But since death and dying are two things that are certain in life (and most Spanish courses do not cover such vocabulary), at the risk of sounding “mórbido” (morbid) I thought that I should include the Spanish vocabulary words that I have heard used in Latin America that cover this topic.
Here they are:
1. funeral = funeral
Yes, it is the same word in both English and Spanish:
Ayer ella fue al funeral de Miguel, la familia estaba destrozada.
Yesterday, she went to Miguel’s funeral, the family was greatly saddened.
2. entierro = burial
Cuando el tío de Paola murió, fuimos al entierro para acompañarla.
When Paola’s uncle died, we went to the burial to accompany her.
3. cementerio = cemetery
Las tumbas de mis antepasados están en el cementerio del pueblo.
The graves of my ancestors are in the town’s cemetery.
4. ataúd = coffin, casket
El ataúd era de madera con un crucifijo de plata en la tapa.
The casket was made of wood with a silver crucifix on top.
“Ataúd” is a somewhat formal word for casket. A less formal word for casket that you will hear used throughout Latin America is “cajón.” “Cajón” also means ‘crate.’
5. cadáver = corpse, dead body
Hace dos días que un cadáver apareció flotando sobre el río.
Two days ago a dead body appeared floating on top of the river.
6. difunto = late, deceased
Esta es una foto de mi difunta esposa, de cuando éramos novios.
This is a picture of my late wife from when we were engaged.
7. fallecer = to pass away, to die
El cáncer que ella tiene está muy avanzado y, según el médico, podría fallecer en cualquier momento.
The cancer that she has is very advanced and, according to the doctor, she can pass away at any moment.
8. funeraria = funeral parlor, funeral home
Los parientes del difunto se quedaron en la funeraria toda la noche.
The relatives of the deceased remained at the funeral parlor all night.
9. luto = mourning
En tiempos de mi abuelita la gente se vestía de negro durante un año en señal de luto.
During my grandmother’s times, the people dressed in black for a year as a sign of mourning.
10. velorio = wake
Anoche estuvimos en el velorio del abuelo de una amiga, ella está muy triste.
Last night we were at the wake for a friend’s grandfather, she is very sad.
One thing that I found strange about Colombia is that when a family is very “pobre” (poor) it is not unheard of for the family to have a “velorio” (wake) in one’s home. I have an “amiga” from a “pueblito” (small town) in Colombia. I visited her “pueblito” with her once and she attended a “velorio” (wake) while I was there.
And she said that the “velorio” took place in a person’s home because the deceased did not have “seguro” (insurance) or “plata” (money) to pay a “funeraria” (funeral parlor).
However, she did say that sometimes “velorios” take place in “iglesias” (churches). By the way, in Colombia they use the word “plata” instead of “dinero” in order to say money.
This Spanish lesson about some common Spanish words & phrases is
courtesy of Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy
I know this is not the most pleasant topic to talk about, but a time may come when you need to know how to express condolences in Spanish. In fact, I once received an email from a customer who wrote:
My next door neighbor’s grandfather passed away last night. My next door neighbor and his family are from Mexico and they know that I am trying to learn Spanish so we always only speak to each other in Spanish. How would I say ‘accept my condolences’in Spanish? I have a ton of learning-Spanish books but not one of them teaches this useful phrase.”
Most Common Spanish Words to say “Accept My Condolences…
There are a couple of ways to say “accept my condolences” in Spanish if speaking directly to the person who suffered the loss in his or her family. You can say:
Mi más sentido pésame.
Accept my condolences.
(Not a literal translation but close enough.)
“Mi más sentido pésame” sounds somewhat formal. If you prefer to sound a little less formal you can just say:
Lo siento mucho.
I am very sorry.
(Literally, “I feel it a lot.”)
If you are not speaking directly to the person who suffered the loss in his or her family and want to say “give him/her my condolences” you can say:
Dale mi más sentido pésame.
Dale mis condolencias.
A couple of weeks ago, here in Medellin, Colombia, a friend came to visit me from the States and I heard him make a mistake with Spanish that I never heard anyone make before.
This short lesson is courtesy of Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy
But I would imagine that many people make the same mistake because the words are so easy to confuse.
Let’s say my friend’s name is Mike (not his real name). One evening, I introduced Mike to a Colombian friend. At first he was doing very well with his Spanish. He asked her in Spanish where did she work. She responded that she worked in a hospital and he understood her. Then I heard him ask her:
¿Usted es enferma o doctora?
Why this is a common Spanish mistake?
First of all: do you recognize the common Spanish mistake that Mike made?
The word “enfermero/a” means “nurse.” But the word “enfermo/a” means “patient” or “sick person.” So instead of asking her is she a nurse or a doctor, he actually asked her is she a patient or a doctor.
He should have asked her:
¿Usted es enfermera o doctora?
While we are on the topic of medicine, here are a couple of useful words that I have heard used in Latin America:
1. Aguja – needle
Ella prefiere que la pinchen con una aguja a tragar esa pastilla.
She’d rather they stick a needle in her than have to swallow one of those pills.
2. Ampolla – syringe
El médico sacó una ampolla de antibiótico para administrárselo al enfermo.
The doctor took out a syringe of antibiotic to administer to the sick person.