Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My Spanish Prasebook

Attention tourists:

If you’re coming to Mexico, you’re going to need a good phrasebook, right? I’ve just been glancing through the new Lonely Planet Mexican Spanish phrasebook and I think this is the one you want to get. Not only does it offer translations of useful everyday phrases such as: “I want to make a reverse-charge call to Singapore,” “Shave it all off!” and “My dentures are broken;” it also provides you with expressions that will allow you to participate in some of the eccentricities of the local culture.

For example, “I’m sorry, officer, but can we pay an on-the-spot fine?”My favorite section of the book is the “Meeting People” chapter, where they’ve even included translations of pick-up lines like: “What star sign are you?” “Shall we get some fresh air?” and “You musn’t come here much because I would have noticed you sooner.”

Thoughtfully enough, they don’t just give you totally lame material like this and then leave you out to dry: on the very next page they’ve got a handy list of rejections so you’ll understand exactly what someone means when they respond to your tired clich├ęs with: Mira, no me interesa hablar contigo (“Look, I’m not interested in talking to you”), Dejame en paz (“Leave me alone”), or ¡Vete a la mierda! (“Go to $&%!”).

But if, by some miracle, you do manage to get to the next level, you’ll want to have your phrasebook within easy reach and turned to the “In the bedroom” section where you can quickly find translations for “Oh yeah!” and “Easy tiger!” And if things go wrong, Lonely Planet’s bedroom talk recommends you try the phrase: Ayuda tener sentido de humor, or “It helps to have a sense of humor.”

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