arrowwhiskers: (sexy roberta)
[personal profile] arrowwhiskers
Bwahahaha, so last night/early this morning I found the following song, and I think it sums up like 75% of the frustration that I have with learning Spanish. Everywhere you go, any word you know probably means something different from the definition you learned for it, and therefore your vocabulary always carries the potential of getting you into trouble. The best part is that these guys are from Colombia...I feel so vindicated that people who actually speak Spanish do realize that this is a huge problem for foreigners, haha. This video is going to potentially be long and tedious for people who don't know or care about Spanish, but if you do like Spanish, I highly suggest you watch it!


My transcription and translation are below. The [bracketed] parts in the actual transcription are parts I couldn't get on my own, or parts that I changed/refined after looking up lyrics. In the translation, the brackets indicate the English meaning of the previous word (a lot of the jokes depend heavily on keeping the Spanish word there).

I didn't get everything, of course, but I was really pleased with how much I *was* able to understand, given how they put on a bunch of weird accents and go pretty fast. @_@/ Anyway, my translation doesn't do the song justice, but I don't think *English* does it justice being it's about the craziness of Spanish. Still, if you like languages, wordplay, and language problems, you might find the translation funny too, idk.


Viajé por distintos países
Conocí las más lindas mujeres
Yo probé deliciosa comida
Yo bailé ritmos muy diferentes

Desde México fui a Patagonia
Y en España unos años viví
Me esforcé por hablar el idioma
Pero yo nunca lo conseguí

Que difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición
Que difícil entender el español
Si lo aprendes, no te muevas de región
Que difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición
Que difícil entender el español
Yo ya me doy por vencido para mi país me voy

Yo estudiaba el castellano cuando hacía la secundaria
De excursión de promociones fuimos a las Islas Canarias
En el viaje comprendí que de español no sabía nada
Y decidí estudiar filología hispana en Salamanca

Terminada la carrera yo viajé a Ciudad de México
Sentía que necesitaba enriquecer mi léxico
Muy pronto vi que con el español tenía una tarea
Decidi estudiar otros tres años en Guadalajara

Cuarto meses en Bolivia, un posgrado en Costa Rica
Unos cursos de lectura con un profesor de Cuba
Tanto estudio y tanto esfuerzo y al final tú ya lo ves
Este idioma no se entiende ni a derecho ni al revés

Que difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición
Que difícil entender el español
Yo ya me doy por vencido para mi país me voy

En Venezuela compré con mi plata una camisa de pana
Y mis amigos me decían: "ése es mi pana, ése es mi pana!"
En Colombia el porro es un ritmo alegre que se canta
Pero todos me [miran] mal cuando yo digo que me encanta

Los chilenos dicen cuando hay algo lejos que 'está a la chucha'
En Colombia el mal olor de las axilas es la chucha
Mientras tanto en Uruguay a ese olor le dicen 'chivo'
El diccionario define el chivo como una cabra con barbucha

Y cambiando una vocal la palabra queda 'chucho'
Y 'chucho' es un perrito en Salvador y Guatemala
En Honduras es tacaño y a Jesús le dicen Chucho
Con tantas definiciones como se usa esa puta palabra?

Chucho es [frío] en Argentina, chucho en Chile es una carcel
Chucho en México si hay alguien con el don de ser muy hábil
El chucho de chucho es un chucho [ladrando] y por chucho a chucho le echaron a chucho que chucho era frío [y lo] agarro un chucho 'que chucho' decía extraño a mi chucho

Que difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición
Que difícil entender el español
Yo ya me doy por vencido para mi país me voy

Comencé por aprender los nombres de los alimientos
Pero frijol [es] poroto y habichuela al mismo tiempo
Y aunque estaba confundido con lo que comía en la mesa
[De algo] estaba seguro: un strawberry es una fresa
Que sorpresa cuando en México a mi me dijeron fresa
Por tener ropa de Armani y pedir un bueno vino en la mesa

Con la misma ropa me dijeron 'cheto' en Argentina
Cheto es fresa, yo pensé y pregunté en el mercado de la esquina
"Aquí están buenas las chetas?" y la cajera se enojó
"Andáte a la repúuu-que te [remil parió]"

["Fresas, parse"] me dijo un colombiano
Mientras vio que mareado me sentaba en una silla
"Hermanito no sea bruto y [apúntese] en la mano
En Buenos Aires a la fresa le dicen 'frutilla'"

