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How to Say “Sorry” in Spanish

There are many reasons why it’s important to be able to say “sorry” in Spanish, or any other language you’re learning. It’s one of the first things you learn when you start learning a language, and we’re sure you know why. Not only is it useful; it also shows manners, and those are important to have no matter where you are. That said, you’ll be glad that you learned how to say sorry in Spanish culture!

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re on a trip to Spain, you’re walking down the street, and you accidentally bump into someone. They might not know you’re a tourist who doesn’t speak much Spanish, so you have two options here: you could choose not to say anything and look like the bad guy, or you could apologize and show how polite you are.

Girl Asking to be Forgiven

This is only one example of where you would need to say that you’re sorry in Spanish on a simple short trip to Spain, but if you’re planning on a longer trip—or on moving there—you’ll soon start to make Spanish-speaking friends. Even if you’re a friendly person, there are many situations where your friends might require an apology. You could forget their birthday, or you could…step on their dog’s tail by accident? Or what if you meet a special someone and you forget an important date? Anything could happen.

As you can see, the list could go on and on. We all make mistakes sometimes, and because we’re sure you’re a good person, we’re going to help you learn a few different ways to say “sorry” in the Spanish language, and how and when you should use each of them. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Spanish Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Nine Ways of Saying “Sorry” in Spanish
  2. Four other Sentences You Might Use to Apologize:
  3. Six Different Answers You Might Get after Apologizing:
  4. How SpanishPod101.com can Help You Learn Spanish

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1. Nine Ways of Saying “Sorry” in Spanish

1- Perdón

When learning how to say “sorry” in the Spanish language, one of the first words you need to know is perdón. Perdón is the most common way of saying “sorry,” and this also happens to be the Spanish word for “forgiveness”. We don’t consider this word to be formal or informal, because this word can be used in different contexts. But do keep in mind that it’s always used in minor incidents such as the situation in the example below.

Example: Perdón, creo que he cogido tu lápiz sin querer.
Translation: “Sorry, I think I unintentionally grabbed your pencil.”

Another situation when you could apologize using the word perdón would be the first example we mentioned before, which is if you bump into someone by accident.

2- Lo siento

Lo siento is another common way to apologize in Spanish, and is usually the first one you learn when starting to learn Spanish, because it’s not as limited in meaning as the word perdón. It literally means “I feel it” and it translates to “I’m sorry.”

It can be used in a much wider sense than the word perdón: You can use it for both minor and major incidents. For example, it can be used to offer your condolences after your friend broke up with someone, or after someone has been fired.

This one has a few simple variations: If you’re not just sorry, but very sorry, you say: Lo siento mucho. You use a third version, Lo siento muchísimo, if you’re very, very sorry.

Example: Marta, lo siento mucho, me acabo de enterar de lo de tu padre.
Translation: “I’m so sorry, Marta, I just heard about your father.”

There’s still one last very common variation of this phrase, which consists of forming a sentence that starts with siento, still meaning “I’m sorry,” followed by the action or situation you’re sorry for. Don’t worry, we’ll give you an example of this one too.

Example: Siento que hayas tenido que pasar por esto.
Translation: “I’m sorry you had to go through this.”

3- Lo lamento

This phrase is very similar to Lo siento, but it’s generally used either when you regret something or in sad situations, such as when offering your condolences. Lo lamento is, by far, not as commonly used as Lo siento, so there’s no need to worry about memorizing this one right away.

Example: Me he pasado con esta broma. Lo lamento.
Translation: “I went too far with this prank. I’m so sorry.”

4- Perdona

Perdona is another very common word in Spanish, and it translates to “excuse me.” Some people say that all waiters and waitresses are actually called “Perdona,” as that’s what one commonly uses to call them. You should also use this word if you want to ask a stranger for directions.

Example: Perdona, ¿me puedes pasar la sal?
Translation: “Excuse me, could you pass me the salt?”

5- Perdone (formal)

Perdone is basically the formal version of perdona, because it follows the conjugation of the form usted, instead of (the common “you”). If you don’t know much Spanish yet, don’t worry about it, as it’s not that common anymore and it’s very likely you’ll never have to use it. We’ll use the same example we used with the form perdona, but translated to “pardon” so the difference is more obvious. Also notice that the main verb of the question also changes from puedes to puede.

Example: Perdone, ¿me puede pasar la sal?
Translation: “Pardon, would you mind passing the salt?”

6- Perdóname

This one might sound similar to the previous two words in the list, but it actually has a different meaning, which is “forgive me.” You can also say perdona when you mean to say “forgive me,” but not the other way around; so you don’t say perdóname when you mean to say just a casual “excuse me.”

Example: Perdóname, no pretendía hacerte daño.
Translation: “Forgive me, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

7- Disculpa or discúlpame

This word, disculpa, has the exact same meaning as perdona, but it’s slightly more polite. While you can use perdona in all situations, this word is more limited in use. For example, a young person doesn’t usually say disculpa to friends or family, but rather when addressing a stranger, a teacher, or a boss.

While perdona and perdóname don’t always have the same meaning, disculpa and discúlpame are completely interchangeable.

Example: Disculpa/discúlpame, se te han caído las llaves.
Translation: “Excuse me, you dropped your keys.”

Handshake

8- Disculpe (formal)

Similar to the difference between perdona and perdone, disculpe is the formal version of disculpa. It can be translated to “pardon” or “I beg your pardon.” We’ll use the same example as we did with disculpa, with a couple of changes to make the difference more obvious.

Example: Disculpe, señor, se le han caído las llaves.
Translation: “Pardon, sir, you dropped your keys.”

9- Mi más sentido pésame

Looking for how to say “sorry for your loss” in Spanish? This last phrase can only be used during funerals or when offering your condolences. As we mentioned previously, you can also use Lo siento or Lo lamento, but this one is much more specific and standard.

Example: Tu padre era un gran hombre. Mi más sentido pésame.
Translation: “Your father was a great man. My deepest condolences.”


2. Four other Sentences You Might Use to Apologize:

3 Ways to Say Sorry

When you truly want to apologize to someone, you don’t just say “sorry” and leave, right? In situations like this, you’ll want to know other sentences that might be useful someday if you need to apologize to someone in Spanish. As opposed to the previous list, these phrases are pretty easy to translate into English and their meanings, once you understand them, will make perfect sense. Don’t worry, we’re going to give you examples of every single one. Here’s our shortlist of helpful phrases regarding how to say “sorry” in Spanish culture.

Girl Saying Sorry

1- No era mi intención (“It was not my intention”)

Example: Siento haberte hecho daño. No era mi intención.
Translation: “I’m sorry I hurt you. It was not my intention.”

2- No lo volveré a hacer (“I won’t do it again”)

Example: Perdón por comerme tu bocadillo. No lo volveré a hacer.
Translation: “I’m sorry I ate your sandwich. I won’t do it again.”

3- No volverá a pasar/ocurrir (“It won’t happen again”)

Example: Sé que he cometido un error, pero no volverá a ocurrir.
Translation: “I know I made a mistake, but it won’t happen again.”

4- No debería haberlo hecho (“I shouldn’t have done it”)

Example: Creía que estaba haciendo lo correcto, pero estaba equivocado. No debería haberlo hecho.
Translation: “I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it.”


3. Six Different Answers You Might Get after Apologizing:

Saying Sorry

Just like in English, there are a few different ways of accepting an apology in Spanish. In Spanish, there are only a few of these responses and they’re pretty simple to understand, as they all have a direct translation to English and a very clear meaning, so once again, they don’t require an explanation.

It’s Ok

1- No te preocupes (“Don’t worry”)

Example: A: ¿Te he pisado? ¡Perdón!
B: No te preocupes, ni lo he notado.
Translation: A: “Did I step on you? I’m sorry!”
B: “Don’t worry, I didn’t even feel it.”

2- No pasa nada (“It’s nothing”)

Example: A: Ay, lo siento, he vertido un poco de agua.
B: No pasa nada, voy a por un trapo.
Translation: A: “Oh, I’m sorry, I dropped a bit of water.”
B: “It’s nothing, I’ll go get a cloth.”

3- No importa (“It doesn’t matter”)

Example: A: ¿Ayer fue tu cumpleaños? Perdóname, ¡se me olvidó!
B: No importa.
Translation: A: “Your birthday was yesterday? Forgive me, I forgot!”
B: “It doesn’t matter.”

4- Te perdono (“I forgive you”)

Example: A: Lo siento, mamá, he roto una taza. ¿Me perdonas?
B: Claro que te perdono.
Translation: A: “I’m sorry, Mom, I broke a cup. Can you forgive me?”
B: “Of course I forgive you.”

Broken Cup

5- Gracias (“Thanks”)

Example: A: Mi más sentido pésame.
B: Gracias.
Translation: A: “I’m sorry for your loss.”
B: “Thanks.”

6- No es culpa tuya (“It’s not your fault”)

Example: A: Lo siento mucho, pero no puedo ir esta noche, mi padre está enfermo.
B: No es culpa tuya, ya nos veremos en otro momento.
Translation: A: “I’m so sorry, but I can’t go tonight, my dad is sick.”
B: “It’s not your fault, I’ll see you some other time.”


4. How SpanishPod101.com can Help You Learn Spanish

Now you know how to say “sorry” in Spain, but what if you wanted to visit Mexico? You can click on the following link to learn Common Ways to Say Sorry in Mexican Spanish. You’ll see that some of these sentences are the same, or very similar, but you might learn some interesting new ones!

If you’re not sure how to pronounce some of these words, you can check out SpanishPod101.com’s guide on Spanish Pronunciation.

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish. For example, if you follow this link, you’ll find hundreds of different useful vocabulary lists in Spanish. But hey, that’s not all! We have all the resources you need to become fluent in the language and knowledgeable in the culture. Just visit our website, explore, and learn!

We hope this article on how to say “sorry” in the Spanish language was helpful to you. Continue practicing, and it won’t be long until you master the art of how to say “sorry” in Spanish culture. Best of luck!

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Tomato Fight: Spain’s La Tomatina Festival

During La Tomatina, Spain’s citizens throw tomatoes at each other. This Tomato Fight in Spain takes place every year, and has a rather fascinating origin story. In this article, you’ll learn several La Tomatina facts to increase your cultural knowledge. And maybe you can convince your country to start a tomato-throwing festival… ;)

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative. So let’s get started!

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1. What is La Tomatina?

As for the La Tomatina history, the Tomatina Festival began in 1945, when a parade for another festivity called the “Feast of Giants and Big-Heads,” refused to allow certain young people to take part in it. This led to a fight between the young people and the parade directors. At some point, one of the young people fell down, and the others took advantage of a vegetable stand nearby; they all began hurling tomatoes at each other, until police finally came to end the dispute. Those involved had to pay for the damage.

Today, this momentous and rather ridiculous event is commemorated as the La Tomatina Festival.

