Monthly Archives: January 2016

Bad Spanish in Salt Lake City

When out for a walk on a recent visit to Salt Lake City,  I saw this sign above Popperton Park :

Bad Spanish


The substitution of Parke for Parque is one of the worst Spanish mistakes I’ve ever seen in public signage. Spanish doesn’t even normally use the letter k! Even Google Translate or its ilk would have gotten this right. Grrrr.

If you care about such things, please drop a line to asking them to fix the sign.

The top 10 surprising ways that Spanish isn’t special

¡Próspero Año Nuevo!

My previous post presented the Top 10 reasons why Spanish is special. This post presents its opposite: the Top 10 reasons why Spanish isn’t special. Like the previous Top 10 list, it includes examples from Spanish grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation.

This Top 10 list was constructed with native speakers of English in mind. It describes core aspects of Spanish that may seem peculiar, but turn out to be normal when considered in a broader linguistic context. Some of these are truly surprising! The inscrutable ‘personal a, for example, turns out to be a prime example of a linguistic phenomenon known as Differential Object Marking, while the use of positive expressions like en absoluto (‘absolutely’) with a negative meaning (‘absolutely not’), illustrates a well-known historical process called Jespersen’s Cycle.

To me, the two lists are equally interesting. I love both the special features of Spanish and its reflection of broader cross-linguistic tendencies. I hope you do, too.