Improve Your Spanish #27 – La Bruja

La Bruja (the witch) is a folk song from the Mexican state of Veracruz. Salma Hayak sang it in “Frida”, the movie she produced and starred in. The lyrics are somewhat macabre, but no more so than a lot of Mother Goose Fairy Tales. Fulano translated them into English.

Ay que bonito es volar
A las dos de la mañana
A las dos de la mañana
Y ay que bonito es volar, ay mama

Volar y dejarse caer
En los brazos de tu hermana
En los brazos de tu hermana
Y hasta quisiera llorar

Me agarra la bruja,
Me lleva al cuartel,
Me vuelve maceta,
Me da de comer

Me agarra la bruja,
Me lleva al cerrito,
Me sienta en sus piernas,
Me da de besitos.

Ay dígame, ay dígame, ay dígame usted!
¿Cuantas criaturitas se ha chupado usted?
Ninguna, ninguna, ninguna ¿no ve?
Que ando en pretensiones de chuparme a usted!

Y ahora sí maldita bruja
Ya te chupastes a mi hijo
Ya te chupastes a mi hijo
Y ahora sí maldita bruja

Y ahora le vas a chupar
Y a tu marido el ombligo
Y a tu marido el ombligo
Y ahora le vas a chupar

Me agarra la bruja,
Me lleva a su casa,
Me vuelve maceta,
Y una calabasa

Me agarra la bruja,
Me lleve al cerrito,
Me sienta en sus piernas,
Me da de besitos.

Ay dígame, ay dígame, ay dígame usted!
¿Cuantas criaturitas se ha chupado usted?
Ninguna, ninguna, ninguna ¿no ve?
Que ando en pretensiones de chuparme a usted!

* * * *

Oh, how lovely to fly
At two o’clock in the morning
At two o’clock in the morning
Oh, how lovely to fly, oh mother

To fly and let yourself fall
Into your sister’s arms
Into your sister’s arms
I almost feel like weeping

The witch grabs me,
Takes me to her home,
Turns me into a flowerpot,
She feeds me

The witch grabs me,
She takes me to the hill,
She sits me on her lap,
She smothers me with kisses.

Oh tell me, oh tell me, oh you tell me!
How many children have you sucked the life out of?
None, none, none. Can’t you see?
It is you who I intend to suck the life out of!

And now evil witch
You’ve already sucked the life from my son
You’ve already sucked the life from my son
And now evil witch

And now you’re going to suck the life
From your husband’s navel
From your husband’s navel
And now you’re going to suck the life

The witch grabs me,
Takes me to her home,
Turns me into a flowerpot,
And a pumpkin.

The witch grabs me,
She takes me to the hill,
She sits me on her lap,
She smothers me with kisses.

Oh tell me, oh tell me, oh you tell me!
How many children have you sucked the life out of?
None, none, none. Can’t you see?
It is you who I intend to suck the life out of!

Share

Improve Your Spanish #26 – “Una Pura y Dos Con Sal”

Have you ever wondered where Fulano got his name? Well there is this Spanish corrido (ballad) named “Una Pura y Dos Con Sal”. It is a song sung by a jilted lover who is telling his or her ex-lover to shove it where the Sun don’t shine…more or less. At one point, the singer tells the ex-lover to have good luck with the new lover, a “fulano de tal.” The phrase “una pura y dos con sal” refers to the way one would drink Tequila. However, in Spanish the phrase “me importa una pura y dos con sal” is like saying, “I could not care less” or “I really don’t give a hoot.” Here is the song in Spanish, with Fulano’s translation after it. There are different versions of the song with slightly different lyrics. This song does not translate too well into English without some artistic license.

