Spanish Lessons


Labor, Trabajo: The hardworker's world

Este... Vamos a tratar a explicarles... este... la labor de la artesanía... Este... trabajo que llevamos acabo...
[Captions 3-4, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

Nouns Labor (fem.) and trabajo (masc.) both mean "work" -- the opposite of retirement or rest. Venezuelan artisan Javier Marin uses the word interchangeably above to describe his subject: The work of local artisans, like himself, in the city of Coro, Venezuela.

Javier also uses the related verb trabajar ("to work") multiple times in his chat to describe how the work was done. Here, he talks about some of the materials they work with, such as glazed ceramic (el gres) and snail shells (los caracoles):

...trabajamos con el gres
[Caption 17, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

También trabajamos un poco con lo que son este... las piezas del mar, los caracoles
[Caption 33, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

When describing the employment history of his father, the verb trabajar pops up yet again. At this point in the video, Javier points to the building where his father worked in the '50s:

Mi papa antiguamente, en los años cinquenta, este... trabajó acá
[Caption 45, Javier Marin > Artesano > Part 1]

This translates to, "Formerly, in the fifties, my father... worked here."

One line later, Javier employs the synonymous (though less common) verb laborar to describe what his dad's job was:

Laboró como telegrafista...
[Caption 46, Javier Marin > Part 1]

To buy time while thinking of synonyms for oft-repeated words, you'll note that Javier says este... a lot. It's a verbal tic repeated all over Latin America -- on TV talk shows and radio interviews, for example. Non-native speakers who have the habit of saying "um" over and over might want to replace their um's with "este..." if they hope to be mistaken for a native Spanish speaker. You simply can't say "um" in the middle of a Spanish sentence without someone figuring out that you're not speaking your mother tongue.


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