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Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season

Today's lesson will take us through some Spanish vocabulary that might come in handy to talk about el otoño (the autumn/fall) and some of the phenomena associated with esta estación (this season). 

 

El tiempo (The Weather)

Let's start by taking a look at a quote from our Yabla Spanish library about el tiempo in autumn, which means  "the weather" (rather than "the time") in this context:

 

Pero en primavera y en otoño, el tiempo es mucho mejor

But in spring and in fall, the weather is much better

Captions 16-17, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

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The fall season is typically characterized by more moderate temperaturas (temperatures) as well as viento (wind) and sometimes lluvia (rain) or niebla (fog) (although there might be some sol (sun) as well!). Let's look at these autumn weather words in context:

 

Pasame las llaves y llamá un taxi ante' que venga la lluvia.

Give me the keys and call a cab before the rain comes. 

Caption 51, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 9

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Ya está haciendo un poco de viento; ¿no te parece que hace frío? Sí, a pesar de que hace un hermoso sol.

It's a bit windy now; doesn't it seem like it's cold to you? Yes, in spite of the fact that it's beautifully sunny.

Captions 78-79, Sofy y Caro Entrevistar para un trabajo

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Ten cuidado cuando conduzcas hoy porque hay mucha niebla y no se puede ver bien.

Be careful when you drive today because there's a lot of fog, and you can't see well.

Captions 17-18, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

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The videos Clara explica el tiempo - Part 1 and Clara explica el tiempo- Part 2  (Clara Explains the Weather- Parts 1 and 2) as well as Aprendiendo con Karen- El tiempo (Learning with Karen- The Weather) can help you learn even more ways to talk about the weather in Spanish

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¿Cuándo es el otoño? (When Is Autumn?)

While some Spanish-speaking countries like Colombia and Ecuador have less climatic variation due to their proximity to the equator, others experience the autumn season in different months than North America. For example, fall in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc. takes place from approximately marzo a junio (March to June), while Spain experiences the fall in the same months as in the United States: septiembre a diciembre (September through December), as demonstrated in this video about the months and seasons in Spanish by El Aula Azul:

 

En septiembre, empieza el otoño. En octubre, caen las hojas.

In September, the fall begins. In October, the leaves fall.

Captions 22-23, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

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And that brings us to las hojas (the leaves), which, along with their tendency to change colors, dry up, and fall off trees in the autumn, are arguably the most frequently-employed symbol of the fall season.

 

Símbolos del otoño (Symbols of Fall)

What other objects are associated with the fall? Let's take a look at a few: 

 

¡Soy un espantapájaros!

I'm a scarecrow!

Caption 95, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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¿Cuánto puede costar una cesta así en el mercado?

How much can a basket like this cost at the market?

Caption 121, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

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¿Adivináis qué animal come esta paja y este heno?

Can you guess what animal eats this straw and this hay?

Caption 6, Amaya Donkey Dreamland

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Ahora, vamos con nuestro siguiente diseño de calabaza

Now, we go on to our next pumpkin design.

Caption 64, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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Of course, while the calabaza (pumpkin) is a decorative symbol of the autumn season, it is also a fall food that can be made into delectable desserts, stews, and even espresso beverages... which brings us to our next category!

 

Comidas de otoño (Fall Food)

What other foods do we associate with the autumn season?

 

Es época de quinoa, de la cosecha, de las arvejas tiernas, del maíz, que también ya acabamos de cosechar

It's the season for quinoathe harvest, sweet peas, corn, which we also just finished harvesting.

Captions 27-28, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

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Si hay un olor típico en el otoño es el de las castañas asadas.

If there is a typical smell in autumn, it's that of the roasted chestnuts.

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

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Las manzanas puedes hacer dulce de manzana, pie de manzana, torta de manzana, 

[With] apples you can make apple jam, apple pie, apple cake,

Caption 19, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

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And speaking of apples, they can also be used to make sidra (cider) of both the alcoholic and non-alchoholic variety:

 

y la bebida más típica es la sidra de manzana.

and the most typical drink is hard apple cider.

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo Tomás

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In this video, Fermín tells us in this about the Feria de Santo Tomás (Saint Tomas Fair), which takes place on the last day of autumn, December 21st, and is thought to be the first day of the Christmas season. 

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Fiestas de otoño (Fall Holidays)

To continue on the theme of fiestas (holidays), let's talk about the Spanish terms for some fall celebrations in both the United States and Latin America:

 

Y en el interior le decimos, eh... Día de Muertos. Eh... Quizás tenga un poco de relación en la fecha con el Halloween de Estados Unidos,

And in [places] inside the country we call it, um... Day of the Dead. Um... Perhaps it's a little bit related with the United States's Halloween in respect to date,

Captions 69-70, Yabla en Yucatán Don Salo - Part 2

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And, in addition to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we have, in November, the important North American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is called el Día de Acción de Gracias in Spanish. 

