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Language Reference Guide For Spanish
Posted on Monday, October 15 @ 05:54:22 EDT
Topic: Lingustics

TranslationLocalizationInterpretationDTP & Printing


 
 

Contents:

1. Grammar and Spelling
2. Punctuation
3. Measurements and Abbreviations
4. Hyphenation
5. Miscellaneous Peculiarities
6. Geographic Distribution
7. Character Set



Section One – Grammar and Spelling

1. Gender: Spanish has masculine and feminine genders. The gender affects nouns, adjectives, demonstratives, possessives and articles, but not verbs.

2. Plurals: Generally speaking, the plural is formed by adding '-s' to words ending in a vowel and by adding '-os' or '-es' to words ending in a consonant. This is however, governed by a set of rules.

3. One letter words: One letter words include: a, e (replaces 'y' (= and) before a word beginning with 'i'), o, u (replaces 'o' (= or) before a word beginning with an 'o'), y.

4. Double consonants: The only groups of two equal consonants are the following: cc, ll, nn, rr.

5. Umlaut/Diaeresis: The umlaut occurs very rarely in Spanish. The circumflex and grave accents are only used with foreign words which haven't assimilated a Spanis h spelling. The acute accent is very common and there are very strict rules about its use.

6. Capitalisation: Occurs at the beginning of sentences and for proper names.

Unlike English, days of the week/months of the year/languages/nationalities/managerial posts like director financiero, do not take a capital letter.

With regard to titles/headings/subheadings, etc., only the first word is capitalised.

Upper case is used for polite forms of address (el Ministro de Finanzas), but not when they are used generically (los ministros de finanzas de la Unión Europea).

Section Two – Punctuation

Spanish rules are similar to English with some exceptions:

1. Question and exclamation marks: In Spanish there are opening question and exclamation marks, ¿ and ¡, which can appear right at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. In the latter case, the following word will go in lower case.

If a closing question or exclamation mark appears in the middle of a sentence, the following word will go in lower case.

2. Brackets: Full stops are placed inside the brackets (or inverted commas) when the contents form a complete sentence and outside if the bracketed clause forms part of a sentence, e.g.:

Le respondieron que era «imposible atenderle hasta el mes siguiente».

Era la primera vez que solicitaba sus servicios (después de seis años de estar abonado).

They responded that it would be “impossible to see you before next month”.

It was the first time he had sought their services (after six years as a member).

«Es imposible atenderle hasta el mes que viene. » Con estas palabras respondieron a su llamada. (Y hacía seis años que estaba abonado.)

“It is impossible to see you before next month.” With these words they responded to his phone call. (And he had been a member for six years.)

(Examples taken from Manuel Seco’s «Diccionario de dudas y dificultades de la lengua española».)

3. Colons: A colon replaces a comma at the beginning of a letter (Querida mamá: = Dear Mum,). The following word can go either in upper or lower case.

If a colon precedes a quotation, this will start with capital letter and will appear between inverted commas.

The three dots ... can replace the abbreviation etc. (although this is an informal use). It also denotes a short pause, an omission or gives a sense of surprise, fear, etc.

4. Inverted commas: There are three types: simple (' ... '), double (" ... ") and French (« ... »). Some style manuals recommend avoiding the use of the French inverted commas.

5. Short dash: The use of the short dash in sentences such as "HP printers - the best in the world" is incorrect. Please replace it with a colon or even with a full stop: "Impresoras HP. Las mejores del mundo."

6. Long dash: There often seems to be confusion in the use of the long dash in English. In Spanish, they are sometimes used to separate a remark from the rest of the sentence, although commas typically serve this function.
They also work as brackets within brackets. They can be found, in the case of transcriptions of dialogues, at the beginning of each speaker's sentence.
Here's an example of the spacing between words and long dashes: "Las impresoras HP —las mejores del mundo— son muy fiables".

The following English sentence: "I'm so tired", he said, "I just want to go home". would be punctuated in exactly the same way in Spanish:
"Estoy tan cansado", dijo, "quiero irme a casa".

7. Full stops: Do not use full stops at the end of headings, titles, etc., if they are not a complete sentence. However, captions do end in a full stop. In the case of bullet points, it depends on the type of text. For instance, if they are full sentences or paragraphs that make up a list of examples, they should have a full stop at the end.

Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations

1. Measurements: Metric are the only official measurements. Imperial measurements must be converted into metric. However, there are some instances of the use of inches, such as in screen sizes and floppy disks.

Time: Spain uses the 24-hour clock, i.e. 10.00 / 15.00.

Date: the format is 25/08/99 or 25-08-99.

Spanish uses a decimal comma (3,7%), and a dot after 999 (16.000).
However, an Act of 1989 stipulates that the dot should be eliminated altogether or replaced with a space (16000 or 16 000; 2 500 335). None of this applies to years, which do not have dots, commas or spaces. Productnumbers for HP products do not have dots, commas or spaces.

Currency: there is no official abbreviation of peseta, so all sorts ofcominations such as pta., ptas., pts., with or without a dot, in upper or lower case, etc. are popular. The appropriate way according to Elena Milego would
be:
National way: 3,5 pta. International way: PTA 3,5

Abbreviations of measurements:
ppp = dots per inch
ppm = pages per minute

Be careful to avoid the confusion between metre (m) and minute (m.).
Also, care must be taken with capitalisation. Observe the rules of the International System.

Spacing: there should be space between numbers and the measurement abbreviation which should also be in the singular and without accents.

