Monday, 27 January 2014

¡Hola chicas!

Last week we looked at popular boys' names and translated them into their Spanish equivalents. This week, it's the girls' turn.
Let's start again with the most popular 20 girls' names for 2013: 

1. Olivia        Olivia is also used in Spain
2. Emily         Emilia
3. Sophia      Sofia (remember the stress, So-fee-ya)
4. Lily           Liliana
5. Isabella     Isabella also used en español
6. Isabelle     Isabel
7. Amelia      Amalia
8. Isla           No translation found
 9. Sophie     Sofia
10.Ava          NTF
11.Chloe       Cloe (No 'ee' sound at the end, Clo-eh)
12.Poppy      NTF
13.Jessica    Yessica
14.Mia         Marita
15.Ella         NTF
16.Grace     Gracia (Usually lisped, Gra-thee-ya)
17.Evie        Eva (Not pronounced Ee-va; but Eh-va. Rhymes with 'never' if you drop the 'r')
18.Lucy       Lucía Again, lisped, Loo-thee-ya
19.Alice      Alicia
20.Layla      NTF

There are a lot of names there without a translation, so here are a few more from the top 30 to keep you going:

24. Charlotte  Carlota
29. Emma       Ema
31. Hannah     Ana
34. Phoebe     Febe No 'Fee' sound, Feh-beh
36. Ellie         Elisa/Isa (Ee-sa)
39. Matilda     Matilde

If you want to find a name that I haven't listed, or to find out where you are in the top 100 names for 2013, then go to: Top 100 baby names chosen in 2013

If you want to check if your own name has a Spanish variation, I've been using this website: Name translator Just pop your name into the search box at the top and you'll find variations for many languages.

As I said last week, why not use your 'Spanish' names in your Spanish lessons, so you'll have them on the tips of your tongues the next time you arrive in España ready to make some new amig@s! That's the funky way young Spaniards avoid having to write 'amigos and amigas'. Cool, eh?

Hasta pronto, 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

¿Cómo te llamas, chicos?

So what's your name?

I was surprised when I moved to Spain to discover how many Spanish names there were. I expected to find a few, like Miguel and Pedro, Carmen and Isabel. What I wasn't ready for was that pretty much every child in my class would have a 'Spanish' name. I just didn't realise there were so many. I thought a lot of them would have names like us, that we'd share more names. Just shows how much I had to learn.
This week I'm going to look at Spanish boys' names. Next week, we'll look at the girls.

Here are the top-20 English boys' names for 2013 (the first half of the year) with their Spanish 'translation' if I can find one. If I can't, and you can, let me know and I'll add it to the list. 
Note also that I've tried to give you a pronunciation guide. For example, Thomas and Tomás may look almost the same, but Spaniards stress the second syllable while we stress the first:

1. Oliver                   No translation found 
2. Jack/John           Juan (say H-won to rhyme with fun)
3. Charlie/Charles   Carlos/Carlito(s)
4. Harry                   Enrique (say En-ree-kay)
5. Oscar                   Óscar
6. Ethan                  NTF
7. Jacob                  Jacobo (say Jack-o-boh)
8. Thomas                Tomás (say Tom-as)
9. George                 Jorge (say Hor-hay)
10. James               Jaime (say high-may)
11. Alfie                  Alfredo
12. Daniel               Daniel (say Danielle)
13. William           Guillermo (say Gee yer moh using the 'Gee' sound from 'Geek' (not 'Jeep').
14. Henry                Enrique (again)
15. Joshua               Josué (say Ho-soo-eh)
16. Max                   Maximiliano (stress 'an')
17. Noah                 Noé (say No-eh)
18. Alexander          Alejandro (say Al eh han dro)
19. Benjamin         Benjamín (say Ben yah meen)
20. Dylan                NTF

Some of the other common Spanish name translations which you might need are:

Edward    Eduardo
Michael    Miguel (say Mee-gel with 'gel' to have a hard 'g' like in 'get' not hair 'gel')
Paul     Pablo
Peter   Pedro
Ralph    Raúl (say Rah-ool

Why don't you 'adopt' a Spanish name for your Spanish classes? Then you can get into the swing of pronouncing them, ready for your next visit to España where you'll no doubt need them!

Next week, las chicas!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Just When You Thought it was Safe...

So you've bought all the presents, decorated the tree, left out some carrots and a mince pie, opened the presents, eaten the turkey, even celebrated New Year. It must be all over by now!

But not here in España. If you really, really, REALLY love Christmas, then Spain is the place for you.

It was the 5th of January when I got a call from a friend telling me to go down to my local port if I was interested in Spanish traditions. I arrived to find that I wasn't alone. There were hundreds of people there, most dressed in 'Sunday best', all looking out to sea...

Can't spot them? Look closer...

See them now? It's the Three Kings (Reyes Magos in Spanish); Melchior, Baltazar and Gaspar arriving by boat! Actually, you shouldn't be too surprised by the boat, because (according to newspaper and TV reports) in other towns and cities across Spain they were arriving by all manner of transport including catamaran (Marbella) and helicopter (Fuengirola).

Having arrived and disembarked these Reyes continued their tour of the town...

... by open-top car!

Across Spain, Kings led processions through towns and villages (sometimes throwing sweets) wishing everybody well for what is traditionally the Spanish Christmas Day on January 6th!

I spoke to a number of my Spanish friends and discovered that until quite recently, Spanish children received their presents on the 6th. But in more recent years, Santa Claus (Papa Noel) has joined the party and many (lucky) young Spaniards now get presents on the 25th of diciembre and the 6th of enero!

You can see the tradition changing in the streets of my local town where you'll see the Reyes Magos visiting... well as Papa Noel...

Some families are obviously keen to hedge their bets...

While others seem slightly confused...

You'll no doubt know that Spain is a hot country and that many people live in pisos (flats). That means that there aren't many chimneys about, which explains why it sometimes seems that there's a spate of burglaries going on during the festive period...

 I hope you all had a ¡Feliz Navidad! (and a Prospero Año Nuevo) and are ready to learn more about the wonderful country that is España!