15 October 2009

Having fun with Spanish

Now that you have spent all that time (I hope) studying Spanish vocabulary, verb conjugation, and grammar it is time to put your skills to the test and have a little fun at the same time. Mexican people have a very good sense of humor and are always ready to smile and laugh. There are some simple phrases that you can throw into the mix that never fail to evoke a positive response. Let's begin with one of my favorites:

"¿Conejo Blas adonde vas?"
(Rabbit Blas where are you going ?)

You can use this phrase whenever you see someone walking past at a brisk pace or with an intense purpose to their stride. The origin is a song for children called "La Cacería" (The Hunt) written in 1935 by Francisco Gabilando Soler who is affectionately known by one and all as "Cri-Crí, el grillo cantor (Cri-Crí, the singing cricket). The first verse goes like this:

¿Conejo Blas adonde vas
Con esa escopeta colgándote atrás?
Conejo Blas ven por aquí
Que un favorcito te voy a pedir.

¿Rabbit Blas where are you going
With that shotgun hanging down behind you?
Rabbit Blas come over here
There is a little favor I´m going to ask you.

You can see all of the words to the song and listen to Cri-Crí himself sing them by following this link: http://www.cri-cri.net/Canciones/lacaceria.html

This song was also featured in a movie staring Pedro Infante in 1948 called "Los Tres Huastecos". It is about three brothers who were born triplets but who grew up in separately in San Luis Potosí, Veracrus, and Tamaulipas after their mother died. Pedro Infante plays all three parts and the brothers are seen together through special cinematography. It is a classic old Mexican movie. If you use this phrase"¿Conejo Blas adonde vas?" I know that you will impress your Mexican friends and neighbors and make them smile.

Another favorite of mine is:

"¿Qué te pasa calabaza?"
(What's happening pumpkin?)

It just means "What's happening with you?" and the calabaza is thrown in because it rhymes with "pasa". If someone asks you "¿Qué te pasa calabaza?" you should reply by saying:

"Nada, nada limonada"
(Nothing, nothing lemonade)

How about:

"¿Qué milanesas que no bisteces?"
(What wiener schnitzels and no beefsteaks!)

It is a play on words meaning more or less:

"¡Qué milagro! Hay mucho tiempo que no te había visto".
(What a miracle! It's been such a long time since I've seen you!)

Another phrase meaning "¿Qué pasa?" is "¿Qué Pachuca por Toluca?"

Instead of saying "sí" for yes try saying "simón" pronounced see-MOHN. It is slang for "yes".

Instead of saying "Igualmente" ("Same to you!" or "You too!") when someone says something like "Que tenga un buen día" (Have a nice day) you can say "Iguanas ranas" (ee-GWAN-ahs RAH-nahs) (iguanas-frogs). It is a play on words and means the same as "Igualmente".

When someone comes back from a gathering and you want to hear all the latest "chisme" (CHEEZ-meh) (gossip) you can say "Cuéntamelo" or "Cuéntame todo" (Tell me everything). If the other person hesitates you can always say, "Escupe Lupe" (ehss-KOO-pay LOO-peh) or in other words "Spit it out Lupita". Finally, copy the following sentence on a piece of paper:

¿No es lo mismo decir "Carlos Emetario Saturino Guajardo" que "sacarlo meterlo sacudirlo y guardarlo"?

Give the piece of paper to a friend and tell them that you are having trouble with your Spanish and that you need their help. Get them to explain it to you. This is your homework assignment. I'll bet you a lunch that you get a big laugh!


Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

My family loves Cri-Cri. Hubby will play our CD in the shop and my 4 kids will stop whatever they are doing to dance and sing along with Cri-Cri!

One saying that my grandpa always used was "Entiendes Mendez".

Bob, I'm curious to know if you've written about the "albur". (I don't know if that is the correct spelling.)

Saludos y espero te encuentres bien en compañia de tu esposa.

Bob Mrotek said...

You are referring to the verb "alburear"...to make a pun. No, I haven't written about this. It is a delicate subject because most of the puns used in albureando are of a vulgar and sexual nature with double or even triple meanings. Besides, most non-native Spanish speakers never achieve the level of proficiency needed to alburear. For my part, I decided that it is better to avoid anything that might offend someone and to "alburear" is like playing with fire. In regard to your comment "Saludos y espero te encuentres bien en compañia de tu esposa" I say, ¡Iguanasranas!

Carl said...

I would love to see you do an article on tongue twisters. My spanish is very limited and the best experience I have ever had with a native spanish speaker was her showing me a few. She laughed a lot as a result.

All I remember was three sad tigers.

I turned the tables on her when I brought up seashells on the seashore.

It was fun for both of us.

Bob Mrotek said...

Okay Carl, I'll see what I can do :)

bordersaside said...

So my favorite of those is "Iguanas ranas" and I will use it with my hubby. He has a hard time explaining this kind of thing to me so I love when you write these posts. As far as tongue twisters here is something funny. Have you ever read Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss. It seriously hurts to read it. But I have a friend who knows just enough english to read small words out loud. So he was reading Dr. Seuss books to my daughter. When he got to Fox in Sox, I giggled to myself because I figured he would butcher it. But actually he nailed the entire thing. I realized the hardest part about the phrases is that he tricks you to think its going to be a different word and that is what makes it so hard. But if your not a native English speaker you have no expectations. Isn't the brain so interesting.

YayaOrchid said...

This post was so much fun! I especially appreciate the video clip. That's one movie I would love to be able to see in its entirety. But 'tis true about Mexicans having a good sense of humor, and actually being quite funny! Thanks for sharing.

Rodney said...

Great post, I'm going to try these out with my tutor tomorrow!!

Karen said...

I love these. It always throws my hubby for a loop when I know something like these, so I will definitely be using them. He uses tons and then can't (or won't) explain them. He uses a lot of slang and although I occasionally follow his lead, not so much since he tells me I am being "grosera". Seems a lot of it is appropriate for a youngish man but not for a 50ish woman. Simon is one I have wondered about, and guey. His buddies and he use "Carnal, Que onda guey?" a lot. He also likes to sing "Happy Birthday" with "sapo verde eres tu" (green toad are you) instead, kind of like our "you look like a monkey" line. And "entiendes, Mendez" is a favorite in our house, too, since it is not a "groseria". Another favorite of mine is the "Sana, sana colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, te sanas manana" (heal, heal frog tail, if you don't heal today, you heal tomorrow) that he tells me when I feel bad or hurt myself.

Bob Mrotek said...

The next time that you want him to do something prefix it with "Hazme un cavor fabrón", and then enjoy the look on his face :)

Generacion Googleinstein said...

Otras frase muy famosa, que se puso de moda con la telenovela quinceañera fué "Sereno Moreno" y que tal las del chapulín colorado? y las nuevas de Derbez?? Pregúntame...

Bob Mrotek said...

Señor Googleinstien,

A mi me parece que usted es "Más ágil que una tortuga, más fuerte que un ratón, más noble que una lechuga, su escudo es un corazón..." ¿Cómo ves?

Jim B said...

Gracias Sr. Bob!! In my Spanish 101 class, our Profesora offered another, but it is not as cute: Lunes, martes, miercoles - tres.
Jueves, viernes, sabado, seis. Domingo, siete,
y sabe ya que la semana completa esta.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.