "abusar sexualmente" (to abuse sexually) or "violado/a" (violate) is used instead.
mjd   Monday, January 19, 2004, 01:22 GMT
"Molest" is a perfect example of how a language evolves. In one reads English texts of the past, the term was used in the same sense as it is in Spanish, meaning to bother or annoy someone. While it still retains this meaning, its more modern usage in English refers to sexual abuse. This is similar to how the term "gay" has been completely transformed.
mjd   Monday, January 19, 2004, 01:23 GMT
*IF one reads English texts of the past.....(not "in").
Jordi   Monday, January 19, 2004, 05:16 GMT
The main differences between Literary Spanish and US Latino Spanish is that they often tend to change the meaning of cognates (same Latin origin in English and Spanish). As you know, we name the Spanish spoken by some latinos who live in the US as Spanglish. South-American Spanish, as spoken in those countries, is very pure and often even more archaic than European Spanish that has slightly evolved. Imagine the differences between British and US but to a lesser degree since Spanish is a very compact language. It's only when two languages come into contact that these things happen, specially amongst people of lesser education in Spanish.
Latinos tend to give those words "English" meanings. In Spain and South-America we sometimes have a good laugh at US Latino Spanish. It is reported that in US Spanish somebody wrote "Prohibido penetrar.Los violadores seran ejecutados."
In proper European Spanish "to penetrate" has one and only meaning. And "violación" only means "rape". And to "execute" is to kill someone through a death sentence. You wouldn't say "Violar las leyes" which would mean "to rape them". You could say "infringir las leyes."
A Spaniard would read that memorable sentence, and please forgive me as:
"Penetration forbidden. Rapers will receive a death sentence". Perhaps you should ask a local Latino to translate for you. My translation is far too Spanish although I don't imagine a Latino saying anything but "molestar". It would, of course, bother and baffle your English-speaking neighbours but that hasn't got anything to do with Spanish
"Perturbar" in Spanish usualyy affects the "mind" and "un perturbado" would be somebody who has serious mental illness. I don't think people knocking at your door would take you to such a state unless it's over a long period of time. "Disturbar" doesn't exist in Spanish. "Traspasar" has several meanings in Spanish and one of those is to die "Ha traspado" simply means somebody has gone to the other world. It is also "a lease" like in "to lease a house" (un traspaso). In Spain in banking we say "transferencia",
I apologise for the long Spanish lesson,
Paco   Monday, January 19, 2004, 06:30 GMT
Perhaps "distubar" doesn't exist in European Spanish, but it does exist in Latin American Spanish:


Definition: Causar disturbio; Interrumpir la paz y la concordia
Grammar: Verb

Antonym: pacificar
Synonym: conturbar
Synonym: perturbar

Conjugations (link):
Jordi   Monday, January 19, 2004, 19:51 GMT
Thanks. I agree "disturbar" is in the dictionary but I've never heard it used in contemporary European Spanish street usage. I didn't even know such a word existed although I've been to University in Spain and I've studied languages. If "disturbar" is widely used by US Latinos I wouldn't doubt about using it. I would like to know if you use "molestar" as much as we do since that would be the usual way of saying things in Spain. Christine you can change my "no molesten" for "no disturben" although that seems a bit odd to me. As we say in Spain, you'll never go to bed without learning something new. "Nunca irás a la cama sín aprender algo nuevo."
pobre_diablo   Tuesday, January 20, 2004, 10:04 GMT
OMG disturbar? that sounds so funny :) By the way, I'm not spanish or latino, but i speak some spanish :)
Juan   Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 04:19 GMT
>>It's only when two languages come into contact that these things happen, specially amongst people of lesser education in Spanish.<<

That is something that is not just common to US Latinos. It has come to my attention how some "hispanics" (and I use that term that loosely out of respect for the genuine pure breed Latinos in Europe) in Australia have created their own Spanglish code also.


Carpet---> Carpeta (Alfombra)

Market---> Marketa (Mercado)

and I'm sure there are a few more.

When someone is bombarded by a non-native language (like a migrant is), it should come as no surprise that their native tongue will eventually be influenced by it even if the migrant has had some sort of formal education.