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23rd Jan '13 9:05:27 AM morenohijazo
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->''"El inglés es ideal para hablar de negocios, el alemán se hizo para las ciencias, el francés es el lengua del amor y el español... Ah, el español, es el idioma para hablar con Dios…"'' [[hottip:*:"English is perfect for talking business, German is just the thing for science, French is the language of love, and Spanish... Ah, Spanish, it is the language one speaks with God..."]]
--> --Creator/VictorHugo

Spanish is an Ibero-Romance language, and the second most natively spoken language in the entire world (after Mandarin Chinese) due to the enormous expanse of the Spanish Empire in its heyday. It's the national or official language of 21 countries, as well as one of the official languages of the UN and 13 other international organizations. Even in the United States alone there are over 50 million Spanish-speakers, which is more than the entire population of most Spanish-speaking countries, Spain itself included. In short, this is a big language. It's the most widely spoken language in the Western Hemisphere. See SpanishLiterature.

Naturally, with all these people speaking it, considerable differences can arise between the various dialects; more on that later.

!!Noun
Nouns ain't too complicated in Spanish. Unlike its predecessor Latin, which had a casserole of case endings depending on the noun was used in a sentence, Spanish has nothing in that regard. ''Pan'' (bread) will stay ''pan'' no matter where or how it's used.

One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine.

Gender is quite a bit more intuitive than in many languages as well; in most cases, a noun's gender is clear from its ending; ''-o/-an'' is almost always masculine, whereas ''-a/-ción/-idad'' is almost always feminine...not to say that there aren't exceptions, like "mano" ("hand") which ends in ''-o" but it's a femenine word. Masculine nouns are more common than feminine ones, so if you're really lost guess masculine. On the same note, for nouns in plural that refer to groups that have both masculine AND feminine elements, we always use the masculine. For example, the Spanish word for "cat" would be "gato" for a male cat and "gata" for a female cat. However, if we want to refer to a group that includes cats of both genders, we use "gatos".

Of course, like any other language with gender, Spanish has its own headache-inducing part of it, and that would be the fact that some ''feminine'' nouns take the ''masculine'' singular article, while still being feminine grammatically (e.g., declension of adjectives), mostly for "flow" reasons. This occurs exclusively with feminine nouns that have a stressed ''a'' sound at the beginning. Thus, though still grammatically feminine, ''águila'' (eagle) takes the masculine article as ''el águila''. With plurals, however, they do take the feminine ones, and thus ''las águilas'', as the flow is not interrupted in this case with the feminine article.

'''Pronouns'''
Pronouns in Spanish are used in a very similar fashion to English; however, they are often omitted unless the sentence requires additional emphasis. This is done because the verb tense already says who is the one talking and the pronoun doesn't convey any further information. Addition of unnecessary pronouns easily gives away that the writer has not gone past a few years of Spanish. For example: the sentence ''Hoy yo como en casa de mi madre'' (I eat today at my mother's house) doesn't seem too fluent because of the first person pronoun ''yo''. The only commonly used subject pronouns are the third person ones, due to the ambiguity lacking a pronoun can sometimes cause, and ''yo'' in tenses where the first-person-singular and third-person-singular are identical (i.e., imperfect, conditional, and all subjunctive tenses). However, these are also often omitted if it's clear who the speaker is talking about.

A quick note on ''tú'' and ''usted'' (the singular 2nd person pronouns): it really depends on where you are what pronoun you use in most situations. In Spain, for instance, ''usted'' is used mostly in formal speech (people who you don't know and/or are much older than you), while with anyone you already know or someone you meet and want to continue to meet in the future, you use ''tú,'' unless it's official business. In many Latin American countries, however, ''tú'' is seen as somewhat disrespectful by people who aren't your peers. Note also that in several Latin American countries around the Rio de la Plata, ''vos'' is used instead of ''tú.'' Argentina is the most popular example of this.

On ''vosotros'' and ''ustedes'' (the plural 2nd person pronouns) meanwhile, ''vosotros'' is used ONLY in Spain, and following the same rule of thumb as with ''tú'' and ''usted'' (as in ''vosotros'' in casual speech and ''ustedes'' in formal speech). If you use it in Latin America, at best it will sound like saying "Tally-ho, Guvnah" in the US and at worst they won't know what you're talking about. You can get away with it as a nonnative speaker, but try to stick to ''ustedes'' even if you're in full-blown ''ceceo'' mode (more on that later as well). Also in Spain itself people will always understand you (although it may sound a little weird to them if you manage to make friends with them) so it's a safe bet.

!!Verbs
Of course, like any other language, Spanish has its area that makes nonnatives (and sometimes even natives) want to give themselves a lobotomy. In Spanish, like many other Romance languages, that would be verb conjugations.

The three possible verb endings are ''-ar'', ''-er'', and ''-ir.'' Each has its own conjugation patterns (now with 40% more irregulars!) for each tense, of which there are ''seventeen.'' Let's have a look at the conjugation tablets for three regular verbs of each type--''hablar (to speak), comer (to eat)'' and ''vivir (to live)''--in present tense, indicative mood:

* ''yo'': habl'''o''', com'''o''', viv'''o'''
* ''tú'': habl'''as''', com'''es''', viv'''es''' / ''usted'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''[[hottip:note:You may notice that these are identical to the third person conjugations; this is because ''usted'' arose from ''vuestra merced''--"Your Grace"--and took a third person conjugation, rather like English's "Is Your Majesty pleased?" It condensed into a real pronoun, but the conjugation stuck. The same principle applies to ''ustedes.'']]
* ''él/ella'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''
* ''nosotros/as'': habl'''amos''', com'''emos''', viv'''imos'''
* ''vosotros/as'': habl'''áis''', com'''éis''', viv'''ís''' / ''ustedes'': habl'''an''', com'''en''', viv'''en'''
* ''ellos/ellas'': habl'''an''', com'''en''', viv'''en'''

Having fun yet? And that's just one tense out of ''seventeen'', which are divided in three categories: Indicative (''indicativo'', which has ten tensese), Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'', which has six) and Imperative (''imperativo'', which has only one). Every single tense has a table like this. Oh, and to add to the fun, in the Rioplatense dialect (Argentina, Uruguay, etc.) the pronoun ''vos'' has its own separate conjugation! So instead of ''hablas,'' it's ''vos hablás.'' If you're really curious, here are the full conjugation tablets for the three verbs above: [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/hablar hablar]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/comer comer]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/vivir vivir]] (we have to confess, though: half the conjugations are composed forms and a few aren't even used).

