Friday, March 02, 2007

Vocabulary Corner

Okay, while the dog is up crapping on the roof, let's take a minute to discuss "accidental verbs," Spanish's extreme version of the passive voice, also known as "'shit happens' verbs." These aren't very common in Spain, but everyone uses them here because it's a way of describing something bad without assigning blame (because it's usually the fault of the person doing the talking), and blame is the Mexicans' Kryptonite.

For example, while you or I might say that I dropped a coffee pot, or even more directly, I broke a coffee pot, here in Mexico, the coffee pot se cayó - "caused itself to fall" - and, subsequently, se rompió - which means "somehow, in some way (and look, we could point fingers until the cows come home but it was probably the work of God), that coffee pot came to find itself broken."

We bring this up because the maid, after five hours of exemplary tidying and rearranging, informed us on her way out the door that the coffee pot "se cayó." The coffee machine is, of course, useless without it, and since this is not our coffee machine (it came with the house) we have no idea where to go to buy another coffee pot. Not just any old coffee pot, but specfically the pot that fits this machine. And if the coffee machine doesn't work then we're screwed because there is absolutely nothing open in this town until at least three hours after we wake up in the morning, and....and...oh my God, I feel sick...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I understand Burro Hall correctly, then "Se me olivadaron las gomitas" would translate as "the gum drops forgot themselves to me." So I would therefore be off the hook for turning up gumdropless, as it were.