As the tragic earthquake in Turquía gets sorted out and Hurricane Rina bears down on the Yucatán (not sure if this is a coincidence, but riña (REEN-yah) means brawl or fight in Spanish… which is exactly what the Yucatán Peninsula is in for), it’s as good a time as any to review the Español related to desastres naturales – natural disasters.
You’ll notice a couple of things regarding Natural Disaster Spanish. ONE: there are a lot of Spanish Twins – words that are identical or very close in both English and Spanish. TWO: Despite the pain, anguish, and mutilación that results from desastres naturales, these terrifying events are popular names for North American sports teams.
Here are the Top 8 Desastres Naturales:
1. Terremoto (tay-rray-MOH-toh) Earthquake
Terremoto doesn’t look anything like a Spanish Twin, but if we break it down into parts, it becomes easier to remember. Terra is Latin for Land – think about the new show Terra Nova: “New Land.” You know, the Jurassic Park-for-TV-with-the-guy-from-Avatar show on Fox.
For moto, think motor. Motors cause things to move.
Terre + Moto = Land + Move = Earthquake.
2. Huracán (ooh-rah-KAHN) Hurricane
Spanish Twin – nice! That little dash above the second A tells us the emphasis is on the last syllable. Very helpful.
3. Tornado (tohr-NAH-doh) Tornado
Identical Spanish Twin. Fantástico.
4. Tsunami (sooh-NAH-mee) Tsunami
Identical Spanish Twin. Super–fantástico.
5. Ciclón (see-KLOHN) Cyclone
Spanish Twin. Again – note that accent mark over the O.
6. Inundación (een-oohn-dah-SYOHN) Flood
Not a Spanish Twin of flood per se, but easy to remember because it’s a Twin of inundation, which means… to cover with water. Yes, it’s a $3 word you won’t use in daily conversation in English, but it would be worth massive points in a game of Scrabble.
7. Volcán (bohl-KAHN) Volcano
Spanish Twin. Here our Spanish friends decided to shave a syllable off to avoid gratuitous speech. Note the accent mark over the A.
8. Avalancha (ah-bah-LAHN-chah) Avalanche
Spanish Twin… of course.
Plenty of Spanish that is easy to remember. Below is a quick recap!
Spanish Twin rundown:
- Natural :: Natural
- Desastre :: Disaster
- Turquía :: Turkey
- Mutilación :: Mutilation
- Huracán :: Hurricane
- Tornado :: Tornado
- Fantástico :: Fantastic
- Tsunami :: Tsunami
- Ciclón :: Cyclone
- Volcán :: Volcano
- Avalancha :: Avalanche
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