Blogs Jul 30, 2010 at 10:50 am


man to man ... just like the Turkish oil wrestling that Joe was doing last night at Moe Bar.
Embarazada means "embarrassed". Really!
As a native of Texas: Only do the hhhhuacamole thing if you're looking to be pretentious or overly authentic. Skip it otherwise.
@2 is trying to get you in trouble.

Hard G on guacamole. "La mano" is confusing because it's one of the few words ending in "o" that is feminine, not masculine.
@3 is correct. It's really embarrassing when you guys pretend that you speak Spanish.
Hmm, I've never heard the suggestion that "guacamole" should be pronounced "authentically" (like people who pronounce Nevada as Nev-ah-dah, I assume). I learned Spanish in high school too, but I don't inflict less-understandable pronunciations on people who are listening to me just so they can be reminded that I paid attention in Spanish class.

Anyway, according to comes from the Nahuatl word "ahuacamolli" (āhuacatl "avocado" + mōlli "sauce"), so you'd better start practicing your Nahuatl accent. You wouldn't want to sound like those rubes who pronounce Nahuatl with a Spanish accent.
@3 wins for conciseness.
I would NEVER, Fnarf!

Though, we did once convince a friend in high school that aswipas = asswipe. But that's totally unrelated and I've matured since then. Ahem.
The hwacamole question reminds me of when my Wisconsin cousin told me he is a master of khara-TAY.
Converting English to Spanish is much more complicated than simply adding an "o" to the end of English words. To pick only one example, you also have to add an "e" to the beginning of words that, in English, begin with an "s" followed by another consonant. For instance, "Espanish", and "estupidass".
I use the Zapp Brannigan pronunciation: gwack-a-mohl.
There's actually a big difference between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Mexico. For one thing, the Spanish women in Spain are hotter and sexier and have way sexier accents.
Erico fromo el Bouldero FTW!
on the other hand, there are other Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America ... and guacamole goes well with adobo ...
I seriously think the "g" question is damage from my upbringing. I was born and raised in El Paso, and for whatever reason, when I learned what guacamole was—when I was eight or whatever—it was presented as a word with a silent G. My family didn't speak Spanish, and most white people in El Paso weren't at all careful with their pronunciation of common Spanish words. (The street called Noviembre was typically pronounced NO-VIM-BRAY.)

And so I must face the question: Were my parents the same type of people as #9's master-of-khara-TAY cousin?
I have this problem in that I grew up in an Italian family (like, from Italy, not from Italy-America) visiting Italy a lot and speaking a lot of Italian. When I go to Italian restaurants, I either a) don't know how to properly mispronounce stuff the American way or b) do know, but the American way pains my ears and also feels totally awkward to say (let us start with "bruschetta," for instance...oy.).

Anyway, what I end up doing a lot of times, because I don't want to be "that guy" at the restaurant who pronounces stuff in a way that sounds all overpronounced, is point at the menu and mumble until the server acknowledges what I want. Yep.

So, there you go. I think you should get a pass on the pronunciation if, say, it's natural to you but not if you're just doing it to be a douche.
Can't we all just get along?
17's right. When it comes to soothing quotes, you can't beat Rodney King.
Here is another very bad, very stupid and somewhat insulting Anglo-fied Spanish term: problema. It is confusing b/c it ends in a but is one of a small class of a-terminating Spanish words that is masculine. So, being cool and saying "no problemo" is wrong. It is "no problema" so get it straight. Saying "no problemo" tells the world that you don't know Spanish. And it makes you sound stupid, not cool, and muy muy maleducado.

So stop saying it. Now. I hate it. And I'm not the only one.

Never say it again. You have been warned.
Of course I laugh my ass off when someone says "mono a mono" because it means monkey to monkey! You can keep saying that if you want, b/c it makes me laugh. But you should know what you're saying.

Mono a mono. . . . hahaha.
The "G" in guacamole should always be pronounced as an "R".
I don't care how anyone pronounces guacamole, but I am sick of hearing my fellow Americans pronounce Chile as "chilly." Stop making us all sound like fucking morons! It's not that hard to figure out that it's pronounced "cheelay".
@16, there are certain American dispronunciations (cf. disinformation) that my brain just won't let me use. I try to compromise and pronounce the word the "correct" way, but with a strong American accent -- I think the use of sounds that don't exist in English is the biggest barrier to communication. For example, if you just couldn't handle the American "guacamole", "wockamole" would probably be better than "hhhhuacamole".
Thank you for that, STJA @ 21. There is now spittle on my screen.
#21 wins.
@23. I do that sometimes, too: use the right sounds but without the accent. Seems to be the best compromise, but I still find that a lot of servers have no idea what I'm trying to order. Or they correct me, which is always fun.

"I'll have the bru-sket-ta."

"The whaaaa...?"

"The bru-sket-ta."

"!...the bru-SHEH-ta. Sure thing!"

So then I revert to the mumbling and pointing again.
So I can't speak spanish...meh
So now I am the Sarah Palin of Slog. Shit.
Soy embarazada.
(No, Wisepunk, you are the gift that made this whole hilarious discussion possible. Thank you, and if it makes you feel any better, I thought New England was a state until I was 20.)
Doh. How did I miss comment #2?

