Happy Halloween! From La Llorona to Paranormal Activity, Latinos love a good scare

A still from Paranormal Activity 4.

A still from Paranormal Activity 4.

When I was a little girl, I used to play a darker version of hide and seek with my older cousins in Ecuador. In our little game, whomever was the seeker would role play as La Llorona, and do the trademark wail of the mythical Weeping Woman: “Donde estan mis hijos?” (“Where are my children?”).

It was all innocent fun, but now that I think about it, it’s a creepy concept, and not something I’ll be passing onto my own children one day.

My experience growing up with this mythical figure as part of my consciousness was not uncommon. In homes all across Mexico, the southwestern U.S., certain parts of the Caribbean, and most countries in Latin America, La Llorona is collectively known and feared.

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¿Cómo se dice? Spanish words & phrases that have no adequate translation into English


This isn’t to put down English in any way, shape, or form. It is the language in which I express myself the best, after all. But Spanish is just more…complicated. And I mean that in the best possible way.

The whole idea for this post was born out of a conversation with a dear Brazilian friend over the word saudade. He was having major trouble explaining what it meant. But we all got it. It’s more than just nostalgia.

The notion of translation seems to be on everyone’s mind lately. Fast Company did this cute slideshow about words in other languages that they wish existed in English.

I didn’t see any Spanish words in there, so here goes our own growing list, which we hope keeps getting longer and longer — with your help!

*Note: even though there may be a literal translation, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily satisfying.

**Also, we’re saving refranes for a separate post ‘cause you know there’s plenty of those. Pasos cortos, vista larga!

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