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Speaking Phrases Boricua: Puerto Rican Sayings (Book Preview)


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This is the "Speaking Phrases Boricua: A Collection of Wisdom and Sayings from Puerto Rico" book preview by Jared Romey:

This follow-up to the Puerto Rican Spanish bestseller, Speaking Boricua, collects the unique Puerto Rican sayings that are passed down from generation to generation. Whether you are looking to share your life's wisdom with Island friends, trying to get a chuckle from colleagues or just want to better understand Puerto Ricans, Speaking Phrases Boricua offers both English and Spanish versions for these wisdoms.

Hundreds of them are translated literally into English, explained and, when available, paired with an English equivalent. Here are a few samples:

· In English something extremely white may be said to be as paler as snow, in Puerto Rican Spanish you can say whiter than a nun's butt-cheek, or más jincho que nalga de monja.
· La gallina vieja da buen caldo, or the old hen makes good broth is a form of saying that a woman's older age does not mean she has lost her touch.
· In English you say make a mountain out of a mole hill, to blow something out of proportion. The Puerto Rican equivalent is ahogarse en un vaso de agua, or to drown in a glass of water.

Speaking Phrases Boricua continues the tradition of Speaking Boricua by using humor to illustrate phrases and their meanings. There is even an index of English sayings with Puerto Rican equivalents.

This book will bring you even closer to understanding Puerto Rican vocabulary and phrases for your conversations as you become more fluent in Puerto Rican Spanish.


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Speaking Phrases Boricua: Puerto Rican Sayings (Book Preview)

  2. 2. Boricua Speaking Phrases Jared Romey’s A COLLECTION OF WISDOM AND SAYINGS FROM PUERTO RICO ñ
  3. 3. “I lived in San Juan for a short time and purchased your Speaking Phrases Boricua book... My love of language and idiomatic expression prompted me to get your book and I have to tell you how much fun I’ve had reading it!” -D. Friendland message on Facebook “Being half Boricua myself I’ve learned so much. Love the book as well. Always have it by my side. Great website too!” - @domazsarios via Instagram “Jared is the go-to guy for anyone learning or considering learning Spanish, and he’ll blow you away with how much he knows about the Latin American varieties of the language.” - Donovan Nagel, Mezzofanti Guild: An Online Community of Serious Language Learners “Romey translates common colloquialisms into English so that Americans can actually understand what the heck locals are saying when they visit South American countries.” - Monica Garske, AOL News “Acabo de descubrir Que sitio más padre, chido, chévere, tuanis, bacán...” - Jake Fisher comment on Facebook “@JaredRomey ¡¡¡Me ca*** de risa!!! ¡Buenísimo! I had to pause several times to recover from laughing! You made my day!” - @MultiMae from Mae’s Language Lounge Blog via Twitter
  4. 4. A FREE BONUS IS WAITING FOR YOU AT [ 1 ] PUERTORICANSPANISHCHEATSHEET: CommonWords&Expressions WORD OR PHRASE DEFINITION EXAMPLE SENTENCE 1. abombao smelly, stinky stench caused by humidity El carro de mi cuñado tiene una peste a abombao que no se le quita. 2. achicharrar to burn ¡Mijo, se nota que fuiste a la playa! Estás achicharrao. 3. acho a filler word that expresses some sort of regret Acho, mañana hay trabajo. 4. afrentao 1) to have a voracious appetite for food 2) stingy person that wants everything for himself 1) ¡Ave María, chico, qué afrentao eres! No me dejaste na’ de comer. 2) Yo no creo que Don Miguel te haga descuento. Ese don es bien afrentao pa’ los chavos. 5. ajorar to be in a hurry, rushed for time Estoy ajorá, no puedo hablar ahora. Te llamo después. 6. ajumao / jendío drunk Todos los viernes mi marido llega ajumao a la casa. Joel estaba jendío anoche. No se acuerda de nada. 7. al garete out of control La gente está al garete este fin de semana. Ten cuidao, ¿ok? 8. arrancao / pelao(á) broke, penniless Yadiel dijo que no podía ir porque está arrancao. Chica, estoy pelá hasta que cobremos el viernes. 9. ¡Ave María! “Holy Mary!” expression of surprise, joy or disappointment ¡Ave María, qué mucho cafre hay aquí! 10. averiguao(á) / presentao(á) nosy ¡No seas averiguao y lárgate pa’ lla! ¡Pero que presentao eres, deja de estar chequeando mi celular! 11. Ay, bendito 1) express sorrow 2) express frustration 1) ¡Ay, bendito! ¿Pero qué le pasó? 2) ¡Ay bendito, pero que mucho jode! 12. babilla courage, bravery Ahh, ahh.. No te atreves a hacerlo. No hay babilla, no hay babilla. 13. bochinche gossip Yadira, te llamé pa’ que me cuentes el bochinche. 14. Boricua nickname for Puerto Ricans; comes from Borinquén or Borikén, the name given to the island by the native indigenous, Taínos Chico, si la ciudad de Orlando está así, mira, choreta de Boricuas. CLICK HERE FOR AUDIOS: Listen to all the example sentences at INCLUDES AUDIOS! FREE! PUERTO RICAN SPANISH CHEAT SHEET with the 100 most common words and expressions used in Puerto Rico. ñ
