Skipping Stones magazine

Vol. 15, No. 4

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Spanish Ole'

Do you know which language is the official language of 21 countries in the world, spanning four continents? It's Spanish (or Espa-ol), of course! Spanish is not only the official language of Spain and Mexico, but also of many countries in South and Central America. Which other countries can you name? Did you know that it's also the official language of a country in Africa? Equatorial Guinea lies on the western coast of Africa and its two official languages are Spanish and French.

Not all Spanish sounds the same and not all Spanish words mean the same thing in each country.

Many Spanish words have been incorporated into the English language. Did you know that the word "burrito" actually means "little donkey?"

Have you ever heard of someone naming a car "won't go?" Not many people would want to buy that car. That's exactly why the Chevrolet Nova didn't sell in Spain and Latin America. "No va" means "won't go" in Spanish.

The United States territory Puerto Rico means "rich port." The Central American country Costa Rica means "rich coast." The state of Colorado's name is actually from the Spanish word meaning "red." Nevada means "snowy" or "snowed upon" in Spanish. Do you know what state's name comes from an old Spanish term meaning "earthly paradise?" California. Can you think of any other common names that stem from the Spanish language?

Have you heard the saying "Mi casa es su casa?" It's a sign of hospitality that means "my house is your house." In English we might more commonly say "make yourself at home." In some parts of India, a salary is called "pagar," which in Spanish means "to pay."

Many names are actually Spanish words as well. For example, a "bandera" is a flag so the actor Antonio Banderas' name means "flags." Geraldo Rivera's last name means "riverbank" or "riverside" in Spanish, as does the name of the great Mexican artist Diego Rivera. "Rivera" looks like the word "river" in English but the word for "river" in Spanish is actually "ri-!"

Spanish is all around us. What other words of Spanish origin can you find?

-- Gwendolyn Gallace, Spanish teacher, Jefferson, Maine.

*** Try to figure out what the Spanish poem, La Boda (right), says!

Art by Nina Forsberg

La Boda

Hoy en este amanecer,
Suenan las campanas sin cesar,
Los musicos tocan su música,
Porque la boda ya va a empezar.

La gente se levanta,
Al ver la novia entrar,
Con su vestido blanco,
Y con una alegra
Que no puede dejar.

Atras de ella,
Los pajes tiran flores,
Con sus caritas peque-as,
Y sus vestidos de muchos colores.

Al fin la novia para,
Y atras voltea,
Donde nerviosamente,
Por su novio espera.

El novio ahora camina,
Hacia su novia bella,
Nervioso y feliz,
Pero siempre pensando en ella.

Mientras la ceremonia sigue,
Un angel del cielo viene,
Les da amor y felicidad,
De la que el tiene.

El angel les dice,
Que vivan felices y llenos de alegra,
Y que el amor siempre encuentren,
Dia tras dia.

-- por Marian Urias, 11 a-os de edad, Mexicana, 6th grade, El Paso, Texas.

 

 

Skipping Stones Magazine
Volume 15, No. 4, Page 30

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