Monday, April 13, 2015

La Familia Completa

Spanish is such an interesting language and, just as soon as I think I can call myself an expert, something will come along and make me call everything I've learned into question.  Tonight a student asked me the difference between alimentar and dar de comer.  Every time I tried to give an answer, it just sounded worse than the one before.  The final reply?  They both mean the same thing but different people seem to use them different ways.  Online forum says alimentar is used to feed in a gourmet way and dar de comer is just for animals.  Then I found this:

Ha!  Nothing gourmet about that.  If I had captioned it, I probably would have written "Deme de comer, humano."  But obviously at least one person out there disagrees.  

And then there is the matter of "extended family".  That shouldn't be so hard to express, but there is a cultural chasm there.  What we English speakers consider distant relatives are not considered so distant in the Spanish-speaking world.  And further, the phrase just doesn't seem to to translate.  I got "familia lejana" when I looked online, but that doesn't include the close family.  "Familia cercana y lejana" seems awkward and wordy.  So I settled on "familia completa".

That's a long introduction for this crossword puzzle I made.  It has all the family, including such things as great great grandmother, stepfather, half-brother, godfather, and ancestors, etc.  It is meant for Spanish II students - those who are ready to go beyond the basic family vocabulary.  With the exception of the words "godmother" and "godfather", which would require very lengthy explanations, all the definitions are in Spanish.

I might have the chance to put together an answer key tomorrow, but I have to do a peer observation and it's a late night with senior project presentations, so I might not.

I hope you're off to a good week!



Joanna said...

Very interesting. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "dar de comer." That's a new phrase for me, though easily understood. In my husband's family (Puerto Rico) alimentar is used. For the extended family I'd probably translate directly from English & say familia nuclear versus familia extendida. I know I've definitely used the latter around native Spanish speakers without being corrected, for whatever that's worth, lol. It may be a bit formal, though, as my Spanish tends to be slightly more formal & less slang-y than native speakers'. The hubs and I also talk about our familias de origen.

Joanna said...

Though that said, I'm guessing that for my husband growing up "familia nuclear" included both grandmothers, bc they both lived in the same house with his family. Whereas for me it would only have been parents & siblings, bc that's who lived at our house.

Anne Karakash said...

Gracias Joanna. It's an interesting topic, isn't it? I've always hated the expression "nuclear family" because it sounds as though there is a danger of radiation leaks and meltdowns. :-)

I was reading about extended family on this forum at Word Reference and nobody there seems to be in agreement at all: familia compuesta, familia extensiva, familia extensa, familia compleja, familia ampliada, familia política . . . and on, and on. It's an interesting topic and I'm not sure any of them really understand what is meant by extended family. I'm meaning close and not-so-close relatives included - not necessarily living under one roof (as one person suggested). But I chalk it up as one of those things that keeps language learning interesting, even after all these years.

~big hugs~


Lindz said...

So thrilled to have stumbled across your blog. Fellow Spanish teacher but family blogger and your resources and ideas are incredible and motivating!

Profe Netcoh said...

Hi Ann! I've seen "alimentar" used at many National Parks referring to feeding animals, so I think you were right about them being the same but used differently :)

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