Learning Vocabulary with Game Shows: El Gran Estreno de 100 Latinos Dijeron 2/19/19

It’s baaaack!!

About a year ago (I checked. The last time I wrote on of these was in March of last year.) I started recording and watching 100 Mexicanos Dijeron on Univisión (and once on Galavision.) Maybe that’s misleading. I discovered that I liked watching the show and literally two weeks later it left the schedule, never to be seen again. I was bummed. Imagine my surprise and delight when I was scrolling through my twitter feed and saw this item: Read More

Vocabulary: La Boda Real en Telemundo

You know I love a good boda! The pretty dresses, the hats, the bridal couple trying not to giggle at each other, the flowers, the great music (including an Ave Maria)…all that was missing were the arras and the lazo for a proper telenovela wedding, but hey, a royal one will do.

I confess, I did not get up at 2am to catch this live, but that’s the beauty of a DVR. Here are some of the fun/interesting words I heard in the mumblemumble hours of footage…

  • Duquesa – Duchess
  • Ducado – Duchy
  • Libras esterlinas – pounds sterling
  • Dos mil millones – 2 billion (two thousand millions)
  • Cita a ciegas – blind date
  • Decimo aniversario – tenth anniversary
  • Alianza – wedding ring
  • Pasarela – runway
  • Atuendo – attire
  • Vestuarios – wardrobes
  • La nave – the nave (central part of a church building)
  • Tocado – fascinator
  • Traje de salón – lounge suit (dark suit, business suit)
  • Requisito – requirement
  • Célebre – famous
  • Apuesto – good looking
  • Flores silvestres – wildflowers
  • Actual esposa – current wife
  • Media naranja – soulmate
  • Capilla – chapel
  • Costumbre – tradition
  • Barricada – barricade
  • ¿Se afeitó? – Did he shave?
  • Algarabía – cheering
  • Comitiva – procession
  • Puntualidad – punctuality
  • Bastón – cane
  • Verde limón – lime green
  • Pajes – pages
  • Ahijados – godchildren
  • Madrugar – to get up early
  • Una mujer hecha y derecha – a grown woman
  • Austeridad – simplicity
  • Votos – vows
  • Terrenal – earthly
  • Cantares de Salomón – Song of Solomon
  • Procesión de carruajes – carriage procession
  • Corte bateau – bateau silhouette
  • Tatarabuela – great-great grandmother
  • Almuerzo – lunch
  • Botanas – appetizers
  • Soberano – sovereign
  • Asediada – hounded
  • Repostera – pastry chef
  • Desgustadores – tasters
  • Agrio – sour
  • Mirto – myrtle

Read More

Vocabulary from today’s lunch

Today, Mr. 5ft and I tried Barrio Queen in Scottsdale for lunch. I’m not much of a restaurant critic, but I know what I like.

This piece of arte is made of pieces of placas. I’d translate it as “Long live Mexico, f*ckers!” though I suppose there is probably a…milder translation.

I couldn’t convince Mr. 5ft to go for a shot of fancy tequila (the Dragones the chefs tasted on Top Chef Mexico) so I ordered us both agua de jamaica. They had a few other aguas frescas on their menu of bebidas. They’re not exactly juices, although some of them are made with fruit. Agua de jamaica is a tea or infusion made from hibiscus flowers.

For our entrada, we started with a half order of the Nachos Chingones. And I completely forgot to take a picture until our half order was about half gone. They were indeed chingones…in Kat-speak, badass. The crema was awesome and it had pieces of suuuuuper tender puerco on top.

By the time the plato fuerte arrived, I was thinking I’d made a miscalculation in ordering the nachos. Probably most of the plate ended up coming home with me. I went with the Enchiladas Tradicionales with pollo added. The sauce is a poblano mole. True confession: I’ve never actually had mole before. I ended up with both frijoles charros and frijoles negros on the side due to a miscommunication. I’m not usually a fan of frijoles negros, but these were good. I have no idea why. The frijoles charros included pieces of chorizo.

Mr. 5ft’s plate was a little more manageable. He went with a three-taco combo of cochinito pibil, chorizo con huevo, and pollo con chorizo.

And finally we rounded off the meal with a postre: flan in a Kahlua sauce, topped with chopped pecans and a fresa. Once again, I didn’t get the camera out in time, but you have to understand, I was “sharing” this with Mr. 5ft and his arms are much longer than mine, so…I had to get in there fast! Read More

What up, G?

