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Que he dicho?

In 2008 I went to Salamanca, Spain for the summer with my friend Cassidy to study Spanish. We had both completed 4 years of high school Spanish courses and a couple classes in college, so we were pretty fluent. We were placed with the Villa family for our homestay and enjoyed our time there with Carmen, Miguel Sr, and Miguel Jr. One morning, Cassidy and I were chatting in English in the kitchen about how she ran out of hot water during her shower when Miguel came in. I began to explain to him that I was apologizing to Cassidy for taking so long. It was just because I had to wash my hair AND shave my legs. "Estaba afeitándome." ("I was shaving.") I said. He immediately started laughing. "Que?" ("What?") I asked him, "Que he dicho?" ("What did I say?") He went in to explain that I should have said "depilándome" because the verb "afeitar" is solely used for a man when he is shaving his face. Any other part of the body would be the verb "depilar." I realized in that moment that I had said something really silly, but I had to just take it in stride and continue on. At least by having made that mistake around a friend, I knew I could laugh it off and I would never make the same one again at a more crucial moment!

There are lots of words like this when you translate from Spanish to English and vice versa. Some languages have more specific language to describe certain things than others do. It's one thing that I love about studying foreign languages.

Comments

Hola Christina,

Soy argentina y en mi país se usa el verbo afeitar para referirse a la eliminación del vello de la cara en los hombres, pero tambien para las piernas de las mujeres, no asi el vello de la cara, que se usa el verbo depilar.

Virginia