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Musicians Try To Explain Why 'It's Really Hard To Speak Spanish' ('Que Difícil Es Hablar En Español') (VIDEO)

First Posted: 02/29/2012 5:42 pm Updated: 02/29/2012 5:42 pm

'Tomayto', 'tomahto'? Not necessarily true when it comes to Spanish.

And definitely not according to the hit Youtube video “Que Difícil Es Hablar En Español” (“It's Really Hard To Speak Spanish”), in which Colombian musicians and brothers Juan Andrés and Nicolás Ospina, sing about the endless (and confusing) variations for many common Spanish-language words.

In the video, which already has garnered close to 2 million views since it hit the web last week, the Ospina brothers sing about “que difícil es hablar en Espanol, porque todo tiene otra definición” which translates to “it's hard to speak Spanish when everything has different meanings”. A word that means something in one place, means something completely different elsewhere.

For example, they sing about the word “fresa” which in Colombia means “strawberry” -- the fruit -- but in Mexico “fresa” means a waspy snob. In Argentina a waspy snob is called a “cheto”, but “cheto” is not strawberry. Strawberry is “frutilla” in Argentina. And so on.

The humorous lyrics also speak about an important truth: the fact that a “correct" form of Spanish doesn’t really exist anymore. The same word or phrase can have multiple definitions depending on the country. And as such “speaking correct Spanish” is close to impossible.

This idea is not surprising when you look at the numbers. With 329 million native speakers, Spanish ranks as the world's No. 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language. It is second only to Mandarin. Spanish is the official language of 24 different countries.

The Ospina brothers sing part of their song with an accent -- one which a native English speaker who also speaks Spanish might have. They do this to allude to the fact that Spanish is becoming even more complicated now that countries have adopted English phrases. Spanglish, if you will.

Some of the Spanglish phrases they sing about are: "guachiman" (from a "watchman") and "hanguear" (from "hanging out"). And even though Spanglish might provide some comedic material, it also confuses the language further.

"Porqué tiene que ser tan difícil saber como diablos hablar español!?!?" ("Why the hell is it so hard to speak Spanish!?!?") the Ospina brothers sing.

According to their Youtube page, they dedicate their song to:

To all our brothers in Latin America and Spain, and all the Spanish speaking community, the cultural diversity, the wealth of the language and to all the people who once tried to speak in Spanish and weren’t able to” (“Todos los hermanos en Latinoamerica y España, y a toda comunidad hispanoparlante, la diversidad cultural, la riqueza del lenguaje y las personas que intentaron hablar español alguna vez y no lo lograron.")

ABOUT U.S. LATINOS:
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  • 43%

    <blockquote><strong>43% </strong>is the percentage increase in the Hispanic population between April 1, 2000, and April 1, 2010, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group. Source for all statistics: <a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf" target="_hplink">United States Census</a> </blockquote>

  • 50.5 million

    <blockquote><strong> 50.5 million</strong> is the size of the Hispanic population of the United States as of April 1, 2010, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.3 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. </blockquote>

  • 132.8 million

    <blockquote><strong>132.8 million</strong> is the projected size of the Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation's population by that date. </blockquote>

  • 2nd

    <blockquote><strong>2nd</strong> is the ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2010. Only Mexico (112 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (50.5 million). </blockquote>

  • 14 million

    <blockquote><strong>14 million </strong>is the size of the population of the Hispanic-origin population that lived in California in 2010, up from 11 million in 2000. </blockquote>

  • 96%

    <blockquote><strong>96%</strong> is the percentage of the population of Webb County, Texas, that was Hispanic as of 2010. This is the highest proportion of any county in the country.</blockquote>

  • 82

    <blockquote> <strong>82</strong> is the number of the nation's 3,143 counties that were majority-Hispanic.</blockquote>

  • 10.4 million

    <blockquote>10.4 million is the number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2010.</blockquote>

  • 35 Million

    <blockquote><strong>35 million</strong> is the number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2009. Those who <em>hablan español</em> constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English "very well." </blockquote>

  • 26.6%

    <blockquote><strong>26.6%</strong> is the poverty rate among Hispanics in 2010, up from 25.3 percent in 2009, and 23.2 percent in 2008.</blockquote>

  • 14%

    <blockquote> <strong>14%</strong> the percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher in 2010.</blockquote>