Yo me cansé de pasar por idiota
Digo lo que a mi me enseñan y nadie entiene ni jota
Y si ni jota no se entiende pues pregunte en Bogotá
Yo me rindo, me abro, me voy pa' Canadá

Un pastel es un ponqué, un ponqué es una torta
Y una torta el puñetazo que dio una española en la boca
Ella se veía muy linda caminando por la playa
Yo quería decirle algún piropo para conquistarla
Me acerqué y le dije lo primero que se me ocurrió
Se volteó, me gritó, me escupió y me cacheteó

Capullo le dije porque estaba muy bonita
Y si capullo es un insulto [quien me explica] la maldita cancioncita?
Lindo capullo de [aledí]
Si tú supieras mi dolor
Correspondieras a mi amor
Y calmaras mi sufrimiento...

...Es lo que yo tengo
Y por más que yo lo intento yo a ti nunca te comprendo
Ya no sé que hay que hacer para hacerse entender
La plata de mis clases no quisieron devolver

Que difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición
Que difícil entender el español
Yo ya me doy por vencido para mi planeta me voy

En España al liquido que suelta la carne la gente le dice 'jugo'
Por otro lado en España al jugo de fruta la gente le dice 'zumo'
Me dijeron también que el [sumo] pontífice manda en la religión
Yo siempre creí que un 'sumo' era un gordo [en tanga] peleando en Japón

Conocí a una andaluza
Se llamaba Concepción
Su marido le decía
'Concha de mi corazón'

"Vamonos para Argentina," le dije en una ocasión
Yo lo siento pero si me dices Concha creo que allá mejor no voy
"Pero Concha qué te pasa si es un muy lindo país
Hay incluso él que compara Buenos Aires con París"
De mi apodo alla se burlan de la forma más mugrienta
Siempre cada pervertido que dé paso se calienta

Y con tantos anglicismos todo es más complicado
Si traduces textualmente no tienen significado
"I will call you back," te diría cualquier gringo
"Yo te llamo p'atrás," te dicen en Puerto Rico

"Ojos" es "eyes", "ice" es "hielo"
"Yellow" el color de la yema del huevo
"Oso" es "bear", y "ver" es "see"
"Si" es la nota que en inglés es "B"

Y aparte "bee" es una abeja y también es "ser"
Y "Sir Michael" le decían a mi profe de inglés
El que cuida tu edificio es un "watchiman"
Y con el chico de tu barrio sales a "hanguear"
Y la glorieta es un ["romboy"]
Y te vistes con óverol
Por qué tiene que ser tan difícil saber cómo diablos hablar español?

No es que no quiera, perdí la paciencia
La ciencia de este idioma no me entra en la conciencia
Yo creía que cargando un diccionario en mi mochila
Y anotando en un diario todas las palabras que durante el día aprendía
Y leyendo, viajando, charlando, estudiando, haciendo amigos en cada esquina y probando todo tipo de comida y enciclopedias y antologías yo pensé que aprendería y con fé lo lograría y mis esfuerzos fueron en vano!

Yo creía que hablaría en castellano pero ya no no no no
Qué difícil es hablar el español
Porque todo lo que dices tiene otra definición

En Chile 'polla' es una apuesta colectiva
En cambio en España es un pene
[Alguna gente en] México al pene le dice 'pitillo'
Y 'pitillo' en España es un cigarillo
Y en Venezuela un cilindro de plástico para tomar bebidas
El mismo cilindro en Bolivia se conoce como 'pajita'
Pero 'pajita' en unos países [significa] masturbacioncita
Y masturbación en México puede decirse 'chaqueta'
Que a la vez es una especie de abrigo en Colombia
Un país en que, a propósito, una gorra con visera es una cachucha
Cuando 'cachucha' en Argentina es una vagina
Pero allá a la vagina también le dicen 'concha'
Pero conchudo en Colombia es alguien descarado
O alguien fresco, y un fresco en Cuba es [un irrespetuoso]
[Ya estoy] mamado

Pero mamado de qué?
Mamado de borracho, mamado de chupeteado, mamado de harto
This is exhausting

Yo ya me doy por vencido para mi país me voy!


