Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Word of the Day Wednesday

Fijate favorite word/phrase in Spanish is fijate/fíjese* que. ;)

Quick pronunciation lesson:
Fijate que - say fee-HAH-tay kay
Fíjese que - say FEE-hay-say kay

It comes from the root verb "fijarse" which means to notice. People in Honduras use it all the time. Really, like every sentence. I've taken it to mean "ya know" or "you know what" when used in conversations with friends. But sometimes, it prefaces bad news (especially when coming from a store clerk/employee/etc). Like "fijate que I don't have the money that I owe you." Or "fíjese que I can't come install the sign for your store this week like I promised." Or "fíjese que no, we don't have any 80 lb paper. It'll be another 4 weeks before we get anymore."

My favorite way to use it is to show how serious I am. Like, "fijate que, if you don't start coming to work on time, I'm going to fire you." Or "fíjese que, I am going to sue you if you don't pay me for my stolen cell phone." Or "fíjese que, I'm not ignorant. How much does this pineapple really cost?"

Sometimes to really prove that fíjese que, you don't care what they say! have to throw a fíjese que right back. Like this conversation that I had with the man from the upholstery place...

him: "Fíjese que I don't have any gray paint, so I have to go buy some and it'll cause the price of fixing these chairs to increase."
me: "Fíjese que you DO have gray paint because you just painted this chair gray for me, and I know it didn't take a whole can to paint the legs on one chair."

Do YOU use this phrase a lot??? :)

*The difference between fijate que and fíjese que is the formality. Fijate que is less formal than fíjese que.


Live Simply Love Strongly said...

I love how language is flexible and can have so many subtle meanings. I have never heard anyone use it as you do, but I'm sure now that I have read this, I will encounter some situation where I will use it as you do! LOL

Anonymous said...

fijate que... i've heard it a lot and in many of the same ways you have described. I think it is a Central American or maybe just a Honduran thing to use it so much.~

Garay One said...

It's common to use it before communicating news. Although, to establish seriousness, I prefer to use "mira", which is "look" as in "Look, I don't want to have to kill you."