Inspired by a conversation with Mr. 5ft, here’s a rough guide to the pronunciation of the letter G in Spanish, hopefully using some words you find familiar.

Like a G

In words where the g is followed by a, l, o, r, u, or ui the g is pronounced like a hard g in English. (Which happens to be the g sound in the word “English.”)


Like an H

In words where the g is followed by e, i, or eo, the g is pronounced like an h in English.


Like a W

In words where the g is followed by ü or ua, the g is pronounced like a w in English.


Read More

Happy National Siblings Day!

Happy Monday! In honor of National Siblings Day, enjoy this song from musical siblings Jesse y Joy: Espacio Sideral.

Quisiera darte el mundo entero, la luna, el cielo, el sol y el mar. Regalarte las estrellas en una caja de cristal….

And here’s some useful sibling-related vocabulary:

Your siblings, when speaking in general terms, are your hermanos unless they’re all sisters–in which case, they’re your hermanas. Yep, if you get even one boy in the mix, Spanish grammar rules say his presence tips the balance. (*raises a bitter fist*…just kidding, bro 🙂 )

If you have an identical twin, you might refer to them as your gemel@, or more specifically your herman@ gemel@. Fraternal twins are melliz@s. Triplets are trilliz@s. Another word for twin is “cuate” (I heard this one more often than gemel@ growing up, and you might have heard it used for a close friend).

Your older siblings are your herman@s mayores; younger siblings are herman@s menores.

Some people are content to call all of their siblings herman@s, but there are situations where they may choose to be more specific. When two siblings share only one biological parent, they may chose to refer to each other as medi@s herman@s. Sometimes siblings become siblings because their parents have partnered up, formally or informally, and refer to each other as herm@nastr@s.

We also acquire sibling relationships through marriage, or other formal or informal partnerships. The siblings of your partner are your cuñad@s, collectively. Spanish also has a special word for the partners of your cuñad@s: “concuñ@s.”

Sometimes we have friends we feel so close to, they’re like siblings. One way to describe someone like this is your herman@ del alma.

Here’s a list broken out by gender and singular/plural:

Hermanos – siblings OR brothers
Hermano – brother
Hermanas – sisters
Hermana – sister

Gemelos – identical twins or identical twin brothers
Gemelo – identical twin brother
Gemelas – identical twin sisters
Gemela – identical twin sister
Mellizos – fraternal twins or fraternal twin brothers
Mellizo – fraternal twin brother
Mellizas – fraternal twin sisters
Melliza – fraternal twin sister
Trillizos- triplets or male triplets
Trillizas – female triplets

Hermano mayor – older brother
Hermanos mayores – older siblings OR older brothers
Hermana mayor – older sister
Hermanas mayores – older sisters
Hermano menor – younger brother
Hermanos menores – younger siblings OR younger brothers
Hermana menor – younger sister
Hermanas menores – younger sisters

Medios hermanos – half-siblings OR half-brothers
Medio hermano – half-brother
Medias hermanas – half sisters
Media hermana – half-sister

Hermanastros – step-siblings OR step-brothers
Hermanastro – step-brother
Hermanastras – step-sisters
Hermanastra – step-sister

Cuñados – siblings-in-law OR brothers-in law
Cuñado – brother-in law
Cuñadas – sisters-in-law
Cuñada – sister-in-law

Concuños – the partners of your siblings-in-law OR the male partners of your siblings-in-law
Concuño – the male partner of your sibling-in-law
Concuñas – the female partners of your siblings-in-law
Concuña – the female partner of your sibling-in-law

Hermano del alma – male friend you feel as close as a sibling to
Hermana del alma – female friend you feel as close as a sibling to Read More

On Translating: Lessons learned from recapping the first season of Top Chef México

Now that the first season of Top Chef México is complete, I’m sharing the research techniques I developed for dealing with the specialized vocabulary that came up during the show. Hopefully some of this will be helpful in a general sense, but if nothing else I hope it helps when you’re struggling with food and kitchen terminology.

I knew before I started that the vocabulary was going to present a challenge. What I didn’t expect was how much more difficult it would be when I wasn’t just hearing unfamiliar words, but also seeing unfamiliar foods and ingredients, all during the course of an unscripted show.

While some of the chefs and judges may have experience speaking in front of the camera, a lot of the time people are just…talking. They’re not thinking about projecting or enunciating, and sometimes they’re nervous. It is a competition, after all!