The seventeen tenses, with usage notes, are as follows:

* Indicative (''indicativo''):
** Present (''presente''): ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. While the progressive form ''does'' exist in Spanish, it's much less commonly used; the basic present form is typically used instead. By far the most important tense.
** Preterite (''pretérito''): The "once" or "X times" past. Distinct from the imperfect. Also, unlike English, used to describe pictures and the like; to ask "What's she saying?" for a comic panel or somesuch would be ''"¿Qué '''dijo''' ella?"'' Also often used in speech to replace the perfect tense, somewhat akin to English, especially around the Rio de la Plata. In Spain, on the other hand, is not as commonly used. Only when the action described is considered to be in the relatively distant past.
** Imperfect (''imperfecto''): The "continuous" past. A tense of considerable importance. Some verbs only retain their past meaning in the imperfect and take on new meanings in the preterite; for example, ''"Yo ya '''sabía'''"'', (I already knew), but ''"'''Supe''' ayer"'' (I found out yesterday). Both forms are from ''saber,'' "to know." Also used for English past progressive, as in, "''El esclavo '''llevaba''' la jarra cuando la dejó caer."'' - "The slave was carrying the jug when he dropped it."
** Future (''futuro''): Describes [[CaptainObvious future events]]. Actually considered somewhat "high" speech, something like English "shall"; usually, the ''ir a'' + [infinitive] construction replaces it, like English "going to"/"gonna." Also used for certain statements regarding uncertainty or wondering, such as, ''"¿Qué hora '''será'''?"'', "What time could it be?"
** Conditional (''condicional''): Used to express things that would happen if a certain condition were met. For example: ''"Yo '''iría''' con ustedes, pero tengo que estudiar."'' (I would go with you guys, but I have to study.) If you didn't have to study, you'd be going with them, but you do, so you're not.
** Present perfect (''pretérito perfecto''): Essentially identical to the same tense in English; the best way to explain it is a "past action with present consequences." A compound tense, formed with a present tense form of ''haber.'' Often replaced by the preterite in casual speech in Latin American countries (in Spain too, although not as common). ''"Ya te '''he dicho''' lo que pienso."'' = ''"Ya te '''dije''' lo que pienso."'' "I [have] already told you what I think."
** Pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto''): Again, essentially identical to the same tense in English. Used to describe something that had already happened before something else did. Another compound tense.
** Past anterior (''pretérito anterior''): Archaic, essentially replaced by the pluperfect, or in some cases the preterite.
** Future perfect (''futuro compuesto''): Used to express things that will have happened before something else does, essentially the same as in English, as you can see in this very sentence.
** Conditional perfect (''condicional compuesto''): Used to express a "hypothetical past action"; something that would have happened had a condition been met. Think of the last line every ScoobyDoo villain says: "And I '''would have''' gotten away with it if it weren't for YouMeddlingKids!" In Spanish, they would use the conditional perfect. (''"¡Y yo '''habría tenido''' éxito sin ustedes muchachos entrometidos!"'')
* Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'')
** Subjunctive present (''presente de subjuntivo''): [[ThisIsGonnaSuck Hoo boy.]] The subjunctive forms are used when dealing with something that is either a wish, uncertain, or just not necessarily real (which extends to a lot more things than you might think). It's virtually always in a clause with ''que''. The exact peculiarities of the subjunctive mood are very, very complicated, but suffice to say, if it has a ''que'' clause and you're not '''100%''' certain it's real, go with the subjunctive. The subjunctive present specifically is used when the preceding clause is in the present or future tense.
** Subjunctive imperfect (''imperfecto de subjuntivo''): The subtleties of the subjunctive mood were explained above. This one is used when the preceding clause is in the imperfect, preterite, conditional, or the present, past, and conditional perfects. Also used to express the condition used to fulfill the conditional tense: "''Yo comería si '''tuviera''' hambre.''" (I'd eat if I were hungry.)
** Subjunctive future (''futuro de subjuntivo''): Virtually obsolete, except in legalese. It used to be used when the preceding clause was in the future tense, which has been overtaken by the subjunctive present.
** Subjunctive present perfect (''pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo''): Used primarily to express subjunctive past actions when the the preceding clause was in the present tense.
** Subjunctive pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo''): Used to express the condition of something for the conditional tense primarily.
** Subjunctive future prefect (''futuro compuesto de subjuntivo''): Obsolete entirely.
* Imperative (''imperativo''): Used to give commands. This is actually an incomplete tense; commands can obviously only be given to a "you," or as a "let's [do something]." For the ''tú'' and ''vosotros'' forms, there are actually two forms, affirmative and negative.

!!Spelling, Sounds, and the Like
Spanish's sound system and especially its orthography aren't that hard to get used to. Spelling gives all the info needed for pronunciation (the opposite also holds true) and each letter has one pronunciation (with the exception of c and g); you don't have the long vs. short vowel distinction that can cause a minor fiasco in some other languages like English.

There ''are'' digraphs, for the records.

* A: like ''father''
* E: between ''bed'' and ''bay''; more towards ''bay'' at the end of a word.
* I: like ''seem''
* O: like ''hole''
* U: like ''rude''

The following letters and digraphs are noticeably different from English pronunciation:
* C: In Spain, before ''i'' or ''e'', pronounced like the ''th'' in ''think'' but drawn out like ''s''. In Latin America, it's ''s'' like in English. [[TheOffspring Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, thinco, thinco, seis!]]
* CH: Always like in ''match'', unless the word is foreign.
* D: Between vowels, often pronounced like a soft, voiced ''th'', as in ''this''.
* G: Also before ''e'' or ''i'', this changes from the normal ''goat'' sound into, depending on the region, either the ''h'' in ''house'', the ''ch'' in ''loch'' or ''Bach'', or hardly pronounced at all.
* GU: A hard g in front of ''e'' or ''i''; ''gw'' in all other cases.
* H: Never, ever said.
* J: Same as ''g'' above, except in all cases. If you ever see Hispanics on {{Facebook}} typing "jajajaja", this is why.
* LL: Usually pronounced like the ''y'' in ''year'', though in Spain it's ''supposed'' to be pronounced like an Italian ''gl'' as in ''figlio''. In Argentina it's pronounced as the ''sh'' in ''show''.
* QU: Always a ''k''. "Quiero que el queso se quede" is pronounced "Kyero ke el keso se kede." (Incidentally, that means "I want the cheese to stay.")
* R: Flapped, as in the d's in ''pudding''. Except when beginning a word; then it reads as...
* RR: The famous "rolled r," as in the ridiculously exaggerated ''[[TrrrillingRrrs ¡Arrrrrrrrrrrriba!]]'' Think making a machine gun noise with your mouth. If you don't get it right, don't worry too much. This is one of the most difficult sounds for nonnatives, and natives usually understand that.
* V: Pronounced like a ''b''; Spanish doesn't distinguish, although they are pronounced more like the English ''v'' between vowels.
* Y: Pronounced like the ''y'' in "year". When ending a word, like a semiconsonantal i. ("rey" is read as "ray")
* Z: Pronounced, again only in Spain, as a "th."

* X: In standard Spanish it's always pronounced as in "exit". But Spaniards used it to represent several different sounds on Aztec and Mayan languages, so in {{Mayincatec}} words that crossed over to Mexican Spanish it can be read like "s", "sh", "j" (That's how you should pronounce it "Mexico", by the way) and also "x". Funny thing, just by how a word is written [[MindScrew you can't tell how it should be pronounced]].

While we're on the ''z'' and ''c'' sounds...

!!Lithpth and Shoshos: Spanish Dialects and Accents
The biggest contrast among the dialects is between the Spanish spoken in Spain[[hottip:*:usually referred to as "Castilian Spanish", "European Spanish" or "peninsular Spanish," because "Spanish Spanish" just sounds stupid]] and Latin American Spanish. This is best seen in two features, ''ceceo/seseo'' and the ''vosotros'' pronoun and conjugation.

''Ceceo'' and ''seseo'' refer to how soft ''c'' and ''z'' are pronounced in various regions. As noted above, in Spain, those two letters are pronounced like an English unvoiced ''th'' ("ceceo"). In Latin America, they pronounced both as an ''s'' (seseo), which makes learning English phonology slightly more difficult, but also is more intuitive to English speakers learning Spanish. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some regions in Spain, specially in the South, where ''all'' "s" sounds are pronounced like ''th'', even standalone S's. So you get things like, ''"¡Por favor, Theñor Jueth, no mande uthted mi hijo a prithión!"'' [[hottip:*:Please, Mr. Judge, don't send my son to prison! It should be: "Por favor, Señor Juez, no mande usted mi hijo a prisión"]] Thus the famous "Spaniard lisp," that you see in lots of AntonioBanderas movies (being him from Málaga, in Southern Spain).

