Last year I wrote a blog post taking Trader Joe’s to task for naming one of their products Chicken Asada even though pollo is masculine. I know, life is really too short to care about such things. But I just can’t turn off the language teacher part of my brain!
Today, TJ’s monthly Fearless Flyer arrived, and with it, a new insult to the Spanish language. As you can see from the clip below, they describe their carne asada as autentica — without an accent mark — and bueno rather than buena. To compound the insult they nailed the accent on the French word soirée in the text below.
Trader Joe’s, the United States has more than 37 million residents who speak Spanish as a first language. Can’t you hire one of them to vet your copy?
When I turned in my book manuscript, Bloomsbury also asked me for materials for a companion website. This website is now online here.
The website includes two different kinds of materials. First, there are ideas for research projects, tied to the 101 questions, that might be appropriate in a Spanish class, or Hispanic linguistics class, that uses ¿Por qué? as a textbook. These include:
- Library/internet research projects (e.g. profile the current members of the United States branch of the Real Academia)
- Database research projects (e.g. report on Spanish language usage data as presented in the United States census)
- Text analyses (e.g. compare the uses of ser and estar in a newspaper article)
- Surveys (e.g. survey native Spanish speakers about how well they understand different dialects)
- Interviews/interactions (e.g. interview Spanish speakers about their use of different second person pronouns)
- Corpus research (e.g. use Google search and other tools to compare the use of the term castellano in different Spanish-speaking countries.)
Second, there are materials that I trimmed from the book to keep it from getting too long or digressive. These include:
- links to online information about minority language conflicts in Spain
- a UNESCO study about linguistic diversity on the Internet
- more on “doublets” (Spanish word pairs from the same Latin root)
- what happened to the Jews who were expelled in 1492
- a competing theory on the geography of proto-Indo-European
- Columbus’s first use of canoa
- Spanish “motherese” (how Spanish-speaking parents speak to their kids)
- more on native speech errors
- more on differences between Spanish and English prepositions
- examples of ñ in the oldest El Cid manuscript
- screenshots of the original Real Academia documents inventing ¿ and ¡
- more examples of the use of le and lo in El Cid
- the frequencies of the different “boot” verb types, cross-correlated with conjugation class
- the origin of the six unpredictably irregular present tense subjunctives (sea, sepa, dé, esté, haya, and vaya)
- a quantitative look at adjectives before and after the noun