Y … ¿Cómo se ve la versión española de esta tira?

Y ... Cómo se ve la versión española de esta tira.

  1. The joke is that the kids are charlatans because they’re pretending to know Spanish when they don’t? Or they do but they’re pretending no to?
  2. Or that Carmen is correcting Sergio’s Spanish?
  3. And for that matter, how do they handle the Spanish-language version of comics like this? Write a separate comic with a different gag, or somehow try to make it work?

    Actually, I think I heard somewhere that the Spanish version of the strip is written first and what the rest of us see is the translated version — but I have no idea whether this is true.


  1. That version helps a little with panel 4: He has used the English word, and she is supplying the Spanish. (Of course that statement is also true in the version at the top of the thread, but it’s unclear why she thinks he ought to have used the Spanish term.)

  2. Mitch- Thanks. My initial thought is that the original “Spanish” strip was a different gag but obviously this is not the case. I cannot see any humor in the Spanish version, except for Tia’s correction of Sergio in the last panel

    Since a charlatan is someone who claims to have skills that do not possess, and Baldo and Gracie are demonstrating they do have a skill that Sergio did not know they possessed, they are anti-charlatans. Maybe the joke is that Sergio doesn’t know his native language was well as his kids?

  3. Okay, there goes the theory that the Spanish version is the original, because this makes zero sense in Spanish. Mitch4’s “not very satisfying” is the most charitable description of anything I’ve heard in days.

  4. The kids are pretending to be fully-acclimated immigrant children; every wave of foreign immigrants to the US (except English-speaking ones, of course) has a generation where the kids no longer speak the language of the Old Country, just English.

  5. The first speech bubble in the first panel makes me think that even if the Spanish version is written first, the English version was drawn first (the grey background does not fit correctly in the Spanish version).

    I think that in the Spanish version, in the second panel, the children use the language used by their father, but they don’t know it’s Spanish. Maybe they think they’re speaking Mexican and wonder why their father wants them to learn yet another language: English, Mexican, and now Spanish?

    General (and simpler) explanation: the aunt beat the father to teaching the kids some Spanish.

  6. I think it comes down to Bill’s point no. 1. The kids sarcastically complained “Spanish? What for?” in Spanish to which their dad replied something in Spanish that I couldn’t translate, and judging by the look on Dad’s face in the next panel I’m assuming neither could the kids.

    Frankly, the kids’ sarcasm there was funnier than the comic itself.

  7. The reason that the joke does not work (as well) in English is that it plays on a different meaning of the word “charlatánes” in Spanish:
    A charlatán is a very talkative, chatty person, whose loquacity or verbosity leads him to speak a lot and on insubstantial topics.
    This meaning is the first definition in the official Spanish dictionary, the meaning “trickster” for which the cognate is used in English also appears in the Spanish dictionary, but it is listed in third place.

  8. So the joke is a bilingual pun that most English speakers won’t get. Thanks, @Kilby.

    I actually can read a bit of Spanish, but not enough to get that one. I also haven’t really had a chance to practice for far too long. Maybe I should read Spanish Baldo for a while, followed by English Baldo, as a way to tune up my language skills.

  9. @ carlfink – My Spanish is far too rusty for me to claim “reading” ability. In this case I looked up the meaning in Spanish and was able to piece together which paragraph was relevant. The definition cited above is a manually corrected machine translation.

  10. P.S. Neither Google nor Bing produces an appropriate word for “charlatán“, but using leo.org to take a detour via German led me to “windbag”.

  11. The Spanish version makes perfect sense to me, with Papi extolling proficiency in Spanish and then making that error, negating his point. The English version seems to be a careless translation.

    Olivier: if Papi’s native language is Mexican, then the kids’ native language is American, not English.

  12. Well, I’ve been told that there is somewhat of a difference between Spanish (i.e. Spanish as spoken in Spain) and Mexican (i.e. Spanish as spoken is Mexico). It’s somewhat more than the difference between Oxonian English and Chicago English but not as much as the difference between Parisian French and Quebecois French.

  13. Thank you for that trip back in time, Mitch4. And I still use some of those names, in those voices. I miss Chicago, as it was.

  14. @ MiB – Your comparison to the differences between British and American English seems appropriate, although I might have picked “Texas” rather than “Chicago”. In my school we were taught a mixture, with “Spanish” pronunciation (“Castillan” is sort of like the “Oxford” standard), but we skipped some verb forms that are used only in Spain, but not in Mexico or South America. Each country has its own “flavor” of “Spanish”, but the variations across the Americas are probably not quite as extreme as the dialects in Arabic (or even German)

  15. P.S. On a completely different subject: the rendering on that coffee machine in the fourth panel is so detailed that it looks out of place. It almost seems like a stock image that has been copied from somewhere else.

