Snails are an insult?

Teresa

I was joking with a friend that I had a saying on one of my flashcards that she could use on her husband as a joke, " Eras tan lento como un caracol". She has informed me that referring to anyone in Mexico as a snail is high insult and just not done. Although, she used baboso as = slug or snail and the dictionary has baboso as just slug and caracol as just snail. Anyone care to comment?

Teresa

ooopss, Eres.... sorry

Mauricio

Hello Teresa, Thank you for pointing that out, I had no idea that to call someone a *"caracol"* was an insult... apart from saying they are slow. In the flashcard though you are not calling the person a *"caracol" *but just comparing it to it's speed. *"Baboso/a"* (_slimy_) on the other hand can be an insult... it would refer to someone who cannot hold their saliva in their mouth. But it is not a strong insult...in Chile that is. It is very interesting how simple names can become insults depending where you are at. If anyone knows of any more words like "Caracol" which are an insult in parts of Latin America I would love to know. Mauricio.

nohablo

[quo]*Quote from * Mauricio It is very interesting how simple names can become insults depending where you are at. If anyone knows of any more words like "Caracol" which are an insult in parts of Latin America I would love to know. [/quo] Hola Mauricio. I was browsing on the Word Reference forum earlier today, and I came across a very long thread entitled *words to be avoided in English for non-native speakers*. Though the title suggests that most of the words will be English, in fact the discussion was pretty well divided between English and Spanish words to be avoided. Some of the Spanish words were well known, while others came as a surprise even to some hispanoparlantes. And some of the words were fine in one country and offensive in another (one well-known example given was *coger*). You can see the entire thread here: *__http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2304__*. I confess that I gave up after a short while. The thread had well over 200 messages! One of the points I found very interesting was a comparison of words that would seem to be equivalent in English and Spanish but aren't (at least, according to the message writer). For example, *shut up* and *cállate*. According to the message writer, the former is much stronger than the latter, even though they ostensibly mean the same thing. Similarly, *stupid* and *estúpido*; in this case the Spanish word is much stronger and shouldn't be used as casually as one would use "stupid." One more example, according to this same writer: never call someone "unfortunate" or "unhappy" in Spanish. Apparently, *desgraciado* and *infeliz* are quite strong insults in Spanish. Is this your sense of these words as well?

Teresa

Thank you for your input. I really do believe that the word she heard, bobosa = slug is the problem word. And yes, calling someone a snail and comparing their speed to one is very different, excellent point. This friend does not speak fluent Spanish and did not grow up in Mexico. She was exposed to family that spoke Spanish but never learned it herself... so, I always question what she tells me....because she is not a native, nor speaks the language fluently. I try not to insult her about it......but I simply cannot afford to be told this and that unless it is correct. (she disagrees with learning spanish from a course, can't be done she says) I think this makes her super critical of what I'm learning. She feels a lot of it is wrong, not really used, etc. I absolutely need to find a Spanish speaker here in my town. My idea is to approach the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here. Possibly they have an elderly person who could use help with shopping or something... we could speak Spanish while we are at it. I do love Rocket Spanish. I find it much easier for my entry level. And the conversations are instantly useful for travelling. this is off the topic but kinda funny. I have two Australian Shepherds. Extremely smart dogs. My one dog earned his agility title in one year...I digress, anyway, I am walking around the yard listening to my tapes, dogs and cats following me like the pied piper, I am repeating the sentences from the tapes and my dogs are bewildered. They sit, lay down, stay, wag their tails, cock their heads.... Too funny. They have no idea what to do with this different sounding language. They think I am talking to them...but are baffled by the different sounds I am making.

Teresa

I have done it again.... babosa I mean..... :)

Randy1

[quo]*Quote:* And some of the words were fine in one country and offensive in another (one well-known example given was *coger*).[/quo] Ok, so "coger" is a no-no in Latin America, or at least Mexico, but what about "escoger" and/or "recoger"? Are they bad too, does anybody know? Randy

From the way I understand it, *coger* is a bad word in Spain and Mexico, but not in all parts of Latin America. We used it all the time in Ecuador. *Coger* is the proper word for "to get," but if you're in Spain or Mexico you'll want to use* agarrar*. I've never known any negative connotations to go with *escoger* or *recoger*.

Martin1

[quo]*Quote:* From the way I understand it, coger is a bad word in Spain[/quo] Here in the South of Spain, the word "coger" is used all the time (eg "Voy a coger un taxi"). What I'm still having trouble with is asking for things en español. Most of the Spanish language books I read before coming to live here suggested using either the words "Quiero", or "Quisiera". However, it seems that "quisiera" is never used in practice, as it is considered too grandiloquent, while asking for something using "quiero" (eg, "Quiero un café") is regarded rude. Mauricio suggested "me puede dar", but for some reason this elicited strange looks from the people I tried it on here. I've also been told that a phrase mentioned in the audio lesson, "Puedo tener" is a no-no here (I have no idea why - it sounds perfectly reasonable to me). The term most people seem to use here is "puede tráigame" (or "traime?" - I can't quite distinguish which it is), ie, can you _bring_ me... Any other suggestions?

What we teach in Rocket Spanish is *me gustaría*, which literally means, _I would like_. I've always wondered about *quisiera*. Like you, I learned it in my high school Spanish class, but when I was in Spain (ages ago!) I don't remember using it. I just tended to say things like, "Un café, por favor." "Pollo con papas, por favor."

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