I traveled around to many countries
I met a lot of pretty women
I tried delicious food
I danced to very different rhythms

From Mexico I went to Patagonia
I lived in Spain for a couple years
I tried hard to speak the language
But I never managed it

How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Because everything you say has another meaning
How difficult it is to understand Spanish
If you learn it, don't move to another region
How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Everything you say has another meaning
How difficult it is to understand Spanish
I give up, I'm going back to my country

I studied Spanish when I was in middle school/(possibly means high school here)
For a class trip we went to the Canary Islands
On that trip I realized I didn’t know anything about Spanish
So I decided to get a degree in Spanish in Salamanca

With my degree done I traveled to Mexico City
I felt that I needed to enrich my vocabulary
I soon saw that I had my work cut out for me with Spanish
I decided to study in Guadalajara for another three years

Four months in Bolivia, a graduate degree in Costa Rica
Some reading lessons with a professor from Cuba
So much studying, so much work, and in the end you can see
This language can't be understood forwards or backwards

How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Everything you say has another meaning
How difficult it is to understand Spanish
I give up, I'm going back to my country

In Venezuela I bought a shirt made of 'pana' [corduroy]
And my friends said "that's my 'pana' [buddy], that's my 'pana'!"
In Colombia porro is an upbeat rhythm that people sing
But everyone looks at me weird when I say that I love it

The Chileans say that when something's far away it's "a la chucha"
In Colombia the bad smell from your armpit is "chucha"
Meanwhile in Uruguay they call that smell "chivo"
The dictionary defines 'chivo' as a goat with a long beard

And if you change a vowel the word becomes "chucho"
And "chucho" is a dog in El Salvador and Guatemala
In Honduras it means stingy and they call Jesús "Chucho" (note: Chucho and variations thereof are nicknames for the name Jesús in the same way that Bob is a nickname for Robert).
With so many definitions how do you use the freaking word?

Chucho is cold in Argentina, in Chile a chucho is a prison
Chucho in Mexico is if there's someone with a gift for being skillful
Chucho's chucho is a barking chucho and on account of being chucho they tossed Chucho in the chucho what a chucho, it was cold I grab a chucho, that's chucho I said I miss my cucho.
(I could try to put which chucho means which here, but it's ambiguous on some anyway xD)

How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Everything you say has another meaning
How difficult it is to understand Spanish
I give up, I'm going back to my country

I started by learning the names of foods
But 'frijol' is 'poroto' and 'habichuela' all at once (they all mean 'bean')
And although I was confused by what I was eating at the table
I was sure about one thing: a strawberry is a 'fresa'
What a shock, then, when in Mexico they called *me* a fresa
For wearing Armani [designer] clothes and asking for good wine at the table

With the same clothes they called me 'cheto' in Argentina
Cheto is fresa, I thought, and I asked at the market on the corner
"Are the 'chetas' good here?" and the cashier got mad
"Go back to the bloody who-*censored* that gave birth to you!"

"'Fresas', man," a Colombian told me
While I, dizzy, sat down in a chair
"Brother, don't be dumb, and write it down on your hand--
In Buenos Aires they call strawberries 'frutillas'"

I'm tired of seeming like an idiot
I use what they teach me and nobody understands 'ni jota' [nobody understands a thing]
And if you don’t even understand 'ni jota' go ask in Bogotá
I give up, I give in, I'm headed to Canada

A 'pastel' is a 'ponqué', and a 'ponqué' is a 'torta' (all words for cake)
And a 'torta' is the punch in the mouth that a Spanish lady gave me
She looked really pretty walking by the beach
I wanted to throw her a pickup line to win her over
I walked up and I told her the first thing that occurred to me
She turned around, she yelled at me, she spat on me, and she slapped me!

'Capullo'—is what I called her, because she looked really pretty.
If capullo is an insult, then someone explain this stupid little song to me:
"Pretty 'capullo' [bud] of a wallflower, if only you knew of my pain
Returned my love, and calmed my suffer-fer-fer-..."