  5. 5. Other books in the Speaking Latino Series: - Speaking Boricua - Speaking Argento - Speaking Chileno Speaking Latino Quick Guides: - Quick Guide to Cuban Spanish - Quick Guide to Dominican Spanish - Quick Guide to Mexican Spanish - Quick Guide to MORE Mexican Spanish - Quick Guide to Peruvian Spanish - Quick Guide to Colombian Spanish - Quick Guide to Venezuelan Spanish - Quick Guide to MORE Venezuelan Spanish
  6. 6. v The process of my learning Spanish started in the sixth grade and has continued ever since. I’d like to thank Ms. Gray, Charlezetta, Ms. McPherson, my professor at St. Mary’s, Patricia, the staffs at the University of South Carolina and El Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Guadalajara and Bernardo for their perseverance. Mi proceso de aprender el español empezó en sexto grado y ha continuado desde ese momento. Me gustaría agradecer a Srta. Gray, Charlezetta, Srta. McPherson, mi profesor en St. Mary’s, Patricia, las facultades de la Universidad de South Carolina y del Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey en Guadalajara y Bernardo por su perseverancia.
  7. 7. vii Introduction������������������������������������������������������������������������ 1 How to Use this Guide �������������������������������������������������������� 3 Introducción������������������������������������������������������������������������ 6 Cómo Usar Esta Guía���������������������������������������������������������� 8 Wisdom Boricua/Sabiduría Boricua Puerto Rican Sayings to English���������������������������������������� 11 Index/Índice English Sayings with Spanish Equivalents ���������������������� 135 Acknowledgements �������������������������������������������������������� 157 Agradecimientos ������������������������������������������������������������ 158 About the Author/Sobre el Autor������������������������������������ 159 Bibliography/Bibliografía������������������������������������������������ 162 Table of Contents
  8. 8. “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” - Gilbert Keith Chesterton “I, who travel most often for my pleasure, do not direct myself so badly. If it looks ugly on the right, I take the left; if I find myself unfit to ride my horse, I stop… Have I left something unseen behind me? I go back; it is still on my road. I trace no fixed line, either straight or crooked.” - Michel de Montaigne “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this featherbed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.” - Robert Louis Stevenson  “For the profit of travel: in the first place, you get rid of a few prejudices… The prejudiced against color finds several hundred millions of people of all shades of color, and all degrees of intellect, rank, and social worth, generals, judges, priests, and kings, and learns to give up his foolish prejudice.” - Herman Melville
  9. 9. 1 While you may see this book as one on language, to me it is also about travel…not travel in the traditional travel-guide sense of who, what, when, where, or how. This book touches on the WHY. You may wonder how a book about common sayings can be related to the WHY of travel. In preparing this guide, I’ve learned about the history of Puerto Rico, the problems facing Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican culture, the language and I’ve also learned to see my own culture differently. In my experience, language opens the mind to new points of view, teaches a person about culture (both their own and the “foreign” culture) and just, generally, creates new experiences for the traveler. These sayings have the same effect. To further explain the WHY, I have turned to the help of several people. You will see their words on the previous page. Given that I am a somewhat inexpressive person (I’ve even occasionally been accused of being cold!), I found that they explained in amazing clarity what I could not. One of my favorites is from Johan Huizinga, a Dutch historian who lived from 1872 to 1945. “The things which can make life enjoyable remain the same. They are, now as before, reading, music, fine arts, travel, the enjoyment of nature, sports, fashion, social vanity (knightly orders, honorary office, gatherings) and the intoxication of the senses.” This was written in 1921 and almost a century later is still a wonderfully applicable phrase. I can almost even forgive him for leaving out wine. One of the things that most surprised me about Puerto Rico is the presence of regional differences in the language. For a country that is 100 by 35, miles I find it entertaining that with a 30-minute car ride you can find words with different meanings or sayings that Introduction
