back to article Spaniards get that cinking feeling

They may not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money, but the Spaniards have no trouble whatsoever getting their tongues around the English -ing suffix, as evidenced by a recent agreeable/alarming (according to your opinion on foreignisms) rise in xxxings here in Spain. It all started innocently enough. Students of …

  1. Vincent Ballard

    German coastguard

    I can't help thinking of the (very unfair) Berlitz ad: "We're sinking!" "What are you sinking about?"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure I've heard tuiting.

    Then there's the other way around where they get an English word and stick a Spanish suffix on it such as testeado.

    1. JDC

      Re: Pretty sure I've heard tuiting.

      And of course the verb "Googlear"

  3. SecretSonOfHG

    And then there are truly aberrations

    Using English words when there are perfectly good and equivalent Spanish words: I've heard renamear (Spanish infinitive applied to the English verb rename) instead of renombrar

    1. spaxe

      Re: And then there are truly aberrations

      The worst one I've heard is 'submitir', as the inifinitive for submitting a form, instead of just using 'enviar'...

  4. Phuq Witt

    They not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money...

    As a callow youth, I was told by a Spanish assistant teacher that the hardest English word of all, for her to pronounce was...


    ...and my subsequent research on Spaniards I've known has shown this to be the case.

    Also. I remember spending a while in Córdoba with college, way back when BritPop was just emerging as a 'big thing'. Being back before the days of universal internet downloading, all the Spanish kids I met were desperate to get hold of some of this new music.

    When they heard we'd arrived from Manchester, we were always asked whether we had any "WASS-EES"

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: They not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money...

      People often have a problem with pronouncing Internet too, it's often pronounced as Internésss.

    2. John Sanders

      Re: They not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money...


      Does not compute in Spanish ask them to read this: "CRISPIS" and you will understand why.

    3. John Sanders

      Re: They not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money...

      Most Spaniards I'm guesing they will pronounce WhatsApp either "WASAP" or "WARSAP"

      The "wh" and "ts" does not compute in Spanish, ask them to read: "TS" and then "TIS" to understand why.

      Spaniards buld the pronunciation by consonant-vocal ie:






      Made up word that are perfectly pronunciable in Spanish: MITASA, TOZOSA, PIMEZA, if you tell them to a Spaniard via voice they will know how to write them just by the sound on the first try. (Although they will ask you what the heck are those)

      1. Aremmes

        Re: They not be able to pronounce WhatsApp for love nor money...

        "Most Spaniards I'm guesing they will pronounce WhatsApp either "WASAP" or "WARSAP""

        I can tell you that when speaking Spanish anything that introduces pauses into the syllable timing will get summarily dropped. Hence, "wasap" instead of "watsap". Spanish makes little use of syllable final consonants outside of "m", "n" and "s", and even then has a preference for ending syllables with vowels -- e.g., notice the aspirated final "r"s and "s"s in Caribbean Spanish.

  5. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Siesting and sofing

    Come on, we have to reimport those two back into English usage over here too...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Siesting and sofing

      I agree - splendid stuff.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    or cwim.

    1. Robin

      Re: Cinc

      My Welsh brain read that second word as 'quim', which is quite different!

      1. dogged

        Re: Cinc

        But could be descriptive of an episode involving failure to "think".

  7. Tromos

    I'm familiar with IPA

    Although I prefer Fullers ESB. What's theta got to do with it?

  8. jake Silver badge

    Personally. I love the melting pot of language.

    We all breathe air, and we all bleed red. Your son can mate with my daughter and produce viable offspring (not that she'll let him, she's happily married).

    Humans are humans. The entire race/colo(u)r/creed/place of origin list of concepts that humanity seems to find important is pretty much "not invented here" paranoia ...

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Personally. I love the melting pot of language.

      Germany uses a lot of English words as well, they are "eingedeutscht".

      They can also be confusing.

      Beamer = Projector and not a BMW over here.

      Handy = mobile / cell / smartphone

      User (the correct German is Benutzer)

      Computer or PC (the correct German is Rechner)

      Password (the correct German is Kennwort)

      Uploaden and downloaden as verbs.

