Sunday, 19 July 2015

Mahna Mahna, Spanish for Muppets?

I know I've mentioned the subject of accents before , but I've only just come across a word which has three different meanings, depending on how it's accented.

I saw a posting in the group 'Spanish on G+' (it's a Google+ Group) introducing the saying 'Más vale maña que fuerza'
It roughly translates as 'Brain is better than brawn', as maña can be translated as Skill, Knack, or Wits.

Well, as it happens, one of my favourite Spanish language Rock Groups is Maná, which means Manna.

So I thought I'd take a look in the dictionary and, guess what?
There's also an unaccented version of the word 'mana', which means 'a spring'
I guess it's a shorter version of 'manantial'

So, how's that?
All have different meanings - TOTALLY different meanings, and only an accent to differentiate them.

While on the subject of accents, I also recently saw a good explanation of why 'tu' sometimes has an accent, and sometimes doesn't
'Tú' means You
'Tu' means Your
'Tú me caes bién' - I like you
'Tu libro está en la mesa' - Your book is on the table.
The quickest way to remember is to relate 'tu' with 'su', which can also mean Your, but does not have an accented counterpart.

So, while we're doing accents, one of the examples above includes the word 'Está', which is the third-person present of the verb 'estar', not to be confused with 'esta', which means 'this', as in 'esta silla', 'this chair'.
It doesn't take to much remembering, as the heavy stress on the end of 'Está' is a giveaway :)
Finally, let's not forget 'él' and 'el' ,  'he' and 'the'
Él tiene el tiempo - he has the time

Oh, go on then, one more.
A little less commonplace.
What's the difference between 'más' and 'mas'?
Well, 'más' you will see a lot, to mean 'more'
'Mas' is not so common in modern language but can be used to mean 'but'
Example; 'Quería ir al centro mas no lo hice'
I wanted to go to the town centre, but didn't do it'

That's all for now.
Remember, to be understood, when writing Spanish, don't be a Muppet.
Don't forget the accents!