 

Autumn Vocabulary in Review

Let's conclude today's lesson with a quick-reference review of the words we have learned:

 

el otoño (the autumn/fall)

la estación (the season)

el tiempo (the weather)

la temperatura (the temperture)

la lluvia (the rain)

el viento (the wind)

la niebla (the fog)

el sol (the sun)

hacer sol (to be sunny)

hacer viento (to be windy)

hacer frío (to be cold)

marzo (March)

abril (April)

mayo (May)

junio (June)

septiembre (September)

octubre (October)

noviembre (November)

diciembre (December)

las hojas (the leaves)

el espantapájaros (the scarecrow)

la cesta (the basket)

la paja (the straw)

el heno (the hay)

la calabaza (the pumpkin)

la quinoa (the quinoa)

la cosecha (the harvest)

cosechar (to harvest)

el maíz (the corn)

las castañas asadas (the roasted chestnuts)

la manzana (the apple)

la fiesta (the holiday)

el Día de Muertos/el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving)

 

And that brings us to the end of our lesson on useful Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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Ir Al Grano: Let's Get to the Point

If you want to say "Let's get to the point" in Spanish, you might say, "Vamos al grano." While the literal translation of this colloquial Spanish expression is "Let's get to the grain," ir al grano is used to convey the idea of getting to the substance of something, pushing aside all superfluous niceties. 

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The noun grano in Spanish has a plethora of meanings, including "grain" (e.g., of cereal or sand), "kernel," "seed," "bean" (as in coffee), or "pimple" (a blemish on the skin). Let's take a look at some examples of these various uses:

 

Un grano de arena hace un ladrillo y un ladrillo hace un castillo

A grain of sand makes a brick and a brick makes a castle

Caption 32, Rivera Tras la tormenta

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Vamos a separar todos los granos que tienen imperfecciones.

We are going to separate all the beans that have imperfections.

Captions 9-10, Cacao - Leyenda de Quito, Ecuador Cómo se hace el chocolate.

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Note that the expression en grano, which means in its grain form, is also used for some common food items: 

 

un poco de elote en grano, acelgas, 

a bit of whole kernel corn, Swiss chard,

Caption 7, Osos en la cocina Venado y ensalada asada

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y lo que, eh... nos ayudó a... a dar el sabor también es achiote y, eh... sal en grano.

and what, um... also helped us to... to give [it] the flavor is achiote and, um... sea salt.

Captions 49-50, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

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However, beyond these traditional uses, the Spanish word grano appears in many idiomatic expressions, which, like in English, express ideas beyond their literal meanings. Let's first take a look at a couple of examples of the aformentioned expression: ir al grano (to get to the point):
 

Algo en tus labios color carmín

Something in your carmine lips

Sugiere que vayamos al grano

Suggests we get to the point

Captions 16-17, Babasónicos - Risa

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Sobre Alicia hablaremos en un momento, pero ahora vamos al grano.

We'll talk about Alicia in a minute, but now let's get to the point.

Caption 35, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 3

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Note that alternative translations for this idiom in English might include: "Let's cut to the chase" and "Let's not beat around the bush."

 

Now, let's take a look at some other interesting idioms containing the word grano or its diminutive, granito:

 

Spanish expression: apartar el grano de la paja

Literal translation: to separate the seed head from the straw

English equivalent: to separate the wheat from the chaff

Meaning: to separate out what’s good or valuable from what isn’t 

 

Spanish expressionhacer una montaña de un grano de arena

Literal translation: to make a mountain out of a grain of sand

English equivalent: to make a mountain out of a molehill 

Meaning: to make a big deal out of nothing

 

Spanish expressionponer su granito de arena

Literal translation: to put in one's little grain of sand

English equivalents: to do one's bit/offer one's two cents/plant the seed 

Meaning: to contribute, offer one's opinion, or inspire something to begin

 

Let's take a look at some Yabla clips with this latter expression: 

 

Desde que mis padres pusieron el primer granito de arena en mi formación musical, yo he seguido preocupándome en cultivarla.

Ever since my parents planted the first seed in my musical training, I've kept being concerned with cultivating it.

Captions 2-4, Club de las ideas Antonio J. Calvillo, musicólogo

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o sea, tengo la intención de... de hacerlo, o poner mi granito de arena,

I mean, I have the intention to... to do it, or to do my part,

Caption 16, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Manuel Orozco Sánchez - Part 2

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As an interesting side note, the Spanish equivalent of the English idiom "to take with a grain of salt," which entails having skepticism about something, does not include the word grano. Instead, tomar con pinzas (to handle with tweezers), or the more literal tomar con reservas (take with reservations/have reservations about), are used to express this concept. 

 

That's all for now. We hope you have learned a lot about some literal and figurative uses of the word grano in Spanish and hope to bring you more interesting Spanish idioms and their English eqivalents in the future. In the meantime, don't forget to put in your granito de arena (suggestions and comments). 

 

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