Andan diciendo que me vas a abandonar
que de la vida te dispones a gozar
que ya te hayaste un amor mas principal
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

No te vayas pos no me digas adios
como si nada hubiera habido entre de los dos
que tengas suerte con tu fulano de tal
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

Por que de una vez por que no agarras tu camino
no pierdas tiempo y aprovecha tu destino
pero ya…

Ya no hagas polvo que me vas a abandonar
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

Andan diciendo que me vas a abandonar
que de la vida te dispones a gozar
que ya te hayaste un amor mas principal
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

No te vayas pos no me digas adios
como si nada hubiera habido entre de los dos
que tengas suerte con tu fulano de tal
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

Por que de una vez por que no agarras tu camino
no pierdas tiempo y aprovecha tu destino
pero ya…

Ya no hagas polvo que me vas a abandonar
que a mi me importa una pura y dos con sal

* * * * *

They say that you are going to leave me
that you have your life to enjoy
that you have already found a better lover
I could not care less

Don’t just go, don’t say goodbye
as if there was nothing ever between us
good luck with your fulano de tal
I could not care less

Just quickly choose your path
don’t waste time and get to your destination
but now….

Now don’t kick up the dust because you are leaving me
I could not care less

They say that you are going to leave me
that you have your life to enjoy
that you have already found a better lover
I could not care less

Don’t just go, don’t say goodbye
as if there was nothing ever between us
good luck with your fulano de tal
I could not care less

Just quickly choose your path
don’t waste time and get to your destination
but now….

Now don’t kick up the dust because you are leaving me
I could not care less

Share

Improve Your Spanish #24 – “Las Mañanitas”

Latin Americans have a birthday song just as North Americans have “Happy Birthday.” The Latin American version is “Las Mañanitas”, which many English speakers translate literally as “The Early Mornings.” However, las mañanitas actually has no literal translation in English anymore than there is one for piñata. It’s a cultural word that defies the powers of translation. Running “Las Mañanitas” through the Google translator returns “happy birthday!” The song is sung at birthdays just before cutting the cake — usually just the first two verses. It is also sung at other occasions, like baptisms, as you will see from the lyrics.

The are many different versions of the lyrics, this recording by Vicente Fernandez is the more common. There are also many different English translations of the song, but Fulano wasn’t satisfied with any of them, so after the lyrics in Spanish is Fulano’s own translation, where he has left “las mañanitas” untranslated.

Estas son las mañanitas
que cantaba el rey David
Hoy por ser día de tu santo
te las cantamos aquí.

Despierta mi bien despierta
Mira que ya amaneció
Ya los pajaritos cantan
La luna ya se metió.

¡Qué linda está la mañana
en que vengo a saludarte
Venimos todos con gusto
y placer a felicitarte!

El día en que tú naciste,
nacieron todas las flores
Y en la pila del bautismo
cantaron los ruiseñores.

Ya viene amaneciendo
ya la luz del dia nos dió.
Levantarte de la mañana,
mira que ya amaneció.

* * * * *

These are las mañanitas
Sung by King David
Today, as it is your sacred day
I sing them here.

Wake up, my dear, wake up
Look the Sun is rising
And the birds sing
The moon is setting.

How pretty is the morning
That comes to greet you
We all come with happiness
And pleasure to congratulate you!

The day you were born
All the flowers were born
And in the baptismal font
The nightingales sing.

Now the Sun is rising
And sunlight is upon us
Get up in the morning
Look the Sun has arisen.

Share

Improve Your Spanish #21 – “Madre”

The Spanish word “madre” means mother. However, the word is used in short phrases in Spanish with more different meanings than Fulano can count. Here are some examples:

Hasta la madre (1): completely full
“Vámonos este restaurante está hasta la madre de gente.”
“Let’s go, this restaurant is completely full of people.”

Hasta la madre (2): fed up
“Estoy hasta la madre con la inseguridad.”
“I am fed up with this lack of security.”

Hasta la madre (3): extremely drunk
“Cuando me sali de mi casa, estuvo hasta la madre.”
“When I left my house, I was dead drunk.”

Qué poca madre: uncool, jerk
“Qué poca madre que los testigos no ayudaron a la víctima.”
“How uncool that the witnesses did not help the victim.”

Estar poca madre: to be awesome
“Esta fiesta está poca madre!”
“This party is awesome!”

