www.whyville.net Dec 29, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Spanish for the Clueless

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Feliz Navidad!

I don't think I need to translate that one. Everybody's heard Jose Feliciano's timeless song. It's one of those rare ones that blends Spanish and English so well you barely even notice it.

The word "feliz" can mean either "happy" or "merry" - and it isn't just used for Christmas.

Last week we learned that ano (tilde over the n, pronounced ahn-yo) means "year." We also know that "nuevo" (noo-eh-boh) means "new."

Adjectives in Spanish can be tricky though! They come AFTER the noun. Take a look at this example:

Definite article - adjective - noun
The White House
La Blanca Casa

That's not right! We switch "blanca" (the adjective) with casa (the noun) to get "La casa blanca." Since "casa" is feminine, we use "blanca" and not "blanco" - remember the adjective ALWAYS matches the noun! If we change "casa" to "casas," we also change "blanca" to "blancas."

Definite article - adjective - noun
The white houses
Las blancas casas

And of course, switch the last two to make "Las casas blancas."

To say "Happy New Year," we do the same thing.

Happy New Year
Feliz Nuevo Ano (tilde over n)

Then make it so that "feliz nuevo ano (tilde)" becomes "feliz ano (tilde) nuevo."

Now try this one (remember that lindo = pretty and papel = paper):

Definite article - adjective - noun
The pretty paper
El lindo papel

You know what comes next! "El lindo papel" gets turned to "El papel lindo." More than one paper?

Definite article - adjective - noun
The pretty papers
Los lindos papeles

Of course, correct it to make "los papeles lindos," and you're done.

"Fiesta" can mean either "party" or "holiday," depending on how it's used. "Perfecto" means "perfect," but since "la fiesta" is feminine, we change "perfecto" to "perfecta."

Definite article - adjective - noun
The perfect party
La perfecta fiesta

And we get "La fiesta perfecta," the perfect party.

Here's a challenge: if "rico" means "rich" and"puerto" means "port," how do we say "the rich port"? Post your answer in the BBS!

Felices fiestas!



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