Spanish Lessons

Topics

Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

Just like any other language, Spanish has adopted many words from different languages and cultures. These words are known in Spanish as extranjerismos, a term that comes from the word extranjero (foreign). That said, let's take a look at some of the most common words in Spanish that come from other languages.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Spanish language adopted several Arabic words. Let's see some of them:

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

Captions 2-3, Viajando con Fermín Genalguacil - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

Captions 48-49, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

 Play Caption

 

Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

If you hear the way Ariana pronounces the word naranja, you can notice the strong sound of the letter "j," which is a sound that the Spanish language took from the Arabic language. 

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

Just like in the English language, Spanish has also adopted many words derived from French. Let's see some of the most popular ones:

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

 Play Caption

 

Chofer or chófer (driver)- from the original word chauffeur

que Amalia se quedó con él y con el chofer, ¿sí?

because Amalia stayed with him and with the driver, right?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Élite or Elite (elite)- from the original word élite

unas estructuras de poder muy basadas en la élite, en la exclusión.

some power structures [that were] very based on the elite, on exclusion.

Caption 12, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

Many words from various indigenous Latin American cultures were incorporated into the Spanish language after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas. The following are some of the most popular words:

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

 Play Caption

 

Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

guitar, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo [drum],

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

 Play Caption

 

Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

In the Andes, many potatoes are used and many creams.

Captions 75-76, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

Many Italian words made their way into the Spanish language during the Renaissance. Let's check out two of them:

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

 Play Caption

 

Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

 Play Caption

 

Anglicismos- Words from the English language

And last but not least, we have extranjerismos that come from the English language. Here a few:

 

Club (club)

que hagan un perímetro por dentro y por fuera del club, vaya.

that they should surround us inside and outside the club, come on.

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 12

 Play Caption

 

Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

 Play Caption

 

In this translation, we used the word "soccer" instead of "football." However, the Spanish word comes from the original British term "football."

 

Líder (leader)

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena que habitó en la ciudad, anteriormente llamada la Isla Calamarí.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe who inhabited the city, previously called Calamari Island.

Captions 26-27, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Turista (tourist)

una ciudad cosmopolita, luminosa y que pone al servicio del turista una amplia variedad de infraestructuras.

a cosmopolitan, luminous city that puts at the service of the tourist a wide variety of infrastructures.

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you enjoyed this list of foreign-influenced words in Spanish. Can you think of any additional extranjerismos in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know with your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya - Vínculo: un mural muy especial

 Play Caption

 

¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer - Entrevista con Jacky

 Play Caption

 

Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters.

Pero son muy vanidosas.

But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario - Una Amiga muy Presumida

 Play Caption

 

Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas

 Play Caption

 

Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

 Play Caption

 

When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia - Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

 Play Caption

 

Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor

 Play Caption

 

Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

 Play Caption

 

La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo - Laura

 Play Caption
 

En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana - Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul - Adivina el país

 Play Caption
 

As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina - Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth - Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no,

Can you find good stuff here or not,

buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption
 

Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora?

Yes. -That a lot more people come now?

Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16

 Play Caption
 

Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos

You can see that we don't have many

porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



Using Subjunctive After Conjunctions of Provision

Let's continue practicing the use of the subjunctive in adverb clauses that are part of compound sentences (99% of the time subjunctive is used in compound sentences) by identifying the conjunctions typically used to introduce it. In our previous lesson we focused on conjunctions of time, this time let's revise the use of the subjunctive combined with conjunctions of provision, a classic match!

The conjunctions that are used to express provision in Spanish are antes (de) que, con tal (de) que, en caso (de) que, para que, sin que. You will love these conjunctions, which, by the way, are more properly called locuciones conjuntivas (conjunctive phrases). Why? Well, because they will always use subjunctive, always. There's no room for mistakes. They are, therefore, a great addition to your vocabulary, one that will automatically improve your proficiency in the use of the subjunctive. Of course, you also must learn the proper way to conjugate the subjunctive; if you are not there yet, we recommend you to first focus on the present subjunctive

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

So let's start with the examples. Always use the subjunctive after the conjunction antes (de) que (before):
 

Aléjate de mí y hazlo pronto antes de que te mienta

Get away from me and do it soon before I lie to you

Caption 1, Camila - Aléjate de mi

 Play Caption


The same happens with con tal (de) que (provided that):

Soy capaz de todo con tal de que te quedes a mi lado.
I'm capable of everything, provided that you stay beside me.

You probably noticed that we put the preposition de (of) between parentheses. This is just so you know that many Spanish speakers don't use it and instead just say antes que (before), con tal que (provided that), sometimes even en caso que (in case that). We recommend you to always use it. Read about dequeísmo and queísmo here.

The conjunctive phrase en caso de que (in case that) will also always be followed by subjunctive: 
 

Porque en caso de que esté muy aguado.

Because, in the case that it is very watery.

Caption 46, Recetas de cocina - Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

The same happens with para que (so that, in order that) and sin que (without):
 

Si quieres puedes voltear acá para que veas en el espejo el reflejo y...

If you want you can look here so that you see the reflection in the mirror and...

Caption 36, Instinto de conservación - Gorgona

 Play Caption

 

Yo soy el que hago que coman sin que tengan hambre

I am the one who makes them eat without being hungry

Caption 10, Calle 13 Calma Pueblo

 Play Caption

 

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



You May Also Like