Me vale madre: I don’t give a shit
“Pues a mi me vale madre si no fusite a la escuela.”
“Well, I don’t give a shit if you didn’t go to school.”

Esa madre:  that thing
“Qué es esa madre?”
“What is that thing?”

Ni madres:  zip, zero, nothing
“Advil hace ni madres.”
“Advil does nothing.”

A madres:  unappealing to the senses
“Estos tacos saben a madres.”
“These tacos taste bad.”

Puta madre:  a vulgar phrase expressing alarm
“Puta madre, olvido mi cartera!”
“Shit, I forgot my wallet!”

Share

Improve Your Spanish #19

OBAMA O EL PAPA

Con motivo de una visita del Papa a México, un periodista le hace esta pregunta a Felipe Calderón:

— Se entrevistó usted con el Santo Padre y recientemente sostuvo una entrevista con Barack Obama. ¿Cuál de esas dos entrevistas le gustó más?

“La que tuve con el Papa”, responde Calderón sin vacilar. “A él lo único que tuve que besarle fue el anillo”.

* * * * *

OBAMA OR THE POPE

During a papal visit to Mexico, a reporter asked Felipe Calderon this question:

– You have had an interview with the Holy Father and recently had an interview with Barack Obama. Which of these two interviews did you like most?

“The one I had with the Pope,” Calderon responds without hesitation. “With him the only thing I had to kiss was the ring.”

Share

Improve Your Spanish #18

Sherlock Holmes y el Dr. Watson se fueron a un viaje de camping. Luego de una buena comida y una botella de vino se fueron a dormir. Algunas horas más tarde, Holmes se despierta y codea a su fiel amigo:

Watson, mira el cielo y dime qué ves.

Watson contesta:

Veo millones y millones de estrellas..

¿Y eso qué te dice?

Watson piensa por un minuto…

Astronómicamente, me dice que hay millones de galaxias y potencialmente billones de planetas. Astrológicamente, veo que Saturno esta en Leo… Horoscopológicamente, deduzco que son aproximadamente las tres y diez… Teológicamente, puedo ver que Dios es todopoderoso, que somos pequeños e insignificantes… Meteorológicamente, sospecho que tendremos un hermoso día mañana… ¿Y a usted qué le dice?

Sherlock Holmes calla por un minuto y luego dice: “¡Watson, eres un peneque! ¡Que no ves que nos robaron la carpa!”

* * * * *

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes woke up and nudged his faithful friend:

“Watson, look at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson answers:

I see millions of stars….

“And what does that tell you?”

“Astronomically, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I see that Saturn is in Leo… Horoscopically, I deduce it is approximately 3:10AM…theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful, that we are small and insignificant….meteorologically, I guess we will have a beautiful day tomorrow…. and what do you say to that?”

Sherlock Holmes is quiet for a minute and then says, “Watson, you are drunk! Can’t you see that they stole our tent?!”

Share

Learn Spanish – Accent Rules

The accents marks on words in Spanish are used for two main reasons. One is to differentiate between homophones, words that are spelled and pronounced the same, but with different meanings. For instance , with an accent on the í means “yes,” while Si without the accent means “if.” Él with an accent on the é means “he”, while el with no accent means “the.” The other reason is to tell you how to pronounce the word.

Share

Improve Your Spanish #17 – Cognates



Factoid: Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. English is third.

Spanish and English share many of the same root words due to the fact that Spanish is a Latin based language and English borrowed heavily from Latin and French in its earlier days. Words that are the same in two languages or very similar are called cognates. A quick way to improve your Spanish grammar is to learn the cognates, as you already know what they mean. The following words have identical spellings and meanings in Spanish and English, however the pronunciation is different.

abdomen
actor
animal
auto
base
canal
chocolate
color
conductor
data
director
doctor
error
flexible
gratis
habitual
horrible
hospital
hotel
idea
ideal
invisible
media
monitor
motel
municipal
no
piano
principal
radio
similar
social
taxi
televisión
terrible

There are also false cognates. Words that have identical spellings, but different meanings.

