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Culture: ¡Salud a tu mami [maw-mee]!

by Brandi

calendar image

August 24th, 2009

Vocabulary this week to help you Learn Spanish:

unos meses después – a few months later
un aspecto – an aspect
puerta – door
palabras – words
padres – parents
nuevo idioma – new language
muchas veces – many times
mandarme saludos – to send me greetings (say hi to me)
la semana pasada – last week
hogares – homes
gente – people
familias – families
familiarizado – familiar
esto representa – this represents
esta semana – this week
esta parte – this part
español – Spanish
disfruto – I enjoy
diferencia – difference
cultura diferente – different culture
cultura – culture
cuando – when
crece – grows
cortés – courteous
cienes – hundreds
años – years
amistades – friendships
amigo – friend
alguien – someone
algo muy interesante – something very interesting
a veces – sometimes

Esta semana we will be talking about un aspecto of the Latin cultura that I disfruto and admire.

I first became familiarizado with esta parte of the cultura in Latin America cuando I was visiting familias with a native Spanish amigo. When we visited hogares where we noticed that the padres weren’t home at the time, and children had opened the puerta for us, before leaving, my native amigo would usually say what sounded like, “Salud a tu mami [maw-mee]” or “Salud a tu papi [paw-pea]“. This Spanish phrase means “Health to your mom”, or “Health to your dad”. I thought this was algo muy interesante to say to the child but remembered that I was in a cultura diferente where gente must go around wishing each other good “health” all the time.

I laughed at myself unos meses después, cuando I finally realized that he was saying “Saluda a tu mami” instead of “Salud a tu mami”. There is a minor diferencia in spelling but a major diferencia in meaning between these two palabras. “Salud” means “health” and “Saluda a tu mami” means “Say hello to your mom”.

Esto representa one of the many things that the Latin gente do that I admire a lot. They are a very polite and cortés people and generally seem to be a little more formal than Americans. In Latin America if you tell alguien to say “hi” to someone else, they will probably tell that person hi. Not only that, muchas veces they will even go out of their way to tell that person hi for you. There were cienes of times when I heard alguien say to someone else “Say hi to Juana” or “Maria”, and then later I heard them go out of their way to tell that person hi for them.

In the United States, my experience has generally been that if alguien tells you to say “hi” to someone else, a veces it gets back to them and a veces it doesn’t; usually gente do not go out of their way to say “hi” to someone else like they will do in Latin America.

La semana pasada I wrote about some Latin amigos I had not seen for a few años who recently came to the United States to visit me. The first thing they did, after telling me I was “gordo”, was to “mandarme saludos” from all of the many gente who knew they were coming to the United States and wanted to say “hi” to me. They said, “Fernando te manda saludos”, etc…

Moral of the historia: When you are learning a nuevo idioma, a veces you hear palabras that you think mean one thing, and you later find out that they mean something entirely diferente. This very thing happened to me muchas veces while learning and becoming fluent in español.

Also, I am extremely impressed with how polite gente are with each other in the Latin cultura. Amistades mean a lot to them and if you ever tell alguien to say “hi” to someone else, you can most certainly guarantee that it will happen.

Sneak peek at next week: ¡Con Permiso! How to politely leave a social situation

¡Nos vemos! (We’ll see you!)
David S. Clark — President / Director
Click here to learn Spanish.

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