      And it seems to be very cool to use English words in advertising - although I sometime cringe at the inappropriate use of English in adverts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Personally. I love the melting pot of language.

        > User (the correct German is Benutzer)

        Sounds like an insult. Although that's applicable to most German words.

  9. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    The French do it too.

    It's not unusual now to leave the car in a "parking" in order to do some "shopping", having left the kids to kick a ball around for some "footing". "Le zapping" is normal TV practice. More odd is when borrowed words meet French grammar: we anglophones will pull on a "pair of trousers" where the French wear a singular "pantalon", so when it comes to Levi Strauss's best they wear "un jean".

    Not all imports fare so well. wearing "un sweat"(shirt) or "un pull"(over) sounds odd, but the one that still jumps out at me is the use of "shit" as perfectly acceptable slang for cannabis. It leads to family newspaper headlines referring to seizing kilos of "shit" after a "go fast".

    More amusing is how French sports commentators will describe something as "tres fairplay", suggesting a lack not only of an equivalent term in French but perhaps even of the concept?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The French do it too.

      Until the Academie have a root through, and excise all the English they can find.

      I cracked up when they got sniffy about "biscuit", since it's actually a French word (bis-cuit: twice-cooked) to start with.

      Is there any other language on earth which is as aggressive at assimilating foreign words as English ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The French do it too.

        > Until the Academie have a root through, and excise all the English they can find.

        I think you will find the Académie have a rather open and academically sound attitude in the matter of anglicisms and other emprunts.

        Politicians, that's a different story.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: The French do it too.

          From an old acquaintance, James Nicoll:

          The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

        2. Pedigree-Pete

          Re: The French do it too.

          Have an upvote & one of these for a most educational like (and an excuse to pint the finger at Jonny Foreigner when French accuse us of invading their language).

  10. Desidero

    Cue up "The Ketchup Song", the best homage to Spanish-bastardized English evuh.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Well it certainly had the best-looking girls in any case.

  11. sqeeezy


    personally, I prefer the Spanish way: I think of it now as Wassap, I reckon it rolls off the tongue better.

    They also say weefee instead of why fy, which is nice.

    Anyhow, their attempts at English by far surpass the lame British attempts at Spanish...

    1. Ben Bonsall

      Re: Optional

      They say 'whiffy' here. 'Do you have whiffy?' 'There's a problem with my whiffy.' etc.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        'There's a problem with my whiffy.'

        Good moaning. I was pissing by your door, and noticed your awful whiffy. 'Allo, 'Allo was ahead of its time.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      In Germany it is WLAN (veh-LAN) instead of Wi-Fi.

  12. RikC

    Same here in the Netherlands with English derived words: Most famous are 'downloaden' and 'uploaden' ((to) download/upload) for which there are not even Dutch equivalents and which are part of the language ever since the internet came about. The same holds for 'modem' and 'computer' btw. the Dutch never bothered to come up with their own version like the French with 'ordinateur' ;-).

    Als we have "zapper' (remote control) with which you can change the channels quickly: "zappen"

  13. AbelSoul

    Re: from the verb tumbarse

    In certain parts of Scotland, the alarmingly similar word tomb-arse is sometimes used to address the perpetrator of acutely aromatic flatulence, as in:

    "Hey, tomb-arse, whit foul beast has crawled up your kiecher and died?"

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Balconing (balcón + ing)

    That's the practise of drunk holiday visitors throwing themselves off their hotel room balcony and misjudging their height above the ground, the distance of the neighbouring balcony that they're aiming for, or location of the hotel swimming pool below.

    It's a very specific form of la teoría de Darwin.

  15. Chris G Silver badge

    One of the great things about the Spanish, is how much you can murder their language and they will understand you and carry on as if you haven' t just spoken like a deme nted three year old.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Much like English then.

      Despite our national pastime of laughing at foreigners (and their pronunciation), and pretending we don't understand them, when you actually get down to it, English is very easy to communicate in, with a rudimentary grasp. As any conversation with a teenager confirms.