  10. 10. 2 “city folk” just don’t get. As I write this, I realize that the same is probably true for most other places, but it just seems to be more noticeable here. One day, I had a friend come up to me and say “I think your definition of X word is wrong. It should say…”, referring to an entry in my first book, Speaking Boricua! Fortunately, two other people were standing nearby and came over. What followed was a humorous debate among the three of them (all Puerto Ricans). Three people that grew up less than 60 miles from each other had differing opinions on the meaning of a word. For me, this was an entertaining experience, highlighting the amorphous nature of language. As an author, perhaps my greatest pleasure is to hear people comment that my book made them laugh. In fact, the comments readers made referring to my first book pushed me to publish this one. I thank those people and look forward to hearing from them again. I hope this helps you understand WHY. August 2005 San Juan
  11. 11. 3 How to Use This Guide j H k Cuando el río suena, agua lleva l L: When the river sounds, it carries water m D: There must be some truth to the rumor. Used in response... n S: Cuando el río suena, es porque algo trae. o E: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire j Symbol (if necessary) k Saying in Spanish l Literal Translation into English m Definition in English n Similar sayings in Spanish (if any exist) o Equivalent or similar saying (if one exists) in English Most of the sayings in this book are written based on the grammatically correct way, and not based on how they are pronounced. In some situations, the pronounced version may be significantly different from how it is written. If you cannot find the saying in this guide and you think it is because of the pronunciation, I would suggest asking someone about the saying or write us an email to for more information. While these sayings are commonly used in Puerto Rico, they are not proprietary from the island. Many of these sayings (or variations of these sayings) are also used in other Spanish- speaking countries. The following symbols are located before a saying’s entry and are to help make the guide a bit easier to enjoy (NOTE: The symbol may apply to only one definition for sayings with more than one definition). The symbols are: H Commonly used sayings M Sayings that may not be acceptable in some circumstances, including expletives, insults, crude or politically incorrect words. E Sayings that are the same or similar in English and Spanish. Each entry follows this format:
  12. 12. 4 You will also notice in some entries: • Words between brackets [ ]: These are alternate words used for the same sayings. • Words between parenthesis ( ): These are additional words that complete the saying, but many people leave off.
  13. 13. “El objetivo principal de viajar no es poner pie en una tierra extraña; es al fin poner pie en su propio país como si fuera tierra extranjera.” - Gilbert Keith Chesterton “Yo, que viajo a menudo por placer, no me conduzco tan mal. Si es muy fea la derecha tomo a la izquierda; si creo que no puedo viajar a caballo, me detengo... ¿habré dejado atrás algo sin ver? Vuelvo; todavía eso está en mi camino, no me trazo línea fija sea recta o torcida.” - Michel de Montaigne “Por mi parte, viajo no para llegar a un sitio sino para ir. Viajo por viajar. El asunto es moverse, sentir cercanamente las necesidades y contratiempos de nuestra vida; bajarnos de la almohada de plumas de la civilización y encontrar bajo nuestros pies el duro granito cubierto de cortantes pedernales.” - Robert Louis Stevenson  “El beneficio de viajar: en primer lugar te libras de unos prejuicios.... El prejuiciado contra el color encuentra varios cientos de millones de personas de todos los colores, de todos los grados intelectuales, rango y bienes sociales, generales, jueces, sacerdotes y reyes y uno aprende a dejar el tonto prejuicio.” - Herman Melville
