Often times in Spanish and any other foreign language you can make one tiny
mistake which totally changes the meaning of everything…
Every Christmas I receive dozens of emails from people wishing me a Happy New
Year in Spanish except that the spelling is not quite right.
It’s the thought that counts and since I make silly mistakes in Spanish every
day – even after 12 years of living here – I wanted to make sure you understand
some of those little differences just in case you end up standing there in front
of a large group of people wishing all of your staff a very Happy New Anus
instead of a Happy New Year.
This is what my Irish friend John in Chicago, NY did a while back. Sorry mate!
I had to tell your story but as you can see, I didn’t mention your last name…
You see unlike English, in the Spanish alphabet we have the ‘ñ’ letter which is
pronounced ‘enyey’ and in Spanish, Happy New Year is Feliz Año Nuevo and the
English word for year is año and it’s spelled with the ‘ñ’ and not the letter ‘n’.
As you’ll see, this makes a very, very big difference in the meaning of the word.
Feliz Año Nuevo is Happy New Year but, and this is a big but (no pun intended)
Feliz Ano Nuevo (with an ‘n’ instead of the ‘ñ’) means Happy New Anus!
This may be wishful thinking for some people who may have overindulged with
the stuffed turkey, the Christmas pudding and the booze but as far as I know,
it’s difficult to achieve even with Costa Rica rapidly becoming one of ‘the’
medical tourism’ meccas.
In conclusion, I do very much hope that you do have a Happy New Year and that
all your body parts – no matter how you spell them – are happy too…
- When you want to say Merry Christmas to your Spanish speaking friends, when
you are addressing a group of people you would say…
Les deseo una feliz Navidad! Which means I wish (desire) you (plural) a
Merry (Happy) Christmas.
- If you’re talking to one person and you’re on a first-name basis (informal),
you would say:
¡Te deseo una feliz Navidad! I wish (desire) you a Merry (Happy)
- If you’re talking to one person on a more formal basis, you would say:
¡Le deseo una feliz Navidad! – I wish (desire) you a Merry (Happy)
And from me? Your ‘amigo’ in Costa Rica – a land of stunning scenery,
sunshine and smiles?
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year for 2015…
Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!
Que este 2015 está lleno de bendiciones para ustedes y sus familias.
Written by Scott Oliver, author of 1: How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa, 2: Costa Rica’s Guide To Making Money Offshore and 3. ¿Cómo Comprar Bienes Raíces en Costa Rica, Sin Perder Su Camisa?
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