The Zen of Travel

Cartoon of The Zen of Travel

Turismo is a concept so young that a century ago only the wealthy did it. And two centuries ago, nobody did. If you left “home” for anything, it was about mercantilism, conquest, or pilgrimage, and it was invariably dangerous. But nowadays, since so many of us do it, and since it has quickly become global, a vocabulary has quickly grown […]

Read more

The Zen of Cuando and Cuanto

Cuándo and cuánto are not individually zenny, but they form a zen gestalt that can not only potentially confuse our minds, but also our speech organs. Folks in Readerland who know phonetics might note that their spellings are even closer than they appear: they differ by one letter, and barely that. The d and t are — don’t slap this […]

Read more

The Zen of The “ImpSub”

by Dwight Wayne Coop

The “Impsub” is not a subsurface vessel manned by cheeky cherubs, but a tense separating men scholars from boys. I would know, since it long confined me among the latter; I still regress on occasion. The topic must be approached inductively and deductively. If you have been out of college long enough to forget what these are, a refresher (in […]

Read more

The Zen of Pegar and Pegársele

I never have understood the appeal of the Smurfs. I once supposed their dialogue was a preschool guessing game. “OK, Joey, what does the third word in ‘The smurfs smurfed all the smurfs to the smurf’ mean?” The smurfiest Spanish verb may be pegar. A classical root is missing, and only Portuguese and Catalonian have even semi-cognates for it. So […]

Read more

The Zen of Tiempo, Vez & Rato

Time after time by Akors on Flickr (cc)

Some of us Anglophones disdain the phrase ‘at this point in time’ It is a redundancy that probably made its inventor look articulate but which today is so much filler. I once had a supervisor who had very little to say, but she never had to pausebecause she could always use these five syllables when a more word-frugal person could […]

Read more

The Zen of Fin and Fondo

The Zen of Fin and Fondo

Here comes another cluster of words—fin, fondo and extremo—that combine to express a key English word (end). Methinks it would be nice if we could just hybridize them into a something like “findo.” However, there’s the danger that such a word could jump out of a skinny phrasebook and into pidgin Spanish as a noun: “el findo.” Can’t you just […]

Read more