  14. 14. 6 Introducción Mientras quizás ves que este libro se trata de idiomas, para mí se trata también de viajar… no de viajar en el sentido tradicional de las guías de viajes que hablan de quién, qué, cuándo, dónde y cómo. Este libro se trata del PORQUÉ. Seguramente te estás preguntando como un libro de dichos y refranes puede estar relacionado con el porqué viajar. Preparando esta guía he aprendido de la historia de Puerto Rico, los problemas que enfrentan los puertorriqueños, la cultura puertorriqueña, el idioma y también aprendí a ver mi propia cultura de una forma diferente. En mi experiencia, el idioma abre la mente a nuevos puntos de vista, enseña a uno de cultura (la propia y la cultura “extranjera”) y generalmente crea nuevas experiencias para un viajero. Estos refranes tienen el mismo efecto. Para explicar en más detalle el PORQUÉ, he incluido los comentarios de varias personas. Verás sus palabras en la página anterior. Dado a que yo no soy una persona muy expresiva (¡hasta me han acusado de ser frío!), encontré que ellos explicaron con una claridad extraordinaria lo que yo no podía expresar. Uno de mis favoritos es del Sr. Johan Huizinga, un historiador Holandés quien vivió del 1872 al 1945. “Las cosas que pueden hacer la vida agradable se quedan iguales. Ellas son, ahora como antes, la lectura, música, bellas artes, viajar, el placer de la naturaleza, deporte, moda, vanidades sociales (órdenes caballerescas, oficinas honorarias, encuentros) y la intoxicación de los sentidos.” Esto fue escrito en 1921 y casi un siglo después sigue siendo una frase completamente aplicable. Casi le puedo perdonar el error de no incluir el vino. Una de las cosas que más me sorprendió en Puerto Rico es la presencia de diferencias regionales en el idioma. Para un país de 100 por 35 millas encuentro divertido que con un viaje de
  15. 15. 7 30 minutos en carro (auto) uno se puede encontrar palabras con sentidos diferentes o refranes que la gente de la ciudad no entiende. Mientras escribo esto me doy cuenta que seguramente lo mismo es cierto para otros lugares, pero parece más notable aquí. Un día una amiga se acercó y me dijo “Creo que tu definición de X palabra está equivocada. Debe decir…” refiriéndose a una palabra en mi primer libro Speaking Boricua! Afortunadamente, dos otras personas estaban cerca y se involucraron en la conversación. Un debate gracioso siguió entre las tres (todas puertorriqueñas). Tres personas que se criaron a menos de 60 millas de las otras tenían opiniones diferentes en referencia al sentido de una palabra. Para mí, esto fue una experiencia divertida que destacó el estado amorfo de los idiomas. Como autor quizás mi mayor placer es escuchar comentarios de que mi libro hizo reír a la gente. De hecho, los comentarios de lectores del primer libro, me empujaron a publicar este. Les doy gracias a ellos y espero escuchar sus comentarios nuevamente. Espero que esto te ayude a contestar el PORQUÉ. Agosto 2005 San Juan
  16. 16. 8 La mayoría de los refranes en este libro están escritos según la forma gramaticalmente correcta, y no como se pronuncian. En algunas situaciones la versión pronunciada puede ser significativamente diferente de la forma escrita. Si no encuentras un refrán en esta guía y piensas que tiene que ver con la pronunciación, sugiero preguntar a alguien o escribirnos un correo electrónico a para mayor información. Mientras que estos dichos son muy comunes en Puerto Rico, no son exclusivos de la isla. Muchos de estos dichos (o sus variaciones) también son usados en otros países hispanohablantes. Se encuentran los siguientes símbolos antes del refrán y están para ayudar en el uso de la guía. (NOTA: Los símbolos pueden aplicar solamente a una de las definiciones en aquellos casos que haya más de una definición). Los símbolos son: H Refranes comunes M Refranes que pueden ser inaceptables en ciertas circunstancias, incluyendo malas palabras, refranes insultantes, o palabras que pueden ofender a algunas personas o grupos de personas. E Refranes que son iguales o parecidos en inglés y español. Cada refrán sigue este formato: Cómo Usar Esta Guía j Símbolo (si necesario) k Refrán en español l Traducción literal al inglés m Definición en inglés n Refranes parecidos en español (si existen algunos) o Refrán equivalente o parecido (si existe alguno) j H k Cuando el río suena, agua lleva. l L: When the river sounds, it carries water m D: There must be some truth to the rumor. Used in response... n S: Cuando el río suena, es porque algo trae. o E: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
  17. 17. 9 También notarás en algunas entradas: • Palabras entre corchetes [ ]: Estas son otras palabras que se usan para el mismo dicho. • Palabras entre paréntesis ( ): Estas son palabras adicionales que completan el dicho, pero que muchas personas las obvian.