Too many mob movies has led me to believe that mano-a-mano meant man-to-man. I need a drink.
Which women in Spain are hotter and have sexier accents, Will?
Do you know any?

Do you have any idea how many different accents there are across Spain and even here in Mexico. Which one is the sexiest?

Every non Spanish speaking American loves to brag about the fact they know that Spain Spanish and Mexican Spanish is different. Can I scream Duhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

not to get all Paul Constanty or anything but get this book:…
Neither pronunciation offends me. We pronounce our G's (usually). Spanish-people don't (always). If I'm in Mexico, I try to use the Spanish pronunciation (and so on).

But guava (gwa-) jelly sounds somehow more appetizing to these English-listening ears than wah-va jelly. Just saying.
G (in Spanish) isn't pronounced like H when it's before u, a, etc. Like Guadalajara, ganar, Gallego. Only when it comes before e or i, like gente or the first g in gigante.
@36, you pronounce the hard g lots of times in Spanish. It depends on where it is, and what follows it. Me gusta guacamole -- pronounce the hard g both times. Not as hard as the English one, but it's still there. Before e and i, it's more of a kh sound, a velar fricative, like the ch in "loch" in Scottish.

Silent? No, though depending on the accent it may come close to disappearing. I think that's where the confusion comes from -- it's certainly not "WA-ka-mo-leh". I'm studying Spanish right now, from a Valencian woman, who makes a hard g in a way that I will never be able to exactly duplicate -- but it's definitely there.
@38 Is Valencia in Mexico?…
@19: "Saying 'no problemo' tells the world that you don't know Spanish." I actually don't. So ... FYI, I guess? I'm OK with not knowing Spanish, as much as I don't know German even though I still say "gesundheit."

I also had no idea that "no problemo" was ever meant to signal coolness, except maybe for a short period c. 1992 (as popularized by Bart Simpson, who you may also know as bringing "ay caramba!" to millions of appreciative families). Or maybe it's a Canadian thing? Spanish simply isn't so prevalent here, in terms of numbers or culture.

Honestly, the feminine/masculine system is so arbitrary (from my experience with French) I generally don't blame anyone for not knowing which is which.

Getting the forms and pronunciations wrong, I think, are tiny offenses, especially since there's so much baggage tied up in it all ("am I being pretentious? oh god oh god"). Like the above, some people choose to deliberately "mispronounce" words to fit in, so how can I really tell?

But misusing foreign words entirely? That's funny.
@31: David, New England (pron: nuh-WING-glund) WAS a state until you were twenty--now it's not.
Oh, New England is still a state . . . of mind.
What @Gloria said. It's fucking stressful when half of everyone gets pissed if you use a word incorrectly and sound like a moron, but the other half gets upset if you use a word correctly and sound like a dick. It makes me want to avoid using non English words entirely, but then it also took me years to change my naturally inclined pronunciation of aunt from "ahnt" to "ant" so as not to sound pretentious.

In the end, the only thing you can really do is just not give a shit what other people think.
@43/lenore -- In the state of New England, "aunt" doesn't rhyme with "ant." Not a pretentious thing, just how it's pronounced. Like Nevada is never Nevahda, aunt is never ant in New England.

Also, the tasty little shellfish with the beautiful blue eyes? It's pronounced "scah-lop".
Schmader @18: " can't beat Rodney King."

I see what you did there.
Examples like tornado, burrito, California, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Montana, Texas are rarely pronounced "correctly" (i.e. like they would be in Spanish) because they've been Anglicized.

Both pronunciations are correct depending on the speaker.

Schmader, you're from Tejas. Drop the G when you say guacamole!

The rest of you gavas feel free to just keep calling it Gwawkamohlee.
I was told a story about a waitress at a Mexican restaurant (in the greater Los Angeles area of all places) pronouncing Pico de Gallo "Pico de Geico".
I love you, David Schmader.
@44 Better not immigrate to Canada, then. It has been quite the struggle to stop my children from saying "paasta" instead of "pahsta," "garaage" instead of "garahge," and don't even think about listening to TV commercials for "Maazdas." You "FILLet" a fish here, instead of "fiLAYing" it, and the last letter of the alphabet is zed. I have no idea how they would say scahllops in Alberta, as the only time I've had them here was at someone's house who is also from out East, and she said it right.... :)
On the "No problemo" note: I always assumed it was said that way because it's fun. And it rhymes. I never associated it with Spanish at all.

Also, to get over choosing between sounding like an idiot or sounding like a douche, I've started to pronounce things correctly but in a somewhat over the top, Americanized way. So I say "Bru-SKEH-tah," but sort of vocally acknowledge that I'm being a bit douchy. It's worked out for me so far.
@ 26 you are right, its with a hard C, not sch.
I seriously doubt anyone pronounces it huacomole.

The rules in spanish for gender are actually pretty easy and you're ignorant if you think there's as screwy as most english rules of grammar and exceptions and what not. They're very clearly vastly more regular.

As to knowing foreign languages: get with it, gringos. 12% of the population now, and soon to be 20%. In Europe they speak 2 or 3 languages so stop being so lazy and learn a few sentences in spanish and stop embarassing us, okay?

Sayanora y hasta lumbago--
@34 yes. I do.
@44 I know. I was born in Massachusetts and now I live in Texas, hence the necessity to change how I pronounce the word.

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