Le, el, ella

Xatufan   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 21:04 GMT
Wonderful story, Juan. You should start writing for "Hey, Arnold".

"El Salvador" is NOT "Our Saviour", that would be "NUESTRO Salvador"
El Salvador = The Saviour
Jordi   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 06:07 GMT
Translation is a hard trade Xatufan and the best translations follow "real usage" and not "literal translating". Actually, the first thing you learn in Translating Schools is not to translate "word per word" and your marks, and your translating, will suffer if you do so. Therefore, "El Salvador" in Spanish" is never called "Nuestro Salvador" because all Spanish-speaking people know that "El Salvador" refers to what the English-speaking people would call Our Saviour. If you attend mass in the English-speaking Roman Catholic church, as I did for quite some years, that is how "El Salvador" is called. There is a parish is my hometown in Spain known as "El Salvador" and it, of course, refers to "Our Saviour". Anyway, one never gets to know everything and we're here to help each other.
Juan   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 11:04 GMT
UUUh...technicalities. LOL
Juan   Friday, July 23, 2004, 07:43 GMT
That is not a direct translation of every world in the sentence.
Instead of saying ABRE LOS OJOS in Spanish I would have said ABRE TUS OJOS.
Jordi   Friday, July 23, 2004, 09:59 GMT
As you know I live in Spain and I can assure you that the usual thing in Spain would be to say "abre los ojos". Are you sure people, without foreign influence, who live in El Salvador would say "abre tus ojos"? One thing about Spanish-speakers in the US is that they are often influenced by English syntax and not only vocabulary as some people think. There is a film by Alejandro Almenábar that is precisely "Abre los ojos." Maybe it's also a Latin American thing. I don't know. The way I would use possessives is more like "Abre tu corazón" o "abre tu mente" since it speaks more of "inside" than "outside".
I could be wrong but that is exactly what my European Spanish linguistic feelings tell me.
Xatufan   Friday, July 23, 2004, 16:10 GMT
Yeah. I'd would say "Abre los ojos". It's obvious that the eyes are yours.

You can say Abre el corazón, especially if you are doing an autopsy.
Jordi   Friday, July 23, 2004, 17:12 GMT
A straw in Spain is "una pajita", which translates literally as "a small straw". You can't say "Dame una paja" in Spain because "a paja", with no diminutive, currently means a "male masturbation" and translates as "wank me" in my variety of English. So if you're a Spanish speaker visiting Spain make sure you ask for a "pajita" and not a "paja".
A "sorbete" in Spain is exactly what the original French word "sorbet" stands for; i.e. "water ice with a flavour" such as "sorbete de limón". That is also the meaning of "sorbet" in English since they also took it from French.
"Sorber" in Spanish does mean "to sip" and is clearly related to French "sorbet" so it is understandable that "sorbete" was taken in some American Spanish varieties as the "straw where you sip from."
Ice cream is "helado" in Spain. "Leche helada" o "Leche merengada" is actually a very cold sweet drink based on milk and totally liquid. It has a taste of cinnamon. It's 40ºC today around my area so you've made me thirsty.
Mike   Friday, July 23, 2004, 17:35 GMT
<<"Leche helada" o "Leche merengada" is actually a very cold sweet drink based on milk and totally liquid. It has a taste of cinnamon.>>

Sounds like horchata.
Jordi   Friday, July 23, 2004, 18:05 GMT
Horchata o Orxata in Catalan is a totally different drink, which originated in the Valencian region. Translation into English would be "Orgeat" a cold drink made of almonds or chufas. According to my dictionary "chufa" would be an earth almond. It actually grows under the earth and doesn't look like an almond at all although it has a similar taste. It is milky white and that may be the reason you think it's made out of milk. No milk in "Orxata" and it's served chilled cold or as an iced drink.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Friday, July 23, 2004, 23:22 GMT
I have a question about Portuguese, if anyone here knows that language.