  • 47%

    <blockquote><strong>47%</strong> is the percent of the foreign-born population that was Hispanic in 2009.</blockquote>

  • 9.7 million

    <blockquote><strong> 9.7 million </strong>is the number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2008 presidential election, about 2 million more than voted in 2004. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting went from 47 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2008. </blockquote>

  • 1.1 million

    <blockquote><strong>1.1 million</strong> is the number of Hispanics or Latinos 18 and older who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.</blockquote>


TAKE A LOOK AT SOME POLITICIANS STRUGGLING WITH SPEAKING SPANISH:
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  • Herman Cain

    On his recent campaign stop in Miami, Herman Cain took some time to try some Latino cuisine, and offend a few Latinos along the way. After biting into a croqueta at Miami's famed Versailles Cafe, Cain asks, "How do you say delicious in Cuban?" Cuban, as many know, is not a language. In Spanish, however, delicious is <em>delicioso.</em>

  • Barack Obama

    "I was born in an island and I understand that food, gas and everything else, is more expensive. Puerto Rico has the right for a better future. My plan offers new incentives to restore the 40,000 job which have been lost and invests in the education of Puerto Rican kids. This coming July, it would be an honor to count with your vote." Obama is really pushing for the Puerto Rican vote. He visited the island in June of 2011. The first president to visit Puerto since John F. Kennedy in 1961,<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/us/politics/10rico.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink"> according to NYTimes. </a> Keep your eyes and ears open for the next spanish speech by Obama.

  • Jackie Kennedy

    "Dear Friends, this is the wife of John F. Kennedy, candidate in the U.S. presidential election... When world peace is threatened by communism, it's necessary to have a leader in The White House who is able to guide our destinies with a firm hand... Long Live Kennedy!" 1. No need for introduction. As if the entire world didn't know who Jackie Kennedy is. 2. It's nice to see she's friendly with latinos and 3. Given the Trade Embargo with Cuba has been firm since 1962, we're guessing that Miss Kennedy's spanish speech wasn't exactly detrimental to her husband's campaign.

  • El Bloombito

    Oh yes, that day Bloomberg so kindly "summarized for the spanish speaking audience" the city's plan to clean up after Irene and inspired one of the best twitter accounts of all times: @ElBloombito. The twitter account mocking Bloomberg's spanish has over 25,000 followers. The hilarious spanish-speaking alter ego was created by Rachel-Figuero Levin. "The Spanish is just so blatantly hilarious,"<a href="http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/128711298.html" target="_hplink"> she said to NBC New York.</a> "It's the diction. It's the pronunciation. It's the accent." To @ElBloombito account, Bloomberg responded from his personal Twitter account "It's hard to learn a new language at age 69", according to NBC New York. Follow <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ElBloombito" target="_hplink">@ElBloombito </a>here.

  • Hillary Clinton

    "Si Se PuedA!" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, got her protest chant a little mixed up. "Si Se Puede!" ("Yes It Can Be Done") was the motivating slogan first popularized by Cesar Chavez back in the 1960's when referring to social change for immigrant workers.

  • Jeb Bush

    "This diverse community with energy with, uh, uh, great potential and possibility of advancing our country, is going to be the one that decides the elections. And if we fall behind because we dont do the effort and or we're being irrespecutful, or whatever, then, that's lack of common sense." So, essentially, you need the latino vote Jeb?

  • Craig Romney

    In Mitt Romney's ninth spanish-language television ad, his son Craig spoke to Latino audiences about his father's beliefs and origins. "I would like to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/craig-romney-mitt-mexican-ad_n_1682238.html#slide=1165327" target="_hplink">Craig Romney says in the ad, translated to English by the campaign.</a> "He values very much that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For our family the greatness of the United States is how we respect and help each other, regardless of where we come from."

  • Barack Obama

    Just a week after announcing his decision to halt deportation for some undocumented young people, President Obama <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/obama-naleo-speech-immigration_n_1619126.html" target="_hplink">spoke at the NALEO conference</a> and schmoozed away with the Latino audience. "Que placer estar aqui con tanto amigos!" ("what a pleasure being here with all these friends") said Obama at the beginning of his speech.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST LATINO VOICES

Filed by Laura Steiner  |