Tag Archives: differences between Spanish and English

Finding the Words in your Non-native Tongue

Individuals learning to write in Spanish may be surprised to find that the language does not translate directly to their native tongue. This is because languages have different sentence structures, phonetic features, and word connotations. Although the native language serves as an excellent source of support, learners of Spanish must remember that trying to translate directly from English may result in frustration due to differences between the languages, including the availability of equivalent word choices.

Since there are words in English that do not exist in Spanish (and the opposite is true as well), the language learner must learn to navigate around ideas much differently than he or she is used to navigating in the native language. This is one of the areas of second language speaking that warrants the need to avoid direct translation. Specifically, many cultural terms, such as slang words or idiomatic expressions, will not translate to any other language. Furthermore, even when there are direct translations from English to Spanish, there may be differences between the nuances of the translations (meaning that the word in one language may have a ‘stronger’ or more severe meaning in the other language).

While there are some English words that do not translate into Spanish, there are also Spanish words that do not exist in English, some of which could be incredibly useful to the English language! Many of these words are actually verb forms that help the speaker communicate particular actions. For example, the verb ‘trasnochar’ means ‘to stay up late.’ While English speakers are able to describe this action, there is not a one-word translation that can be used to refer to the same concept in English. This is an excellent example of how a concept can exist in two language but not have a linguistic equivalent.

It is important to remember that one language is not superior to another based off of its availability of word choices. Language changes over time, with new words being added by different generations of speakers. The best advice for English speakers learning Spanish is to immerse themselves in the language and culture. Since language is cultural by nature, learners are more likely to acquire the nuances of words in the second language if they are immersed in a culture that speaks that language. This type of learning is definitely a process, so it is important to be patient and maintain a heightened level of awareness when trying to acquire a language.

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Main Differences and Similarities Between Spanish and English

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Flamenco: Ilusiones; By Carmel Natan Sheli” creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Flavio~

As Spanish copywriter one of the things I offer to my clients is my knowledge of the Spanish culture. Today I will take a look to some differences between Spanish and English.

Spanish and English are similar languages in some aspects and have particular characteristics in common, while in other cases we can see notorious differences. One of this peculiar similarities is that both languages have thousands of words that are almost the same; they have just a few differences in writing and speaking between them (for example, “institución” and “institution”, “complejo” and “complex”, or “violeta” and “violet”). This was formerly caused by the Roman invasion in Great Britain centuries ago, when they mixed up the Latin with the native Celtic and Anglo-Saxon languages, and then continued over the years when in the Spanish speaking countries the new words in English were adapted and incorporated.

One important difference between Spanish and English is the adjectives and nouns position on the phrase structure. Also, while in English every name, place and special adjectives must start with capital letter, in the Spanish language this is not the same; only names and other few cases must have this condition, but location adjectives and even date names and similar ones don’t require this as an obligation.

Another determinating difference is that in Spanish the person usage can be easily noticed; there are specific words to define if the conversation (or text) is destined to a well known, relative person, or it is a serious conversation that needs formality with an unknown person. This can be seen in the “tú” (or “vos”) and the “usted” words. In English, this distinction is possible by using and remarking other kind of words, because it is always used the “you” word when must refer to another person; it is possible to use a wide range of formal and serious terms to make this possible, and changing the language depending on what person you wish to talk (or write) to.

Finally, English has a huge amount of dilaects and regional divisions, because it is spoken in several countries and places in the world, and this is influenced by the fact that English is also the international language at this time. But Spanish also have lot of regional differences but it seems easier to understand each other for Spanish speakers than the English ones.