Stephen Page’s story, Seeing at Night, have quite a few words of the Spanish language, which you, dear reader, might not be knowing the meanings of — quite like me. So, here’s a thank you to Stephen for having sent in this definitive glossary:
asado: An outside grill for cooking meat. The style of cooking meat on an open grill. Rib meat.
benteveo: A kiskadee, a bird in the flycatcher family. A proper name or nickname for a person.
bueno: Good. OK. Very Well.
cabecita negra: Black-headed warbler.
calandria: Mocking bird. A proper name or nickname for a person.
chimango: A type of hawk. A beautifully luteous one, which like most hawks eats serpents, rodents, pigeons, and carrion. It also has a mischievous side, (one that has caused Argentine naturalists to call it “dishonorable”) as it is known to rob eggs and hatchlings from other genus avis, and preys occasionally on stray chickens or cats.
cisna: Swan. A proper name or nickname for a person.
de nada: You are welcome. It is nothing. My pleasure.
Dios mío: Phrase meaning, My God!
feria: Fair – usually outdoors, where stands are lined up along a walkway or sidewalk and goods, arts, clothing, foods, pets, etc. are sold.
gansa: Goose. A proper name or nickname for a person.
gracias: Thank you.
intendí: Past tense of ‘to understand.’
lechucitas: A small specie of burrowing owls.
mate: A loose-leaf tea. The dried and pulverized leaves of the Yerba tree are poured into a gourd, then a metal straw called a bombilla with a filtering device on one end is plunged in. Hot water is poured over the leaves and the liquid mixture is sipped through the bombilla. It is pleasantly bitter, and is the Argentine national drink. There is a whole culture are many customs that is sociologically intriguing for sharing mate, e.g., it is a sign of love, friendship, and/or respect when more than one person shares the same mate; who prepares the mate is important, as is who pours the water, which direction it is passed, and when to accept and decline a drink; if you stumble upon a group of people drinking mate or you go to someone’s house and they do not offer you mate, that is a strong signal that they do not want you to stick around. The amount of times per day mate is drunk correlates with social status, working class, and self-image. Most often it is taken in the early morning because it is a stimulant and at the end of the work day because it is a restorative. Unbeknown to most people who do drink it, it contains vitamin C, phosphorous, and chlorophyll that combine to promote disease resistance, cellular activity, and digestive processes. It arbitrarily prevents people who live on mostly meat and bread diets from contracting scurvy.
matera: Place where employees take mate breaks.
mi amor: My love.
me gusta: I like.
nada más: Nothing more.
paloma: Pigeon. Wood dove. A proper name or nickname for a person.
Patagonia: Southern portion of Argentina, a semi-arid desert. When winds blow into Buenos Aires from the south, they usually have travelled the length of the desert—which is hot and desiccating in summer, and frigid in winter.
permiso: Permission. Excuse me. Will you give me permission?
puedes ayudarnos: Can you help us?
qué pasa: phrase meaning ‘what happened.’
tengo: I have.
ternero: Cow calf. Male. Ternera is the female name for a female calf.
tiene: He/she/it has.
viene: Command, ‘come here!’