Skip to main content


Back in 2008 when Heath Ledger died I heard the news on the morning radio. I knew someone was dead. I knew it was a film star. I could understand the biography but blow me if I could get the name. Then I recognised the Spanish title, En Terreno Vedado, as the equivalent of Brokeback Mountain. Deduction, my dear Watson, filled in the gaps.

There are pretty tight rules about how to say words in Spanish. There are variations of accents and what not but, basically, Spanish is a very phonetic language. Fine with Spanish words but a minefield for the foreign imports. I find Anglo names in Spanish mouths almost unrecognisable and words that Spaniards think are English but said with a Spanish lilt can be difficult too. This isn't much of a problem in speaking Spanish as I simply avoid the imported words and stick with the more old fashioned Spanish version. 

The real problem comes with English words used to describe a product - a US film with an English language title, almost anything in a burger joint, several brands of alcoholic beverage or branded clothes for example. There is sometimes just no way round. If you want a Whopper with cheese and that's what it says on the list then decisions have to be made. Do you go for a Spanish take on the pronunciation of Whopper or the English one and do you translate with cheese or leave it as it stands in English? 

It was a cheeseburger tonight. I tried my Spanish pronunciation. The young woman taking the order shrugged her shoulders, screwed up her face, said nothing and beckoned over a second server. The bilingual server didn't understand my English version either at first but we got there in the end. It was an unpleasant and uncomfortable exchange.


  1. Uóper con queso??
    Love both your blogs, and the header pic in the Culebrón one is absolutely perfect in quality and for the blog...


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Looking for a flat

Finding a house to rent in Spain is usually a pretty straightforward process. When I say house I really mean flat because, although it's not impossible to find houses in the middle of a town or city, by far the most usual style of dwelling for urban Spaniards is the flat.
I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
The internet has made it a slightly less fraught process to find an individual renter and the place that Maggie rented in Ciudad Rodrigo came that way. Even then it takes ages to sift through the various websites usually to find that nobody answers your email or phone call except for the estate agents.
The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

Where am I?

When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link

Casting off

School term is over in Spain. It's summer. Nearly everyone from Cartagena is at the beach. The town is quiet and we are done, at least till the new academic year when I'll be back to do a bit more English teaching.

We've cleared everything from the flat. We've carted our belongings up the road to Culebrón. We've handed over the keys of the flat. So goodbye to town life for a while and goodbye to Cartagena till I get back there in hot and sticky September.

In the meanwhile you can follow our adventures (sic) at Life in Culebrón