Suffering is what I have
And for all that I try so hard I never understand you
I don't know what to do anymore to be understood
And they don't want to give me a refund on my classes

How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Because everything you say has another meaning
How difficult it is to understand Spanish
I give up already, I'm going back to my planet

In Spain people call the juice that comes out of meat 'jugo'
On the other hand in Spain they call 'jugo' made from fruit 'zumo'
They also told me that the 'sumo pontífice' [the pope] makes the rules in religion
And here I always thought that a 'sumo' was a fat guy in a thong fighting in Japan

I met a woman from Andalucia, her name was Concepción
Her husband called her "Concha [seashell] of my heart"

"Let's go to Argentina," I said to her one time
"I'm sorry, but if you call me 'Concha' I think it's better I don't go there”
"But Concha, what's wrong? It's a really pretty country
There are even people who compare Buenos Aires to Paris"
"Over there they make fun of my nickname in the dirtiest way
And every pervert that passes by always gets excited"

And with so many Anglicisms everything is more complicated
If you translate literally they don't make sense

"I will call you back," any gringo will tell you
"yo te llamo pa’trás," they'll say in Puerto Rico

(note: the next part is half in English and pretty much impossible to translate...to get the jokes, try saying the English words with a strong Spanish accent—they sound the same as the Spanish ones)
'ojos’ is 'eyes' and 'ice' is 'hielo', 'yellow' the color of egg yolks
'oso’ is 'bear' and 'ver' is 'see'
'si' is a note that is 'B' in English
And 'B' is also 'abeja'[bumble bee] and is also 'ser' [to be]
And 'Sir' Michael is what they called my English teacher.

And the guy who watches over your building is a 'watchiman'
And you go out to 'hanguear' with the boys from the neighborhood
And the rotory/roundabout is a 'romboy'
And you put on an 'overol'
Why does it have to be so difficult to know how to friggen' speak in Spanish?

It's not that I don't want to, I just lost my patience
The science of this language doesn't enter in my consciousness
I thought that by carrying a dictionary in my backpack
And by writing all the words that I learned during the day in a diary

And reading, travelling, chatting, studying
And making friends on every street corner
And trying all kinds of food and buying encyclopedias and anthologies
I thought that I would learn and that with a little faith I would manage it
My efforts were in vain
I thought that I would speak Spanish but not anymore no no no no

How difficult it is to speak Spanish
Because everything you say has another meaning

In Chile 'polla' is a collective wager, in Spain it's a penis
Some people in Mexico call the penis a 'pitillo'
And 'pitillo' in Spain is a cigarette
And in Venezuela it's a plastic cylinder for drinking with
The same cylinder in Bolivia is known as a 'pajita'
But 'pajita' in some countries means masturbation
And masturbation in Mexico can be called 'chaqueta'
Which at the same time is a type of coat in Colombia
A country in which, by the way, a hat with a visor is a 'cachucha'
And 'cachucha' in Argentina is a vagina, but they also call the vagina 'concha'
And 'conchudo' in Colombia is someone shameless or someone 'fresco' [with a lot of nerve]
And a 'fresco' in Cuba is someone who is disrespectful
I'm 'mamado' already!

But what kind of 'mamado'?
'Mamado' like drunk?
'Mamado' like 'sucked on'?
'Mamado' like 'fed up'?
This is exhausting

I give up already, I'm going back to my country!

This is also part of the problem of trying to learn Spanish and living in the US, too. One of the lines is "si lo aprendes [el español], no te muevas de region"-- "If you learn [Spanish], don't move to another region", because people will use words completely differently there. But in the US, there are tons of Spanish speakers from everywhere! How do you "not change regions"? I guess you just have to learn Spanish from one person and never talk to anyone else. Or something similarly silly, lol.

Also also self-serving change of topic, but...! Tonight Andres and I went out to a fancy Mexican restaurant where I think the waiters are instructed to speak to you with Spanish thrown in, even if you obviously can't speak it. (They always do this--maybe it's in order to seem authentic or exotic? idk) The Spanish addressed towards me always encourages me to gather all my courages and actually respond in Spanish, and today I just went for it and the waiter seemed surprised, but happy. When he brought us our check at the end, he asked me where I'd learned Spanish and that "lo tenía muy bien pronunciado". It made my night!!!! And possibly my week/month ^^; I normally notice all the ways in which I fail at speaking (in any language, including English) or how much I suck at, well, everything, so getting a compliment like that about my *pronunciation in Spanish* of all things from a random stranger was, well, pretty great. :) I feel like little moments like tonight are what make all sorts of struggling and anxiety and self-doubt suddenly worthwhile. <3 I'll never give up on Spanish, ever. In spite of all the difficulties and frustrations it's something I find worth fighting for.
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