ñ versus n (Learn Spanish Online)


You might have noticed that the Spanish language is littered with a little letter “ns” with squiggles over the top that look like this: ñ.  Although I realize you have a lot to remember when you’re trying to learn a foreign language, you really do need to pay attention to that little squiggle over the letter n.

The official name for the n with the squiggle is fairly hard to say (and I’ve never seen it written).  That being the case, my best effort to provide a phonetic spelling is to say “enyay,” which is how I’m going to refer to the n with the squiggle over the top from now on.
Enyay appears in very important words…words like año, which you are probably going to say and write frequently.  Now, año is a fairly non-offensive word in itself, but if you forget to put the little squiggle over the top then you start writing ano, which is more or less adequately translated as “asshole” (in fact, it refers to the hole specifically…so there you go.
I’m mentioning this because I did, in fact, turn in a document in Spanish one time in which I mentioned the word “year” multiple times and I never used the enyay (substituting a regular “n” because it was a lot easier to find on my keyboard).  Although I, as a native speaker of English, didn’t see any problem with the resultant document, I did notice how several of the native Spanish speakers who read it seemed to stop in their tracks the second they came across any of my various references to ano.
In vein with this whole ano/año talk is the word anillo.  You can see how anillo (which means ring) is related to the word ano, and the phrase “romper su anillo” is slang for “losing your ‘gay’ virginity.”  It translates as break your ring…so just imagine what they’re referring to since I’m not going to paint you a picture.  I learned this when the Lord of the Rings film came out in Peru.  Just the title caused people to buckle over in misunderstood (by me) hysteria, and after explaining this whole connection with the word ring to the gay community, I began to understand.  In fact, it is pretty funny if you think about that context and then add in a guy who claims to be “The Lord” (The Lord of the Rings is usually translated as El Señor de los Anillos).
Now, if only anillo was spelled añillo, then this whole correlation probably wouldn’t exist…but it isn’t spelled that way, so make sure when you’re writing in Spanish that you don’t leave little assholes sprinkled all about your text.  Nobody wants to see them.  Also, if you start saying Feliz ano nuevo, you’re saying “happy new ass”…which implies that you were probably the most popular guy in jail.  Don’t think about it too much.  Just put in the “ñ.”

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    09/27/2016
    Reply

    According to my handy online dictionary, the translation of the term "Feliz Ano Nuevo"is as follows:
    "Your boss just chewed you out extensively resulting in the formation of a brand new anal sphincter. Congratulations!"

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