2. When is La Tomatina Festival?

Big Tomato

The date of La Tomatina varies each year, as it takes place on the last Wednesday in August. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: August 28
  • 2020: August 26
  • 2021: August 25
  • 2022: August 31
  • 2023: August 30
  • 2024: August 28
  • 2025: August 27
  • 2026: August 26
  • 2027: August 25
  • 2028: August 30

3. La Tomatina Traditions

People Throwing Tomatoes at Each Other

The celebration begins the night before. Paellas are prepared in the square and everybody drinks wine. Early the next morning, all retailers with stores in the Plaza are busy protecting their doors and windows.

At ten o’clock in the morning, the “soap stick” occurs. It involves climbing a slippery pole, which has been greased, to reach a ham that’s been put up on top. The start signal is given when someone takes down one of the hams. At this time, trucks fill the plaza with tomatoes. From here, the fight ends at a specified time.

Certain rules have been established by the Town Hall to prevent any altercations. Most importantly, only tomatoes can be thrown. Another rule is that you cannot rip the shirts off of the other participants. They also ask that tomatoes be crushed, so that they don’t cause any damage when thrown. It’s also important to be careful and keep away from the trucks carrying tomatoes toward the square.

One should bear in mind that when the second shot is heard, everyone should stop throwing tomatoes. Also, for safety reasons, it’s recommended to wear glasses and gloves.

4. The Tomatoes

Do you know where the tomatoes that are used in La Tomatina come from?

The tomatoes come from Xilxes Castellón. These cost far less money and are grown in fact specifically for these celebrations, since they are not good enough to eat.

5. Useful Vocabulary for La Tomatina

Tomatina

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Tomatina in Spain!

  • Camión — “Truck”
  • Rojo — “Red”
  • Tomate — “Tomato”
  • Gigante — “Giant”
  • Gente — “People”
  • La tomatina — “Tomatina”
  • Lucha de tomate — “Tomato fight”
  • Palo jabón — “Greasy pole”
  • Buñol — “Buñol”
  • Cabezudo — “Big head puppet”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Tomatina vocabulary list!

How SpanishPod101 Can Help You Master Spanish

What do you think of La Tomatina? A unique and wildly entertaining holiday, no? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

To continue learning about Spanish culture and the language, explore SpanishPod101.com! We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner:

  • Insightful blog posts on an array of cultural and language-related topics
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  • Much, much more!

If you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, or want to give it a try, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own personal teacher and a personalized learning plan based on your needs and goals.

Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, know that your hard work and determination will pay off. You’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Spanish like a native before you know it! And SpanishPod101.com will be here with you on each step of your journey to language mastery.

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Guide to Understanding Body Gestures in Spanish

Thumbnail

Every culture has its own body gestures and language, but sometimes we don’t even realize we do them until someone points it out.

People say you’re not completely fluent in a language until you master idioms, sayings, and gestures, even if they’re not necessary to speak well. We agree that knowing body gestures to improve your Spanish is essential… But there’s a problem: body gestures in Spanish lessons are so hard to come by!

When it comes to some gestures, there’s nothing to worry about, since they’re understood worldwide, such as waving to say hello or goodbye. But then there are others that might leave you a little bit confused. Do you feel like you don’t understand body language in Spanish, or gestures in European countries in general? You’re in the right place, then, because this is where we’re going to help you understand gestures in Spain.

Here’s an example:

What would you think it meant if someone were to hold their palm up as if they were doing karate, and then move it repeatedly toward their stomach while they’re laughing? There’s no need to be scared. They’re not going to cut you in half or anything like that. It just means they thought something was really funny! Would you have guessed that? Maybe, or maybe not.

There are a few more Spanish body language and gestures like this, and some are easier to understand than others. Some of these will generally be accompanied by words, but some won’t. If this sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. Lucky for you, we’re here to make that process easier. We’ve created this guide so that you can understand these gestures; soon enough, you’ll notice you’re doing them yourself without even thinking about it! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Spanish Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Three Gestures for Greeting
  2. Seven Negative Gestures
  3. Three Positive Gestures
  4. Six Neutral Gestures
  5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn Spanish

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1. Three Gestures for Greeting

Nonverbal communication in Spanish culture starts with greetings! Here are some of the most common Spain gestures and greetings.

1- Hola and Adiós

Girl Saying Hello

Meaning: “Hello” and “Goodbye”

How to do: This type of greeting is pretty common. You just need to put one of your hands up, not completely open, and shake from left to right and back at least a couple of times.

When or where to use: You can use this gesture to say hello to someone you see, or goodbye when they’re leaving. If you’re really happy to see them, you can do this movement more energetically and repeatedly.

Take a look at our previous article on How to Say “Hello” in Spanish!

2- Dos besos

Woman and Man Kissing Each Other on the Cheeks

Meaning: “Two kisses on the cheeks”

How to do: Kiss a person twice, once on each cheek. But keep in mind that you won’t actually be kissing them, but only pretending to. You must always start by leaning to your left side, which is their right cheek. Notice that in other countries, such as France, they start on the other side.

When or where to use: This greeting is typically used between a woman and a man, or a woman and another woman—or between kids. If you’re two men, but you’re from the same family, you can also give him dos besos.

3- Dar la mano

Handshake

Meaning: “Handshake”

How to do: Shaking hands in Spain is easy: it’s just a normal handshake. We’re sure you’ve seen this one before, but just in case, all you need to do is hold and shake someone’s hand while facing them.

When or where to use: Shake hands if the greeting is for professional reasons or between two men. It can also mean you’ve just made an agreement.


2. Seven Negative Gestures

Spanish hand gestures

As in any country, there are negative body gestures in Spain that you should know and be aware of. These include offensive hand gestures in Spain and Spanish swear gestures! Learn the most common ones here.

1- Así, así, or Regular

Meaning: “So, so”

How to do: Hold your hand open with your palm facing down in front of you, and softly shake it left to right two or three times.

When or where to use: Use this gesture when someone asks you how you’re doing and you’re not doing that great.

2- Te voy a dar

Meaning: “I’m going to get you.”

How to do: Hold your palm up diagonally near your face as if you were going to do some karate, and move your wrist from left to right several times.

When or where to use: If you ask any Spaniard about this gesture, there’s a clear image that they would immediately think of, which is the image of an angry mother coming after you when you’ve been naughty.

3- Dedo medio

Middle Finger Sign

Meaning: “Middle finger”

How to do: You know this one! It’s one of the most offensive finger gestures in Spain. Put your middle finger up, facing whoever you want to show it to.

When or where to use: You can use this gesture in different situations, such as when you’re driving and a crazy driver does something dangerous near you. Basically, use it when you’re mad at someone.

4- Caradura

Meaning: “Shameless”

How to do: Open your palm and tap your cheek. The literal meaning of caradura is, in fact, “hard face,” so when you’re doing this, you’re showing how hard that person’s face is.

When or where to use: We’ll give you a very common example. Do any of your friends always manage to avoid paying when you all go out, while everyone else is paying for their part? Surely, we all have one of those. Well, that’s a clear example of a caradura.

5- Estoy harto or Estoy hasta aquí

Meaning: “I’m fed up.”

How to do: Do you know that typical salute you see in movies that soldiers do when they greet a superior? You know, when they move their hand up to their forehead. Well, this gesture obviously has a very different meaning, and it’s not exactly the same, but it’s actually done in a similar way.

You need to hold your hand in the same way, but the position will be horizontal instead of vertical. Estoy hasta aquí literally means “I’m until here.” Because you’re touching your head, it refers to the fact that you’re fed up from toes to head.

When or where to use: The name says it all: you’ll use this gesture when you’re fed up.

6- Está loco/loca

Meaning: “He/she is crazy”

How to do: With your index finger, tap your head on one side a few times, frowning a little.

When or where to use: Once again, it’s all in the name. When you want to point out to someone that they (or someone else) is crazy, you can use this gesture.

7- Dinero

Handing Someone Money

Meaning: “Money”

How to do: This one is quite international. Rub your thumb against your index finger and middle finger.

When or where to use: Use this gesture when talking about money. You can use it to mean that you need money, or that something you’ve seen is very expensive.


3. Three Positive Gestures

1- Partirse de risa

Meaning: “Laugh really hard”

How to do: As we mentioned before, what you need to do is hold your palm up as if you were going to do some karate movement, and then move it at least a couple of times directly to your stomach. Because it refers to something being funny, you’ll normally laugh while you do it.

When or where to use: This gesture can be used after someone tells a joke, or after you or someone else said something funny or silly. You can use it if you actually think what they said was funny, but you can also use it sarcastically, accompanied by a sarcastic “Ha, ha.”

If you want to laugh while you practice your Spanish listening skills, take a look at this list of Spanish comedians.

2- ¡Madre mía!

Meaning: “Oh my God!”

How to do: Hold one of your hands limp, or both hands for emphasis, and waggle it up and down for a few seconds.

When or where to use: The most common use is when you’re about to tell someone some new gossip or something very exciting, as well as after someone says something like this to you.

3- Tirón de orejas

Meaning: “Ear pull”

How to do: With your index finger and thumb, pull a kid’s ear lobule as many times as years he or she is turning that day, while counting them. The last pull is always a bit harder than the others.

When or where to use: As you might have guessed from the previous explanation, you’ll use this gesture when it’s a kid’s birthday.

If you’re feeling confident in Spanish, you might enjoy reading this article on why we pull ears on people’s birthday.


4. Six Neutral Gestures

1- Comer

Meaning: “To eat”

How to do: Hopefully this one will be easy to understand. Do you know that typical Italian hand gesture? Yes, you know, the one you do when you pretend to speak Italian. Well, it’s the same hand gesture, but you direct it to your mouth. And no, you don’t need to do your “Italian face” either.

When or where to use: We use this gesture when we want to ask someone if they would like to eat.

To learn some more about food in Spanish, check out our Top 10 Foods That Will Make You Live Longer and our Top 10 Foods That Will Kill You Faster articles.

2- Mucha gente

Meaning: “Crowded room”

How to do: Hold your palm up, keeping your fingers straight and facing up, and then open and close them a few times.

When or where to use: You can use this gesture, for example, when someone asks you how something you did went, such as a trip or a night out, and you want to describe that there were a lot of people.

3- Pedir la cuenta

Meaning: “Asking for the bill”

How to do: We find this gesture pretty interesting. You have to extend one of your hands with your palm facing up, and then extend your other hand, usually the one you use for writing, and pretend to scribble something on your other hand.

When or where to use: This is the gesture you use to ask for the bill in a restaurant without having to use any words, even though it could also be used while you say: La cuenta, ¿por favor? which means “The bill, please?”

Check out some tips for eating at restaurants in Spain.

4- ¿Lo pillas?

Meaning: “Do you get it?”

How to do: Hold your index finger and thumb up while the rest of your fingers are closed, and pretend to hold an object with them while you twist your wrist towards the other person. Your fingers will be a bit more open than in the image.

When or where to use: We normally use this gesture after telling a joke or a pun.

