Topics: PinPoint Spanish

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PinPoint Spanish: Insights into Spanish language usage and its nuances in Mexico

Spanish Pinpointed

A Guide to Mexican Street Speak

Spanish offers a potpourri of different terms to describe paths, streets, roads, and highways, some of which provide practical assistance to the traveler and others which provide opportunities for flexibility in use of the language.

Spanish Pinpointed

Mind Your Vocabulary

Habitual readers of Mexican newspapers discover that some of the best stuff is found in the opinion columns, of which there are many, with a typical daily containing three full pages or more of them, not including the business columns in separate sections . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

A Saying For Every Occasion

Mexico has a wide variety of dichos or refranes - sayings, maxims, or phrases - some of Mexican origin and others evidently not. By analogy or through rhyme, the dichos are supposed to convey time-honored truths that admit no argument . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

Pride and Prejudice: The Naco Versus the Fresa

Naco is a derogatory term with racial and class roots that Mexicans use to describe people whose manners and tastes are considered to pertain to the lower classes. The word apparently originated in colonial times and referred to an indigenous servant of the Spanish gentry. In modern times, its use has become more widespread and its application broadened to include anyone deemed to ...

Spanish Pinpointed

Ordinal Numbers in Spanish

Cardinal numbers in Spanish are fairly straightforward until you get into the billions, whereas ordinal numbers – first, second, third, etc. – get complicated way before then, and are certainly more complex than they are in English . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

Bring This With You When You Go

Teachers of English frequently find themselves explaining the difference between "bring" and "take," and when to use one and when the other. The Spanish verbs "traer" (bring), and "llevar" (take), are applied almost in the same way. That is, traer is mostly used when the action is toward the place where the speaker is, and llevar when the action is away from the current...

Spanish Pinpointed

Terremoto or Temblor? Well, It Depends

Mexicans have three words for earthquake. The choice of word can depend on where the person was at the time of the quake, and under what conditions . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

A Donde Hablo? Vs Quien Habla?

The phone rings when you weren't expecting a call, so you pick up the receiver and mumble the usual "bueno" into the mouthpiece. ¿A dónde hablo? (where am I calling?) comes a sharp, testy voice . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

Numbers in Words

It's said that even people who can waltz through a lie-detector test without so much as blinking will stumble if required to do arithmetic in a foreign language . . .

Spanish Pinpointed

¿Mande Usted?

A visiting Colombian student at one of Mexico's universities complained about the expression ¿mande? the Mexican way of saying pardon? or of responding to someone who has called your attention. Literally, it means command hence the dismay of the student who failed to see why one would submit to the orders of the speaker just because he or she wanted you to hear something...