  18. 18. 11 Wisdom Boricua: Puerto Rican to English A E A caballo regalado no se le mira el colmillo L: A horse given as a gift, do not look at its eye teeth D: Don’t look for the faults in a gift, just be happy that you received something and accept it for what it is E: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth A cada guaraguao le llega su pitirre L: For each hawk his pitirre arrives D: The pitirre is a small bird that attacks specifically the guaraguao, a large hawk. The implication of the phrase is that just because someone is physically large does not mean that he/she will automatically dominate over someone much smaller E: Brains over brawn A cada lechón le llega su San Martín L: To each suckling pig, his Saint Martin arrives D: The belief that, although a person that deserves punishment has not received it, eventually he will be punished. S: A cada puerco le llega su sábado, A cada lechón le llega su Navidad, A cada lechón le llega su Nochebuena E: He’ll get his, He’ll get what’s coming to him, He’ll get what he deserves, His time will come H A cada puerco le llega su sábado L: To each pig, his Saturday arrives D: Sooner or later whoever does something wrong will be caught S: A cada santo le llega su día, A cada lechón le llega su San Martín, A cada lechón le llega su Navidad, A cada lechón le llega su Nochebuena E: He’ll get his, He’ll get what’s coming to him, He’ll get what he deserves, His time will come H A cada santo le llega su día [hora] L: To each saint, his day L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent
  19. 19. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 12 [hour] arrives D: Anyone’s good deeds will be recognized eventually, if at no other time, then when the person faces their Creator E: His time will come A cada santo su vela L: To each saint his candle D: Recognizes the positive acts of people that deserve recognition E: His time will come A cualquiera se le muere un tío L: To anyone an uncle dies D: Refers to commonplace occurrences that happen to everyone E: It can happen to the best of us A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando L: To God begging and with the mallet going at it D: To keep at something. It is fine to ask for God’s help, but one must keep working so that the project moves forward H A falta de pan, galleta L: At the lack of bread, crackers. D: When one thing is not available, one must make do with something else E: Make-do with what you’ve got A grandes males, grandes remedios L: For big ailments, big remedies D: When you are confronted with large problems, just make sure that you have everything organized and in place to fix it. If it’s a big problem, don’t come with some small idea to patch over the situation. Make sure your solution will eliminate the problem A la corta o a la larga con el tiempo todo se alcanza L: In the short or in the long, with time everything is reachable D: Sooner or later problems or difficulties can be overcome or resolved A la larga todo se sabe L: In the long run, everything is known D: Sooner or later everything is revealed A cada santo su vela
  20. 20. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 13 E: Everything eventually comes to light E A la tercera va la vencida L: The third time is the winning one D: The third time you try to do something, it will work. E: Third time’s the charm A la tierra que fueres, haz lo que vieres L: In whichever land you are, do what you see. D: When you are visiting an unknown place, just copy what the locals are doing, and you will fit in fine S: Si a Roma fueras, haz lo que vieras, ¿Dónde va Vicente? Donde va la gente E: When in Rome, do as the Romans H A las millas de chaflán L: To the miles of chaflán. At the speed of chaflán D: Extremely fast. The origin of this saying is not clear (there are at least three theories), so giving an accurate definition of the word chaflán in this context is not possible. A lo hecho, pecho L: What is done, chest D: If you made a mistake you must confront it and resolve the situation E: Own up to one’s mistakes H A mal tiempo, buena cara L: At a bad time, good face D: When things do not come out as planned you must remain calm to face the situation A mala hora no ladra el perro L: At a bad time the dog does not bark D: In spite of all the preparations and precautions taken something unexpected always happens, the one thing you never planned for is the one thing that happens M A mí plín (y a la madama dulce de coco) L: I couldn’t care less and for the madame coconut candy D: Who cares, I don’t care E: I couldn’t give a hoot, I A mí plín
  21. 21. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 14 couldn’t give a rat’s ass A ojo de buen cubero L: To the eye of a barrel maker D: Roughly. To measure or estimate roughly by sight E: Eyeballing H A otro perro con ese hueso L: Go to another dog with that bone D: Don’t try to trick me. Go and tell your story (or lie) to someone else. Used when someone is lying to you. For example, the homeless person that says he needs money for food when everyone knows he really wants it for booze S: No me vengas con ese cuento E: I’ve heard that story before A palabras necias, oídos sordos L: For foolish words, deaf ears D: If you are going to say stupid or foolish things, I am not interested in listening E: To go in one ear and out the other H A quien Dios no le da hijos, el diablo le da sobrinos L: To whom God does not give children, the devil gives nieces and nephews D: For the people that do not have kids, they still often share the same problems and pleasures that parents do, through their nieces, nephews or other children that are close to them M ¿A quién le amarga un dulce? L: Who is soured by a candy? D: Smart aleck answer to any type of dumb question when the answer is obviously “Of course!” For example, “Would you like some ice cream?” E: Does a bear shit in the woods?, Does the pope wear a hat? H A rey muerto, rey puesto L: King dead, king placed D: No one is indispensable. Phrase meaning that someone, after passing away or leaving, is quickly replaced. For example, a widow that quickly A ojo de buen cubero