5- Estar muy delgado or Estar como un fideo

Index Finger Pointing Up

Meaning: “To be skinny”

How to do: There are a couple of very similar options, and both of them include holding your fist up and extending one finger out. One of these versions is to extend your pinky finger, and the other one is to show your index finger. Both mean the same thing, so don’t worry.

When or where to use: You can use this gesture when you’re talking to someone about somebody else who you think is (or became) very skinny, or when you see someone and point out to them that they lost weight, or are thin in general. It can be used in a negative or positive way.

Here are some more words that will help you describe the way someone looks.

6- Ojo or Mira

Meaning: “Watch out” or “Look”

How to do: You need to put your index finger on your cheekbone under your eye, and pull it once or twice.

When or where to use: You can use this gesture when you want to tell your friend to look at something or someone without using words. You can also use it to tell them to be careful.


5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn Spanish

We know this might seem complicated, especially when you’re starting to learn a language, but there’s nothing to worry about. As we mentioned before, these gestures aren’t necessary to speak Spanish, or to understand it, but they’re helpful and make communication more natural. We’re sure that by now you understand the importance of body language in Spain!

Were you already familiar with any of these Spanish gestures? Did you learn new ones? Let us know in the comments!

Even if you’re a beginner, you can start practicing and getting familiar with them, but no one is going to judge you if you don’t use them, or if you miss a nonverbal cue in Spanish! If used wrong, however, you might confuse them, so be careful!

But we’re sure you won’t confuse “laughing really hard” with “I’m fed up,” or anything like that, and we’re also sure you won’t use the middle finger without meaning to, especially after reading this guide.

So now you’ve practiced something that’s related to your oral skills, even though they’re actually silent. But what about your reading skills? Check out our Top Ways to Practice Your Spanish Reading Skills. Of course, we can’t forget your listening skills either!

Are you interested in moving to Spain and finding a job there? In that case, we have the perfect article for you.

For some more interesting content, here’s a list of the Top 10 Free Spanish Lessons. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Spanish Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Celebrating Grandparents Day in Mexico

Grandprarents Day in Mexico

National Grandparents Day in Mexico, thought to have been derived from the holiday of the same name in the United States, is a day set aside to honor grandparents. In a society where it’s common for Mexican grandparents to live in the same house as their family, it’s no wonder that this holiday would be adapted.

In this article, you’ll learn all about Mexican Grandparents Day. This, in turn, will lend you greater cultural understanding—a vital step in mastering any language. At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Grandparents Day in Mexico?

Each year, Mexicans set aside a special day just to honor their grandparents. This tradition is actually based on Grandparents Day in the United States, which was created by a woman named Marian McQuade.

This holiday extends beyond grandparents, and people in both the U.S. and Mexico treat Grandparents Day as a time to help the general elderly population—especially those in nursing homes or hospitals—as much as possible.

2. When is Grandparents Day in Mexico?

Grandparents Day is on August 28

Mexicans celebrate Grandparents Day each year on August 28.

3. Grandparents Day Celebrations

Granddaughter Giving Grandparent Present

Celebrations and traditions for Grandparents Day vary, and this holiday hasn’t received as much popularity in Mexico as in the U.S.

Note that in Mexico, it’s common for grandparents to live either in the same household as their children and grandchildren, or very nearby. This means that grandparents really are an active part of their children’s and grandchildren’s lives, and are not to be ignored.

Those whose grandparents are still around may choose to spend time with them, give them Grandparents Day gifts, or even send a heartfelt letter to thank them for the role they’ve played in that person’s life. Grandparents are, after all, some of the sweetest and most understanding people a person will have around. Oftentimes, the family will prepare a favorite meal, as well.

Smaller children love to make crafts for their grandparents, and due to the closeness of grandparents to the rest of their family, visits are always welcome and attainable!

Another way to celebrate Grandparents Day is to donate to charity or otherwise partake in events dedicated to honoring and respecting Mexico’s elderly population.

4. International Day of Older Persons

A similar celebration is called International Day of Older Persons, which takes place on October 1 of each year. While Grandparents Day tends to focus on one’s own grandparents, this holiday has a much broader focus on the elderly in general.

Specifically, International Day of Older Persons seeks to shed light on common problems shared by the older population worldwide. Another one of its goals is to honor and be grateful for all that the elderly population has accomplished and offered to the world, and to each country.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Grandparents Day in Mexico

Black-Framed Eyeglasses

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Grandparents Day in Mexico!

  • Abuela — “Grandmother”
  • Abuelo — “Grandfather”
  • Regalo — “Present”
  • Nieta — “Granddaughter”
  • Familia — “Family
  • Nieto — “Grandson”
  • Arruga — “Wrinkle”
  • Viejo — “Old”
  • 28 de agosto — “August 28″
  • Anteojos — “Eyeglasses”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Mexican Grandparents Day vocabulary list! You’ll also find a relevant image beside each word, to maximize your memorization!

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Grandparents Day Mexico celebrates each year! Does your country have a Grandparents Day celebration, or a similar holiday? Tell us about it in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you. :)

To continue learning about Spanish and Mexican culture and the language, explore SpanishPod101.com. We offer an array of fun and practical learning tools for every type of learner:

  • Insightful blog posts on various cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a range of topics and themes
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If you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, or want to give it a try, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own personal teacher, as well as a personalized plan based on your needs and language-learning goals!

Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, know that your hard work and determination will pay off. You’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Spanish like a native before you know it, and SpanishPod101.com will be here with you on each step of your journey to language mastery!

Happy Grandparents Day!

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How to Text in Spanish: Internet Slang and Abbreviations

Hla! Cmo stas? Spro bn. Vasir a lo de Carla? GPI btw,… cmo 100pre!

What’s that? Ever encountered something similar while texting with a Spanish native speaker, hanging around on Spanish forums, following social media accounts in Spanish, or watching YouTube videos in what’s arguably the most popular romance language?

Well, that’s Spanish internet slang, language, or whatever you want to call it… Spanish text abbreviations is another name! You might have noticed that most of it is just using the consonants of the words, or abbreviating the phrase. Were you able to catch the meaning of the above phrase? Here’s a translation to good ol’ English:

“Hi! How are you? Hope you’re doing ok. Are you going to Carla’s later? Thanks for inviting me, by the way, …as always!”

Phew! So, if you’re learning Spanish and would like to engage in conversation with native speakers either on the internet or through instant text messaging, it might come in handy to know some of the slang we’ll share below.

Mainly, however, the idea of this article is to share with you how internet and text slang in Spanish—and more specifically, Mexican Spanish—slang is created and thought of by its users.

As with any language one hopes to master, this is a useful thing to consider on your journey to learning it.

Table of Contents

  1. What Do We Mean by “Internet Talk”?
  2. Writing with Only Consonants, Abbreviations, and Sounds
  3. Texting Slang with Numbers
  4. Texting Slang to Agree on a Meeting
  5. Conveying Emotions with Spanish Texting Slang
  6. Final Word About Spanish Text Lingo
  7. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Texting and Internet Slang?

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1. What Do We Mean by “Internet Talk”?

First of all, it serves to do a quick recap on what “Internet Talk” is in the first place. This consists of all the terms and expressions that started to appear as the internet exploded in popularity.

The internet, being, in broad terms, an American invention, has English as an official language. Thus it’s very normal for young people in Spain, Mexico, Columbia, or most places in Latin America (and most of the world for that matter), to look at internet pages in English.

As a consequence of that, certain expressions have seeped into our usage of Spanish in the web and social media, so don’t be surprised if you see Spanish speakers writing lol, wtf, brb, txt, omg, tfti, and even lmao.

Those mean the same to us Spanish speakers as they do to anyone speaking English, so we’ll assume you got them covered.

Let’s now take a look at what we’ll assume you’re here for: those Spanish abbreviations that aren’t very easy to understand at first.


2. Writing with Only Consonants, Abbreviations, and Sounds

1- Slang: GPI

Actual Meaning & Translation:

As you may have caught from the example at the beginning of this article, this is merely a quick way of typing Gracias por invitar. In English, that’s something like “thanks for the invite.”

Use:

This one can be used in two different ways. One is if you were actually invited to an event that has yet to occur, and you’d like to express gratitude. No problem there, right?

The other one is more sarcastic. You would use it when there’s an event that already happened, or an event that’s happening very soon and you definitely can’t attend. Then you would say GPI or “thanks for the invite,” just to be funny or to rub it in someone’s face that you regret not being invited, or even that you’re sore about not being told in advance.

Be careful with this one, as it can be taken as you being friendly and playful—blasé, let’s say, about not being invited. But depending on the context and the particular situation, it could come off as you actually being offended.

2- Slang: Xq? or Xk? or Just X?

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Short for ¿Porqué?, which is the same as “Why?” or “How come?”

Use:

This one should be pretty self-explanatory. The thing worth noting is that the “q” and “k” are both used interchangeably for the sound of the word que, as in…uhm, quesadilla? Forgive the obvious example, but most people know how to say that one, don’t they?

Also, what’s up with just using the “x” for ¿por qué? Well, in math in Spanish, when you say something like “two times two,” you might say dos veces dos, or, especially if you’re in Mexico and some parts of Latin America, dos por dos. Since the symbol for multiplying is a little “x” for us Spanish speakers as well, then it makes a good quick way of asking x?

3- Slang: Q, Khé, or

Actual Meaning & Translation:

This one is the same as ¿qué?, que, and all the uses of both the word and its sound. Translates to “what,” or “which,” depending on the use.

Use:

That “Q” can actually be seen as q? to ask “what?” as in stating confusion or apprehension. Khé is the same, but much more exaggerated, like you really can’t believe what’s being said and you would go to such lengths as writing it in that manner.

4- Slang: Bn

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Short for bien, which is “good!”

Use:

This is what you’re most likely to answer when someone asks the following in Spanish slang to you over a text or internet convo:

5- Slang: Cmo stas?

Actual meaning & Translation:

Short for ¿Cómo estás? this literally means “How are you?” So of course, you answer “Good!” or plainly bn.

Use:

Just as in English, it’s polite and nice to ask your interlocutor how he or she is doing before starting the conversation, right after hola… or hla, or even ola.

6- Slang: Bno

Actual Meaning & Translation:

A fast way of typing bueno, which is also “good.”

Use:

If you’ve been studying Spanish, perhaps you’ve had explained to you the difference between bien and bueno. It’s sort of like the difference between “good,” “well,” and “ok.” The latter two are usually bien, while the former can be both.

Bno can also express agreement or resignation. Like:

— ¿Vamos x unos tacos?

— Bno, pro pasas por mí?

Translation:

— “Are u down for some tacos?”

— “Ok, but can u give me a ride?”

7- Slang: Ntp

Actual Meaning & Translation:

No te preocupes, which translates to “Don’t worry.”

Use:

Whenever your Spanish-speaking interlocutor is fretting about something, apologizing, or overthinking things, just say ntp. It’s almost used as “chill out.”

8- Slang: Grx or Grax

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Gracias, which, as almost everybody knows, is “Thank you” or “Thanks.”

Use:

Use this when you want to say thanks, but want to appear light-hearted or cool about the whole thing.

