Today is Día del Niño in Mexico. Today and every April 30th Mexican children are celebrated and may receive gifts, break piñatas and participate in other fun activities designed just for them.
In Spanish-speaking communities in the United States it has become customary to celebrate Día del Niño and Día del Libro on the same day. It is a great way to celebrate reading with children. Be sure to check out your local library to see if they are celebrating today!
In 2010 the United Nations deemed April 23 “Spanish Language Day.” It is a day to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote the use of all six official languages throughout the UN. The April date was chosen to honor Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quijote and other literary works, who died on April 22, 1616.
Today, Google celebrates Spanish Language Day by featuring the letter “Ñ” in its daily Doodle. Here are some fun facts about the Spanish letter “Ñ”:
- The tilde on the “Ñ” has a special name. It is called a “virgulilla,” which means “little comma.”
- The “Ñ” developed from a superscript abbreviation for a double “N.” (What in Modern Spanish is “año,” for example, is spelled “anno” in Old Spanish.)
- The logo of the Instituto Cervantes, an educational organization with locations around the world that celebrates Spanish language and culture – features the “Ñ’ in its design.
- It is the only letter of the Spanish alphabet with true Spanish origin.
- The “Ñ’ first appeared in the 12th century and officially became part of the Spanish alphabet in the 18th century.
- It is now a symbol of Hispanic identity and culture.
Applications are now open for Middlebury’s Summer Language Schools! The Spanish School at Middlebury College in Vermont offers a 7-week immersive program for undergraduate and graduate students of all levels of Spanish. Need-based funding is available. This summer’s school will run in-person from June 24 to August 13, 2021. Applications are due May 15th.
For more information, visit https://www.middlebury.edu/language-schools/
Linguists use the term “irreversible binomial phrases” to describe words pairs that we use in our daily speech, such as “black and white,” “lost and found” and “rock and roll.” They are “irreversible” because, although not incorrect, hearing these word pairs in the reverse order doesn’t “sound right.”
Here are some Spanish examples with their English equivalents:
blanco y negro (black and white)
tarde o temprano (sooner or later)
cara o cruz (heads or tails)
esto y lo otro (this and that)
o todo o nada (all or nothing)
sano y salvo (safe and sound)