Automobile vocabulary in Spanish.
Talking about cars with people from another Spanish speaking countries is sometimes a big headache. The reason is that the vocabulary for this subject changes a bit from country to country for almost every element. In México, auto part names are often Spanglish words. Here are some examples:
|bus||camión de pasajeros, autobús||autocar, bus||ómnibus|
|car||coche, carro, automóvil||coche||auto, automóvil|
|dashboard||tablero (panel) de instrumentos||salpicadero (don’t get confused with salpicadera)|
|parking place||estacionamiento||aparcamiento||playa de estacionamiento|
|taillight||calavera, luz trasera, luz posterior||luz trasera, luz posterior|
|to drive||manejar, conducir||conducir|
|to get a flat tire||poncharse, ponchadura||pincharse, pinchazo|
|to make a turn||dar vuelta||girar||virar, doblar|
Most Mexican terms for cars are not accepted by the Spanish Academy. The problem is that many terms accepted by the Academy, like salpicadero (Lit: splasher) dashboard, are useless here because not many people on this side of the Atlantic are familiar with them. Mexican terms are the most known in the United States, and they are also used in most of Central America.
Automobiles came to Mexico via the United States and Europe, but most vocabulary for car parts is adapted from American English. Car vocabulary in Spain is adapted partly from old carriage vocabulary and French. One example is the name for dashboard, el salpicarero, which in old horse carriages meant fender, mudguard. In Mexico, la salpicadera means fender, not the dashboard or instrument panel.
Cars also came to Mexico directly via Europe: Emil Jellinek-Mercedes, precursor of the famous Mercedes-Benz car, was the Consul of Mexico in Nice, France, in the early 1900’s. He was a director of Daimler and the most important European car dealer, and by that time he had sold hundreds of his cars.
Originally posted on 20070728. Latest update 20210511 (spanishNY.com) top