9- Slang: Xfa

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Remember how por got turned into x? just a while ago with xq? Well, this is the same thing, but applied to porfa, which is short for Por favor—which is regular old “Please.”

Use:

Want to ask for something the nice way without appearing too formal all the time? Vamos x tacos, xfa.

10- Slang: Spero

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Just took the e off espero… darn those internet kids! Espero is the first-person present conjugation of esperar which is the verb for “to hope” or “to wait.”

Use:

Spero que entiendas esta oración.

Translation? “Hope you catch the meaning of this sentence.”

11- Slang: Vrd or Vdd

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Abbreviation for verdad, which is the word for “truth.”

Use:

This one can be used like you would use the word “truth” in English, as in la vrd no quiero ir (“To tell you the truth, I don’t want to go.”).

It can also be used like when you ask “right” after saying something in English. To stick with the example above: No quieres ir, vdd? (“You don’t really want to go, right?”)


3. Texting Slang with Numbers

Perhaps you’ve come across crazy things like this:

12- Slang: 100pre

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Okay, so, how do you say “one-hundred” in Spanish? That’s cien, which sounds almost like siem, the same sound at the beginning of the word siempre, which means “forever,” in English.

Use:

You can drop this one whenever you need to use the word “forever” in a Spanish sentence.

13- Slang: Salu2

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Same idea. What’s the Spanish word for the number two? Dos is the right answer, as in Saludos, which is something like “greetings,” in English.

Use:

If you use saludos or salu2 at the end of a sentence online, it’s almost like saying “cheers” to say goodbye.


4. Texting Slang to Agree on a Meeting

Woman Looking at Phone

14- Slang: Vns?

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Short for Vienes, which means “Are you coming?”

Use:

If you’re already at a place or event where you agreed to meet someone, you can text him or her that.

15- Slang: Vasir?

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Short for the phrase ¿Vas a ir? which means “Are you going?”

Use:

Use this when you’re talking about an event or place, but you’re not there yourself.

16- Slang: Aki

Actual Meaning & Translation:

This is Aquí which is the Spanish word for “here,” but spelled with a “k.”

Use:

This is used mostly by very young people, talking informally.

17- Slang: ¡Ámonos!

Actual Meaning & Translation:

Not really sure if this is slang or an expression, but it’s just a funny, tongue-in-cheek way of saying Vamonos, which is the first-person plural imperative of ir, which is the verb “to go”… so! In short, it’s how you say “Let’s go!” in Spanish.

Use:

You say this to rush people in a group you’re in, but it could also be used almost as a way of saying “Holy sh*t!” or something like that. It expresses amazement, surprise, and wonder.

Let’s say a friend of yours sends this photo of a massive taco he or she’s about to eat. You could text back saying ámonos! and the scream emoji.


5. Conveying Emotions with Spanish Texting Slang

18- Slang: TQM

Actual Meaning & Translation:

This one’s cute. It’s just the first letter of every word in the phrase Te quiero mucho. The literal translation is “I want you so much,” but that’s not the meaning Spanish-speakers have for it at all. I’ll explain…

Use:

In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, Te quiero mucho is what you say to some family members, and very close friends as if to say “I care about you” or “I love you.” The latter is te amo in Spanish, but just as in English, while it may be cool to say it to friends or family, it’s a big deal to say it to your significant other. Hence, when you haven’t reached the “‘I love you’ stage” and you need something to express affection in Spanish, we use Tqm.

In Spanish texting or internet lingo, tqm is even less serious than typing it in full. You could say it’s like when you say “luv u” to a close friend, or in a lighthearted manner to a significant other.

19- Slang: Bb

Actual Meaning & Translation:

What does the sound of two “b”s pronounced in Spanish sound like? Of course, it’s exactly like the word bebé, which is Spanish for “baby.”

Use:

You would call someone bb while texting in Spanish, only if they’re your significant other, like when you call your boyfriend/girlfriend “baby,” or when you’re talking sweetly with a close friend of either sex.

It could also be used to talk to someone in a bit of a superior manner, but with a good and kind spirit. Like if they’re confused about something and you call them bb right before explaining.

How Do You Communicate Laughter While Texting in Spanish?

Both when texting in any kind of Spanish, or writing on the internet, you write jajaja, which is simply the same as the English version “hahaha.”

“J,” in Spanish, is the same sound as the “h” in “horse,” so it’s actually closer to the way we all laugh than if you’d write “hahaha” texting in Spanish.

Nevertheless, if you do that most people will get that you’re laughing, pretty much for the same reasons that Spanish speakers can use “lol” or “rofl.”

Some variations of this include jijiji, jujuju, and jejeje.


6. Final Word About Spanish Text Lingo

Phone with Blocks On It

It’s very much worth mentioning that all of the internet and texting slang in Spanish that we’ve shared here is rather informal. Very much like in English, it should only be used in informal settings and situations.

It’s a matter of personal taste of course. I would say that you shouldn’t write this way even on a forum or a comment section, but you may see things differently.

I’d save your new slang skills in Spanish for when you’re speaking with close interlocutors. If you’re addressing strangers and want to come off as serious, like if you’re writing an email to a stranger, a company, or something like that, don’t use these! They can say a lot about the speaker.


7. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Texting and Internet Slang?

If you liked this guide to the essential Spanish slang for texting and internet lingo, then feel free to find more resources, idiomatic expressions, and fun lessons on our SpanishPod101 website. We have over 1800 audio and video lessons, lively community forums, and a good combination of energetic hosts to help you with your Spanish learning needs in a fun and easy manner!

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Ultimate Guide of Untranslatable Spanish Words

Have you ever thought about untranslatable Spanish words? What about words like this in your native language? Every language has plenty of words that can’t be translated into English; there are even some words that just can’t be translated into any other language.

Maybe there aren’t that many Spanish words that are untranslatable, as most of them can probably be translated into other languages, but we definitely have plenty of Spanish words with no English equivalent.

That’s actually ironic, because English has a lot more words than Spanish. What do we mean when we say “a lot”? Well, thousands! The official dictionaries of each language list 150,000 words in Spanish and 600,000 words in English. However, it’s true that many of those English words aren’t currently in use and don’t even include definitions. In fact, there are only about 230,000 words with definitions in the Oxford Dictionary. That’s still 80,000 more words than there are in the Spanish dictionary. So yes, English has more words. Despite that, Spanish has many words that can’t be expressed in only one word in English. Most of them are basic concepts that do exist in English, but there’s just not a word for them.

That’s why we’ve prepared, specifically for you, the ultimate guide of Spanish untranslatable words that don’t exist in English, but should. Let’s get started with our list of untranslatable words in Spanish!

Table of Contents

  1. Ten Untranslatable Spanish Nouns
  2. Five Untranslatable Spanish Verbs
  3. Five Untranslatable Spanish Adjectives
  4. Three Extra Untranslatable Words in Other Languages Spoken in Spain
  5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

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1. Ten Untranslatable Spanish Nouns

1- Anteayer

Meaning: The day before yesterday.

Example Situation: This word is pretty easy to understand, as it actually has a basic meaning and does exist in languages other than English. The concept obviously exists in English, but we can’t express it in a single word.

Usage in a Sentence: Mi cumpleaños fue anteayer. → “My birthday was anteayer.”

2- Botellón

Meaning: Party in the street. (Literal translation: “big bottle.”)

Example Situation: In Spain, it’s rather common for young people to get together to get drunk in a quiet street (well, we can’t say it’s quiet after they get there) or in a park, because it’s a lot cheaper than going to bars or clubs. It’s not something we Spaniards are proud of, as in most cases these people don’t pick up the bottles after they’re done and leave their mess behind.

Usage in a Sentence: ¿Te vienes al botellón de esta noche en el parque? → “Are you coming to the botellón in the park tonight?”

3- Chapuza

Meaning: Something that’s badly made or fixed.

Example Situation: This can refer to a lot of things. The most common is something that’s been built or fixed either really fast, without the proper equipment, or without having any idea how to do it. You know, like those times something in your house broke down and your dad tried to fix it. And hey, maybe he managed, maybe he didn’t, but it just doesn’t look that neat. It can be a machine, a car, some sort of object, the new floor… Well, those are all examples of chapuzas.

Usage in a Sentence: Esta cocina es una chapuza. No hay nada que funcione. → “This kitchen is a chapuza. Nothing works.”

Man

4- Consuegro

Meaning: Your son or daughter’s parent-in-law.

Example Situation: Instead of saying, for example, “my daughter Anna’s husband’s parents,” all you need to say is mis consuegros. It makes your whole life easier, doesn’t it?

Usage in a Sentence: Mis consuegros vienen esta noche a cenar. → “My consuegros are coming over for dinner tonight.”

5- Entrecejo

Meaning: The space between both eyebrows.

Example Situation: We don’t use this word that much, unless we want to point out to someone that they have something between their eyebrows. As we’ll mention soon, we also have a couple of different words for those who don’t have an entrecejo, which are cejijunto and unicejo.

Usage in a Sentence: Ey, perdona, tienes una mancha en el entrecejo. → “Hey, excuse me, there’s a stain on your entrecejo.”

6- Puente

Meaning: Long weekend. (Literal translation: “bridge.”)

Example Situation: When there are only one or two days between a holiday and the weekend, or another holiday, we call it a puente. People sometimes take those days off to make a longer holiday.

Usage in a Sentence: Este puente de cuatro días me lo voy a pasar en la playa. → “I’m going to spend this four-day puente at the beach.”

7- Resol

Meaning: The reflection of the sun.

Example Situation: We use this word when the sun’s reflected in a mirror or in a glass, for example. You can use it to say that the reflection is bothering you, as in the following example, but it isn’t necessarily negative.

Usage in a Sentence: Me voy a cambiar de asiento, porque aquí me da el resol en los ojos. → “I’m going to switch seats, because here I get the resol on my eyes.”

8- Sobremesa

Meaning: When everyone stays seated after a meal just to keep chatting.

Example Situation: It’s very common when having a meal with friends or family, especially when there’s a lot of people (but not necessarily), to stay seated and talk to everyone. They can go on for hours and there is often drinking involved.

Usage in a Sentence: Cada vez que vamos a cenar a casa de Pablo y Marta la sobremesa se alarga durante horas. → “Every time we go to Pablo and Marta’s for dinner the sobremesa lasts for hours.”

9- Tocayo

Meaning: A person who has the same name as you.

Example Situation: This word isn’t as widely used as it used to be. It’s used to refer to someone who shares a first name with someone else.

Usage in a Sentence: Creo que te confundes con mi tocayo: yo soy Juan García y me parece que buscas a Juan López. → “I think you’re mistaking me with my tocayo: I’m Juan García and I think you’re looking for Juan López.”

10- Vergüenza ajena

Meaning: When you’re embarrassed by someone else’s actions.

Example Situation: Do you know that feeling when you’re with someone and they do something so embarrassing that it makes you wish you could run away from them, even though it might have nothing to do with you? That feeling, that’s exactly what vergüenza ajena is.