The other major difference is the ''vosotros'' pronoun. It is used only in Spain, replaced by ''ustedes'' in all of Latin America, though a few isolated areas retain the conjugation but not the pronoun itself. As explained before, ''vosotros'' is the second person, plural, familiar register pronoun, essentially a plural ''tú'', and enjoys common usage in Spain, but in Latin America sounds like a thick South London accent and dialect would in the US.

There is a special pronoun that is used in some areas of South America, however, which is amusingly ''derived'' from ''vosotros'', ''vos''. This dialect is known as ''voseo'', and is used primarily in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Colombia. The conjugation of the ''vos'' pronoun is a modified form of the ''vosotros'' conjugation, resulting in ''tú puedes'' becoming ''vos podés'' (compare ''vosotros podéis'')[[hottip:*:The stem doesn't change from o->ue here because the stem only changes if the stress is on that syllable; the stress is moved here to the second syllable and thus the stem change doesn't occur]].

''Voseo'' happens to be one of the features of the Rioplatense dialect, which takes its name from the Rio de la Plata, the area where it's spoken; this is mainly the countries of Argentina and Uruguay. The other main features of the dialect are the consonantal shift of ''y'' and ''ll'' to either a ''sh'' or ''zh'' (mea'''s'''ure) sound, hence the "Shoshos" (Yoyos) of the title, resulting in ''ayer'' sounding like "ah-SHARE" or "ah-ZHARE" instead of "ah-YAIR"; and also the almost entire elimination of the present perfect tense, which enjoys some usage in most other areas.

!!Acentos y tildes: ¡un montón de ñaña! Aparte, ¿qué pasó con la puntuación?
One famous feature of Spanish orthography is its diacritics, specifically acute accents and tildes. The acute accents, unlike some other languages, such as Hungarian or Polish, where they distinguish sounds, accents in Spanish are used only to mark stress or to distinguish homonyms. You'll notice, however, that it's not marked on every word, and that's because they only mark stress if the word breaks Da Rules, which are:
* If the word ends in a vowel, "-n," or "-s," the stress goes on the penultimate syllable. Examples: ''queso, chico, umbra, oscuro.''
* If it ends in any other consonant, it's on the last one. Examples: ''pared, hablar, escolar, policial, carnet.''

Besides the acute accent, Spanish is also famous for the ''eñe'' letter, "ñ." This is pronounced approximately[[hottip:*:You make the ñ by pronouncing a n and a y simulataneously. It's easier than it sounds, really.]] like "ny," so "ñaña" above would be pronounced "nyanya." (This happens to be a sort of cutesy word for "crap" in a few dialects.)

Another difference of Spanish punctuation is their disuse of quotation marks. Dialogue is denoted by long "em" dashes (—), and quotes and phrases are surrounded by ''comillas angulares'', or angular quotes, used in most Romance languages, which look like this: «Se usan las comillas angulares para marcar las citas.». However in recent years, due to the use of computers, English quotation marks are starting to be dominant, since oddly enough Spanish specific keyboards DON'T feature the angular quotes as a key

But perhaps the most famous feature of Spanish orthography is the inverted question mark (or "interrogation point," for any Brits reading this) and exclamation point. Like just about any feature of language, this has its uses—it helps isolate the question or exclamation in a compound sentence, for example—but these two marks are so rare among languages that they're often simply called [[BuffySpeak "that Spanish upside-down thing."]]

The title of this section, incidentally, means "Accents and Tildes: A Load of Crap! Also, what happened with the punctuation?"

!!No molestar - False Friends, Swear Words, and Other Things
The nature of semantic drift naturally ensures that [[InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike "false]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_friend friends"]] will arise. Probably the most famous, as shown above, is ''molestar'', which is a perfectly innocent and mundane word in Spanish meaning "bother," but obviously means something more...extreme in English. This really isn't that difficult, but an English speaker who's sort of half-listening may still be caught off guard by a phrase such as, ''Aunque él me molestaba, yo le amaba todavía.'' ("Even though he '''bothered''' me, I still loved him." We're not talking StockholmSyndrome here.)

Another potentially hilarious false friend is ''embarazar'', the opposite situation of ''molestar''; it means "impregnate," not "embarrass," which in Spanish is ''humillar'' (lit. "humiliate"). This led to a rather famous case of BiteTheWaxTadpole where a pen company advertised their product with the slogan, "It won't leak in your pocket and get you pregnant." One has to wonder [[{{Squick}} exactly what sort of ink such a pen would be using...]]

But the most irritating false friends have to be the troll pair of ''atender'' and ''asistir.'' They sound like English "attend" and "assist" respectively, so you'd think this would be easy, right? Wrong. ''Atender'' means "to assist"...and ''asistir'' means "to attend"![[hottip:*:Although you can follow the logic of atender = assist if you keep in mind the secondary meaning of "attend," as in, "attend to the injured."]]

Now for the good stuff, though: profanity! We've saved the best for last. Here are all the expressions you need to know to know when to hit someone (when they're said to you) or duck (when you say them). Also convenient for use in non-Spanish-speaking circles.

* ''Mierda'' = Shit (chances are you already knew this one). In Spain can also translate as "Damn!" as an interjection.
* ''Cojones''[[hottip:*:Not "cajones", although non-native speakers sometimes confuse the two. Saying that someone has a lot of cajones means that they have a lot of drawers.]]= Balls (likewise)
* ''Carajo'' = An interjection roughly equivalent to damn, fuck, or in some cases hell.
* ''Cabrón'' = "big goat", but meaning "cuckold", equates to asshole, fucker or bastard. Can be used casually among friends, but don't use it with strangers.
* ''Capullo'' = "cocoon" and (amusingly enough) slang for "prepuce". In Spain, it's practically synonym for "Cabrón", although "¡Eres un capullo!" would more accurately translate to "You're a dick!".
* ''Pendejo''= "pubic hair", roughly idiot or jackass, with an added connotation of willful incompetence. Rarely used in Spain, and much, much stronger in Puerto Rico. Also a derogative word for a young person.
* ''Joder'' = Fuck (used rather like it is in English; ''estamos jodidos'' means "we're fucked."). Almost never conjugated in anything but past participle (The expletive "fuck!" would simply be ''joder!'' and "That fucking test" would be ''Ese jodido examen'', although most would say ''puto'' or something similar instead). "Fuck you!" would be translated as ''¡Jódete!'' or ''¡Que te jodan!''. It is also a vulgar word for ''bother'', specially in Latin América.
* ''Chingar'' = Fuck. Almost an exact synonym for joder, but used more often in Mexico, whereas joder is practically a comma for the Spanish.
* ''Follar'' = Synonym for "fuck" as a verb, although only when it refers to the specific biological act of intercourse. Extremely vulgar, not usually heard outside of Spain, since most swear-worthy situations are covered by joder or chingar. ''"¡Que te follen!"'' would be an alternative translation for "Fuck you!".
* ''¿Qué diablos?'' or ''¿Qué demonios?'' = What the hell? (Lit. "What devils?" or "What demons?")
* ''Maldito/a'' = (God)damn (again, rather used like in English; can be either an interjection or adjective)
* ''Maldición'' = Literally "malediction" or "curses", but more commonly translated as "damnit" or similar.
* ''Malparido/a'' = Something like saying the person wasn't born right or in the right way. Similar in the usage to the english word "Bastard".
* ''Tomar'' = Slang for drinking spirit; literally, "take." Completely innocuous for most situations, such as photography (Tomar unas fotos). An important exception would be taking a person to a place, for which the verb "llevar" is used. "Tomé a mi hermana al prom", for example, means you and your sister have some explaining to do.
* ''Puto/a'' = The female form "puta" means "whore", or more generally "bitch"; "hijo de puta" equates to "son of a bitch." Beware of this in Spain, since it's the worst insult you can say to a person. The male form "puto", on the other hand, is a very offensive word for "gay".
* ''Coger'' = Literally "get or take" but has evolved into "fuck" in most Latin American countries. ''Recoger'' is the non-profane version. In Spain, however, it has maintain the literal meaning, which sometimes can cause missunderstandings between Spaniards and Latin Americans.
* ''Cagar'' = The verb form of "shit". Often used to construct colorful oaths like ''¡Me cago en la leche!'' ("I shit in the milk!"). ''Cagada'' means "shitty" or "full of shit".
* ''Coño'' = CountryMatters. Although it's not nearly as offensive as that word is English (ESPECIALLY in North America), and it's never used to describe a person, but rather as an interjection. "¿Qué coño ___?" equates to "What the fuck ___?" in peninsular Spanish (see note below on profanity in Spain).
* ''Culo'' = Ass, used in pretty much the same situations as in English and then some more. ''De mi culo'' is "my ass" in some Latin American countries. A father of a teenage daughter, when she says where she goes with her date, may say ''"'Vamos al cine' de mi culo."'' ("'We're going to the movies' my ass."). In Spain it's also used in the construction "de culo" for "screwed"; ''"Vamos de culo"'' can mean "We're screwed."
* ''Pajero'' = Wanker/douchebag/jackoff. Mitsubishi fortunately avoided [[BiteTheWaxTadpole biting the wax tadpole]] on this one.
* ''Polla'' = Literally a female chicken, but usually used to mean "dick". ''¡Chupame la polla!'' means "Suck my dick!"
* ''Gilipollas'' = One of the most common insults in Spain. It doesn't have a literal translation, but the "-pollas" at the end comes from where you think it comes from. It would be a rough equivalent to "dumbass", although somewhat more offensive. This word also has an UnusualEuphemism version in "gilipuertas", which subtitutes "pollas" ("dicks") with "puertas" ("doors"). In Catalonia (North East of Spain) it's also used the short form ''"Gilí"'', which is considered a kinda "softer" version of the word.


