In this other thread about gut-brewers there was a tangential discussion about the proper Spanish grammar for “no problemo.” In my opinion, “no problemo” is not Spanish at all, but an English expression with the added ultimate “o” to make it seem Spanish. I’ve never heard a Spanish speaker use the expression unless they were speaking English. It’s about as Spanish as “no way, José.” Dissenting opinions will be entertained, but cheaply, like a Sunday in TJ.
It’s neither Spanish nor English. Not really Spanglish either, since it’s used by people whose only other Spanish-like expression is Frito bandito.
I don’t speak Spanish, but I say No hay problema.
You can take any English word and add -o to the end and it’s Spanish. Got it? Cool-o!
“Atsa chair. Atas desk. Atsa window. Atsa door. Hokay, now you speak-a da Italian.”
It’s definitely not Spanish, since as the OP points out it is never used by Spanish speakers even as a mistake. There is no proper grammar for “problemo” because it isn’t a word in Spanish.
I’d say it’s a jocular English expression that’s based on Spanish, but is not itself Spanish.
Remember Mayor Bloomberg’s public service announcements?
I can hear Herb Tarleck saying “No problemo.” Enough reason for me to never utter it.
Is Google getting too clever by half?
I put “no problemo” into Google translate with detect language. It tells me it’s Esperanto. I’m idly wondering if Esperanto is still a going concern and go to Wikipedia,
Now I’m trying to remember the name for that kind of expression, and it comes back to me, damning with faint praise. I Google that, and one of the top hits is the TVTropes page. The convoluted example of damning with faint praise at the head of that page discusses translating a play into Esperanto.
Is that just a spooky coincidence, or is Google now remembering your prior activities to try to make a connection even if you didn’t ask for one?
It’s spooky, but it’s no coincidence. Big Brother is watching.
I spend a lot of work-related time on the web, normally with Java Script turned off. Which, incidentally, blocks a lot of the basic web tracking. So it was a sudden surprise to see targeted add’s (which I normally never get) after a single episode of full-exposure web browsing! I idn’t know they were that blatant! But they are.
What Emtar and Colibri said, it’s English that was born as fake-Spanish. Like hasta la vista, baby, or using mano a mano for hand to hand.
Hey, I didn’t know you were familiar with Kendji’s work! (French-Catalan gypsy singer, doing mostly rumba catalana; the French apparently think his work is “influenced by flamenco” but rumba catalana is very much-o flamenc-o, just not the kind you’ll find in a tablao. Excuse me, tabla-o)
Don’t forget to speak it slower and louder, too. If any native Spanish speaker doesn’t understand “el bathroom-o”, it’s only because you were speaking too fast and/or quiet.
You lost me there.
mano a mano is “hand to hand” as in combat without any weapons.
It is mistakenly used as “man to man” combat, an expression in and of itself but not the equivalent of mano a mano.
While not exactly the same, sometimes foreign phrases are taken up in English and understood as a unit, regardless of their original grammatical meaning. Examples are “the hoi polloi” or “with au jus.” It can be argued that these are redundant (hoi meaning “the,” and au meaning “with”), but they are understood as a unitary phrase in English, not according to their components in the original languages, and so can take the appropriate articles or prepositions.
Next up: is “Gaucho” Spanish or English?
The Master is incorrect.
Truly relevant link.
The specific expression mano a mano is waaaaaay at the bottom.
- In bullfighting, a fight involving only two matadores. (Note: The usual would be three).
- Any competition involving two people competing on a level ground.
- In close company, with familiarity. (Note: think someone you’ve known and worked with for so long you barely need to speak or look at each other).
A sentence starting with el mano a mano de las hermanas Williams… could mean either that there has been a Serena vs Venus (meaning 2) or that there has been a doubles with Serena and Venus playing together (meaning 3).
The actual Spanish for hand to hand is cuerpo a cuerpo or sin armas.
At this point, it’s both.
The etymology appears to be obscure, but in its present meaning it is certainly originally Argentine Spanish. However, it is generally well enough known in English that it is not typically written in italics, and it is understood as the English word for a South American cowboy.
If you google “pelear mano a mano” you’ll get plenty of hits showing Spanish usage of the phrase. I suppose it’s possible it re-entered Spanish because it’s so popular in English. Anyway, the Academia looks like it’s lagging far behind usage.
Hoi polloi really lost its original meaning. Hoi polloi literally means “the many,” as in “the great unwashed lower classes.”