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Spanish Matters - a blog in English and Spanish for those learning the language

This blog is entitled "Spanish Matters", because it does! Matter, that is. If you have committed to living in Spain, you should also make a commitment to learn some Spanish. So this is a blog about matters Spanish, as well as promoting the notion that Spanish does indeed matter. The blog contains articles in both English and Spanish. Don Pablo hopes it will be helpful to those learning the language.

A-Z of Spanish into English - Part One: From adobe to desperado
Friday, January 28, 2022 @ 5:13 AM

Over the last five centuries hundreds of Spanish words have entered the English language. Don Pablo has been doing some research which will result in five articles on the more common ones. Here’s the first.

Part One: From adobe to desperado

Let’s start with the word adobe – an unbaked brick dried in the sun – which entered the English language as long ago as the 19th Century.

Originally used exclusively for a fan or devotee of bullfighting, aficionado is now used to describe someone taking an eager and informed interest in any pursuit. Also from the world of bullfighting come the words banderilla and banderillero, as well as bolero a short jacket, although the latter is also used for a dance, as in Ravel’s ____ .

In the world of drinks, English has adopted aguardiente (a fiery liquor distilled from grain or potatoes), amontillado (a dry, nutty sherry from the hill-districts of Montilla), bodega (a wine cellar, or wine shop), copita (a sherry glass), cafeteria, and cocoa (from cacao).

Geography has acquired arroyo (stream), canyon (from cañón), and chaparral (a dense undergrowth of thorns and brambles).

The animal world brings us bronco (an untamed horse), which might be kept in a corral, also burro (donkey), cockroach (from cucaracha) and coyote.

Bonanza, from the Spanish for prosperity, means sudden unexpected wealth and cáscara, the bark of the Californian buckthorn, was used as a laxative. Cargo is from the Spanish verb cargar (to load)

In food we have chocolate and chorizo. Cigar and cigarette are corruptions of cigarro and cigarillo respectively.

Words for people include caudillo (leader – Franco was known as El Caudillo, in the same way that Hitler was Der Führer and Mussolini Il Duce), conquistador and, our last word for today, desperado, neither of which need defining.

Look out for Part Two: From Eldorado to junta.

Hasta luego.


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