10 Language Mistakes Guiris Make in Spanish

We all mistakes. We definitely all make mistakes when learning a foreign language. (Heck, we even make mistakes in our own language! Mario loves to point out when this happens to me in English.) These mistakes aren’t anything to be ashamed of; indeed, they are natural and fun ways to learn—if you have the right attitude! When I first got to Spain, I made a ton of mistakes. I swear, every other word that came out of my mouth was wrong! I’ve come a long way since I wrote on my Facebook wall that I was incapable of speaking Spanish properly.

Guiris make a lot of mistakes in Spanish. (I’m including myself among them!) This list is far from comprehensive; it’s just what first came to my mind. What sort of things do guiris like myself do wrong?

Cervantes Spanish Mistakes

We …

1. … conjugate verbs incorrectly.

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Let’s Link—Week 3

Let's Link!

And we’re back with another link list! Sorry for the delay, but last weekend I was visiting Zamora and Mario’s family for the November 1 holiday, Todos los Santos, or All Saints’ Day in English. In Spain, families tend to visit the graveyards to put flowers on relatives’ graves. We had a merienda consisting of chocolate a la taza (basically melted chocolate, thick and delicious), chorizo, Zamoran cheese, fried bread, two kinds of cake, wine, and liqueurs. Other, more-widespread culinary traditions include eating Huesos de Santo (Saints’ Bones) and buñuelos de viento, which are filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or chocolate.

Here are some of my favorite links from the past two weeks:

Do Different Languages Confer Different Personalities? Ah, a great question. I often feel more eloquent as well as funnier in English. In Spanish, I’m much less likely to express an opinion, because I find that it’s easier to quash. I also have a fear of looking silly, so this leads me to say less.

For Mind and Body: Study Finds Mediterranean Diet Boosts Both. For those of us living in Spain and consuming loads of olive oil, good news! The diet boosts both cerebral and physical health! I’m always happy to hear what I’m already doing is good for me.

The American Smile. I found this article, by fellow expat blogger (in Germany) Alex, to be hilarious and mind-opening. I never thought of this! Do Americans have a distinct smile? I know we smile a lot and especially on cue. But most of the time my smile is genuine; I’m not faking it. Also, I agree with Alex that flossing is not just made up by dentists. Flossing is totally important!

Recipe: Chorizo Burger with Paprika. It seems the UK has gone “mad” over chorizo, and this recipe just adds more evidence to the pile. A chorizo burger? Has the UK gone too far?

The Guiri Complex. What is really like to live in another country? Sometimes I get the picture that people think we live in a constant vacation world, that our lives are only filled with sunshine and rainbows. What is it like to miss things from the US? Should we always be searching those things out or treat them as what they are—a treat? Cat explores this question.

And now in Spanish …:

Esquelas curiosas publicadas en ABC. Esquelas are like death announcements, in which the family of the deceased puts a notice in the newspaper. The Spanish newspaper ABC recently published this article for Halloween of some of its more curious notices, including one that lamented that the deceased forgot to pass along a recipe for “pickled paella”!

Una docena de los nombres de chica más puestos en España. Recently I read about some of the most popular girls’ names in the US, and this article supplied what I’d wanted since: a list of the most-popular Spanish girls’ names. Obviously, María leads the list.

Thanks for reading! Any links you’d like to share?

Reasons Why the “Auxiliares de Conversación” Facebook Group Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Guiri with her Spanish Boy

Left: guiri, Right: not a guiri

One of the ways I have found to amuse myself when bored is to get on Facebook, but that can be depressing. All those enormously successful, happy people, while I’m at home eating yogurt out of a mug on my couch. But I know some people who will never fail me, los auxiliares de conversación en España. That is to say—the Facebook groups. Some are more interesting than others, but my favorite one is “Auxiliares de conversacion en MADRID”. Of course, for every amusing post, there’s an equally boring post.

But then there are the pull-my-hair-out, scratch-my-eyes-out posts. Here’s the rundown of some of the most annoying posts, topics, and people in these groups:

British (and sometimes other European) people who love to talk about the ignorant Americans they know.

Because stereotypes are there for a reason, amirite?! Guys?

People trying to avoid all contact with other guiris.

Guiris are the gringos of Spain, if you didn’t know. And aren’t they just the worst! This guiri-avoider must live with other foreigners in order to avoid speaking English. He/she will see Americans out at restaurants and remark about their loud voices and annoying laughter. Boo, guiri hater!

Actual quotes:

staying away from americans is my #1 plan.

“Everyone’s so flipping materialistic here [in the US]”

People who only want to hang out with other guiris.

Conversely, some people actively avoid contact with the other, a.k.a. Spaniards. Strange, isn’t it, that one would travel so far to speak only English, interact with only foreigners, etc.? These are the people that invite—ostensibly—the whole group to their house for their very first fiesta. Oddly they never seem to have a second …

People stereotyping heavily about Spaniards.

People who think getting residency in Spain as an American is as easy as 1-2-3.

Asked by one curious auxiliar: “does anyone know how difficult it is to obtain residency in Spain if you’re not employed or a student?” Two words, young one: Very. Difficult.

Crazily ignorant people.

These people will ask for tapas bar recommendations after living in Spain for nine months. They wonder if this Messi they’ve been hearing all about plays for Real Madrid (or what?).

“whats the difference between piso and habitacion as far as looking for something to rent?”

Where can I buy a good/inexpensive umbrella?

do public libraries exist in Madrid?

According to Spaniards I’m a “giddy.” Still haven’t figured out if thats a good thing or bad thing…

You begin to wonder how in the world they’ve survived this long.

(Thank you to the Twitter account @GuiriBullshit for the quotes!)