In an article in the _The Translation Journal_ it is pointed out that "a black dress" in Portuguese is "um vestido preto" and to use "negro" instead of "preto" gives an entirely different meaning. My question is, what does "um vestido negro" mean?
Xatufan   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 00:37 GMT
Jordi: Well, "paja" means masturbation in every corner of the Spanish world. Paja is masturbation here too. I'm a bit blushed if I hear the word, even in its "real" meaning. But in Ecuador "pajita" doesn't mean anything after all. Paja is used also as the thing horses eat.

Straw for drinking liquids = Sorbete (in Ecuador). However in a straw packet, I saw also "cañitas flexibles"...
mjd   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 04:41 GMT

My father is from Portugal. I always grew up saying "preto" for black. I'd say exactly what you wrote if I were referring to a black dress..."um vestido preto." As far as I know, "negro" is a synonym for "preto." "Negro" also appears to have more sinister connotations than "preto" according to the dictionary.

When speaking in terms of race, the correct term is "negro." Unlike in the U.S., the term "negro" is not considered offensive in Lusophone countries.

Courtesy of the Texto Editora online dictionary:


negro | adj. | s. m.


do Lat. nigru

de cor escura;

da cor do azeviche e do ébano;


muito escuro;

diz-se do corpo que absorve completamente qualquer tipo de radiação que nele incida;


sinistro, fúnebre;






desprezível, indigno;


trabalhoso, penoso;

s. m.,
a cor negra;

homem de raça negra;

aquele que trabalha muito.

buraco —: zona do espaço onde hipoteticamente se deu o colapso gravitacional de uma grande estrela e cujo campo gravitacional absorve toda a matéria e radiação próximas;

comércio —:vd. mercado negro;

continente —: a África;

mercado —: aquele que se faz fora da lei ou contra a lei; o m. q. comércio negro;

por uma unha negra: por um triz;

ver tudo —: ser pessimista.


preto | adj. | s. m.

diz-se do corpo que, absorvendo os raios luminosos, apresenta a cor mais escura;


que pertence à raça negra;

s. m.,
indivíduo da raça negra;

a cor negra;

real de cobre (antiga moeda);

pôr o — no branco: registar por escrito um contrato, uma vontade, etc. .
Julian   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 05:12 GMT
<<In an article in the _The Translation Journal_ it is pointed out that "a black dress" in Portuguese is "um vestido preto" and to use "negro" instead of "preto" gives an entirely different meaning. My question is, what does "um vestido negro" mean? >>

I was just about to post an answer to this question when mjd beat me to the punch.

What I was going to say (and I'll say it anyway) is "um vestido preto" is simply a black dress, while "um vestido negro" is a black dress or ensemble worn while mourning, participating in some dark ritual, or scaring the bejesus out of someone (e.g. vampires, witches, demons, goth girls :-)) -- more or less a costume worn to convey a dark or, as mjd said above, "sinister" mood.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 05:32 GMT
Good explanations - thank you!
Jordi   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 05:44 GMT
I looked up the online dictionary (Collins Concise) for "straw". As you can see "pajita" is drinking straw, which is the normal usage in Spain, in diminutive, of course, to avoid confusions. I would say "cañita" is now also used and I can understand why. I'd never seen the Mexican "popote" till now and "sorbete" doesn't appear with this definition.
2 (= drinking straw) pajita f; caña f; popote m (Mexico)
to drink through a straw beber con pajita

Sorbete would actually come from classic Arab (through Turk), where it means "to swallow.", through Italian "sorbetto". The fact is that Spanish also has the verb "sorber" (Italian "sorbire").

(Del it. sorbetto, este del turco &#351;erbet, y este del ár. clás. šarbah, trago, infl. por el it. sorbire, sorber).
1. m. Refresco de zumo de frutas con azúcar, o de agua, leche o yemas de huevo azucaradas y aromatizadas con esencias u otras sustancias agradables, al que se da cierto grado de congelación pastosa.