26 Feb


After twenty plus years in the field, all legal terms rest at the tip of my tongue. Not so. I grabbed “Comprehensive Bilingual Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates*” to stumble upon SENTENCE just today. How many times does that word come up in your day?

sentence n.

GRAMMAR. oración, frase – He writes very long SENTENCES. Escribe frases larguísimas.

LAW. to pass SENTENCE on somebody. Imponer una pena a alguien. The judge gave him a six month SENTENCE El juez lo condenó a seis meses de cárcel. To serve one’s SENTENCE. Cumplir su condena.

What did I learn? Dictar una pena wasn’t the sole way to render pass sentence (see above). Where the judge gave a defendant a six month sentence reminds me to remember it’s seis meses DE cárcel instead of the my clumsy seis meses de encarcelamiento.

Five minutes in a book reminded this interpreter to continue to learn and polish his speech. That’s all I got for today.

*cognate: Ling. descended or borrowed from the same earlier form

Hamel, Bernard H. Comprehensive Bilingual Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates. Los Angeles: Bilingual Book Press, 1998.



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