Usage in a Sentence: Mamá, ¡deja de bailar! Te está mirando todo el mundo y me das vergüenza ajena. → “Mom, stop dancing! Everyone is looking at you and you’re giving me vergüenza ajena.”


2. Five Untranslatable Spanish Verbs

1- Estrenar

Meaning: To wear something new for the first time.

Example Situation: You can use this verb when you want to tell someone you want to wear something you just bought for the first time, but it’s also used when talking about movies or books being released.

Usage in a Sentence: Me he comprado un vestido precioso y tengo muchas ganas de estrenarlo. → “I bought myself a beautiful dress and I can’t wait to estrenar it.”

Girl

2- Madrugar

Meaning: To wake up early.

Example Situation: You’ll use this verb when you want to tell someone that you woke up early that day, or that you wake up early every day.

Usage in a Sentence: Madrugo todos los días: a las 5 de la mañana ya estoy despierto. → “I madrugo every day: I’m always up by 5 a.m.”

Note: A person who always wakes up early is called a madrugador.

Man

3- Merendar

Meaning: To eat a snack in the afternoon.

Example Situation: In Spain, we have a meal between lunch and dinner which is called merienda and it usually consists of a snack. This snack can be either sweet or savory, and is usually had with a cup of coffee, tea, or maybe just milk. A common merienda for kids, for example, is to have cookies and milk, but it could also be a sandwich. The act of eating your merienda is the verb merendar.

Usage in a Sentence: Hoy he ido a una cafetería nueva a merendar y me he comido un cruasán buenísimo. → “Today I went to a new café to merendar and I ate a delicious croissant.”

4- Trasnochar

Meaning: To stay up all night.

Example Situation: It can be used any time someone’s up during the night. That means it includes people who work night shifts, people who have insomnia, people who go out to party, etc.

Usage in a Sentence: Tengo que terminar un proyecto para mañana por la mañana; parece que me va a tocar trasnochar. → I need to finish a project for tomorrow morning; I think I’m going to have to trasnochar.

Note: A person who tends to stay up most nights is called a trasnochador.

5- Tutear

Meaning: To use the common pronoun tú instead of the formal usted and conjugate verbs accordingly.

Example Situation: We only use the form usted in formal situations, for example, when talking to someone who’s more important than us. While we’re talking to this person, maybe they decide that the conversation doesn’t require this form, and might ask you to use the common to refer to them.

Usage in a Sentence: No hace falta que me hables de usted: puedes tutearme. → “You don’t need to use the form usted: you can tutearme.”


3. Five Untranslatable Spanish Adjectives

1- Cejijunto/a

Meaning: To have both eyebrows connected.

Example Situation: You can use this word to describe someone who has such hairy eyebrows that they meet or nearly meet in the middle.

Usage in a Sentence: Mi marido es cejijunto de toda la vida y parece que nuestro hijo también empieza a tener las cejas pobladas. → “My husband has been cejijunto all his life and it looks like our son is starting to get hairy eyebrows too.”

Note: It’s also called unicejo.

2- Estadounidense

Meaning: Demonym for a person from the United States of America.

Example Situation: Isn’t it unbelievable that people from the U.S. just call themselves Americans and don’t have an actual demonym for their own country? America is the continent, not the country! What if Germans decided to ditch the word “German” and exclusively called themselves Europeans? Anyway, Spanish, just like most languages probably do, does have a word for it: estadounidense.

Usage in a Sentence: Mi nuevo jefe es estadounidense, creo que es de Seattle. → “My new boss is estadounidense, I think he’s from Seattle.”

3- Friolero/a

Meaning: Sensitive to the cold.

Example Situation: This adjective can be used to describe yourself or somebody else who’s sensitive to the cold, or someone who’s always cold, even in the summer.

Usage in a Sentence: Soy muy friolera, así que nunca salgo de casa sin una chaqueta. → “I’m very friolera, so I never leave my house without a jacket.”

Note: There’s also a word that describes someone who’s sensitive to the heat, which is caluroso/a.

Little

4- Manco/a

Meaning: A person who’s missing a hand or an arm.

Example Situation: Just like the meaning of this word states, it’s used to describe a person who only has one hand or arm.

Usage in a Sentence: Mi abuelo se quedó manco tras un accidente en la fábrica donde trabajaba. → “My grandfather was left manco after having an accident in the factory he used to work at.”

5- Tuerto/a

Meaning: A person who can only see with one eye.

Example Situation: You can use this adjective when you want to describe someone who’s blind in one eye.

Usage in a Sentence: Mi hermano es tuerto: perdió la visión en el ojo derecho cuando era muy pequeño. → “My brother is tuerto: he lost his sight in his right eye when he was very little.”


4. Three Extra Untranslatable Words in Other Languages Spoken in Spain

You might not know this, but Spanish isn’t the only language spoken in Spain. There are a few regions that have co-official languages. But no need to worry; everyone speaks Spanish, no matter where you travel in Spain.

All you need to know is that if you travel to cities like Bilbao, Valencia, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, or San Sebastián, you might hear people speaking a different language, or you might see signs written in those languages. Again, there’s nothing to be scared of.

Out of these three words, which are also untranslatable in Spanish, the first and the third words are sometimes used in Spanish. The second word, somiatruites, has probably never been used in Spanish, and it might never be, except for in the example we’re going to give you—but we love this word too much not to include it. You’ll know why very soon.

1- Morriña (Galician)

Meaning: The feeling you have when you miss your homeland.

Example Situation: Galicians use this word when they travel out of their homeland and feel homesick.

Usage in a Sentence: Hace una semana que salí de Galicia y ya empiezo a sentir morriña. → “It’s been a week since I left Galicia and I’m already starting to feel morriña.”

2- Somiatruites (Catalan and Valencian)

Meaning: A person who gets overly excited over anything, even if it’s impossible. (Literal meaning: omelette dreamer.)

Example Situation: We all have that one friend (or hey, maybe YOU’RE that friend) that gets way too excited over every little thing. For example, a girl who sees a cute boy for the first time and she’s already imagining what their wedding would look like, or someone who’s always daydreaming about things that might never happen.

Usage in a Sentence: ¿Pero no ves que nunca te va a hacer caso? Eres una somiatruites. → “Can’t you see he’s never going to pay attention to you? You’re a somiatruites.”

Note: If we wanted to translate this word into Spanish, it would be sueñatortillas. Sadly, it doesn’t exist.

3- Zirimiri (Basque)

Meaning: Very soft but constant rain, typical in the Basque Country (region in the North of Spain).

Example Situation: They say that when you visit the Basque Country, in the North of Spain, there’s often this kind of rain that they call zirimiri, which is constant, but very soft. You might not even realize it’s raining until it’s been a few minutes and you’re starting to get wet.

Usage in a Sentence: Aún no voy a sacar el paraguas, esto solo es zirimiri. → “I’m not going to take my umbrella out yet, this is just zirimiri.”

Note: In Spanish, it has been accepted as sirimiri.

Kid

5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

We truly hope our list of untranslatable words from Spanish to English helped grow your interest for both languages!

After learning all these untranslatable Spanish words, we’re sure you wish some of them did exist in English! All of these words will make a huge difference in your conversations and will make you sound more fluent in Spanish. We suggest that you also think of untranslatable words in your native language. It’s not as easy as it seems, but it’s definitely very interesting to think of.

There’s so much more you can learn at SpanishPod101.com, no matter your current skill level or what you’re interested in. If you just can’t live without knowing what to call all the different bugs and insects in Spanish, then this list is made for you. Check out our lessons and our vocabulary lists and get learning!

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Running of the Bulls: San Fermin Festival in Spain

Each year, the Spanish celebrate La Fiesta de San Fermin (or the “San Fermin Festival”). Known in particular for its Running of the Bulls tradition, the Fiesta de San Fermin is one of the most iconic Spanish holidays!

Learn some fascinating Running of the Bulls facts, including which American writer helped popularize it, with SpanishPod101.com! In learning about this fun, traditional Spanish holiday, you’re allowing yourself to see more layers of Spanish culture. And as successful Spanish learner can tell you, knowing a country’s culture is vital in mastering its language!

Let’s get with it, and start learning about the San Fermin Spain is so famous for.

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1. What is San Fermin?

To start, where is the Running of the Bulls and the San Fermin festival? The Festival of San Fermin, or Sanfermines, is held in Pamplona, the capital of Navarre, in honor of San Fermin. However, the actual identity of San Fermin and his place in history are vague and not well known.

As far as Running of the Bulls facts, this event actually commemorates the persecution of Saturninus, a man loosely involved in Fermin’s coming to Christianity. Saturninus died being dragged by a bull he was tied to.

Do know who has done the most to increase the fame of San Fermin?

It was the American writer Ernest Hemingway, through his book Fiesta (also called The Sun Also Rises). The future Nobel Prize winner first came to Pamplona accompanied by his first wife in 1923. He was so deeply impressed by the San Fermin festival, that he repeated the trip several times.

2. When is the Running of the Bulls?

A Bullfight

The Running of the Bulls date each year begins on July 6 and continues until July 14.

3. Reading Practice: Running of the Bulls & San Fermin Festival

Do you know how Spain celebrates the San Fermin Festival? Read the Spanish text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

El comienzo de San Fermín lo marca el chupinazo, desde el balcón del ayuntamiento de Pamplona. Así se le llama al cohete que es lanzado el 6 de julio. El acto más conocido es sin duda los encierros, del 7 al 14 de julio. Consisten en conducir una manada de toros a las ocho de la mañana desde los corrales de Santo Domingo hasta la plaza de toros. Es un acto muy peligroso, pero en él se reúnen miles de personas que vienen de todo el mundo. Desde 1922 se ha registrado la muerte de 15 personas.

Como en otras muchas fiestas españolas la música y los fuegos artificiales no pueden faltar. Otro símbolo muy emblemático son Los Gigantes de Pamplona, con sus 153 años de historia. Son unas figuras de madera, cartón y tela acompañados de los llamados kilikis, cabezudos y zaldikos. Juntos forman la Comparsa y hacen un total de 9 salidas durante los sanfermines.

Con lo peligrosos que pueden llegar a ser los encierros no extraña que los participantes canten a san Fermín por su protección. Esto se hace en la cuesta de Santo Domingo, que es donde se inicia el encierro, 5, 3 y 1 minuto antes. Desde 2009 se canta tanto en castellano como en euskera.

The chupinazo marks the beginning of San Fermín from the balcony of the Town Hall of Pamplona. This is the name of the rocket that is released on July 6. The best-known event is undoubtedly the Running of the Bulls, from July 7 to 14. This consists of driving a herd of bulls at eight in the morning from the pens of Santo Domingo to the plaza de toros. It is a very dangerous act, but thousands of people come from all over the world to take part in it. Since 1922, fifteen deaths have been recorded.

As in many other Spanish festivals, music and fireworks are a must. Another very emblematic symbol is the giants of Pamplona, which boast a 153-year history. They are figures of wood, cardboard, and fabric, accompanied by the so-called cabezudos, kilikis, and zaldikos. Together, they form the troupe, and they make a total of nine outings during the San Fermin festival.

