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Oh, No. It's Spreading!

Hi, everyone. Jürgen, here. I have been quiet for some time, but today...ah, today.

Today, I decided to get lunch at Subway rather than downstairs in the café because, frankly, roasted butternut squash soup sounded...a trifle odd.

So, off I went.

On the way, just a few businesses up the street from my most local Subway, is a laundromat. My office is located in a heavily Spanish-speaking (and various Asian languages, as well, but that's not important for this anecdote) area, which means that many of the businesses cater mostly to Spanish-speaking people.

The sign on this particular laundromat reads:
Now...I'm fairly sure 'lavanderia' means 'laundry,' 'laundromat,' or at least 'washateria' (since this is the south).

I am also fairly sure that "los" is the Spanish word for 'the' in the masculine plural. So I would say 'los perros' (the dogs), 'los gatos' (the cats), and 'las rosas' (the roses). So the number and gender of the article (el/los, la/las) must match the number and gender of the noun in question. Right? Therefore "los amigos" would mean "friends" (and I seem to recall group verbs used to refer to anonymous large groups are always masculine, but I could be wrong). But what of "los amigo's"?

I am forced to the dizzying conclusion that the "apostrophe used to pluralize" epidemic is not restricted to English, but has oozed its squelching, festering, gruesome way into other languages, as well! Gah!

DISCLAIMER: I am not fluent in Spanish. Frankly, I'm not even passable in Spanish. I know a tiny bit of vocabulary and some basic grammar rules. So it is entirely possible that I'm way off base and "los amigo's" is somehow legitimate. But something makes me doubt it. But if I'm wrong, I've no doubt that one of you will gleefully point it out. Please do. Por favor, los amigos. Hazlo por los niños. O algo así.1
  1. Sue me. I used Google Language Tools. :)

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 20 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Having a wife from Mexico makes one pick up a bit of Spanish. While I don't have her specific word on this, I can tell you that any word proceeded by "Los/Las" is in fact plural and would end in an "s". Spanish possessive and English possessive don't play by the same rules, so something like "John's friend" or even "The Raines' dog" would be a romantic construct like "el amigo de John" or "El perro de la familia Raines" (or something similar, not 100% sure on that one with the family name part) but the "of " portion would not require the similar 's/s' usage we apply in English.
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Okay, whew. That's what I thought, but...Spanish is not my strong suit.
Feb. 10th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Having run the specifics by my wife, she agreed that there is never a use of "'s" or "s'" in Spanish. She also noted that the sign should have read "Lavanderia de Los Amigos"
Feb. 10th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
Yay! Jürgen was right! Thank your lovely wife for me. :)
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm formerly fluent but now just passable in Spanish, and I've never in my life seen any "'s" possessive--they use "de." So, saying "my uncle's dog" would read "el perro de mi tio".

My guess is that a non-native speaker of Spanish (or, a native English speaker) had a hand in generating the signage.

Edited at 2009-02-10 06:43 pm (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
That's what I thought, as well. Spanish business, (ignorant) American sign-maker.
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
re: used to refer to anonymous large groups are always masculine
Not entirely. Anonymous large groups of females are still feminine. Men are less valued, so a group that has (or could be) tainted by useless maleness is masculine.

"Las Vegas" - the Meadows.
"Los Alamos" - The Lame-os.
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Re: used to refer to anonymous large groups are always masculine
1. tainted by useless males - Ahhhh. That was it. I knew there was a nuance I was forgetting.

2. The Lame-os - snrk!
Feb. 10th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: used to refer to anonymous large groups are always masculine
the Meadows

That's the location where The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds and Colonel Sanders (before he went tits up) meet, except it's supposed to be in Colorado....
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Roasted butternut squash soup is TASTY. Not particularly filling on its own, but tasty. It tastes kind of like pumpkin, and it's often flavored with similar spices, like cinnamon and cloves. It's a pain in the arse to make, though, because squashes are HARD.
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I was more in the mood for savory, today, and that sounded too much like liquified pumpkin pie. I know they can make butternut squash savory, but...I decided not to chance it.
Feb. 10th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I've never had butternut squash soup quite that sweet, but I also only ever make it myself, because restaurants use non-vegetarian broth (chicken, usually).

(then again, I had yogurt, a roll, an orange, and 2 2" cookies for lunch.)
Feb. 10th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
I don't eat pumpkin anything, and I love me some squash soup. yum
Feb. 10th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Well, shoot. Now y'all have got me regretting my decision. :)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 10th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
So noted. :)
Feb. 10th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
I like butternut squash ravioli, too. Mmmmm!
Feb. 10th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
I made an awesome winter squash casserole thing for a ... I think it was a Halloween party, come to think of it last year.I used half a Blue Hubbard squash (the first half we used for soup, I believe). Blue Hubbards are pretty freakin huge.

I got kind of addicted to winter squash in the last year or two. I just wish it weren't such a pain in the ass to deal with!
Feb. 10th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
On a different note
I heard someone on NPR say that Colin Powell told several antidotes during a recent speech.
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: On a different note
I wonder if they caught who poisoned him...
( 20 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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