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Gerald Erichsen

Even on Thanksiving, Context Matters

By November 28, 2013

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Most Spanish words will be understood in roughly the same way everywhere you go. But as I was reminded in an e-mail from a reader, that's not true of at least two words in our list of Thanksgiving vocabulary words: In many areas, an arándano might be understood to refer to a type of blueberry rather than a cranberry, and calabaza can refer to vegetables other than pumpkins. Context always matters, and that's a good thing to keep in mind when learning any Spanish vocabulary.

Other lessons for this U.S. holiday weekend:


November 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm
(1) Ely says:

Actually, as far as I’m aware, we don’t have an ether/or situation for “blueberry” and “cranberry”. We can’t confuse them since we don’t have two separate words for them: both are «arándano».

On the other hand, “blueberry” can be called «arándano azul» in some areas. the same with “cranberry”, sometimes called «arándano rojo» (there is some interest in noting that the distinction only becomes necessary —and even then, in some areas only, otherwise both are referred as the same— when one or the other are referred to as just «arándano»; you never have both «rojo» and «azul» together).

I do owe it to you on the «calabaza» thing. We just call them «zapallos» in my birth country.

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