Learning a foreign language includes acquiring an awareness of subtle distinctions. Oh, we really can have pity on anyone trying to navigate English as a second language!
Here are ten things I’m finding in Spanish.
- Bebe / bebé … He/she/it drinks versus a baby.
- Papa / papá … A potato versus Daddy.
- Mamá / mama … Mom or mommy versus breast.
- Esta / está … “This” versus he, she, or it is.
- Si / sí … If versus yes.
- Hablo / habló … I speak versus he, she, or it spoke. In other words, that accent changes both the person doing the speaking as well as the tense.
- Que / qué … That versus what.
- Él / el … He versus the.
- Sé / se … I know versus reflective pronoun for he, she, it, even you.
- Cómo / como … How versus I eat.
- Sólo / solo … With the accent, it can also mean “just,” in addition to “only.”
Of course, I don’t have those accent marks on my English keyboard or cell phone. Things can get really tricky when I’m trying to reply en Español.