Considering how dangerous the runs can be, it’s no wonder that the participants sing to San Fermin for his protection. This is done on the hill of Santo Domingo, which is where the run begins, five, three, and one minute before. Since 2009, the singing has been done in both in Spanish and in Basque.

4. Most Popular San Fermin Foods

Fireworks Going Off

As far as food goes, the holiday begins with a hot cup of caldico, made with veal and chicken, which is given out in front of the Town Hall. After the run, one recovers their strength with a very hot cup of chocolate with churros.

Halfway through the morning, after contemplating the dances of the Giants or participating in the procession of the Saint, it’s a good time to have lunch with some tapas of lean meat with tomatoes or fried eggs, with sausage and peppers stuffed with cod.

Snacks in the bullring, consisting primarily of peñas, are a good example of home cooking.

5. Vocabulary to Know for the San Fermin Festival

Two Glasses of Wine

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the San Fermin holiday in Spain!

  • Vino — “Wine”
  • Novillo — “Young bull”
  • Encierro — “Running of the Bulls”
  • Estruendo — “Roar”
  • Pañuelo rojo — “Red neckerchief”
  • Cornada — “Goring”
  • Fuegos artificiales — “Firework”
  • Multitud — “Crowd”
  • Chupinazo — “Firecracker shot”
  • Corrida de toros — “Bullfight”
  • Toro — “Bull”
  • Tapa — “Bar snack”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our San Fermin vocabulary list!

Conclusion

What do you think of the San Fermin festivities in Spain? Did you learn anything new about this holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Spanish culture and the language, keep exploring SpanishPod101.com. We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Spanish vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! We also host an online community where you can talk with fellow Spanish learners, or reach out for help!

To make the most of your learning, upgrade to Premium Plus and begin learning Spanish with our MyTeacher program! This allows you one-on-one access to your own Spanish teacher, who will be there to help and guide you all throughout your language-learning journey.

Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Spanish like a native before you know it!

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How to Introduce Yourself in Spanish

Quite honestly, introducing yourself in Spanish while in the vast majority of Spanish-speaking cultures, is quite the same as introductions in English-speaking ones.

That is, you start with a greeting (“Hi!”), you state your name (“I’m XXX”), you say a few cordial words (“Nice to meet you!”), and then you go back and forth with the other person making the usual chit-chat about where you come from, what you do, why you’re at that particular place at that particular time, etc.

Of course, as in English, this can vary a lot depending on whether you’re meeting someone your own age, someone older, someone younger, someone you work with, or someone you’re related to, so we’ll try to cover every one of those. That way you’ll be prepared to rock your next adventure in the Spanish-speaking society of your choice with helpful situational Spanish phrases.

Further, since they’re all, for the most part, in Latin cultures, Spanish-speakers enjoy physical contact when meeting someone. This can easily be one of the most common sources of awkwardness when first greeting people in Spanish, so we’ll talk about that as well.

In other words, this article will show you what to say, how to say it, and whether it’s okay to shake hands, hug, or kiss.

Table of Contents

  1. The First Meeting: Do’s and Don’ts of Physical Contact
  2. Introducing Yourself in Spanish
  3. Introducing Yourself - Informal
  4. Introducing Yourself - Formal
  5. Talking about Your Background
  6. It’s Okay to Fail
  7. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Other Ways To Introduce Yourself in Spanish?

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1. The First Meeting: Do’s And Don’ts of Physical Contact

Oh boy, you’re meeting someone new in a Spanish-speaking country. Here’s a quick guide to physical contact, with some pointers on how to greet in Spanish:

As a general tip, try to be very alert and see what the other person does before you do anything, then just react to that. You know that old adage: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

1- Man Greeting a Man

Now, if you’re a man saying hi to another man, that’s easy. Just shake hands! If it’s someone closer, just wait and see if they’re going to hug you in some way. If they do, just try to reciprocate.

But what’s closer? Maybe it’s a really good friend of your buddy’s, a distant cousin you haven’t met, your significant other’s family, etc. In a formal setting, just a nice handshake is good. The usual rules apply: Do a firm shake but not too hard, look the other person in the eyes, and don’t hold their hand for too long.

2- Man Greeting a Woman

If you’re a man saying hi to a woman from a Spanish-speaking culture, chances are it will be okay if you kiss her on the cheek. Most places in Latin America do only one kiss on the right cheek, while in Spain you do two, one on the right then one on the left.

Also, consider that in most cases it’s not actually a kiss. You don’t put your lips right on the other person’s cheek, as that should only be done with someone really close. Rather, you have your cheek meet theirs, and then you make that “kissing” sound, although your lips are pretty much kissing the air.

Now, some people find it too soon and too familiar to kiss on the cheek if you’re a complete stranger. Similar to the hug with a “closer” person, this only applies if it’s truly a more familiar, informal, and close tie. If it’s a business setting, or there was no connection whatsoever before meeting, just do a handshake and you’ll be fine.

3- Woman Greeting a Man

Woman greeting a man? You don’t have to kiss the cheek of anyone you don’t want to. In this case, rather than waiting for him to make the first move, you can just put your hand out and wait for him to shake it, making it clear in your body language that for the time being it’ll be just a handshake.

4- Woman Greeting a Woman

If you’re a woman meeting another woman, it’s pretty much the same thing. Kiss if it’s familiar/informal, stick to a handshake if it’s just too new.

As a final consideration, it’s normal to kiss someone goodbye even if at first you only shook their hand. It means that some familiarity and rapport was developed during your time together, like say, when saying goodbye to somebody that hosted you at the end of the trip. That’s good!


2. Introducing Yourself in Spanish

1- How to Say Hello

Once you’ve passed that potentially awkward moment of physical salutation, or even during, it’s time to say something. As in many countries, it’s an absolute no-brainer. You just say “Hi,” or “Hello,” which is just good ol’ Hola.

To say hello in Spanish, you can add more eloquence to your speech with this phrase:

  • Hola, ¿qué tal? which means “Hi, how’s it going?”.

2- How to Say Your Name in Spanish

After “hi,” you usually just present yourself by stating your name. Just like in English, Spanish-speaking cultures believe that you are your name. Tyler Durden would probably disagree, but I bet he was never in Ecuador. So you just say, Yo soy, which is “I am” followed by the beautiful name your parents gave to you.

3- How to Say “Nice to Meet You” in Spanish

Further, if you want to make your Spanish greeting even nicer, try adding a courtesy phrase, such as the English “Nice to meet you,” or “Pleasure to meet you.” In Spanish, we usually say Mucho gusto or Encantado de conocerte.

Here’s an example of how that looks all together. This is saying hi, saying your name, and even giving a courtesy phrase, all in Spanish. Look at you!

  • Hola, ¿qué tal? Yo soy Javier. *kisses cheek* / *shakes hand* Mucho gusto.
  • Another common option is to replace Yo soy with Me llamo.
  • Hola, ¿qué tal? Me llamo Javier.

That first part works for both formal and informal settings. For speech that’s more specific to each tone, let’s take a look at the other contextual Spanish phrases you use when introducing yourself in Spanish.


3. Introducing Yourself — Informal

Not everything in life is bound by business and strong formalities (thank goodness), so it’ll be nice to know some casual ways to introduce yourself in Spanish.

When meeting people your own age, and especially if it’s in a casual setting (i.e., no business), it’s okay to use the informal tone, which in Spanish is tutear when speaking to the other person.

That is, you’ll refer to them as and conjugate each verb in relation to them in that person.

Following the first sentences we saw above, what should follow? Usually, you’ll ask the person how he or she is. So “How are you?” in Spanish in an informal way is ¿Cómo estás?.

If they ask you first, then you answer (usually), Muy bien, gracias, ¿y tú? which means “I’m fine, thanks, and you?”.

Also, usually when you say your name, people answer with theirs. In case you’ve got a shy person before you, you can ask ¿Cómo te llamas?, which is the informal way of asking “What’s your name?” in Spanish.

What usually follows? Just like in most parts of the world, you may ask the person about their age and nationality. Then, they usually do the same thing. If you’re answering, age is stated in terms of having. In Spanish, nobody is a certain age, but they have a certain number of years in them. The verb “to have” in Spanish is tener, so you say:

  • Tengo XX años, ¿tú? Which means “I’m XX old, and you?”.

When it comes to nationality, Spanish speakers definitely express it in terms of being (ser), but also in terms of where you come from (venir).

  • Yo vengo de Spain, ¿tú de dónde vienes? or Yo soy [nationality] ¿y tú?

To give a full example:

  • Yo vengo de Colombia, ¿tú de dónde vienes? or Yo soy colombiano ¿y tú?

In case you didn’t catch it, those sentences mean, respectively,

  • “I come from Colombia, where are you from?”
  • or, “I’m Colombian, and you?”.

Let’s now look at formal ways to introduce yourself in Spanish.


4. Introducing Yourself - Formal

Pretty much, the only variation here is that you’ll be speaking to the other person in the formal form, which is usted, instead of .

Then the following alterations happen:

¿Cómo estás? turns into ¿Cómo está?. It’s indeed only an “s” away, but it makes all the difference.

As for ¿Cómo te llamas?, that turns into:

  • ¿Cómo se llama?
  • Or, even more formal, ¿Cómo se llama usted?
  • Or the variation, ¿Cuál es su nombre?.

Talking about age, it’s the same thing with the “s” in the verb tener. You ask:

  • ¿Cuántos años tiene?
  • Or ¿Qué edad tiene usted?

Now, an important thing to note here is that it’s usually not polite to ask someone older than you how old they are. If they’re younger than, or around the same age, as you, then you won’t be talking to them in usted in most cases.

As for nationality, ¿tú de dónde vienes? becomes ¿de dónde es usted?.

Not that hard, hey? As another tip, when unsure of whether you should speak to the other person in the formal form or informal, it’s better to start with the formal. If they prefer , they’ll usually let you know by saying something like hablame de ‘tú’, which in some cases, is quite a compliment.

It means that they see you as their equal, respect you enough to talk to you in equal terms, or, depending on the person, that they simply prefer to shun formalities and want to keep things relaxed and casual.


5. Talking about Your Background

The next part of a usual first-encounter conversation includes introducing yourself further by talking about what you do and what you’re doing at that particular place.

The phrases for this in Spanish are the usual, so let’s look at them real quick, starting with talking about your profession in Spanish, or what you’re doing at this point in your life.

  • “I study [field of studies]” : Estudio [área de estudios]
  • “I work in [workfield]” : Trabajo en [rubro laboral]
  • “I’m a [name of profession]” : Soy [nombre de la profesión]

When it comes to what you’re doing there, variations can start to go crazy. But let’s just start with the fact that you’re there, probably doing something. Might be studying, working, or just traveling. Either way, the way you say that in English is very similar to how you’d say it in Spanish:

  • “I’m studying at / I’m studying X” : Estoy estudiando en / Estoy estudiando X
  • “I’m working at / I’m working in” : Estoy trabajando en
  • “I’m traveling” : Estoy viajando


6. It’s Okay to Fail

Now that you’ve read this guide on how to greet in Spanish and have learned some Spanish introductory phrases, it’s important to realize that it’s perfectly normal if you don’t get this exactly right the first time, or the first twenty times!

