lunes, 20 de enero de 2020

Daffy Duck and learning English


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The American poet Billy Collins (I love his poetry) says that Bugs Bunny is his hero and his source of inspiration. In my case, my hero and my fountainhead of inspiration is Daffy Duck. 
My favorite quote from him is when Porky Pig asks him whether he is ready to go, and Daffy Duck says: "I was born ready!" Few can say that in earnest. His appearances in Looney Tunes are short and can be found in YouTube. A lot can be learnt about the English language from him, and it is a great training of the ear to capture the sounds of the language. I urge you to listen to his wisdom and his English.

miércoles, 15 de enero de 2020

Pleonasmos, tautologías, repeticiones


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Las tautologías o los pleonasmos son viciosas redundancias de palabras para decir lo mismo dos veces.
En castellano es redundante el pronombre posesivo con las partes del cuerpo, y ajeno al espíritu del idioma.
Diremos: "Me he roto la pierna derecha" y no "me he roto mi pierna derecha."
"Me duele la cabeza" en vez de "me duele mi cabeza."
"Tiene la barriga hinchada" y no "tiene su barriga hinchada."
"Margarita tiene las piernas largas" en vez de "Margarita tiene sus piernas largas".
Otros ejemplos de pleonasmos:
"Están doblando a muerto". (Doblar las campanas, tocar a muerto.)
"Aterido de frío". (Aterido es paralizado a causa del frío.)
"Sorpresa inesperada". (Si se esperasen, las sorpresas ya no lo serían.)
"Actualmente en vigor". (Si está en vigor es actual, claro.)
Y también: párpados de los ojos, repetir otra vez, desenlace final, ejemplo práctico, previsto de antemano...

Más información en mis libros "Hablar y escribir con corrección" (Editatum, 2018) y  "Escribir bien" (Anaya, 2013.)

martes, 14 de enero de 2020

Comprobar escritos y traducciones


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Como la perfección no existe, y como la atención se distrae, es aconsejable dar nuestros escritos, traducciones, a un experto externo para que nos dé consejos, ideas, correcciones, y que sepa cazar ripios, tautologías, clichés y solecismos, por ejemplo, que se nos hayan escapado. Dominar un idioma no es fácil, incluso el nuestro. Escribir es arduo y peligroso, lo sé por experiencia. Puedo leer con atención tu escrito o traducción, y aconsejarte. Por una cantidad casi simbólica puedes asegurarte de que lo que has producido está bien.

Editing, proofreading and vetting


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No matter how haughty and foolhardy we are intellectually, we all need to have our writings checked, edited, proofread, and vetted by an outsider who is detached and impartial. I kid you not. I know it from experience. So, to assure you do not make a fool of yourself and weaken your communication with silly solecisms, check with me. I will help you  with suggestions and corrections that will improve your productions. For a modest fee you will obtain the benefit of a double-check. 

sábado, 11 de enero de 2020

Verbos y sustantivos I

El verbo es nombre también: to smoke, humear, fumar. Smoke, humo.Pero en algunos casos el nombre es diferente del verbo:

Advise, aconsejar, advice, consejo.
Believe, creer, belief, creencia
Broad, ancho, breadth, anchura
Breathe, respirar, breath, aliento
Choose, elegir, choice, elección
Deep, profundo, depth, profundidad
Fly, volar, flight, vuelo
Hate, odiar, hatred, odio
High, alto, height, altura
Honest, honrado, honesty, honradez
Hot, caliente, heat, calor

viernes, 10 de enero de 2020

Quinceañera party


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I have recently discovered a new meaning to an old Spanish word. Michael Douglas, Sandy Kominsky in The Kominsky Method, says, explaining his personal relation to a shaky waiter: "I was MC at his granddaughter´s quinceañera party." Let´s look into it.
"Quinceañero," one who is fifteen. 15 in Spanish is also known as "la niña bonita" because all "quinceañeras" are supposed to be pretty, and just as number 22 is known as "two little ducks" in English and "los dos patitos in Spanish."
What I ignored was that "quinceañera" is a party in northern Mexico and other parts of HispanicAmerica, to celebrate the coming of age of young girls, otherwise known as "coming-out party," "sweet sixteen party" in the US or "puesta de largo" in days of old.
Spanish dictionaries do not mention this definition, but Merriam-Webster does, giving two spellings: "quinceañera" and "quinceanera."
Live and learn! 

jueves, 9 de enero de 2020

Famous Slogans of yore


Slogan, a distinctive phrase that identifies a manufacturer:


Apple: Think different.
Volkswagen: Think small.
Esso: Put a tiger in your tank.
Interflora: Say it with flowers.
DeBeers: Diamonds are forever.
American Express: Don’t leave home without it.
Kodak: You press the button, we’ll do the rest.
Winston: Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.
Greyhound Corporation: Take a bus and leave the driving to us.
Telephone Book: Let your fingers do the walking.
Coca-Cola: It’s the real thing.
Wheatties: Breakfast of champions.
Maxwell House Coffee: Good to the last drop.
Nike: Just do it.
M&Ms: Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
Allstate: You are in good hands with Allstate.
7-Eleven: Thank heaven for 7-eleven.
Avis: We try harder.
Mail Pouch Tobacco: Treat yourself to the best.
U.S. Forest Service: Only you can prevent forest fires.