real = royal
familiar = family
propaganda = advertising

Other cognates are spelled similarly to English, so they are instantly recognizable and have the same meaning. There are thousands of such words, such as:

abandon – abandonar
absolute – absoluto
absorb – absorber
abundance- abundancia
abundant – abundante
accelerate-acelerar
accent- acento
decline – declinar
decorate – decorar
dedicate – dedicar
defect – defecto
false- falso
native – nativo
telephone – teléfono
tolerance- tolerancia
tone – tono

There are also similarly spelled cognates which have very different meanings:

billón = trillion
complexión = physical build, not skin color
compromiso = promise or obligation, not a compromise
contestar = answer, not contest
decepcionar = disappoint, not deceive
embarazada = pregnant, not embarassed
preservativo = condom
recordar = to remember, not record
sopa = soup, not soap
tuna = edible cactus. The fish is atún.

Share

What The Front Page of a Mexican Newspaper Says

Did you ever look at the front page of a Mexican newspaper and wonder what it was saying? Here is a snapshot of this morning’s Frontera, a Tijuana daily newspaper. Following that is Fulano’s translation of the headlines and first sentence or two.

(1) Find cadaver in Maclovio Rohas
This morning a lifeless body of a man was found on a vacant lot in colonio Ejido Maclovio Rojas, en the Presa Rual precinct.

(2) Municipal police officer dies after being runover
While trying to detain the driver who caused an automobile accident, an Auxilliary police officer was runover and killed.

(3) Attorney General clerk was murdered
A clerk of the federal Attorney General’s office was murdered by gunshots last night upon arriving at his home.

(4) Army confiscates marijuana in operation
In the early morning the Mexican Army, together with the municipal police, carried out an operation which resulted in the confiscation of various packages of marijuana.

(5) Registration period for IMSS elections ends
Tomorrow ends the period to register as a candidate for General Secretary of the IMSS Union of the 7th section that governs about 12,500 workers.

(6) Socrates Bastida will register today
Today Socrates Bastida Hernandez, the former Secretary of Environmental Protection, will present his regiatration as a candidate for president of the State Governing Committee of PAN.

(7) PDH is concerned about child labor
Child labor is a reality but as in other matters it is ignored, said the head of the Defender of Human Rights in Baja Claifornia, Heriberto Garcia Garcia.

(8) Pitbull attacks two children in Rosarito
Two children who were at the beach beside their mother were attacked by a pitbull, causing serious injuries to their faces, and the owner of the animal was arrested.

(9) Young woman reports sexual attacks
Unable to remain silent, a 20-year old woman reported yesterday that in the past days she was raped repeatedly by a group of men, lead my an individual known a “El Mudo” (the Mute).

(10) Pirated chips fool Renaut
Any member of organized crime who needs a cellular telephone to extort, kidnap, coordinate drug deliveries, or commit a crime, needs only invest 70 pesos ($5.50) to buy on the black market a chip that allows them to use the phone lines without their data being recorded by the authorities.

(11) Senate agrees to first vacation
The Senate does not have political conditions to reach agreements or approve pending reforms, but they do agree to rest.

(12) Mexicans develop vaccine against diarrhea
Investigators at the UNAM developed a nasal vaccination against the bacteria which causes diarrhea, a disease which caused 300,000 deaths worldwide. 70% occur in Latin American, Asia and Africa.

(13) Cocaine enters via Pacific route
The coastlines of the Pacific Ocean have become the principle port for the arrival of cocaine in Mexico.

(14) Boy wounded in market robbery
Yesterday afternoon there was a violent assault in a supermarket, and before leaving the asailants fired firearms, a boy and a man were wounded.

(15) Three men killed in different acts
Saturday night three persons were killed in different parts of the city, and the total number of murders now amounts to 25 for the first 16 days of the new year.

(16) Accused kidnapper arrested in Sinaloa
A man was detained in this city for the alleged crime aggravated kidnapping of a farmer, which occured 6 years ago in Culican.

Share