When you’re learning a new language, and are immersing yourself in a foreign culture (which is one of the best aspects of learning that language), it’s perfectly fine to make an absolute fool of yourself from time to time.

Otherwise how would you learn? Maybe sometimes you’ll get the kissing thing all wrong; maybe you’ll have an awkward moment when hugging another man; maybe you’ll freeze when the time to present yourself to a stranger in Spanish finally comes.

Whatever it is, it’s all about practice. The fact that you’re taking the time to read this already says a lot about your commitment to reaching fluency. Keep at it!


7. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Other Ways To Introduce Yourself in Spanish?

If you liked this guide to the essential phrases to introduce yourself in Spanish, then feel free to find more resources, idiomatic expressions, and fun lessons on our SpanishPod101 website. We have over 1800 audio and video lessons, lively community forums, and a good combination of energetic hosts to help you with your Spanish needs in a fun and easy manner!

Now get out there and put the useful Spanish phrases you learned to good use!

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How to Celebrate Corpus Christi in Spain

Corpus Christi is one of the most significant holidays in Spanish culture for Christians. In fact, there’s a popular saying: “There are three Thursdays during the year that shine brighter than the Sun—Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, and the Ascension Day.”

By learning about Corpus Christi traditions and its links to the Eucharist and The Last Supper, you’re gaining insight into a good chunk of Spanish culture. The Corpus Christi holiday is just one example of the strong religious nature of the country and its people, leaving room for you to continue delving into the unique facets that Spanish holidays host.

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is Corpus Christi?

On Corpus Christi, Spain celebrates the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body of the Lord. It was the religious Santa Juliana of Liège, who proposed this Festival at the beginning of the thirteenth century because of her devotion to this sacrament.

Thus, it was celebrated for the first time in 1246 in the Diocese of Liège, Belgium. Pope Nicolás V, in the celebration of the year 1447, managed to consolidate it when he came out with the sacred host in the procession through the streets of Rome.

2. Corpus Christi Date by Year

Depiction of the Last Supper

The date of the Corpus Christi holiday (Spain) varies each year, as it takes place sixty days after Easter. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 20
  • 2020: June 11
  • 2021: June 3
  • 2022: June 16
  • 2023: June 8
  • 2024: May 30
  • 2025: June 19
  • 2026: June 4
  • 2027: May 27
  • 2028: June 15

3. Reading Practice: Corpus Christi Celebrations in Spain

How is Corpus Christi celebrated in Spain? Read the Iberian Spanish text below learn about the Corpus Christi festival (Spain), and other Corpus Christi celebrations. You can find the English text directly below it.

El Corpus Christi es la mayor fiesta de Toledo. Las calles de la ciudad, que han sido especialmente decoradas, son recorridas por un desfile. Sobresalen la Custodia, una valiosa obra de orfebrería de 1515 realizada en oro y plata, y el cortejo, compuesto por las distintas hermandades. Al desfile le acompaña además un olor especial, porque antes se habrá cubrido el suelo con hierbas aromáticas. Son también típicos un conjunto de gigantes que representan a los continentes y la monstruosa Tarasca. Es una figura mecánica de un gran dragón que asusta a los niños echándoles agua.

La localidad de Puenteareas, en Pontevedra, celebra en el fin de semana siguiente al jueves de Corpus Christi sus fiestas más conocidas. En la noche del sábado al domingo, los vecinos de la localidad crean alfombras florales con motivos religiosos relacionados con el día de Corpus Christi y adornados con motivos geométricos. Se utiliza para esto distintos tipos de flores y materiales. Estos habrán sido preparados por los vecinos durante los días anteriores. Las alfombras permanecen intactas hasta la procesión del día siguiente, en la que se recorren todas las calles decoradas.

Corpus Christi is the biggest festival in Toledo. The streets of the city, which have been specially decorated, are traversed by a parade. Highlights include la Custodia, a valuable work of jewelry from 1515 made of gold and silver, and the procession, composed of the different brotherhoods. The parade is accompanied by a special fragrance, because the ground is covered by aromatic herbs ahead of time. A set of Giants representing the continents and the monstrous Tarascan are also typical of this festival. The latter is a mechanical figure of a great dragon that scares children by spraying them with water.

The town of Puenteareas, in Pontevedra, celebrates its best-known festivals during the weekend following Corpus Christi. On the Saturday night, the residents of the town create floral carpets with religious motifs related to the day of Corpus Christi and decorated with geometric motifs. Different types of flowers and materials are used for this purpose. These have been prepared by residents during the previous days. Carpets remain intact until the next day’s procession, in which all the decorated streets are paraded through.

4. La Tarasca: What’s in Season?

Bread and Wine

Do you know what’s shown during the procession of the Corpus in Granada?

It’s La Tarasca, a mannequin that supposedly wears the clothing that will be in fashion that season. It parades through the city mounted on a fierce dragon. The costume that it’s wearing is kept secret until it comes out.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Corpus Christi

A Holy Sacrament

Here’s the most important vocabulary you should know for Corpus Christi in Spain!

  • Sangre — “Blood”
  • Cristo — “Christ”
  • La Última Cena — “Last Supper”
  • Celebrar en honor a — “Celebrate in honor of”
  • Devoción — “Devotion”
  • Santísimo Sacramento — “Holy Sacrament”
  • Eucaristía — “Eucharist”
  • Solemnidad — “Solemnity”
  • Peregrinación — “Pilgrimage”
  • Litúrgico — “Liturgical”
  • Corpus Christi — “Corpus Christi”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Corpus Christi vocabulary list. Here, each word is accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Spain’s variety of Corpus Christi celebrations? Does your country observe Corpus Christi too, and if so, are celebrations similar or very different? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about the culture in Spain and the Spanish language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com! We provide practical learning tools for every learner to ensure that anyone can master Spanish, including insightful blog posts like this one and free Spanish vocabulary lists on various topics. We also offer a community forum where you can chat with fellow Spanish learners, and by upgrading to Premium Plus, you can begin learning Spanish one-on-one with your own teacher through our MyTeacher program!

Regardless of your reason for learning Spanish, know that with enough determination and an open mind, you can start speaking like a native before you know it!

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10 Mexican Movies to Learn Spanish From

Even before The Three Amigos took the world of cinema by storm, Mexican cinema was already a world-famous oddity. We say “oddity” because it’s remarkable that such a small film industry can produce the number of good films and filmmakers it does. From the times of Luis Buñuel to Alejandro G. Iñarritu making heated speeches after winning Best Director at the Oscars, Mexican cinema has nearly always been a fruitful thing.

Consider, as well, that time when Guillermo del Toro won Best Director at the 2018 Golden Globes. A Chinese reporter asked him why it is that he has such an “extraordinary ability to look into the shadow side of human nature” while finding a balance in still being a joyful and loving person. Guillermo’s answer?

“I’m Mexican.”

His reasoning is that, as a culture, we’re very aware of death as the ultimate destination for any living thing, so it makes the time we get here all the more intense and joyful.

Translate that into such a complete art form as film, and you get a pretty good catalogue to choose from. Good news if you’re someone trying to boost your language skills by watching some movies in Spanish, and especially if you’re interested in Mexican Spanish and the culture of that country in general.

This is why we’ve put together a list of ten of the best Mexican films of all time, which we consider good enough options to study Spanish, while trying to showcase a good variety of genres, styles, and time periods. Watch any of our recommend Spanish movies, and you’ll be entertained all the while enhancing your language-learning experience. Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Spanish.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. A Word About the Mexican Film Industry
  2. List of Mexican Movies
  3. Honorary Mentions
  4. Where Do I Find These Films?
  5. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Idioms and Expressions?

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1. A Word About the Mexican Film Industry

Movie genres

Now, before we delve into it, there’s something you should know about making films in Mexico.

The number one thing is that…it’s hard! Not many people believe that film making is a great business, which translates into a vicious circle where few people pursue it full-time, so it’s difficult to make new films that go outside the vacuum. There are few investors willing to take some risk, so few people get to make the film they want to make…and so on.

Most Mexican independent films, precisely because of that, are made with the help of government grants, which is why certain themes get censored, while other themes get pushed through a lot.

For the same reason, it’s the dream of most Mexican filmmakers to migrate to another industry, usually Hollywood (biggest and closest) in order to make the films they envision.

And that’s why films like The Revenant, The Shape of Water, and Gravity are made in English-speaking countries, since it would’ve been (and anyone of those directors will affirm this) virtually impossible to make the exact same films with a Mexican budget.

It’s normal, we guess. In the end, they have to cater to an international audience, so that’s why you won’t see those films on this list. That’s also why the pool of Mexican films, made in Mexico and thus in Mexican Spanish, is smaller to pick from.

But anyway, that’s why we’re here. Below you get a list of Mexican films to learn Spanish from, chosen by a Mexican film enthusiast.

Please take into consideration that the list is in alphabetical order, so it doesn’t reflect in any way the order of preference of the author, nor should it reflect the order of preference you give to each film.

Hope you enjoy watching them! Also included is a quote to give you a taste of the Spanish spoken in each film. Here are the most common Spanish vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs


2. List of Mexican Movies

1- Amores Perros (2000)

To start you off, here’s Mr. Alejandro Iñarritu’s Opera Prima. Back in the year 2000, in his debut as a director, Iñarritu went ahead and started off with his Trilogía de la Muerte (“Death Trilogy”), which is completed by his subsequent films, 21 Gramos and Babel. All of them were written by his longtime collaborator, Guillermo Arriaga.

Amores Perros follows three sub-stories that take place in Mexico City, all intertwined by a car accident. The first story is about a teenager in the city slums that gets, unwillingly, involved with dogfighting simply because he’s trying to get enough money to run away with his brother’s girlfriend. The second story is about a newly-wed model who breaks her leg, and the third is about a vagabond who’s also a mysterious hitman. None of the characters ever know each other, apart from their shared involvement in the accident.

This film is notorious for having catapulted the career of Gael Garcia Bernal, who’s the teenager from the first story. Also, you should know that the film was released with its Spanish name in the English-speaking world, mainly because the title is hard to translate. Amores is plural for “love,” as in love affairs, or love interests, and Perros is “dogs.” In this context, however, perros is used as slang for “difficult,” “harsh,” or “rough.” Therefore, the title means something like “tough loves,” while being a nice play on words for the film’s canine connotations.

Quote: Tú y tus planes. ¿Sabes que decía mi abuela? Si quieres hacer reír a Dios, cuéntale tus planes.

Translation: “You and your plans. You know what my grandmother used to say? If you want to make God laugh…tell Him your plans.”

