Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Phil Ball in Spain

I found this photo of Diego on a site entitled, "Soccer Players in Underwear."
The word 'carácter' in Spanish is called a 'cognate' in linguistics, or a 'false friend' in less formal terms. It's one of those words which doesn't mean what you think it's going to mean, just because it looks like its English equivalent. Nevertheless, whether friend or foe, the word is particularly resonant in Spanish culture, almost to an annoying degree. Parents use it here to describe their young children, as if it were a badge of honour. 'Tiene mucho carácter' is often used as an excuse for unruly infant behaviour of the loud-mouthed type, where 'carácter' would mean 'bad temper' in English. Fathers are particularly fond of using the term to praise their offspring, as if by condoning pushy behaviour they are implying that their child will get on well in the dog-eat-dog world, and they may be right.

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