Still, there are always the closed captions for help, right? Well, those were spotty at best and the captioners seemed to have the same problems I was having…people were difficult to hear and understand.

The show itself also puts up a caption under the official photo of each dish, with the chef’s name and a description. That was something I was used to from the US seasons and I fully expected to be able to rely on that for the bulk of the recap. That’s what the show is all about, right? Who cooked what. Yet there were times even the official captions failed me. They didn’t match up to the dishes, or the person who wrote them couldn’t hear or didn’t understand.

So, what’s a recapper to do?

The basics

Wordreference is my favorite Spanish-English dictionary. It’s fairly comprehensive, it takes into account multiple meanings and phrases that include the word being searched for, and it gives autocomplete suggestions. It also has a forum with discussions of some of the words or phrases people haven’t been able to find in the dictionary. If I understood a word well enough that I could come close enough to the spelling, Wordreference was always the first place I tried.

In a pinch, Google Translate can also come in handy, but sometimes it’s annoyingly literal.

When both those options failed me, I resorted to a plain ‘ol Google search.

Why Google?

Google search itself, without even using the translate function, is actually a great resource for looking up unfamiliar words.

First off, the autocomplete suggestions are really useful when you aren’t sure how to spell something. Take it slow, letter by letter, and look through the suggestions. Using the word “verdolagas” as an example…if I misheard the first letter as a b and not a v:

When it comes to plants and animals, Google search results have a wealth of information. Not every search will bring up the same type of information, but sometimes you get lucky:

In this example, I got the translation for albahaca without even asking for it, plus a picture to help me figure out if that translation is even remotely correct. There’s also a Wikipedia article that lists the scientific name, ocimum basilicum, which is another thing I can search for to try to figure out what something is commonly called in English.

Other potential clues from the search results can include recipes or video tutorials. Sometimes getting a look at how something is used gave me a better idea of what it was.

When a regular Google search isn’t helpful, like this search for ajo:

if you look at the options under “Images for ajo” it would appear that Google Image Search has my back:

Sometimes it helped to add some contextual words like “comida” or the category of food…pescado, verdura…to the name, if I could tell what it was by looking at it.

Other miscellaneous advice

Regardless of the search engine, branch out from dictionary and encyclopedia sites. They’re lovely, but they don’t know everything! For example, I found a lot of useful information on the various cuts of beef on sites about butchering or articles on “Como escoger el mejor corte de res para la parilla” (how to choose the best cut of beef for the grill). The more context I had, the easier it was to figure out what search terms to use to find out what things were called in English.

Another good reason not to rely solely on Spanish-English dictionaries: sometimes the word I was looking for wasn’t a word in Spanish. Many cooking terms, especially when it comes to techniques, are in French, so attempting to search in a Spanish-English dictionary isn’t always going to work.

It’s also important to remember that not everything translates. Or rather, not every word in Spanish has a corresponding word in English. Think about words like cilantro, jalapeño, ceviche. It’s possible, when you can’t find a word in English, that there isn’t one.

Depending on your skill level, some of this might sound completely obvious, but I’m hoping that somewhere in this article there’s a least one tip that will come in handy the next time you’re stuck on a word. Read More

Copa América Centenario, US vs. Colombia 6/3/16

I know, I know, you’re thinking “Seriously, Kat? You? Sportsball?” Well, Mr. 5ft likes fútbol and I like Mr. 5ft, so here we are. Hang with me, because there’s vocabulary and historical stuff.

So, maybe you watched and you were wondering what all the pre-game chatter was about….

First off, they introduced the massive team of announcers covering this shindig.

Then the abuelo and nieto sequence gave us the brief history of Copa América–it started in 1916 when Argentina wanted to celebrate the centennial of their independence. Grandpa wants his grandson to understand why this tournament is so important–it brings two continents together. Grandpa’s glad to be able to see this tournament with his grandson.

We also got the story of Andres Escobar, “el caballero del fútbol” (the gentleman). After a “gol en contra” (own goal) in a game between Colombia and the US that got the team eliminated from the tournament, Escobar went back to Colombia and was shot by a couple of drunk narcos at a restaurant. Tonight’s game is the first time in 22 years that Colombia and the US have had an official tournament match. Escobar’s siblings Santiago and María Ester and their families are on hand to help kick off the tournament. They’re dedicating the tournament opening to Andres.

Basically, all the fan party segments are “Our team will win!” The dude with the big wings is Cole, Colombia’s lucky charm. Pitbull talks a little bit about the song for the centenario, Superstar.

