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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Drink güisqui, send tuits, and listen to yas 
10th-Feb-2011 11:35 am
Postage stamp

Spanish-speakers, here's news for you.

The Spanish Royal Academy, whose job it is to "clean, fix, and give splendor" to the Spanish language, has come out with a new spelling guide. The 1999 guide had 162 pages, but this one has 745 because every single decision has been "exhaustively" explained, as its coordinator boasts.

The Academy has eliminated the letters ch and ll from the alphabet and made quite a few technical changes in rules about capitalization and accent marks, but the big difference is in the spelling of foreign words. They will now be spelled as they are pronounced — in Spanish:

judo = yudo
sexy = sexi
piercing = pirsin
meeting = mitin
whisky = güisqui
Qatar = Catar
gay = gai
manager = mánayer
beefsteak = bistec
baseball = béisbol
cruissant = cruasán
water (as in "water closet" or toilet) = váter
tweet (as in Twitter) = tuit
jazz = yas

This has led to many jokes which are hard to translate, let alone spell.

However emailímel. That's because you shouldn't be using email at all, whether for the message system, or the address for receiving it, or the message itself. The Royal Academy says: "It's use — as well as its abbreviation mail — is unnecessary, since alternatives exist in Spanish in all those cases. The most frequently used is the translation correo electrónico."

It adds that correo-e is "inadmissable" because it's an adaptation of an English usage, although cibercorreo, ciberdirección and cibermensaje are valid.

Now you know.

— Sue Burke

Comments 
10th-Feb-2011 11:37 am (UTC)
And I suspect they'll have about as much success as the French who use the same words: courier electronique.

Now why would 'meeting' be a 'foreign word?' You'd think Spaniards had been meeting for centuries and had a word for it.
10th-Feb-2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
"Meeting" is a word imported from English. Spanish has "reunión," "congreso," "concilio," and "asemblea," among others.

And I agree, "el email" is here to stay.
21st-Feb-2011 09:07 am (UTC)
It's also come to my attention that "mitin" (meeting) is used exclusively for a political rally -- that kind of meeting. Other kinds of meetings have different words.

Imported words often change their meanings. In Spanish, a "míster" is the coach of a team, and a "miss" is the winner of a beauty contest. A "bunny" is a caricature of a rabbit (as in Bugs Bunny), and you can buy "conejos de chocolate tipo bunny" (bunny-style chocolate rabbits) at Easter.
22nd-Feb-2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
it just goes on and on, doesn't it? So a 'rally' is not a word they understand? I like that a 'miss' has won a beauty contest. Wonder what a 'ms.' is? And I've heard the European split on bunnies and rabbits in other languages. A hare is a specific animal and is not a bunny. Thank goodness those chocolate rabbits are 'bunny-style' as in a caricature of a rabbit as opposed to actual rabbit dipped in chocolate.
24th-Feb-2011 10:00 am (UTC)
"Rally" (properly spelled "rali," of course) is a car or motorcycle race, such as a road rally.

A "ms." is an abbreviation for a "manuscript." Technically, in Spanish, a "señorita" is a "miss," that is, an unmarried woman, and a "señora" is a Mrs., a married woman, but in actual usage here in Spain, a "señorita" is a girl and a "señora" is a woman, married or not. To call an adult woman a señorita is an insult, a way of diminishing her. It may be different in Latin America, of course.

"Liebre" is "hare" and "conejo" is rabbit. A "conejito" is a baby rabbit or "bunny." Rabbits and hares are generally cooked here with garlic or tomato-based sauce, or in paella. Yum. (Ñam.)

Language is the oldest and most complex human technology, and one of the most fun!
16th-Feb-2011 05:18 pm (UTC) - güisqui etc
'güisqui' is certainly how I was taught to spell it at the Escuela Oficial, back in the mid Nineties, though I always preferred yintonic.

'gai' is wonderfully confusing: I saw a John Lennon song subtitled on Spanish TV years ago as, "I'm just a jealous gay".

To be fair, I think 'tuit' is the only word on your list that would have surprised me. I can't see that written down without thinking about 'round tuits' - as in, "I'll do it when I get a round tuit."
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