Here we are, as every year, to celebrate el Día Internacional del Libro with our readers and students on Spanishviaskype. This year, the World Book Day has coincided with the end of la Semana Santa. Many people come back home from the beach, mountain or other destinations and what’s better than a quiet time of reading? From yesterday, Tuesday the 23rd you can find stands full of books at streets ready to be bought.
The Hispanic literature has been acclaimed as one of the most prestigious throughout history. Many works remain in our collective imagination and some of them have been used to form expressions and idioms. Today, we’re going to learn some of them.
1. Ser un quijote
We think all of our readers know who Don Quijote de la Mancha was . Miguel de Cervantes’ novel is maybe the most popular work in the Spanish language. Its protagonist is described as a crazy old man who lost his mind because of his obsession for reading chivalric romances. He is also an icon of idealism. This idea is in the idiom ser un quijote.
2. Ser como el perro del hortelano
A dog is the best guardian if you have un huerto (a vegetable garden). A dog won’t eat your vegetables and it won’t let other animals eat them neither. Lope de Vega, one of the best dramatists ever, wrote a play entitled el Perro del hortelano, in which a countess and her secretary had a secret affaire.
Nowadays, we use this expression to refer to a person who doesn’t do a thing but he or she doesn’t let anybody do that neither.
For example: En mi clase de español hay un compañero que es como el perro del hortelano, ni aprende ni nos deja aprender. Estoy pensando en hacer las clases por Skype.
3. Todos a una, Fuenteovejuna
Lope de Vega is also the cause of the popularization of this expression. On his play Fuenteovejuna, he introduced the village of Fuenteovejuna as the protagonist of the action. All the inhabitants joined together in order to fight against the oppression of the authority.
This expression is used today to show the need of joining to achieve a goal.
4. Ser una celestina
Celestina is a proper noun, now in disuse, that shouldn’t have a pejorative meaning. However, Fernando de Rojas wrote a work at the end of 15th century, that mixed two genders: drama and novel. La Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, also known as La Celestina, is very interesting, not because of its protagonists, but for its antagonistic: la alcahueta Celestina. She was a kind of witch and gossiper who used to arrange marriages secretly.
Nowadays, ser una celestina, is a synonym of being an intermediary between people for them to have a personal relationship or an affaire.
For example: Gracias a mis clases de conversación en Spanishviaskype he conocido a muchos españoles pero tú fuiste una Celestina con mi novio de Madrid.
As you can see, literature comes from the language and returns to the language itself. On www.spanishviaskype.com we like to use literary texts on our lessons. If you want to learn more about us, try a free trial lesson here. Reading books and learning Spanish via Skype was never so easy.