An interesting note about Spanish is the frequency of ClusterFBomb in common speech, particularly in Spain. Spanish speakers tend to use stronger swear words and use them more often. The prevalence of this in Spain is said to be due to the Franco regime's oppressive enforcement of clean-mouthed-ness; when that regime fell in the late 1970s, people began cussing left, right, and center. By far the most common word is "joder", the proper inflection and placement of which takes practice, said by everybody from chavales (boys, preteens), to abuelitas (little old ladies). Truly offensive peninsular profanity relies on blasphemy and creativity. ''Hostias'', or "host" (as in sacrament) is somewhat more offensive than "joder", while ''Me cago en Dios y las tetas de la Virgen'' (I shit upon God and the Virgin Mary's tits) means you probably just amputated something. [[RefugeInVulgarity Overly agressive or profane]] swearing ([[UpToEleven even moreso than these latter examples]]) is possible, but rare and mostly used in derivative works for comedic effect, such as "Te voy a sacar los putos ojos y me voy a mear en los agujeros para que te escueza"[[hottip:*:"I'm going to gouge your fucking eyes out and piss in the holes till it burns]].

to:

->''"El inglés es ideal para hablar de negocios, el alemán se hizo para las ciencias, el francés es el lengua del amor y el español... Ah, el español, es el idioma para hablar con Dios…"'' [[hottip:*:"English is perfect for talking business, German is just the thing for science, French is the language of love, and Spanish... Ah, Spanish, it is the language one speaks with God..."]]
--> --Creator/VictorHugo

Spanish is an Ibero-Romance language, and the second most natively spoken language in the entire world (after Mandarin Chinese) due to the enormous expanse of the Spanish Empire in its heyday. It's the national or official language of 21 countries, as well as one of the official languages of the UN and 13 other international organizations. Even in the United States alone there are over 50 million Spanish-speakers, which is more than the entire population of most Spanish-speaking countries, Spain itself included. In short, this is a big language. It's the most widely spoken language in the Western Hemisphere. See SpanishLiterature.

Naturally, with all these people speaking it, considerable differences can arise between the various dialects; more on that later.

!!Noun
Nouns ain't too complicated in Spanish. Unlike its predecessor Latin, which had a casserole of case endings depending on the noun was used in a sentence, Spanish has nothing in that regard. ''Pan'' (bread) will stay ''pan'' no matter where or how it's used.

One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine.

Gender is quite a bit more intuitive than in many languages as well; in most cases, a noun's gender is clear from its ending; ''-o/-an'' is almost always masculine, whereas ''-a/-ción/-idad'' is almost always feminine...not to say that there aren't exceptions, like "mano" ("hand") which ends in ''-o" but it's a femenine word. Masculine nouns are more common than feminine ones, so if you're really lost guess masculine. On the same note, for nouns in plural that refer to groups that have both masculine AND feminine elements, we always use the masculine. For example, the Spanish word for "cat" would be "gato" for a male cat and "gata" for a female cat. However, if we want to refer to a group that includes cats of both genders, we use "gatos".

Of course, like any other language with gender, Spanish has its own headache-inducing part of it, and that would be the fact that some ''feminine'' nouns take the ''masculine'' singular article, while still being feminine grammatically (e.g., declension of adjectives), mostly for "flow" reasons. This occurs exclusively with feminine nouns that have a stressed ''a'' sound at the beginning. Thus, though still grammatically feminine, ''águila'' (eagle) takes the masculine article as ''el águila''. With plurals, however, they do take the feminine ones, and thus ''las águilas'', as the flow is not interrupted in this case with the feminine article.

'''Pronouns'''
Pronouns in Spanish are used in a very similar fashion to English; however, they are often omitted unless the sentence requires additional emphasis. This is done because the verb tense already says who is the one talking and the pronoun doesn't convey any further information. Addition of unnecessary pronouns easily gives away that the writer has not gone past a few years of Spanish. For example: the sentence ''Hoy yo como en casa de mi madre'' (I eat today at my mother's house) doesn't seem too fluent because of the first person pronoun ''yo''. The only commonly used subject pronouns are the third person ones, due to the ambiguity lacking a pronoun can sometimes cause, and ''yo'' in tenses where the first-person-singular and third-person-singular are identical (i.e., imperfect, conditional, and all subjunctive tenses). However, these are also often omitted if it's clear who the speaker is talking about.

A quick note on ''tú'' and ''usted'' (the singular 2nd person pronouns): it really depends on where you are what pronoun you use in most situations. In Spain, for instance, ''usted'' is used mostly in formal speech (people who you don't know and/or are much older than you), while with anyone you already know or someone you meet and want to continue to meet in the future, you use ''tú,'' unless it's official business. In many Latin American countries, however, ''tú'' is seen as somewhat disrespectful by people who aren't your peers. Note also that in several Latin American countries around the Rio de la Plata, ''vos'' is used instead of ''tú.'' Argentina is the most popular example of this.

On ''vosotros'' and ''ustedes'' (the plural 2nd person pronouns) meanwhile, ''vosotros'' is used ONLY in Spain, and following the same rule of thumb as with ''tú'' and ''usted'' (as in ''vosotros'' in casual speech and ''ustedes'' in formal speech). If you use it in Latin America, at best it will sound like saying "Tally-ho, Guvnah" in the US and at worst they won't know what you're talking about. You can get away with it as a nonnative speaker, but try to stick to ''ustedes'' even if you're in full-blown ''ceceo'' mode (more on that later as well). Also in Spain itself people will always understand you (although it may sound a little weird to them if you manage to make friends with them) so it's a safe bet.