2. Abbreviations:

N/a = n/c
No. = n°
e.g. = p. ej.
W x L x H x D = probably best as ancho x largo x alto x fondo, since ancho (width) and alto (height) both start with an a.

Av. = Avenue (before name)
B y N = black and white
c/ = Street (before name)
C.ª or Cía. = Company
C. P. = post code
c/u = each
D. = Mr.
D.ª = Mrs.
EE.UU. = USA
E/S = input/output
I+D = research and development
íd. = ditto
ITV = MOT (test)
IVA = VAT
n/d = not available
P. D. = postscript
PVP = recommended retail price
PYME = small or medium sized business
RDSI = ISDN
RR. HH. or RR HH = human resources
s. e. u. o. = errors and omissions excepted
s/n = no number
Ud. or Udes. = formal you (singular and plural)

Most abbreviations in Spanish have just one dot at the end, but common ones like N/KM, etc. observe the International System and have no dots.

Also, in the case of ordinals, there exist abbreviated versions for masculine and feminine formed with the number and the symbol ° (alt + 0186) for masculine or ª (alt + 0170) for feminine: 6°, 6ª, 27°, 27ª, etc. Note that ° is slightly bigger than the degree symbol ° (alt + 0176).

Section Four – Hyphenation

Hyphenation within words is more usual between nouns (café-restaurante,precio-calidad) than between adjectives (audio-visual / audiovisual, físicoquímico / fisicoquímico).

Note that when hyphenated words appear at the end of a line, the best way to split them is by separating the two words.

In words such as 'ex-wife', the hyphen is replaced with a blank space: ex mujer.

1. End-of-line hyphenation: With regard to end-of-line hyphenation, it is best to leave words whole in normal text and leave hyphenation for restricted text boxes, columns, etc. However, if absolutely necessary…

A single consonant between two vowels joins the second.

Hyphenation between two consonants applies. Examples: in-novador, tensíon, ac-ceso.

However, there are exceptions in the case of the following groups: pr, pl, br, bl, fr, fl, tr, dr, cr, cl, gr, rr, ll, ch (e.g., ca-ble, ma-cro, I-rracional).

Between three consonants, the first two will go with the preceding vowel and the third with the following vowel (e.g., trans-por-te), except in the case ofthe aforementioned consonant groups, in which the first one will go with thepreceding vowel and the third with the following vowel (e.g., im-presora, destruir).

2. Avoid hyphenation:

Between two vowels.
When the result will appear rude (e.g., dis -puta, tor-pedo).

It is advised that the last line in a paragraph contains more than four characters (punctuation marks included).

Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities

Not strictly a peculiarity, but to the non-Spanish eye, can look odd…
US(A) = EE.UU. in translation.

Section Six – Geographic Distribution

Spanish is the most widely spoken of the Romance languages, both in terms of number of speakers and the number of countries in which it is the dominant language. Besides being spoken in Spain, it is the official language of all the South American republics except Brazil and Guyana, of the six republics of Central America, as well as of Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Additionally it is spoken in parts of Morocco andthe west coast of Africa, and also in Equatorial Guinea. In the United States itis widely spoken in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California (in NewMexico it is co-official with English), in New York City by the large Puerto Rican population, and more recently in southern Florida by people who have arrived from Cuba. A variety of Spanish known as Ladino is spoken in Turkeyand Israel by descendants of Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492. All told there are about 350 million speakers of Spanish.

Pronunciation and usage of Spanish naturally vary between countries, but regional differences are not so great as to make the language unintelligible to speakers from different areas. The purest form of Spanish is known asCastilian, originally one of the dialects that developed from Latin after the Roman conquest of Hispania in the 3rd century A.D. After the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Spain was overrun by the Visigoths, and in the 8th century the Arabic-speaking Moors conquered all but the northernmost part of the peninsula. In the Christian reconquest, Castile, an independent kingdom, took the initiative and by the time of the unification of Spain in the 15th century, Castilian had become the dominant dialect. In the years that followed, Castilian, now Spanish, became the language of a vast empire in the New World.

Spanish vocabulary is basically of Latin origin, though many of the words differ markedly from their counterparts in French and Italian. Many words beginning with f in the other Romance languages begin with h in Spanish (e.g., Ilijo-son, hilo-thread). The Moorish influence is seen in the many words beginning with al- (algodón-cotton, alfombra-rug, almohada-pillow, alfilerpin). As in British and American English, there are differences in vocabulary on the two sides of the ocean (also in mainland Spain).

Spanish is spoken/used in the following countries: Argentina, Aruba (Dutch), Belize (British Honduras), Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,Equatorial Guinea, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Gibraltar (U.K.), Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Morocco, Nevis, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Spain, St. Kitts (& Nevis) Independent, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (U.S.).

Language Family
Family: Indo-European
Subgroup: Romance

Source: http://www.worldlanguage.com/Languages/Spanish - Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Section Seven – Character Set

[ ] = Alt key codes



LOWER CASE
UPPER CASE
a á [0225] A Á [0193]
bB
cC
dD
e é [0233]E É [0201]
fF
gG
hH
i í [0237]I Í [0205]
jJ
kK
lL
mM
n ñ [0241]N Ñ [0209]
o ó [0243]O Ó [0211]
pP
qQ
rR
sS
tT
u ú [0250] ü [0252]U Ú [0218] Ü [0220]
vV
wW
xX
yY
zZ
¿ [168]¡ [0161]



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