  22. 22. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 15 finds another partner to maintain him/her. Also implies that the person is taking advantage of the situation. H A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores L: Churned up river, benefit of fishermen D: During times of uncertainty, there are still opportunities to be had A su tiempo, maduran las uvas L: In their own time grapes mature D: Good things take time to develop, be patient E: Good things come to those who wait A ver si es verdad que el gas pela L: Let’s see if it is true that gas peels D: Let’s find out if what you say is really true. Admisión de delito, relevo de prueba L: Admission of guilt, release of proof D: Once you admit to something, there is no further need to prove it. Also, if for example, you are caught in the same room where a vase just broke, it is obvious that you are the person that broke it E: Guilt by association Agua pasada no mueve molino L: Past water moves no windmill D: Forget about the past and focus on the present l A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores l Agua pasada no mueve molino
  23. 23. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 16 E: Water under the bridge Agua que no has de beber, déjala correr L: Water that you have not drunk, let it run D: Do not get involved in situations that do not affect you E: Don’t stick your nose where it does not belong Ahogarse en un vaso de agua L: To drown oneself in a glass of water D: To over-worry about simple things E: To make a mountain out of a molehill Ahorcarse con su propia soga L: Hang oneself with one’s own rope D: To suffer the consequences of a problem that was created by oneself E: You’ve made your bed, now lie in it Al mal paso, darle prisa L: At a bad step, hurry it up D: When facing a difficult situation, try all the alternatives or solutions as quickly as possible H Al mejor cazador se le va la liebre L: From the best hunter, the hare gets away D: Even the experts or best people make mistakes sometimes E: Everyone makes mistakes, It happens to the best of them H Al pan, pan y al vino, vino L: For bread, bread and for wine, wine D: Tells someone to speak directly without engaging in flowery conversation E: Cut to the chase, Get to the point, Call a spade a spade, Don’t talk in circles H Al perro flaco, todas las pulgas le caen L: To the thin dog, all the fleas fall D: The same people always have all the problems in life, someone with one problem often has lots of other problems piled on E: When it rains, it pours Agua que no has de beber...
  24. 24. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 17 Al que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija L: He who draws close to a good tree, good shade will cover D: Working with good or positive people can rub off Al que Dios se lo da, que San Pedro se lo bendiga L: For whom God gives it, San Pedro should bless it D: Used by a less fortunate person (referring to looks, money or things) about someone that is better off, and means that the more fortunate person is lucky and should enjoy what they have Al que le caiga el sello [sayo], que se lo ponga L: To whom the seal [smock] falls, put it on D: Used when someone wants to identify a negative action without identifying the person committing it. For example, your boss talks in a meeting about being late to work, but doesn’t mention who are the people always late; only the employees that are always late know that he is talking about them E: If the shoe fits, wear it Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda L: He who rises early, God will help. D: Advice that he who arises early will be rewarded E: The early bird catches the worm H Al que no le gusta el caldo, le dan tres tazas L: He who does not like the broth is given 3 cups D: If you do not like something you can be sure you will get a lot of it Al son que le toquen, bailan L: For whatever beat one gets, dance D: A person responds in a similar manner to how he/ she is treated H Alábate pollo que mañana te guisan L: Praise yourself chicken because tomorrow they stew you D: This phrase is often used for a self-centered or stuck-up person. The Alábate pollo que mañana...
  25. 25. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 18 meaning is that the person will get what he deserves E: To get what’s coming to you Allá ellos que son blancos y se entienden L: There they are whites and they understand each other D: A sarcastic phrase saying “I don’t belong, but I don’t care” often used by people who are poor and are looking at rich people Allá Marta con sus pollos L: There Marta [Martha] with her chickens D: Who cares what she is doing? E: I couldn’t care less Amigo, de cien uno y de mil ninguno L: Friend of a hundred, one and of a thousand none D: Really close, trustworthy friends are extremely hard to come by Amigo en la adversidad es un amigo de verdad L: A friend in adversity is a true friend D: A real friend is one that stands by you, even in bad times E: A friend in need is a friend indeed Amigo es un peso en el bolsillo L: Friend is a dollar in the pocket D: Not everyone is a good friend. Friends can sometimes bring problems. Said when a friendship is not sincere. Amigo mío que nos perdemos, tú para más y yo para menos L: My friend that we lose each other, you for more and I for less D: Let’s break things off, since in everything but name, our relationship is already over (generally refers to partners or friends) Amor con amor se paga L: Love with love is paid D: You can achieve more by being nice to people than being rude E: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar Allá ellos que son blancos...
