Monday, June 11, 2018


Recently I was in a discussion on workarounds, i.e. how to say what you mean in Spanish if you don't know the right words. For example, if I couldn't think of a Spanish counterpart to "fast," I'd say "velocidadamente," "no despacio", stuff like that. But part of my problem was thinking "fast." It's from the Germanic side of English, which doesn't have much in common with any Spanish words. On the other hand, ever since the Norman Conquest in 1066, English has had thousands of French words that often have a sibling or cousin in Spanish.
So for "fast," I should look for related French-English that might suggest a Spanish word. Quick? No. Speedy? No. Swift? No, all pre-French. Rapid? Rapido sounds good, yes, that works. This approach doesn't work every time, but it gets close often enough for me to stick with it.
Some examples that have worked for me, some spot on, others close enough on the fly:
height> altitude> altitud
wind> breeze> brisa
strength> force> fuerza
might> potency> potencia
smell, scent> aroma> aroma
easy> facile> facil
hard> difficult> dificil
hard> durable> durable, or duradero.
fear, fright> terror> terror
get> obtain> obtener
horse> cavalry> cavalo? Close, caballo.
likely> probably> probablemente
unbelievable> incredible> increible
friendly> amiable> amable
winner> victor> victor? Well, no. But the person I spoke to understood, and suggested ganador or vencedor.
sturdy> stable> stable? Close, estable.
stiff> rigid> rigido
sky> celestial> celesta? Close: celeste and celestial are adjectives. Cielo's the noun.
speed> velocity> velocidad
skill> ability> abilidad? Close, habilidad.
tired, weary> fatigued> fatigado.
weak> debilitated> debil.