!!Verbs
Of course, like any other language, Spanish has its area that makes nonnatives (and sometimes even natives) want to give themselves a lobotomy. In Spanish, like many other Romance languages, that would be verb conjugations.

The three possible verb endings are ''-ar'', ''-er'', and ''-ir.'' Each has its own conjugation patterns (now with 40% more irregulars!) for each tense, of which there are ''seventeen.'' Let's have a look at the conjugation tablets for three regular verbs of each type--''hablar (to speak), comer (to eat)'' and ''vivir (to live)''--in present tense, indicative mood:

* ''yo'': habl'''o''', com'''o''', viv'''o'''
* ''tú'': habl'''as''', com'''es''', viv'''es''' / ''usted'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''[[hottip:note:You may notice that these are identical to the third person conjugations; this is because ''usted'' arose from ''vuestra merced''--"Your Grace"--and took a third person conjugation, rather like English's "Is Your Majesty pleased?" It condensed into a real pronoun, but the conjugation stuck. The same principle applies to ''ustedes.'']]
* ''él/ella'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''
* ''nosotros/as'': habl'''amos''', com'''emos''', viv'''imos'''
* ''vosotros/as'': habl'''áis''', com'''éis''', viv'''ís''' / ''ustedes'': habl'''an''', com'''en''', viv'''en'''
* ''ellos/ellas'': habl'''an''', com'''en''', viv'''en'''

Having fun yet? And that's just one tense out of ''seventeen'', which are divided in three categories: Indicative (''indicativo'', which has ten tensese), Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'', which has six) and Imperative (''imperativo'', which has only one). Every single tense has a table like this. Oh, and to add to the fun, in the Rioplatense dialect (Argentina, Uruguay, etc.) the pronoun ''vos'' has its own separate conjugation! So instead of ''hablas,'' it's ''vos hablás.'' If you're really curious, here are the full conjugation tablets for the three verbs above: [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/hablar hablar]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/comer comer]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/vivir vivir]] (we have to confess, though: half the conjugations are composed forms and a few aren't even used).

The seventeen tenses, with usage notes, are as follows:

* Indicative (''indicativo''):
** Present (''presente''): ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. While the progressive form ''does'' exist in Spanish, it's much less commonly used; the basic present form is typically used instead. By far the most important tense.
** Preterite (''pretérito''): The "once" or "X times" past. Distinct from the imperfect. Also, unlike English, used to describe pictures and the like; to ask "What's she saying?" for a comic panel or somesuch would be ''"¿Qué '''dijo''' ella?"'' Also often used in speech to replace the perfect tense, somewhat akin to English, especially around the Rio de la Plata. In Spain, on the other hand, is not as commonly used. Only when the action described is considered to be in the relatively distant past.
** Imperfect (''imperfecto''): The "continuous" past. A tense of considerable importance. Some verbs only retain their past meaning in the imperfect and take on new meanings in the preterite; for example, ''"Yo ya '''sabía'''"'', (I already knew), but ''"'''Supe''' ayer"'' (I found out yesterday). Both forms are from ''saber,'' "to know." Also used for English past progressive, as in, "''El esclavo '''llevaba''' la jarra cuando la dejó caer."'' - "The slave was carrying the jug when he dropped it."
** Future (''futuro''): Describes [[CaptainObvious future events]]. Actually considered somewhat "high" speech, something like English "shall"; usually, the ''ir a'' + [infinitive] construction replaces it, like English "going to"/"gonna." Also used for certain statements regarding uncertainty or wondering, such as, ''"¿Qué hora '''será'''?"'', "What time could it be?"
** Conditional (''condicional''): Used to express things that would happen if a certain condition were met. For example: ''"Yo '''iría''' con ustedes, pero tengo que estudiar."'' (I would go with you guys, but I have to study.) If you didn't have to study, you'd be going with them, but you do, so you're not.
** Present perfect (''pretérito perfecto''): Essentially identical to the same tense in English; the best way to explain it is a "past action with present consequences." A compound tense, formed with a present tense form of ''haber.'' Often replaced by the preterite in casual speech in Latin American countries (in Spain too, although not as common). ''"Ya te '''he dicho''' lo que pienso."'' = ''"Ya te '''dije''' lo que pienso."'' "I [have] already told you what I think."
** Pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto''): Again, essentially identical to the same tense in English. Used to describe something that had already happened before something else did. Another compound tense.
** Past anterior (''pretérito anterior''): Archaic, essentially replaced by the pluperfect, or in some cases the preterite.
** Future perfect (''futuro compuesto''): Used to express things that will have happened before something else does, essentially the same as in English, as you can see in this very sentence.
** Conditional perfect (''condicional compuesto''): Used to express a "hypothetical past action"; something that would have happened had a condition been met. Think of the last line every ScoobyDoo villain says: "And I '''would have''' gotten away with it if it weren't for YouMeddlingKids!" In Spanish, they would use the conditional perfect. (''"¡Y yo '''habría tenido''' éxito sin ustedes muchachos entrometidos!"'')
* Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'')
** Subjunctive present (''presente de subjuntivo''): [[ThisIsGonnaSuck Hoo boy.]] The subjunctive forms are used when dealing with something that is either a wish, uncertain, or just not necessarily real (which extends to a lot more things than you might think). It's virtually always in a clause with ''que''. The exact peculiarities of the subjunctive mood are very, very complicated, but suffice to say, if it has a ''que'' clause and you're not '''100%''' certain it's real, go with the subjunctive. The subjunctive present specifically is used when the preceding clause is in the present or future tense.
** Subjunctive imperfect (''imperfecto de subjuntivo''): The subtleties of the subjunctive mood were explained above. This one is used when the preceding clause is in the imperfect, preterite, conditional, or the present, past, and conditional perfects. Also used to express the condition used to fulfill the conditional tense: "''Yo comería si '''tuviera''' hambre.''" (I'd eat if I were hungry.)
** Subjunctive future (''futuro de subjuntivo''): Virtually obsolete, except in legalese. It used to be used when the preceding clause was in the future tense, which has been overtaken by the subjunctive present.
** Subjunctive present perfect (''pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo''): Used primarily to express subjunctive past actions when the the preceding clause was in the present tense.
** Subjunctive pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo''): Used to express the condition of something for the conditional tense primarily.
** Subjunctive future prefect (''futuro compuesto de subjuntivo''): Obsolete entirely.
* Imperative (''imperativo''): Used to give commands. This is actually an incomplete tense; commands can obviously only be given to a "you," or as a "let's [do something]." For the ''tú'' and ''vosotros'' forms, there are actually two forms, affirmative and negative.

!!Spelling, Sounds, and the Like
Spanish's sound system and especially its orthography aren't that hard to get used to. Spelling gives all the info needed for pronunciation (the opposite also holds true) and each letter has one pronunciation (with the exception of c and g); you don't have the long vs. short vowel distinction that can cause a minor fiasco in some other languages like English.

There ''are'' digraphs, for the records.