  26. 26. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 19 M Amor de lejos, amor de pendejos L: Love from afar, love of idiots D: Long distance relationships are a bad idea. You shouldn’t trust your partner from afar Andar la ceca y La Meca L: To walk the mint and Mecca D: To go to many places generally looking for something specific. In this saying the word “mint” refers to the facility that manufactures coins for currency H Andar para arriba y para abajo L: To walk up and down D: Often pronounced: “Andar pa’ rriba y pa’ bajo.” To be busy doing a lot of stuff on the street for a period of time (not necessarily on the same day). For example, buying the things for back to school. Antes de que te cases mira lo que haces L: Before you marry look at what you are doing D: Make sure you are aware of what you’re doing before making an important decision like getting married H Aparecer hasta en la sopa L: Appear even in the soup D: To be everywhere, all over the place Aprende a nadar y guardar la ropa L: Learn to swim and guard the clothing D: Always be sure to keep something to yourself. It is best to be reserved in one’s personal affairs Aquí paz y en el cielo gloria L: Here peace and in Heaven glory D: To put an end to an argument or feud and to begin a new stage in the relationship, to start anew E: Wipe the slate clean, Start afresh HM ¡Arroz, que carne hay! L: Rice, that there is meat! D: Comment made when you see a hot chick in reference to her body ¡Arroz, que carne hay!
  27. 27. L: Literal  D: Definition  S: Same/Similar  E: Equivalent 20 Aterriza que no hay tocón L: Land for there is no stump D: This is a goofy phrase used when someone stumbles, but there was nothing in their way or on the ground to cause their stumble. They just stumbled for no reason Ayúdate que Dios te ayudará L: Help yourself that God will help you D: A person that works to overcome his own problems will be helped along by God. This implies that a person that sits around and waits for solutions to be handed to them by others, will not be in God’s good graces S: Dios dice: “Ayúdate que yo te ayudaré” E: God helps those who help themselves B Barco grande, ande o no ande L: Large ship, working or not D: Means that someone is attracted by the size or quantity of something but ignores the quality of the item or its ability to function Barco que no anda no llega a puerto L: Ship that does not work does not arrive to port D: You will never achieve your objective if you don’t take steps towards it E: A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step Barriga llena, corazón contento L: Tummy full, heart content D: By having fulfilled a need, a person enters a period of happiness Bien predica, quien bien vive L: Preaches well, who lives well D: A person that lives a healthy life preaches simply by his acts. In other words if the person is a Aterriza que no hay tocón
  28. 28. 135 A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush l Más vale pájaro en mano que cientos volando l Más vale un hoy, que dos mañanas A chain is only as strong as its weakest link l La soga parte por lo más fino A chip off the old block l De tal palo, tal astilla l De tal padre, tal hijo l El que lo hereda no lo hurta E A friend in need is a friend indeed l Amigo en la adversidad es un amigo de verdad A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step l Barco que no anda no llega a puerto A lot of hot air l De ese infierno no salen chispas A man is known by the company he keeps l Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres A perfect match l Venir como anillo al dedo A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country l Nadie es profeta en su tierra [pueblo] E A taste of his own medicine l Probar de tu propia medicina A tiger doesn’t change its stripes l Yerba mala nunca muere According to the latest gossip l Dicen las malas lenguas... y la mía, que no es muy buena, también lo repite Actions speak louder than words l El movimiento se demuestra andando l La ley entra por la casa l No es lo mismo decirlo que hacerlo E After a storm comes a calm Index: English Sayings with Spanish Equivalents
  30. 30. 157 Every book is a compilation of the efforts of numerous people. In this case, without them this book would never have existed. I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Right Management: Carlos, Vanessa, Maricruz and Caridad, all of whom spent hours helping me put this together. Another person dedicated a large amount of her time to helping me understand these sayings and reviewing my work. Thank you, Kitty. My friends at KOI Publicidad entertained me with their interpretations of Puerto Rican words and sayings, as well as helped contribute to this book. I would like to thank the original publisher, Mr. Andrés Palomares, who took a risk with this second book on Puerto Rican Spanish and has been pleasantly surprised. Finally, my sincere thanks to that anonymous element that had no idea it was an integral part of the process. I was eavesdropping. Acknowledgements
