Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Contemporary Spanish Language

Our good buddies at Yabla (come on - Parlo HAS to like a company named Yabla) have a newsletter for those studying Spanish that we think is well worth the read. This one discusses the lyrics of a music video they have on their site. I've said it before and here's another try: this is a terrific way to study Spanish.

Spanish is the official language of Puerto Rico, yet a large portion of the population knows English, so bilingual puns play to a wide audience. Case in point, the lyrics to this cynical song by the band Polbo:

Yo era el as de las nenas, cuando tenía dinero.
Ahora sigo siendo el as/ass, en otro idioma, tú sabrás.
I was the ace of the girls, when I had money.
Now I'm still the ace/ass, in another language, you know.
captions 13-6, Polbo > Yo era tan cool

Like its English equivalent "ace," the Spanish as is both a good poker card and "a whiz" at something. The pun on as / ass works in this song because the two words are pronounced essentially the same way, with a soft "s" (unlike the word "as" in English, which is pronounced "az").

One more note regarding the bilingual audience for Yo era tan cool. The word "cool" is obviously borrowed from English. But one could argue that cool is going the way of "OK" / "okay" or "ciao" / "chau" / "chao" as a word that crosses linguistic barriers. We googled "es cool" (in Spanish) and more than 100,000 web pages came up. Cool, ¿no?

Try Yabla along with Parlo's Spanish courses - the best of both worlds! These make truly easy X-Mas gifts so what are you waiting for?


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