Wednesday, November 5, 2014

English after Spanish

November 5, 2014
I can often tell how long a missionary has been in Mexico by the words they use when they switch back to speaking English.  I was talking with Elder Schaap the other day.  He was discussing all he is doing and I laughed as he continually used two words.  These words are seldom used in English – one has rather a different meaning.  However, because so many Spanish words are similar to English words, Elders who have been in the country for a while use them when they start speaking English.

Capacitacion:  The name of the Language Training Center in Mexico is “Centro de Capacitacion.”  This equates to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.  Therefore missionaries will often speak of “capacitating” (kah pass e tate ing) when they start to speak in English.  “We need to capacitate.”  “We are meeting to capacitate.”  “We will lead the capacitation.”  It took me several months to even figure out what they were talking about!  They mean “training.”

Disanimated:  “She is disanimated.”  “The Elder is disanimated.”  While this word exists in English, we usually prefer to use the word “discouraged” or even “unenthusiastic.”  This also took a while to figure out because I always associated animation with cartoon characters.  I would look at the Elder who was speaking and try and figure out how an animation could become dis-animated. 

I suppose (or rather hope) that I will likewise be making these errors in the future.

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