16 January 2010

Thirty something...

If you're smart you will never ask a woman's age after her 30th birthday. In Mexico it is no different than in the United States. In fact, in Mexico it is considered quite rude. You can try asking a woman's age but more than likely you are not going to get a straight answer especially since people generally don't like to tell lies directly. To ask a woman her age straight out you can say, "¿Cuántos años tienes?" if you know her well, and if you don't you can say something like, "Disculpe señora. ¿Cuántos años tiene usted? ".

Here are some of the answers that you might get and the good thing for you ladies is that if you learn these answers in Spanish you can use them too:

Treinta y tantos
. ( TRAIN-tah ee TAHN-tohs)
Thirty something.

Ta y ocho (ta-ee-oh-choh) When spoken quickly it sounds like tai-OH-choh.
After the number twenty all the rest of the 10's in Spanish end in the letters "ta" as in treinta, cuarenta, cincuenta, sesenta, setenta, ochenta, y noventa. In effect what you are saying with "ta y ocho" is that your age could be 38, or 48, or 58 etcetera, all the way up to 98.

Treinta y meses. ( TRAIN-tah ee MESS-ess)
Thirty and months.

Apenas trienta y cinco. (ah-PEY-nahs TRAIN-tah ee SEENK-oh)
Barely thirty five.

Lo que represento.
The age that I look.

And...last but not least if you really want to sound indignant you can use the following put-down:

Los años son para vivirse y no para contarse.
The years are for living and not for counting.

¡ Buena suerte !
Good luck!


Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I still haven't gotten to that point where I refuse to say my age. Tengo treinta y cinco y me siento de quince!:D

YayaOrchid said...

Those are all excellent retorts. I'm glad I don't feel that way about aging at all. The only thing I see as negative are the physical ailments associated with age.

GlorV1 said...

I'm old now. That's fine though because I don't feel old. I've many decades behind me, but feel fresh as a strawberry. I've seen many moons and still wonder if they are made of cheese.:DDD
Listen to me. Never mind my age, just be happy for me. I'm 30. Like for real. hehehe

Suzanne said...

Gloria, you made me laugh and like Bob's post, I can't tell which of the answers you are giving! But I'll take 30.

For me tengo 58 menos quarenta en mis pensamientos. o mis suenos!

Bob, can you elaborate on the word apenas? my neighbors seem to use this in every other sentence and I can never tell what exactly they are meaning. sometimes it's like a pity, or shy or some other thing, but when my neighbor Marta explains it in Spanish to me it's like knowing the difference between alli, alla aqui, aka... you get what I mean, it's the fine points I can't quite figure out

abrazos to you and Gina


Bob Mrotek said...

Leslie, Yaya, Gloria, and Suzanne...We're not getting older. We're getting better!


"Apenas" is an adverb generally used in conjunction with something that is just about to happen or has just occurred. It normally carries the connotation:

just (as in "just a little while", or "just in time")
very little (almost none)
very low (as in volume)
a mere (as in "scant")

Here is the thing. If someone is talking fast and you are listening slowly you might confuse "apenas" with other similar sounding words. "Apenas" , the adverb, is not to be confused with the verb "apenar", which means to sadden, or the past participle "apenado", which means ashamed, or the noun "pena" which can mean shame or embarrassment as in "Tengo mucha pena contigo" (I feel shame or guilt regarding you.)

Suzanne said...

Thank you for this great and simply put explanation, this is exactly what I needed. I am going to print this out and do some serious practicing as this one has been eluding me for some time.

Alice said...

I quite like being over 30! Age seems to make me look like a more believable adult and teacher.

Bob Mrotek said...

Some day you will get like me. I like being over 30 but I don't like being over 60 one bit :)

Unknown said...

Bob, you are so poetic! I had been twenty eight for the last sixteen years! Y usted, ¿Cuántos años tiene? Claro, si no es indiscreción.

Bob Mrotek said...


62 and holding :)

bordersaside said...

You know I just had my birthday and although in the states a stranger wont ask your age most deff if you have some type of celebration someone will ask you. Not once did anyone ask me at our party. And it struck me as odd.

Steven Adkins said...

Thanks for the post! I graduated with a degree in Spanish but the most useful material after school is references such as your blog because it teaches all the things outside of the educational curriculum (or outside the box). Thanks again, look forward to future posts!

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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.