Katy Jacoby at The Bogotá Press has published an article about Colombian phrases involving animals. It is called All Happening At The Language Zoo. My favorite phrase from Katy’s list is: estar más de malas que piraña mueca. This means to be unluckier than a toothless piraña. If you would like to read this article to discover other Colombian sayings, please Click Here.
My Spanish word for today is el jeme. It is the distance between the end of the thumb and the end of the index finger when extended. Old fashioned and arbitrary, yes, but it is a measurement that is sometimes used in the countryside nowadays.
El jeme es la distancia que hay desde la extremedad del dedo pulgar a la de índice, separado uno de otro todo es posible.
In Honduras, el jeme is a measurement of length that is used when talking about plants, and is equivalent to 12 centimeters, or about 4 inches.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that the distance between your thumb and forefinger had a name. Verne has an article in Spanish about 28 things that you either did not know had a name, or that you do not know the name for. The name of the article is: El olor de la lluvia de la tierra seca y 28 otras cosas que no sabías que tenían nombre. (Petricor is the Spanish word for what dry earth smells like after rain has fallen. In English it is petrichor – a pleasant smell that frequently accompnies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.) A few examples of words that you will find in this article are: diastema – the space between your teeth; ginecomastia – manboobs; sangradura – the inner angle of the elbow; vitola – cigar band; and, giste – the foam on top of a glass of beer. This article is a lot of fun to read.
A few days ago, I read an interesting post at Being Happiness by Ben Curtis. An Englishman who has spent the last 18 years living in Spain, Ben wrote an article entitled What Spain Has Given Me. Ben has enjoyed many wonderful things while living and working in Spain such as: the delicious food of Asturias, beautiful landscapes, the Spanish language, friends and family.
In reading the article, I was struck by another thing that Ben has enjoyed by living in Spain – a “sort of surrogate Catalan family in a small village north of Barcelona that I visit often”. I realized that I did not know the Spanish word for surrogate. Word Reference gives sustituo/a and suplente as Spanish translations. The dictionary gives examples of sustituto to convey the meaning of a substitute or an alternative. The examples given for suplente convey the meaning of a replacement. Neither of these translations communicated the spirit of family love that Ben wrote about. I was curious about how one would say surrogate family in Spanish, so I asked at the Word Reference Forum.
There was a little bit of a confusing discussion about which word to use for surrogate, which included the adjective putativ0/a(putative), and the nounacogido/a (refugee). In the end, it was suggested that familia de sustitución o familia de adopción would be appropriate. Familia de adopción sounds the best to me.
So, there you have my somewhat complicated experience in trying to learn the Spanish translation of surrogate.
I love reading the Being Happiness blog. Ben shares his ideas about what consitutes happiness through personal writing, art, and photography. If you are curious, go to beinghappiness.com