Calluna V. (callunav) wrote in linguaphiles,
Calluna V.
callunav
linguaphiles

Mild curses and other interjections in Spanish?

There are a lot of sites dedicated to obscenities and slang in Spanish, but even outside of the question of their reliability, they're way more hard-core than I want to get. A lot of them are actually kind of disturbing. But I do find that I 'stay in the language' when I'm studying one - continue trying to phrase things that I know how to say - if I can use the kind of brief interjections one might well say to oneself.

So, here are the kinds of things I would like to be able to say in Latin American Spanish:*

1. "Drat" or "Dammit." Say I make it halfway up the stairs and realize I've forgotten the papers I need to bring with me, and so must go back to get them, or I discover that my library books were due yesterday. What would be the appropriate exclamation(s) expressing irritation?

2. "Oh, good," or "Thank goodness." I said to my friend the other day that I sort of feel that when I speak Spanish, I am Catholic - though I'm not any kind of Christian most of the time. Both religion and politics seem very firmly embedded in the culture, and that shapes the language. So I realize that the most idiomatic version might be "Thank God," although if there are non-religious idiomatic alternatives, I'd like to know them.

3. "Wow" or "That's incredible." In Japanese, I'd use maybe "Sugoi!"**

4. "Quit it!" "I wish this person would stop doing this!" "Augh!" Expressions of frustration, to say to oneself or a sympathetic listener, rather than to the person in question.

5. "Oh, hush," or "Be quiet." I'm looking for the equivalent of "Tait toi," more than "Fermez la bouche" - "shizuka" rather than "urusai."

6. "Seriously." "Yes, totally." "I agree." "Yeah."A fervent though sometimes meaningless conversational interjection.

7. Similarly, "Really?" "Seriously?" "You're kidding!" In Japanese, it could be "hontou ni?" Another interjection, but made in a mildly incredulous egging-on kind of way. People in England often say, "Did you really?" where people in the States would say, "Uh-huh?" just to show that they're still listening and engaged. I mean something a little stronger than "Uh-huh?" but not an actual contradiction.

8. "I'm tired." I know it's not an interjection, but, gosh, if I knew how to say that, I'd be using it a lot.

9. "Damn, I'm tired" (or happy, or whatever.) An interjection or intensifier which just emphasizes a brief statement. In French, I'd say, "Comme je suis fatiguée!"


10. "Jerk," "Twit." A word for a mildly annoying person, again not to be used in name-calling directly so much as in referring to someone not present: "And then this jerk cut in front of me in line, and I didn't say anything, I just kind of looked at him..."

These - and also any other things you think are similar - would be...probably more help to me in learning the language than most people seem to understand. I seriously am at beginner levels of Spanish. I know how to say that the children brush their teeth with the toothbrush every day, and that the bank is in front of the park, next to the hospital, and not a lot else. Still, I'm constantly trying to think in Spanish as much as I can, just on a narrating-daily-life kind of way. My internal running commentary will often go something like, "No quiero travajar en la mañana. No quiero travajar nunca. ...Antes de ir...al? a?...travahar, tengo que comer, pero, no se que qiero comer..."*** and so forth. Stupid stuff, but it keeps my head in Spanish instead of in English, which for me is a big part of how I learn, especially since I'm learning on my own. So being able to mutter to myself in Spanish would be an enormous help--that is, to mutter about something other than toothbrushes and alarm clocks and opening doors late but closing windows early.

Thanks in adva--

Oh! One more thing.

11. If I step on someone's foot, or forget something I meant to bring someone or, say, I don't know, write a HUGE long post the first day I join the community, do I use "lo siento" or "disculpe" or "perdonne me," or something else altogether?

Thanks in advance - muchas gracias - for any help at all on these things. It's the little things that matter. ¿No es?


*I do know that language use varies a great deal among the Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. I think that what I'm learning is mostly Mexican Spanish, but I wouldn't swear to it. I'm actually fascinated by the regional differences, both of vocabulary and of accent, and am alway happy to hear, "In Peru, you could say ___, but in Colombia, they would look at you very funny if you tried that." On the other hand, there comes a point where one has to generalize, or nothing will ever get said, so for the most part I'm leaving it at "Latin American Spanish," unless someone has a strong suggestion that I do otherwise.

** Again, if anyone objects to my using romaji instead of kana when I write something in Japanese, let me know. It's faster for me, and I figure it's a little less alienating to people who don't know the language, but I don't know what the community's conventions on the subject are.

*** Aaaand please forgive any really terrible transcriptions or failure to get accents marked in Spanish. I'm learning from an audiobook only, and anyone who says "Oh, Spanish is easy, it's totally phonetic" has never really tried writing it when they've only heard it spoken. I'm going to be working on fixing this little problem.

Edited to add: Just thought I should say--when I write something down - this is especially likely in Spanish, but in whatever language - if I mangle the spelling or some other aspect of transcription, I would love to be corrected. It's not your job, obviously, but I'm definitely not going to be offended.
Tags: colloquialisms, ejectives, epithets, howdoyousay, idioms, insults, interjections, language acquisition, learning languages, slang, spanish, vocabulary
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