Sales and shorten words in SpanishChristmas holidays are over and now it’s time to regret. We may regret having eaten too much, fought our relatives or spent too much money on presents. Precisely, January is, maybe, the worst month to regret. We call this “time post-Christmas”, la cuesta de enero (the slope of January) because of the economic difficulties during this month.

However, in January, shopping centres and stores of all kind nos aprientan las tuercas (put pressure on us) and offer their best rebajas (sales). The Spanish language has its own rebajas. Keep reading and you will see it.

Many students confess that they are confussed when they listen to Spanish speakers. “You eat parts of words”, they say. Partly, they are right. We sometimes shorten words for different reasons. Let’s see some of them.

1. Technology and inventions

These fields of meanings always provide the language with many neologisms, and same of them are usually too long; because of that, users shorten them and, finally, these terms become a new word, that is used by speakers, who don’t even know its real origin.

Ayer escuché en la radio(difusión) que va a estrenarse la nueva peli(cula) de Pedro Almodóvar. Hoy iré a verla. No sé si ir al cine(matógrafo) en bici(cleta), moto(cicleta), taxi(metro) o metro(politano). Si veo a Almodóvar, intentaré hacerme una foto(grafía) con él. Nunca lo he visto en persona, solo en la tele(visión)”.

Here you see the explanation about why some words, ending is –o, are feminine: moto, foto or radio.

2. School and education

The scholar age is other source of shorten words. In this case, the reason is not only of usage (in order to reduce the length of words) but also of affectivity. Kids love shortening words.

Mi vida se reduce a estudiar. Siempre estudiar. Primero me llevaron a la guarde(ría) hasta los tres años; después, al cole(gio) nueve años más; a esto le siguió el insti(tuto) hasta los dieciocho. Cuando pensaba que la tortura se había terminado e iba a guardar mi boli(grafo) para siempre, yo mismo, como un masoquista, decido ir a la uni(versidad). Es curioso, ahora que tengo veinticinco años, soy profe(sor) de mates(máticas) y me he casado con una compa(ñera), la seño(rita) de inglés. Desde entonces, disfruto de largas vacas(ciones)”.

3. Apocopes due to phonetic reasons

An apocope is the elision of sounds from the end of a word. The loss of these sounds affects unstressed vowels mainly. The peculiarity is that this phenomenon only happens to adjectives which are located before the nouns. The list is very limited, nowadays, although it was bigger throughout history.

Si no quieres tener un mal(o) día, comienza con un(o) buen(o) desayuno. El primer(o) café del día será mejor si lo haces con una gran(de) sonrisa. Alguna fruta sería una buena idea; en cambio, yo no tomaría ningún(o) alimento muy pesado”.

As you can see, some of these adjectives are shorten depending on the noun’s gender and number. Alguno, ninguno, bueno, malo, primero, tercero and uno are shorten only if the following noun is masculine and singular. On the other hand, grande is always shorten before singular nouns, both, masculine and feminine ones.

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