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Thursday the 30th of April, 2009
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MAY DAY AND HOLIDAYS

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning everyone.

Tomorrow, May 1st, is May Day, so it is a holiday. Therefore, tomorrow there will be no Essential Weekly Vitamin for Spanish-speaking students of English.

Today we look at a Daily Vitamin that was originally sent in August of 2004.

What is the difference between these two questions?

1) Did you have a nice vacation?

2) Did you have a nice holiday?

They both translate to Spanish as vacaciones, but (1) is more common in the US and (2) is more common in the UK.

Holiday or Holidays (UK): A period of time when you don't have to go to school or to work (for example, the summer holidays).

Vacation (US): A period of time when you don't have to go to school or to work (for example, summer vacation).

Holidays or Holiday Season (US): The period of time around Christmas and New Year's.

Holiday (US): a single day when people don't go to school or work. It is sometimes referred to as a public holiday.

Bank Holiday (UK): This is the equivalent of holiday or public holiday in the US, a day off from work. In the UK public holiday is also sometimes used.

Remember that there can be a lot of variation with these dialectical differences. These are only tendencies that I have observed myself.  

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

Have a great long weekend!



Wednesday the 29th of April, 2009
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KING OF THE HILL

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

Today we look at yet another question from one of our readers:

Good morning. In the song "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra there is an expression, "The King of the Hill". Can you explain to me what the meaning of the phrase is?
Congratulations for your daily writings. I begin every day with your Vitamins.
Thank you. Mr. Joan Font


When I was a boy, Joan, we used to play a game called "king of the mountain." It is also sometimes called "king of the castle" or "king of the hill". One of us played the "king" and had to stand on top of a mound of dirt, on top of a sofa or another elevated place, while the others tried to push the king off. The person who displaced the "king" would then become the king of the mountain.

In the Frank Sinatra song it is being used metaphorically to mean "in command," "the winner," "successful," "on top of the world" (very happy), etc. Notice that in one of the verses he sings:

I want to wake up in a city, that never sleeps
And find I'm a number one, top of the list, king of the hill
A number one


All of these terms are synonyms with "the best" or "successful."

I hope that helps Joan.

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

I hope you have a great day.



Tuesday the 28th of April, 2009
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WHAT THE HECK

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

Today we look at another question from one of our readers:

hola! tengo otra duda, entiendo que heck vendría ser como hell (lo he buscado en el diccionario), pero no acabo de entender la función.

Example: "But do we care? Heck no. We just want great taste. And what makes chocolate great? Read on: for the pros tell all."
gracias! Miriam


Yes Miriam, you are correct; heck is a word that replaces the swear word hell. It is the equivalent of saying ostras in Spanish, for example, instead of hostia.

We use heck/hell in different ways. If you are a Daily Vitamin Plus! subscriber, you may want to review the series of 5 Daily Vitamins that we did about hell between the 28th of January and the 1st of February 2008.

In the example that you include, the first Spanish expression that comes to mind (and please forgive my language) is "y un huevo" or perhaps, "para nada", for those of you who would prefer to be more polite.

In other contexts it would be translated as carajo.

Example 1:
What the heck are you doing? (¿Qué carajo haces?)

I hope that answers your question, Miriam. If not, please post your queries in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

Enjoy your day.



Monday the 27th of April, 2009
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BACK BURNER

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning everyone. I hope you had a good weekend.

Today we answer another question from one of our readers.

Hi Matthew. Thank you for your lessons, I learn a lot every day. Well, I send you this email cause I would like you to explain this expression: put someone on the back burner. I read it in a Killers' track called "All these things that I've done."
Thank you so much. Best Regards. Laura Jiménez.


Today's expression is: on the back burner

Meaning: Reduced priority. Receiving less than full or regular attention; left for the moment, to be done or considered later.

The opposite would be front burner (=top priority). The expression is a metaphor from cooking. The things that we have to watch carefully should be on the front burner and vice-versa.

Normally, Laura, we leave projects on the back burner, not people. However, in this case the Killers are using the expression somewhat poetically.

Example 1:
Due to a shortage of judges, many legal cases get put on the back burner.

Example 2:
Due to the crisis, many companies have put expansion plans on the back burner. However, I think a crisis is a great time for expansion.

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

I hope you have a nice day.



Friday the 24th of April, 2009
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PARECE INGLÉS, PERO NO LO ES-3

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Good morning!

Hoy acabamos nuestro repaso de algunas palabras y expresiones en castellano que parecen ser préstamos del inglés, pero que no lo son.

Spanish: Una top-model
English: A supermodel

Spanish: Un crack
English: A star, a superstar

Spanish: Alto standing
English: High-class

Spanish: Esnob (adjective)
English: Snobbish ("a snob" is a noun)

Entonces, los angloparlantes no dicen "Messi is a crack" sino "Messi is a superstar." Y podríamos decir "that high-class restaurant is a bit snobbish" pero no "that high-standing restaurant is a bit snob." Y finalmente, Claudia Schiffer es una supermodel (no una top-model).

Si tienes preguntas sobre el contenido de esta Essential Weekly Vitamin, por favor usa el foro en la sección Daily Vitamin Plus! en nuestra página web.

Have an excellent day and a great weekend!