* A: like ''father''
* E: between ''bed'' and ''bay''; more towards ''bay'' at the end of a word.
* I: like ''seem''
* O: like ''hole''
* U: like ''rude''

The following letters and digraphs are noticeably different from English pronunciation:
* C: In Spain, before ''i'' or ''e'', pronounced like the ''th'' in ''think'' but drawn out like ''s''. In Latin America, it's ''s'' like in English. [[TheOffspring Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, thinco, thinco, seis!]]
* CH: Always like in ''match'', unless the word is foreign.
* D: Between vowels, often pronounced like a soft, voiced ''th'', as in ''this''.
* G: Also before ''e'' or ''i'', this changes from the normal ''goat'' sound into, depending on the region, either the ''h'' in ''house'', the ''ch'' in ''loch'' or ''Bach'', or hardly pronounced at all.
* GU: A hard g in front of ''e'' or ''i''; ''gw'' in all other cases.
* H: Never, ever said.
* J: Same as ''g'' above, except in all cases. If you ever see Hispanics on {{Facebook}} typing "jajajaja", this is why.
* LL: Usually pronounced like the ''y'' in ''year'', though in Spain it's ''supposed'' to be pronounced like an Italian ''gl'' as in ''figlio''. In Argentina it's pronounced as the ''sh'' in ''show''.
* QU: Always a ''k''. "Quiero que el queso se quede" is pronounced "Kyero ke el keso se kede." (Incidentally, that means "I want the cheese to stay.")
* R: Flapped, as in the d's in ''pudding''. Except when beginning a word; then it reads as...
* RR: The famous "rolled r," as in the ridiculously exaggerated ''[[TrrrillingRrrs ¡Arrrrrrrrrrrriba!]]'' Think making a machine gun noise with your mouth. If you don't get it right, don't worry too much. This is one of the most difficult sounds for nonnatives, and natives usually understand that.
* V: Pronounced like a ''b''; Spanish doesn't distinguish, although they are pronounced more like the English ''v'' between vowels.
* Y: Pronounced like the ''y'' in "year". When ending a word, like a semiconsonantal i. ("rey" is read as "ray")
* Z: Pronounced, again only in Spain, as a "th."

* X: In standard Spanish it's always pronounced as in "exit". But Spaniards used it to represent several different sounds on Aztec and Mayan languages, so in {{Mayincatec}} words that crossed over to Mexican Spanish it can be read like "s", "sh", "j" (That's how you should pronounce it "Mexico", by the way) and also "x". Funny thing, just by how a word is written [[MindScrew you can't tell how it should be pronounced]].

While we're on the ''z'' and ''c'' sounds...

!!Lithpth and Shoshos: Spanish Dialects and Accents
The biggest contrast among the dialects is between the Spanish spoken in Spain[[hottip:*:usually referred to as "Castilian Spanish", "European Spanish" or "peninsular Spanish," because "Spanish Spanish" just sounds stupid]] and Latin American Spanish. This is best seen in two features, ''ceceo/seseo'' and the ''vosotros'' pronoun and conjugation.

''Ceceo'' and ''seseo'' refer to how soft ''c'' and ''z'' are pronounced in various regions. As noted above, in Spain, those two letters are pronounced like an English unvoiced ''th'' ("ceceo"). In Latin America, they pronounced both as an ''s'' (seseo), which makes learning English phonology slightly more difficult, but also is more intuitive to English speakers learning Spanish. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some regions in Spain, specially in the South, where ''all'' "s" sounds are pronounced like ''th'', even standalone S's. So you get things like, ''"¡Por favor, Theñor Jueth, no mande uthted mi hijo a prithión!"'' [[hottip:*:Please, Mr. Judge, don't send my son to prison! It should be: "Por favor, Señor Juez, no mande usted mi hijo a prisión"]] Thus the famous "Spaniard lisp," that you see in lots of AntonioBanderas movies (being him from Málaga, in Southern Spain).

The other major difference is the ''vosotros'' pronoun. It is used only in Spain, replaced by ''ustedes'' in all of Latin America, though a few isolated areas retain the conjugation but not the pronoun itself. As explained before, ''vosotros'' is the second person, plural, familiar register pronoun, essentially a plural ''tú'', and enjoys common usage in Spain, but in Latin America sounds like a thick South London accent and dialect would in the US.

There is a special pronoun that is used in some areas of South America, however, which is amusingly ''derived'' from ''vosotros'', ''vos''. This dialect is known as ''voseo'', and is used primarily in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Colombia. The conjugation of the ''vos'' pronoun is a modified form of the ''vosotros'' conjugation, resulting in ''tú puedes'' becoming ''vos podés'' (compare ''vosotros podéis'')[[hottip:*:The stem doesn't change from o->ue here because the stem only changes if the stress is on that syllable; the stress is moved here to the second syllable and thus the stem change doesn't occur]].

''Voseo'' happens to be one of the features of the Rioplatense dialect, which takes its name from the Rio de la Plata, the area where it's spoken; this is mainly the countries of Argentina and Uruguay. The other main features of the dialect are the consonantal shift of ''y'' and ''ll'' to either a ''sh'' or ''zh'' (mea'''s'''ure) sound, hence the "Shoshos" (Yoyos) of the title, resulting in ''ayer'' sounding like "ah-SHARE" or "ah-ZHARE" instead of "ah-YAIR"; and also the almost entire elimination of the present perfect tense, which enjoys some usage in most other areas.

!!Acentos y tildes: ¡un montón de ñaña! Aparte, ¿qué pasó con la puntuación?
One famous feature of Spanish orthography is its diacritics, specifically acute accents and tildes. The acute accents, unlike some other languages, such as Hungarian or Polish, where they distinguish sounds, accents in Spanish are used only to mark stress or to distinguish homonyms. You'll notice, however, that it's not marked on every word, and that's because they only mark stress if the word breaks Da Rules, which are:
* If the word ends in a vowel, "-n," or "-s," the stress goes on the penultimate syllable. Examples: ''queso, chico, umbra, oscuro.''
* If it ends in any other consonant, it's on the last one. Examples: ''pared, hablar, escolar, policial, carnet.''

Besides the acute accent, Spanish is also famous for the ''eñe'' letter, "ñ." This is pronounced approximately[[hottip:*:You make the ñ by pronouncing a n and a y simulataneously. It's easier than it sounds, really.]] like "ny," so "ñaña" above would be pronounced "nyanya." (This happens to be a sort of cutesy word for "crap" in a few dialects.)

Another difference of Spanish punctuation is their disuse of quotation marks. Dialogue is denoted by long "em" dashes (—), and quotes and phrases are surrounded by ''comillas angulares'', or angular quotes, used in most Romance languages, which look like this: «Se usan las comillas angulares para marcar las citas.». However in recent years, due to the use of computers, English quotation marks are starting to be dominant, since oddly enough Spanish specific keyboards DON'T feature the angular quotes as a key

But perhaps the most famous feature of Spanish orthography is the inverted question mark (or "interrogation point," for any Brits reading this) and exclamation point. Like just about any feature of language, this has its uses—it helps isolate the question or exclamation in a compound sentence, for example—but these two marks are so rare among languages that they're often simply called [[BuffySpeak "that Spanish upside-down thing."]]

The title of this section, incidentally, means "Accents and Tildes: A Load of Crap! Also, what happened with the punctuation?"

!!No molestar - False Friends, Swear Words, and Other Things
The nature of semantic drift naturally ensures that [[InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike "false]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_friend friends"]] will arise. Probably the most famous, as shown above, is ''molestar'', which is a perfectly innocent and mundane word in Spanish meaning "bother," but obviously means something more...extreme in English. This really isn't that difficult, but an English speaker who's sort of half-listening may still be caught off guard by a phrase such as, ''Aunque él me molestaba, yo le amaba todavía.'' ("Even though he '''bothered''' me, I still loved him." We're not talking StockholmSyndrome here.)

