What’s all the fuss with the Spanish Ñ?

Saying that the Spanish letter Ñ is like an N with a squiggly on top is like saying the R is a P with a kickstand. Try reading a text in English where all the Rs have been changed to Ps and you’ll know what it feels like when you speak Spanish and have to read from peeps who insist on just writing Ns instead of Ñs.

The Ñ is a letter in itself, that represents an independent phoneme (sound), it’s not a modified N.

Here’s another great example: “Feliz Año Nuevo” literally means, “Happy New Year” (where “Feliz” = happy, “Año” = Year and “Nuevo”=New). If you change that to “Feliz Ano Nuevo” you land in “Happy New Anus” and I really think it’s highly improbable that you ever find yourself in a situation where congratulating a person on acquiring a new asshole would be deemed appropriate.

The EU may think it’s not that big a deal but it is (*). The attempts of certain entities to eliminate such a distinctive character from the Spanish alphabet are, hence, quite frustrating to many of us. It’s no different to Spanish speakers than if we were to propose eliminating the entire Chinese alphabet for the sake of “trading convenience” or “global normalization”. Would anybody ever propose that and have any realistic expectation of success? Of course not.

So back in the day I came up with a fun design to protest against it and proceeded to put it up for sale in an online shop (making NO profit whatsoever for myself, just for fun) so that others could carry the message around in case anybody ever wanted to.

That’s it. Again, I make absolutely ZERO profit out of it.

NOTE: for those of you in the American continent, who take offense with swear words (as opposed to most Europeans who range from those who disregard giving words too much power to those who openly consider cussing a healthy practice of linguistic emphatic finesse),  caution should be exercised as this shirt contains a very common Spanish swearword not considered obscene in Spain in its present context, but pretty strong-sounding in some other Spanish-speaking countries.

That said, you should really consider getting your own Ñ t-shirt. It’s good for your cholesterol.

Buy an ñ t-shirt (zero markup)

(*) The European Union has attempted a few times to eliminate this emblematic letter of the Spanish alphabet in the name of “normalization”.


Share this:
Facebook Twitter Digg Email Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Reddit Delicious

5 thoughts on “What’s all the fuss with the Spanish Ñ?

  1. “The European Union has attempted a few times…” are you really sure about that? Could you name a proposed piece of legislation suggesting that? I always thought it was a things that Spanish politicians would repeat to distract the attention from other issues.

    • No, I am not sure about the EU actually trying to pass a bill but we have had the issue, in fact, all over the news and in this case I’ve trusted it. I do know that Germany and other European hegemonists have talked about this repeatedly and in Spain this has, understandably, raised much concern. I have lived through it and even argued with many German friends about the issue of normalization so I am aware of their point of view in the matter and it is as I describe (other Europeans, particularly Mediterraneans and Scandinavians, are more sympathetic to my opinion). The EU may not have de facto tried to pass a bill, I am certainly not going to go digging for documentation on that, if you want to disprove what I say based on lack of paperwork go right ahead. What I am relaying here is based on my personal experience in Spain and abroad. The story has credibility to me because of my personal sources and my knowledge on how culturally condescending the EU mainstream is towards Mediterranean culture.

      Thank you for your comment and for your questioning.

  2. Great post, very informative and eloquent.

    I was just in Chile and noted they referred to el castellano and español. I couldn’t figure out if one was more correct in any given context, so I just tossed out whichever felt right. Seemed to work :)

  3. Me pillas buscando y recopilando documentación sobre mi aldea en un desesperado intento de salvarlo de la cantera. Se llama Bueño, en google hay 566.000.000 entradas para bueno. Con ñ 102.000.
    No sé si te vale mi comentario. Besos.

  4. El mito #1 es correcto. No es lo mismo leer una oferta de trabajo que ponga “Se busca secretaria con ingles” que si pone “Se busca secretaria con inglés”. Y es por ello que para aclarar dónde se encuentra el acento se usa la tilde.

    Tampoco es lo mismo leer “Se busca secretaria” que “Se busca secretaría” esta última si tuviera inglés me parecería normal, pero si tuviera ingles… no computo…

    Por poner otro ejemplo: http://romera.blogspot.com/2009/03/descerebrados-pasajeros.html

    Como ya digo la diferencia es… bueno, diferente :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>