We get a bit about James (that’s “ham-es”) Rodriguez who sounds like a bit of a party boy, underwear model, fast driver. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out why they keep calling him a “cafetero” and apparently it’s fútbol slang for “Colombian.” OK then! As for why they’re doing a profile of him, he’s the team captain.

Xavier Sol shows off all his fancy tech toys, which annoys me, because Univision’s website sure doesn’t work as quickly or smoothly as his big touch screen display. There’s supposed to be an array of camera angles available online to choose from. There’s an app, of course, and all sorts of fancy instant analysis tools. They’re, like so over HD…these games are being shot in 4K Ultra. If you want to get online and talk about the games, you’ve got the options of @univisionsports on Twitter, UnivisionDeportes on Facebook, UnivisionDeportes on Instagram, or UnivisionDeportes.com. There’s a Copa America Centenario app available from CONCACAF, and there’s also the Univision Deportes app.

And then, hello, the big disclaimer:

We recognize that during the game it is possible that some fans in the stadium may use words or slogans that offend certain members of our audience and the community in general. Although we know this can happen at any televised sporting event, in no way do we approve of or support this language. Univision Communications Inc. supports a Copa América Centenario that includes all types of people, that celebrates the diversity of the sport that we love and that we can all enjoy, without the possibly hurtful consequences of certain words. In this sense, we will work to make sure that our own commentary and coverage includes and respects all, including the LGBT community. This is our commitment to our audience, our community and our partners.

I was not expecting that.

Opening music is provided by Magic!, which I’m told (by the captions) is a Canadian reggae-pop band, playing Lay You Down Easy.

Next up J Balvin with Ginza and Bobo.

Then Jason Derulo with Want To Want Me.

It was looking a little empty early on, but the stadium is PACKED by the time they’re ready for kickoff.

We decided Colombia’s goalie (Ospina) looks a little like Padre Vicente from La Vecina.

They pipe in the two national anthems and let the crowd sing. VP Biden gives a welcome speech (in English) talking about how we’re all welcome (aw, you’re sweet, Joe, but I think we still need to work on that) and wishes the US luck.

And then the actual game starts and that’s my cue to go to vocabulary:

  • En el arco – in goal
  • Línea de defensas – defensive line
  • Medio campo – midfield
  • Centro – center
  • Derecha – right (side of the field)
  • Izquierda – left (side of the field)
  • Punta – striker, central forward
  • Portería – goal (as a noun for the position)
  • Fondo – backfield
  • Empate – tie
  • Partido – match
  • Victoria – win
  • Las barras y estrellas – the stars and stripes
  • El arbitraje – the referees (as a group)
  • Guardanetas – netminder
  • Ombligo – center
  • Esquina – corner
  • Falta – foul
  • Cuadrado – blocked
  • Tiro de esquina – corner kick
  • Cancha – field
  • Arquero – goalie
  • Pelota – ball
  • Bloque defensivo humano – the wall (human defensive block)
  • Cambio de juego – switches the field, passes from one side to the other
  • Pelotazo largo – long pass
  • Tirarlo atras – kick it back
  • Posición adelantada – off sides
  • Pase – pass
  • Cruce – cross
  • La barrera – the wall
  • Servicio – a cross, or a corner kick
  • Pega de lejos – long-range shot
  • Penal – penalty
  • De zurda – with the left foot
  • Saque de manos – throw-in
  • Pitazo – whistle
  • La pelota no rueda más – period’s over/game’s over (the ball rolls no more)
  • El balón está en juego – the ball is in play
  • Toca cortita – short pass
  • Fuera de area – off sides
  • Amarilla – yellow (card)
  • Tiro libre – free kick
  • Esférico – ball (the sphere)
  • Cambios – substitutions
  • Barridas – tackles
  • Hombro – shoulder
  • Cinta de capitán – captain’s band
  • Desviado – deflected
  • No hay falta – no foul

That’s it from me. Scores and stuff are on Univision’s Copa América site if you’re into that sort of thing. Read More

Top Chef México Season 1 Vocabulary

A list of words and phrases from the Top Chef México Season 1 recaps. Obviously, these are primarily words related to food and cooking.

Spanish to English

This is identical to the sidebar glossary.

English to Spanish
Other languages

There are some general cooking terms here, because they tend to have come from French, but there’s also some Italian and one German word. You might be surprised at how many of these you know the meaning for, but not what the word means in the original language.

Read More