a wandering woman writes

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Y el ganador es.....

Remember this post, about the search for the most beautiful word in the Spanish language?

Well, the votes are in, and the winner is no surprise, at least not to this adopted española. The fact that Spanish speakers, largely here in Spain, chose love, and liberty and peace, and life and hope....may seem a cliché, but it isn't. I live alongside people who wear their values on their sleeves.....and who think of words as much more than words. I have no better way to describe my reaction than to say, yep, I would have guessed they'd choose those words....and smile for living here.

The words that received the most votes, in order, were:

1. Amor (do I really need to translate that?)

2. Libertad Liberty

3. Paz Peace

4. Vida Life

5. Azahar Orange blossom

6. Esperanza Hope

7. Madre Mother

8. Mamá Just like it sounds. Mum, mom, take your pick.

9. Amistad Friendship

10. Libélula Firefly, one of my favorites

The top 26 words, and all the reasons voters gave for choosing them are posted (in Spanish, of course) at the Escuela de Escritores site. They are a little hard to find; scroll down a bit, keeping an eye to the left side of the home page.

They comment that many of the 100 most chosen words are words of Arab origin, such as alféizar (windowsill, despite my earlier mortifying error misidentifying it here, isn't it gorgeous?), azahar, albahaca (basil) and ajedrez (chess). When I look back at my own list of favorites I see I, too, chose lots of Arab influenced words - like almohada (pillow) and berenjena (eggplant), ojalá and now let's add albaricoque (my much-loved apricots).

Mmmm, gives me a hankering to hear Arabic spoken...

A smiling aside: I have just discovered that another of my favorite Spanish words -favorite because it amuses me - also has Arab roots. Fulano, or fulanito, as I usually hear it, means, more or less, "what's his name".



  • Oh, this is beautiful! I'm spending five weeks in Seville this fall taking a Spanish immersion course. I just wrote a post (for Poetry Thursday) using "esperanza," - although I don't know Spanish, I know a few key phrases and words, among them some of the lovely ones in your post.

    By Blogger paris parfait, at 2:36 PM  

  • To shave is "afeitar". "Alfeizar" is windowsill.

    One of the words you mention "ojalá" comes from "si Alá quiere", if Ala wants.

    The moors where 8 centuries in Spain, in a time when they where the top of the pops, the most exquisite in contrast with the barbaric european population.

    You must visit Granada.

    By Anonymous Alex, at 9:18 PM  

  • Oh God, Alex I am mortified. I popped this off in a hurry and screwed that up pretty well, didn't I? I had afeitar, then changed it and, yuk, didn't at all catch that I'd completely mixed up two (both lovely) words in my head. I really do speak Spanish all day, I swear, I just don't talk about windowsills much, apparently..

    thanks , it's about to be fixed and my head is about to buried somewhere in shame. Aaaargh.

    I've been to Granada a couple of times; I do love it. Once I took off from there to las Alpujarras and had an incredible few days wandering around up there...

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:26 PM  

  • Just a tip you probably know: Fulano is followed by Mengano and Zutano. And Fulano's family name is De Tal. So Mr. Fulano de Tal so and so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 AM  

  • personally, i love words that are delightfully fun and goofy to pronounce, like "lechuga" or "jungla". another favorite of mine is "hipopótamo", with that little accent over the o that gets me every time. lesson learned...spanish is great fun!

    By Blogger nikkicee, at 10:00 AM  

  • Hi Nikkicee! Good to see you! I'm off to Barcelona next weekend...any tips?? favorite places to eat? hang?

    Anonymous please come out of anonymity so I can properly thank you for making my day!! I've heard "de tal" after Fulano, and I am thinking Ijust never caught the Mengano as a part of the expression. LOL, honestly this little trio goes on my list of favorite Spanish expressions. Just seems so whimsical to actually name 3 whats his names, and have eberybody recgonize them, lol

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:55 AM  

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