2- Ahí Está El Detalle (1940)

On to a jewel from what we call La Época de Oro del Cine Mexicano. This phrase translates to “Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age,” and refers to a period between 1936 and 1959, when the industry achieved high degrees of quality, as well as massive international success, so much so that Mexican films were considered the cusp of Spanish-language films. This is one of the best Spanish classic films you’ll find.

One of the main actors and filmmakers from this period was Mario Moreno, also known as Cantinflas. His style of comedy even spawned the popular Mexican-Spanish colloquialism cantinflear which is pretty much when someone beats around the bush while talking, digressing from the subject in discussion, never really getting to the point.

Anyway, Ahí está el Detalle is considered Cantinflas’ best film since it has one of the most intricate and inventive stories from the period.

In short, Cantinflas is a bum who goes to dine at his girlfriend’s place of employment (she’s the servant of a rich industrialist) just to get a free meal each day. One time, however, his girlfriend informs him that for once he must win his meal by going into the house and killing a dog that has gone mad with rabies. While Cantinflas prepares to do so, the rich industrialist appears, so his girlfriend tells him that Cantinflas is his wife’s brother, who had been missing for years. At this point, the industrialist remembers that his father-in-law’s testament could only be paid when all brothers got together again. He proceeds to treat Cantinflas as a king, and he happily plays along.

Quote: Mira, nomás te voy decir una cosa, ¿trabajan los ricos? A que no, entonces si el trabajo fuera bueno ya lo tendrían acaparado los ricos y entonces nomás ellos trabajarían.

Translation: “Look, I’m only gonna tell you one thing, do rich people work? I bet not! So, if work was so good, they would own all of it, and then only they would work.”

3- El Infierno (2010)

Oh boy, back to darker themes in Mexican film. El Infierno is one of the best films by well-known Mexican filmmaker Luis Estrada (see also La Ley de Herodes and La Dictadura Perfecta), who usually narrates stories about the many social problems within the country.

In this film—perhaps one of the most important Mexican films—he focuses on the problem of narcotrafico, following the story of a man who’s recently been deported after twenty years working and living in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant. Back in his small town in northern Mexico, the man faces a discouraging scenario due to the economic crisis that took place around 2008—2010, and the wave of violence that has been unleashed as a reaction to Felipe Calderon’s (then President of Mexico) War on Drugs. In need of money and with few options, the man quickly sees himself immersed into the world of narcos.

This film is an open critic to the Calderon administration’s management of the country’s drug problem, as well as narco-culture in general. It was one of the most acclaimed Mexican films of 2010, and one of the most accurate portrayals of a social problem that terrorizes Mexican families up to this very day.

Quote: “En este pinche país no haces lo que quieres, si no lo que puedes.”

Translation: “In this f*cking country you don’t do what you want, but what you can.”

4- Güeros (2014)

Since we haven’t yet mentioned the Ariel awards, we guess that now’s as good a time as any. Los Premios Ariel are the Mexican Academy of Film’s yearly awards, given out as a recognition for excellence in motion picture making. As the most prestigious award in the Mexican film industry, one could say that it’s the equivalent to the Academy Awards, or “Oscars” of the United States.

So, we mention this here because Güeros was the last Mexican film to truly make a splash in los Ariel and was well-regarded in the independent art-film circles. Let’s say that, as with the American Oscars, not all Best Picture winners are considered “good films” by film buffs.

Anyway, Güeros is an absolute jewel of modern Mexican cinema. I personally don’t recall any other recent films being so bold, timely, and accurate in argument. In other words, if you want to see a recent story about modern Mexican youth that gets you close to what you would encounter by going into a dive bar in a Mexico City student zone, this is probably it.

The film follows the story of Tomas, an adolescent who gets sent to live with his older brother, who’s a university student in Mexico City, after he becomes too much for his mother to handle. Within his first few days, the two brothers, the older brother’s roommate, and a romantic interest—who’s also an outspoken leader in the student protests that are occurring for the entirety of the film—set out to find an obscure rock musician who’s apparently dying in a hospital bed.

For this film, most of the weird phrases and terms have an explanation by the character’s themselves, but it would also help to get yourself acquainted with the music festival Avándaro, and why the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México—one of Latin America’s largest public research universities—sees constant student protests.

Quote: Estamos en huelga de la huelga.

Translation: “We’re in strike from the strike.”

5- Las Fuerzas Vivas (1975)

Luis Alcoriza, director of Las Fuerzas Vivas

If you’re at all interested in the Mexican War of Revolution, this is a great film to see. Hailed as an all-time greatest classic of Mexican cinema, this film satirizes the whole phenomenon. The interesting thing is that it describes the ins and outs of the Revolution not by following the official story, but by telling a little near-allegorical story that occurs in a little village, far from the places where the actual revolution is taking place at the same time.

While this may be harder to find with subtitles, there are several full-length versions on YouTube.

Quote: Bueno, y los de la junta de gobierno, ¿quiénes la vamos a formar?

Translation: “Well, and the government council, who’s gonna be in it?”

6- La Jaula de Oro (2013)

Now for another deep socioeconomic problem in Mexico, this film deals with the theme of immigration. It’s well-known that many Mexicans looking for better work opportunities and conditions migrate north of the border illegally. It’s not as well-known, however, that lots of Central Americans do so as well. To make their way, they must go all the way through Mexico, usually riding the tops of the old freight trains that still criss-cross the country, facing horrors such as racism and abuse from the local authorities, the risk of literally getting abducted and sold, or just killed due to the dire conditions.

All that is pretty real, and it happens everyday, so it’s good that filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez took it upon himself to portray what those migrants have to go through in one of his first films. La Jaula de Oro follows the story of two young Guatemalan immigrants, a girl and a boy, and Tzotzil indigenous youth, who try to make their way up to the U.S.

The film is absolutely devastating, but truly moving to watch, especially if one considers that apart from the three protagonists, most of the people one sees in the film aren’t cast actors and actresses, but real migrants who happened to be there when Diego and his crew were rolling.

Finally, talking about the Ariel’s again, La Jaula de Oro won Best Picture in 2014.

Quote: Siento como si tuviera un zoológico en mi estómago, como si un montón de animales estuvieran corriendo por todo mi cuerpo de la emoción de que vamos a llegar al otro lado.

Translate: “I feel as if I had a zoo inside my stomach, as if a bunch of animals were running all over my body, from the emotion that we’re going to make it to the other side.”

7- Los Olvidados (1950)

Named “Memory of the World” by Unesco, probably the only film on this list to hold that distinction (for now), Los Olvidados is also hailed as Luis Buñuel’s best piece of art from his Mexican period.

The film is deeply rooted in Italian Neorealism, with some surreal touches proper of Mr. Buñuel’s former works. Its story follows a brief period in the lives of poor Mexican children within the slums of Mexico City, shortly after one of them escapes from a correctional facility.

Quote: Uno menos, así irán cayendo todos, ¡Ojalá los mataran a todos antes de nacer!

Translation: “One down, that’s how they’ll all fall eventually, wish they killed them all before they were born!”

8- Nosotros Los Nobles (2013)

While this list may give the contrary impression, hopefully by now you don’t think that Mexican Cinema is all about either artsy films or very old movies. There are, as in all industries probably, a fair share of light comedies and chick flicks. I’d even venture to say that these make the better part of the offer, but they don’t usually transcend beyond being box office hits in Mexico; they run for a couple of weeks, the producers cash in, and they’re off to make another one.

There is, nevertheless, a fine exception to that rule, and that is Nosotros Los Nobles. While it’s a light comedy from whichever side you look at it, the story is surprisingly quite good, as well as the acting (it features Luis Gerardo Mendez, of Club de Cuervos fame). The thing is just funny, and it has the advantage of being recent. Thus, it offers a rare and accurate glimpse into current Mexican humor. This is one of the best Mexican comedy films out there.

The story is actually inspired by El Gran Calavera, another of Buñuel’s films, but adapted to our days by Gary Alazraki. It centers on the elaborate lie of a wealthy Mexican businessman, who upon realizing that his three children aren’t doing anything with their lives but to sponge off him, decides to tell them that he’s gone bankrupt, so they all have to find jobs in the “real world.”

Quote: Entraste por influencias pero te vas por pendejo.

Translation: “You got the job because you’re connected but you’re fired because you’re an idiot.”

9- Temporada de Patos (2004)

It’s probably evident by now, largely due to the rant at the beginning of this Mexican movie blog, that Mexican films don’t usually have big budgets. So before Mexican filmmakers can go abroad to make massive blockbuster films, they have to find ways to tell impactful stories with nothing but a few cameras and some people.

This film is a perfect example of that. Temporada de Patos centers around two adolescents in the Tlatelolco habitational units (see the Tlatelolco Massacre for a glimpse of the historical background of that place), who plan on spending a weekend by themselves while their parents are away.

What was supposed to be two days of nothing but pizza and video games, turns into an absurd situation when there’s a power cut in the buildings. The youths are forced to deal with a neighbor who requests to use one of their ovens, and a pizza delivery man who argues with them about the delivery time.

Quote: Las oportunidades en la vida son como los tiros que tiene una escopeta. Yo ya me gasté los míos.

Translation: “Opportunities in life are like the shots in a shotgun. I’m all out.”

10- Y tu Mamá también (2001)

Before going off to make Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón made this drama road movie that still stands as one of the best Mexican films—even one of the best Spanish-language films—ever made.

Featuring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, the movie is about two Mexican 18-year-olds who are on vacation from school. While their girlfriends are traveling in Europe, the two are left to rest idle in Mexico City. One day, at a wedding, they meet a Spanish woman ten years older than them who’s married to one of their cousins. In an attempt to flirt with her, they tell her that they’re going to the beach. While the woman first dismisses their efforts, a couple of mishaps in the following days lead her to accept the invitation. At that point, the two teenagers have to follow through on their lie and improvise a roadtrip to Boca del Cielo, a virgin beach in the state of Oaxaca.

Quote: No hay mayor placer que dar placer ¿no?

Translation: “There’s no bigger pleasure than giving pleasure, no?”


3. Honorary Mentions

And those are all the films we have for now! Some honorary mentions, apart from the other works we mentioned here and there by the same directors, would be:

  • Cronos (1993), Guillermo Del Toro’s Opera Prima
  • El Laberinto del Fauno (Mexico-Spain production, but mostly spoken in Spanish from Spain)
  • Sin Nombre (2009), also centers around the theme of migrantes in Mexico
  • Vámonos con Pancho Villa! (1936), another one about the Mexican Revolution, also from the “Golden Age”


4. Where Do I Find These Films?

Many of these recommend Mexican movies may be available on Netflix or other streaming services depending on your region. My recommendation is to give each film a try over each platform, including YouTube. If there’s no luck, you can search for them using a free streaming site such as Cuevana.

My main tip is to be on constant lookout. Maybe you’ll see one of them in a hard copy, or being played in a local theater or even on TV one of these days. I’ve watched most of these across a variety of platforms. Güeros, for example, was super hard to find even being from Mexico, until one day I boarded a flight and you won’t guess what was among the options for the in-flight movie.


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