Another potentially hilarious false friend is ''embarazar'', the opposite situation of ''molestar''; it means "impregnate," not "embarrass," which in Spanish is ''humillar'' (lit. "humiliate"). This led to a rather famous case of BiteTheWaxTadpole where a pen company advertised their product with the slogan, "It won't leak in your pocket and get you pregnant." One has to wonder [[{{Squick}} exactly what sort of ink such a pen would be using...]]

But the most irritating false friends have to be the troll pair of ''atender'' and ''asistir.'' They sound like English "attend" and "assist" respectively, so you'd think this would be easy, right? Wrong. ''Atender'' means "to assist"...and ''asistir'' means "to attend"![[hottip:*:Although you can follow the logic of atender = assist if you keep in mind the secondary meaning of "attend," as in, "attend to the injured."]]

Now for the good stuff, though: profanity! We've saved the best for last. Here are all the expressions you need to know to know when to hit someone (when they're said to you) or duck (when you say them). Also convenient for use in non-Spanish-speaking circles.

* ''Mierda'' = Shit (chances are you already knew this one). In Spain can also translate as "Damn!" as an interjection.
* ''Cojones''[[hottip:*:Not "cajones", although non-native speakers sometimes confuse the two. Saying that someone has a lot of cajones means that they have a lot of drawers.]]= Balls (likewise)
* ''Carajo'' = An interjection roughly equivalent to damn, fuck, or in some cases hell.
* ''Cabrón'' = "big goat", but meaning "cuckold", equates to asshole, fucker or bastard. Can be used casually among friends, but don't use it with strangers.
* ''Capullo'' = "cocoon" and (amusingly enough) slang for "prepuce". In Spain, it's practically synonym for "Cabrón", although "¡Eres un capullo!" would more accurately translate to "You're a dick!".
* ''Pendejo''= "pubic hair", roughly idiot or jackass, with an added connotation of willful incompetence. Rarely used in Spain, and much, much stronger in Puerto Rico. Also a derogative word for a young person.
* ''Joder'' = Fuck (used rather like it is in English; ''estamos jodidos'' means "we're fucked."). Almost never conjugated in anything but past participle (The expletive "fuck!" would simply be ''joder!'' and "That fucking test" would be ''Ese jodido examen'', although most would say ''puto'' or something similar instead). "Fuck you!" would be translated as ''¡Jódete!'' or ''¡Que te jodan!''. It is also a vulgar word for ''bother'', specially in Latin América.
* ''Chingar'' = Fuck. Almost an exact synonym for joder, but used more often in Mexico, whereas joder is practically a comma for the Spanish.
* ''Follar'' = Synonym for "fuck" as a verb, although only when it refers to the specific biological act of intercourse. Extremely vulgar, not usually heard outside of Spain, since most swear-worthy situations are covered by joder or chingar. ''"¡Que te follen!"'' would be an alternative translation for "Fuck you!".
* ''¿Qué diablos?'' or ''¿Qué demonios?'' = What the hell? (Lit. "What devils?" or "What demons?")
* ''Maldito/a'' = (God)damn (again, rather used like in English; can be either an interjection or adjective)
* ''Maldición'' = Literally "malediction" or "curses", but more commonly translated as "damnit" or similar.
* ''Malparido/a'' = Something like saying the person wasn't born right or in the right way. Similar in the usage to the english word "Bastard".
* ''Tomar'' = Slang for drinking spirit; literally, "take." Completely innocuous for most situations, such as photography (Tomar unas fotos). An important exception would be taking a person to a place, for which the verb "llevar" is used. "Tomé a mi hermana al prom", for example, means you and your sister have some explaining to do.
* ''Puto/a'' = The female form "puta" means "whore", or more generally "bitch"; "hijo de puta" equates to "son of a bitch." Beware of this in Spain, since it's the worst insult you can say to a person. The male form "puto", on the other hand, is a very offensive word for "gay".
* ''Coger'' = Literally "get or take" but has evolved into "fuck" in most Latin American countries. ''Recoger'' is the non-profane version. In Spain, however, it has maintain the literal meaning, which sometimes can cause missunderstandings between Spaniards and Latin Americans.
* ''Cagar'' = The verb form of "shit". Often used to construct colorful oaths like ''¡Me cago en la leche!'' ("I shit in the milk!"). ''Cagada'' means "shitty" or "full of shit".
* ''Coño'' = CountryMatters. Although it's not nearly as offensive as that word is English (ESPECIALLY in North America), and it's never used to describe a person, but rather as an interjection. "¿Qué coño ___?" equates to "What the fuck ___?" in peninsular Spanish (see note below on profanity in Spain).
* ''Culo'' = Ass, used in pretty much the same situations as in English and then some more. ''De mi culo'' is "my ass" in some Latin American countries. A father of a teenage daughter, when she says where she goes with her date, may say ''"'Vamos al cine' de mi culo."'' ("'We're going to the movies' my ass."). In Spain it's also used in the construction "de culo" for "screwed"; ''"Vamos de culo"'' can mean "We're screwed."
* ''Pajero'' = Wanker/douchebag/jackoff. Mitsubishi fortunately avoided [[BiteTheWaxTadpole biting the wax tadpole]] on this one.
* ''Polla'' = Literally a female chicken, but usually used to mean "dick". ''¡Chupame la polla!'' means "Suck my dick!"
* ''Gilipollas'' = One of the most common insults in Spain. It doesn't have a literal translation, but the "-pollas" at the end comes from where you think it comes from. It would be a rough equivalent to "dumbass", although somewhat more offensive. This word also has an UnusualEuphemism version in "gilipuertas", which subtitutes "pollas" ("dicks") with "puertas" ("doors"). In Catalonia (North East of Spain) it's also used the short form ''"Gilí"'', which is considered a kinda "softer" version of the word.


An interesting note about Spanish is the frequency of ClusterFBomb in common speech, particularly in Spain. Spanish speakers tend to use stronger swear words and use them more often. The prevalence of this in Spain is said to be due to the Franco regime's oppressive enforcement of clean-mouthed-ness; when that regime fell in the late 1970s, people began cussing left, right, and center. By far the most common word is "joder", the proper inflection and placement of which takes practice, said by everybody from chavales (boys, preteens), to abuelitas (little old ladies). Truly offensive peninsular profanity relies on blasphemy and creativity. ''Hostias'', or "host" (as in sacrament) is somewhat more offensive than "joder", while ''Me cago en Dios y las tetas de la Virgen'' (I shit upon God and the Virgin Mary's tits) means you probably just amputated something. [[RefugeInVulgarity Overly agressive or profane]] swearing ([[UpToEleven even moreso than these latter examples]]) is possible, but rare and mostly used in derivative works for comedic effect, such as "Te voy a sacar los putos ojos y me voy a mear en los agujeros para que te escueza"[[hottip:*:"I'm going to gouge your fucking eyes out and piss in the holes till it burns]].
[[redirect:UsefulNotes/SpanishLanguage]]
1st Jan '13 4:46:50 PM CeilingCthulu
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An interesting note about Spanish is the frequency of ClusterFBomb in common speech, particularly in Spain. Spanish speakers tend to use stronger swear words and use them more often. The prevalence of this in Spain is said to be due to the Franco regime's oppressive enforcement of clean-mouthed-ness; when that regime fell in the late 1970s, people began cussing left, right, and center. By far the most common word is "joder", the proper inflection and placement of which takes practice, said by everybody from chavales (boys, preteens), to abuelitas (little old ladies). Truly offensive peninsular profanity relies on blasphemy and creativity. ''Hostias'', or "host" (as in sacrament) is somewhat more offensive than "joder", while ''Me cago en Dios y las tetas de la Virgen'' (I shit upon God and the Virgin Mary's tits) means you probably just amputated something. [[RefugeInVulgarity Overly agressive or profane]] swearing ([[UpToEleven even moreso than these latter examples]]) is possible, but rare and mostly used in derivative works for comedic effect, such as "Te voy a sacar los putos ojos y me voy a mear en los agujeros para que te escueza"[[hottip:*:"I'm going to gouge your fucking eyes off and piss in the holes till it burns]].