  16. In my school we were taught a mixture, with “Spanish” pronunciation

    Di you learn the “th” pronunciation for some “s” sounds? Like “Barthelona”?

  17. @ MiB – I’m not sure. I would have thought so, but it’s been so long that saying “Barcelona” that way sounds strange now.

  18. @MiB – I was taught about the “th” pronunciation (and “ll” like English “lia”) in school, but I grew up in South Florida, meaning we really only practiced Español Cubano (where they’re approximately “y” and “d”).

  19. I also took Spanish in Jr High and HS in the 60s in Miami. I think the version of the language we were taught in was a generalized Western Hemisphere Spanish, not specifically Cuban. Tho the teachers I had were indeed for the most part of Cuban origin or background, so the phonology they modeled was probably Cuban.

    My cousin in New York, just a year older than me, was also taking Spanish, but she said it was more an Iberian flavor (or Castellano).

    In my classes we were taught the ll was absolutely supposed to sound like y, no hint of the Anglo liquid L. (Though indeed you can hear the mixed lya in the speech of native Latinoamericano speakers.)

    In junior & senior year we did read some actual literature, in student editions with glossing and similar language help, as well as the sort of discussion questions we would get in English classes. The big literary text in senior year was Las Inquietudes de Shanti Andía. Look at that name! Shanti! Yes, it has the English-like sh, the unvoiced palatial-alveolar fricative, supposedly not heard in Spanish at all! (Well, because he was Basque.)

    In the beginning years, our textbooks were from a then-innovative series that presented dialogues for us to memorize and enact. Just the other day I think I heard Veronica Mars ask “¿Donde está la biblioteca?” and knew their writers were aware of the same series.

  20. @ Mitch4 – Thanks for confiming my memory of “LL“=”Y”. The “literature” that we had to endure in my Spanish class was “Don Quixote“, but it was a heavily abridged children’s adaptation. Finally, during a visit to the Yucatan (about 15 years ago), we learned that in the local dialect, the letter “X” was used to represent the “SH” sound,

  21. Don Quixote did not come from the Yucatan. His name derives from the actual name “Quijala”. Adding “-ote, -xote” in Castellano meant something like “fool”, so Quixote would translate as “Quijala the fool”. Or so my own Spanish teacher told me.

  22. @ carlfink – I never meant to imply a connection; those three sentences were all completely separate items. Cervantes wrote in 16th century Spanish, the “X” in “Quixote” (now) represents a slightly aspirated “H” sound (as is also heard in the Mexican pronunciation of “Mexico“).
    Twenty-five years after learning Spanish in school, it still helped me a lot on our Yucatan vacation, but some of the orthography was a mystery, since place names were descended from Mayan influences, and there the “X” could (and did) occur at the beginning of a word. I had to ask to find out how in the world it was supposed to be pronounced.

  23. I also took high school Castilian Spanish – we did not get along well. My first Spanish language teacher was a former Cuban attorney. That he was not a native English speaker led to a problem for the class that was not solved until the following year. The V is pronounced as a B in Spanish (at least as we were taught). Since he was a native speaker he would reply “There is no B in Spanish.” when we asked why he pronounced V as B – very confusing. The teacher the next year explained it to us.

    I can get by – a tiny bit in Spanish. On a trip while in college with a girl friend (who had taken French) I was in charge of translating – ha ha. I managed to negotiate for items she wanted to get a lower price for and to order things in stores. She was amazed that I was able to order Hershey bars with and without almonds, until I pointed out to her that they were in a glass top case and I had read the word for almonds off the packages. I can generally read signs on the NYC subway in Spanish. I can sort of follow some shows on Spanish language stations – especially when Sabado Giganti was on. When I was in college and working in a supermarket I was the only one able to get a description of a missing child from the mother – in Spanish – mostly by pointing at my clothing parts, hair and eyes and asking “que color?” (latter pronounced in Spanish), “Quantos anos?” and “nina o nino?”

    This past Christmas at the Candlelight nights event we do with our reenacting unit a family of 4 – father, mother, 2 young girls came in. Normally Robert and I do not come forward to our modern selves – we stay as Alex and Anne – the entire evening. This family the husband spoke halting English and was translating what I said as Anne to the others. I think he understood what I was doing, but I am not sure. The entire family was interested and he translated several questions and my answer back and forth. Later in the evening he came by again and was asking about the rooms in the back of the house (2 bedrooms and an hall/office between them. He was struggling a bit and I decided to try. (Anne would not have spoken Spanish – though perhaps some Latin or Greek.) I explained in my bad Spanish that the 2 rooms on either end were bedrooms, one for mother, father, baby son and the other for 2 daughter and the space between was office space. They were just so interested. I don’t break out of Anne for a large group of Russian women who come annually (thought not necessarily the same women – just the same leader/translator) every year. I do speak a sentence, stop and let her translate.

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