      Personally a working grasp of Basic English is invaluable when dealing with offshore teams. One of the reasons why my teams were able to complete their projects much quicker than my colleagues.

      But then I'm one of those pesky Brits who goes against the grain, and isn't scared of foreign languages. Maybe my non-English fathers fault.

  16. John Sanders


    "due to Spaniards' inability to say "s" + consonant without an initial "e". Consider España, and so forth."

    Mate, Spaniards do not write letters that they do not pronounce, like the "e" at the end of words in English.

    Letter "E" has sound always and in any word like in "Elephant", it is the English I'm afraid who can not or do not pronounce it half the time in half the words.

    I'm not criticizing English with any of this, each language is the way it is for good reasons.

    Spanish with some exceptions hardly have any confusing sounding construct which is pronounced with different sounds and the only way to know how to write or read them is if someone tells you, making English a language that one has to memorize to be able to learn proper.

    Ie Thief, Thames, fought and thought, these kind of thing drives Spaniards into crazy confusion.

    Spaniards do not have to memorize anything, once you learn how to read, just by reading you pronounce it correctly, this helps immensely to understand and make new words.

    "ing" always sounds like in King, is that consistency in the pronunciation that has it getting adopted.

    That and the fact that is is shorter to say: "Camping" than "me voy de acampada a un sitio de acampadas"

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      "Balla, no me lo esperava."

      In spite of everything, there are still Spanish people who insist on making mistakes in written Spanish.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      English is not a great language in anyway for anyone to learn, that's why it's rated as one of the hardest to learn.

      It's such a kludge of other languages, it's hardly any surprise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        English one of the hardest to learn.

        Actually, it's string and sticking plaster nature makes English very amenable to pidgin communication. There will be *something* in there to help get the point across.

        English is a very easy language to learn "badly", if you are obsessed with grammatical, syntactical, orthographical, and lexical perfection. However, since most of the native speakers don't bother to learn it that well, there's no need for anyone else to bother as a second language.

  17. John Crisp

    It's a bugger with my surname of Crisp..... :-)

    They also have a hard time with my son named Rory...

    Having lived in rural Spain and done my best at learning Spanish (and yes, they are SO forgiving because you try) I do understand why English is so popular. You just don't need so many words for basic simple communication.

    I go. You go. He/she/it goes. We go. They go. We go.

    So 'go', or 'goes'. And we know what they mean if they get it wrong.

    Yo voy, tu vas, el/ella/usted va, nosotros vamos, vostotros vais, ellos/ustedes van.

    Effectively 6 different words for one verb.

    Past... I went etc. One word in English. Pretty well 6 again in Spanish.

    Yes, I now understand just how damn complicated advanced English is. But as a simple communicaton medium it is very effective.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most Spaniards?

    I'm not so sure that most Spaniards use ceceo (sp?) instead of seseo.

    Castilians do pronounce /th/ and I believe that's what many language schools teach, but I'm not sure that's how most Spaniards speak. Never mind Spanish speakers at large.

    In any case, it always bothers me when the BBC insist on saying "Barthelona" instead of "Barselona".

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: "Barthelona"

      Surely "Barthelona" has traction thanks to Fawlty Towers? That, and all the "eth-eth-eth"-ing from The Fast Show.

      ¡Buono estente!

    2. Vincent Ballard

      Re: Most Spaniards?

      It's not an either/or between seseo and ceceo. Roughly speaking, Spanish has names for every "non-standard" variant, but not for the "standard". The "standard" is to pronounce z and (c before i or e) as "th", and s as "s". Seseo is to pronounce z and (c before i or e) as "s"; it is common in the south of Spain (including the Canaries) and the whole of Spanish-speaking America. Ceceo is to pronounce s as "th"; it is found in parts of the south of Spain, and scarcely anywhere else.

      Something like 80% of Spaniards use the "standard" pronunciation of these particular letters, in contrast to the widespread "non-standard" yeísmo (pronouncing ll as "y").

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hijo Puting

    Is that a single or double 't'? I can think of two rather different meanings depending on that detail.

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