  31. 31. 158 Cada libro es una compilación de los esfuerzos de un sinnúmero de personas. En este caso, sin ellos este libro no existiría. Me gustaría expresar mi gratitud a la gente de Right Management: Carlos Vanessa, Maricruz y Caridad, quienes pasaron horas ayudándome a armar este libro. Otra persona dedicó una cantidad de tiempo enorme explicándome estos refranes y revisando mi trabajo. Gracias, Kitty. MisamigosdeKOIPublicidadmedivirtieronconsusinterpretaciones de palabras y refranes puertorriqueños, así como a su contribución al libro. Quiero agradecer al editor original, el Sr. Andrés Palomares, quien tomó un riesgo con este segundo libro y fue felizmente sorprendido. Finalmente, doy mi agradecimiento sincero al elemento anónimo que no tiene idea que fue parte de este proceso. Agradecimientos
  32. 32. 159 About the Author  Any comments, corrections or inclusions should be sent to Pueden enviar cualquier comentario, corrección o sugerencia a Sufriendo la típica vida corporativa de 9am a 5pm, la incursión de Jared en el español durante sus horas de almuerzo le dieron el giro a su vida común. Dejó su empleo, realizó estudios y luego abandonó su país... por 14 años. Sus inicios con el español del mundo real le enseñaron que la cola no es sólo una bebida carbonatada, que bicho no siempre significa un insecto y que boludo puede tener una connotación cordial y también insultante. Después de una trayectoria de nueve países, tres empresas fundadas, dos libros en las listas de los más vendidos y una esposa puertorriqueña, Jared sigue confundido por la cantidad de palabras que existen en español para panties. Su meta es descubrir todas esas palabras. Mientras tanto, él pasea por el mundo, coquetea con los idiomas, bebe vino y vende champú. Suffering a typical 9-5 existence, Jared’s foray into lunch-hour Spanish shook up his mundane life. He quit his job, stopped by briefly to school, and then left his country...for 14 years. Early stumblings in real-world Spanish taught him that a cola isn’t just a soft drink, bicho doesn’t always mean a bug, and boludo may be heartfelt or middle-finger felt. Nine countries, three business start-ups, two bestsellers and a Puerto Rican wife later, he is still confounded by how many Spanish words exist for panties. His quest is to discover all those words. In between, he meanders the Earth, dabbles in languages, drinks wine and sells shampoo.
  34. 34. 161 IT’S EASY TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH @SpeakingLatino Stay In Touch!
  35. 35. 162 Bibliography/Bibliografía Bertram, Anne: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, NTC Publishing Group, 1997. Deliz Hernández, Joseph: How To Speak Puerto Rican, VB Publishing, 1998. Díaz Rivera, María Elisa: Refranes más usados en Puerto Rico, 2nd edition, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2002. Funk, Charles Earle: Heavens to Betsy! Other Curious Sayings, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001. García Santos, Nelson: Lo que dice la gente, 1997. Kirkpatrick, Betty: Clichés, Over 1500 Phrases Explored and Explained, St. Martin’s Press, 1996. Núñez de Ortea, Rosario and Delgado de Laborde, Isabel: Los que dicen ¡ay bendito!, 3rd edition, Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2001. Titelman, Gregory: America’s Popular Sayings, Gramercy Books, 2004.
  36. 36. Copyright @ 2006, 2015 by Jared Romey. All rights reserved. Published by Language Babel, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico Originally Published in 2006 by Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas, San Juan, Puerto Rico United States Edition 2015 Interior Design: Diana Caballero - No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Author and the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to Language Babel, Inc., 1357 Ashford Ave., PMB 384, San Juan, PR 00907 or by e-mail to Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content. You should confer with a language professional when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. For ordering information or special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Language Babel, Inc. 1357 Ashford Ave., PMB 384, San Juan, PR 00907 or by e-mail to Jared Romey also publishes a blog and materials of other Spanish speaking countries. For more information about Speaking Latino, visit our web site at ISBN 978-1517250713 (paperback) Printed in the United States of America by Language Babel, Inc. v1