Am I really not being clear?

14
Nov
2008

Speaking another language, such as Spanish, is not just about the words one uses. It is as much about the context of usage, and the “normal” ways in which something is said. And that usage can be very different from country to country, so that even if all the individual words are understood, the collection of them, falling outside the norms of expression, may not be. Witness (what should have been a simple) conversation at the bakery a few minutes ago:

“Hi, I’d like to buy a slice of one of your tarts”

“Ok, what kind?”

“What kinds do you have?”

“Meat, Chicken, Vegetable…”

“What kind of meat is in the meat tart?”

“Pieces”

“But what kind of meat? Beef?”

“Chopped into small pieces, with some vegetables”

“I understand it is in pieces, but WHAT KIND of meat is it?”

“Meat. It is meat. I don’t know what you mean…”

“What KIND of animal is the meat from?”

“Oh. Cow.”

“Thanks.”

2 thoughts on “Am I really not being clear?

  1. This is funny. :-)

    Though I think I would have been a bit like the guy in the shop. Carne is synomous with beef, although it does, as you correctly point out, means meat. Think “carne asada.” Definitely not talking turkey there!!

  2. LOL
    cows are so important here that we use to think the words carne (or meat) as a synonym of carne vacuna (cow-meat) otherwise it is specified

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