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An interesting note about Spanish is the frequency of ClusterFBomb in common speech, particularly in Spain. Spanish speakers tend to use stronger swear words and use them more often. The prevalence of this in Spain is said to be due to the Franco regime's oppressive enforcement of clean-mouthed-ness; when that regime fell in the late 1970s, people began cussing left, right, and center. By far the most common word is "joder", the proper inflection and placement of which takes practice, said by everybody from chavales (boys, preteens), to abuelitas (little old ladies). Truly offensive peninsular profanity relies on blasphemy and creativity. ''Hostias'', or "host" (as in sacrament) is somewhat more offensive than "joder", while ''Me cago en Dios y las tetas de la Virgen'' (I shit upon God and the Virgin Mary's tits) means you probably just amputated something. [[RefugeInVulgarity Overly agressive or profane]] swearing ([[UpToEleven even moreso than these latter examples]]) is possible, but rare and mostly used in derivative works for comedic effect, such as "Te voy a sacar los putos ojos y me voy a mear en los agujeros para que te escueza"[[hottip:*:"I'm going to gouge your fucking eyes off out and piss in the holes till it burns]].
1st Jan '13 4:42:25 PM CeilingCthulu
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Now for the good stuff, though: profanity! We've saved the best for last. Here are all the expressions you need to know to know when to hit someone (when they're said at you) or duck (when you say them). Also convenient for use in non-Spanish-speaking circles.

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Now for the good stuff, though: profanity! We've saved the best for last. Here are all the expressions you need to know to know when to hit someone (when they're said at to you) or duck (when you say them). Also convenient for use in non-Spanish-speaking circles.
1st Jan '13 4:38:59 PM CeilingCthulu
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** Preterite (''pretérito''): The "once" or "X times" past. Distinct from the imperfect. Also, unlike English, used to describe pictures and the like; to ask "What's she saying?" for a comic panel or somesuch would be ''"¿Qué '''dijo''' ella?"'' Also often used in speech to replace the perfect tense, somewhat akin to English, especially around the Rio de la Plata. In Spain, on the other hand, is not as commonly used. Only when the action described is considered to be in a relative distant past.

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** Preterite (''pretérito''): The "once" or "X times" past. Distinct from the imperfect. Also, unlike English, used to describe pictures and the like; to ask "What's she saying?" for a comic panel or somesuch would be ''"¿Qué '''dijo''' ella?"'' Also often used in speech to replace the perfect tense, somewhat akin to English, especially around the Rio de la Plata. In Spain, on the other hand, is not as commonly used. Only when the action described is considered to be in a relative the relatively distant past.



Besides the acute accent, Spanish is also famous for the ''eñe'' letter, "ñ." This is pronounced approximately[[hottip:*:You make the ñ by pronouncy a n and a y simulataneously. It's easier than it sounds, really.]] like "ny," so "ñaña" above would be pronounced "nyanya." (This happens to be a sort of cutesy word for "crap" in a few dialects.)

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Besides the acute accent, Spanish is also famous for the ''eñe'' letter, "ñ." This is pronounced approximately[[hottip:*:You make the ñ by pronouncy pronouncing a n and a y simulataneously. It's easier than it sounds, really.]] like "ny," so "ñaña" above would be pronounced "nyanya." (This happens to be a sort of cutesy word for "crap" in a few dialects.)
30th Nov '12 8:20:58 PM LadySugarQuill
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* ''Pendejo''= "pubic hair", roughly idiot or jackass, with an added connotation of willful incompetence. Rarely used in Spain, and much, much stronger in Puerto Rico

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* ''Pendejo''= "pubic hair", roughly idiot or jackass, with an added connotation of willful incompetence. Rarely used in Spain, and much, much stronger in Puerto RicoRico. Also a derogative word for a young person.



* ''Puto/a'' = Bitch/whore; "hijo de puta" equates to "son of a bitch." Beware of this in Spain, since it's the worst insult you can say to a person.

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* ''Puto/a'' = Bitch/whore; The female form "puta" means "whore", or more generally "bitch"; "hijo de puta" equates to "son of a bitch." Beware of this in Spain, since it's the worst insult you can say to a person. The male form "puto", on the other hand, is a very offensive word for "gay".
30th Nov '12 8:05:38 PM LadySugarQuill
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* LL: Usually pronounced like the ''y'' in ''year'', though in Spain it's ''supposed'' to be pronounced like an Italian ''gl'' as in ''figlio''.

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* LL: Usually pronounced like the ''y'' in ''year'', though in Spain it's ''supposed'' to be pronounced like an Italian ''gl'' as in ''figlio''. In Argentina it's pronounced as the ''sh'' in ''show''.
29th Nov '12 1:27:13 PM aurkene
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* ''Cojones''= Balls (likewise)

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* ''Cojones''= ''Cojones''[[hottip:*:Not "cajones", although non-native speakers sometimes confuse the two. Saying that someone has a lot of cajones means that they have a lot of drawers.]]= Balls (likewise)
22nd Nov '12 5:14:17 PM somerandomdude
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* ''tú'': habl'''as''', com'''es''', viv'''es''' / ''usted'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''

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* ''tú'': habl'''as''', com'''es''', viv'''es''' / ''usted'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''viv'''e'''[[hottip:note:You may notice that these are identical to the third person conjugations; this is because ''usted'' arose from ''vuestra merced''--"Your Grace"--and took a third person conjugation, rather like English's "Is Your Majesty pleased?" It condensed into a real pronoun, but the conjugation stuck. The same principle applies to ''ustedes.'']]
30th Oct '12 9:25:39 AM TomSFox
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One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine. In addition, of the few nouns with mutable gender, the meaning stays the same. ''El mar'' and ''la mar'' both mean "the sea," so don't worry about talking about your pine tree hurting like in German. [[hottip:*:In German, ''der Kiefer'' is "jaw"; ''die Kiefer'' is "pine tree." ''Mir tut die Kiefer weh'' could thus be a bit confusing.]]

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One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine. In addition, of the few nouns with mutable gender, the meaning stays the same. ''El mar'' and ''la mar'' both mean "the sea," so don't worry about talking about your pine tree hurting like in German. [[hottip:*:In German, ''der Kiefer'' is "jaw"; ''die Kiefer'' is "pine tree." ''Mir tut die Kiefer weh'' could thus be a bit confusing.]]
feminine.
31st Aug '12 3:53:25 PM somerandomdude
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One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine. In addition, of the few nouns with mutable gender, the meaning stays the same. ''El mar'' and ''la mar'' both mean "the sea," so don't worry about talking about your pine tree hurting like in German. [[hottip:*:In German, ''der Kiefer'' is "jaw"; ''die Kiefer'' is "pine tree."]]

to:

One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el coche'', "car," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine), though when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that; you don't have that ridiculous business like in [[GermanLanguage German]] where the word for "girl" is neuter. Spanish actually doesn't have a neuter gender at all; everything is either masculine or feminine. In addition, of the few nouns with mutable gender, the meaning stays the same. ''El mar'' and ''la mar'' both mean "the sea," so don't worry about talking about your pine tree hurting like in German. [[hottip:*:In German, ''der Kiefer'' is "jaw"; ''die Kiefer'' is "pine tree."]]
" ''Mir tut die Kiefer weh'' could thus be a bit confusing.]]
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