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Una pila o una batería

 

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  #1  
Old July 29, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Una pila o una batería

The following was posted in an Ask.com forum so there must be be some serious differences to be aware of.

"In a shop in Spain I asked for a batería for my hearing aid. The assistant had a laugh and then advised that I should find una pila."

Pila has quite a few definitions other than battery so???
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Old July 29, 2011, 05:01 PM
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In some countries "bateria" is any size battery. In other countries "bateria" is any large batteries, like those for cars, and "pila" is a small battery like those AAA. The secret is size and voltage, you have D size batteries that are "pilas" and batteries for laptops about the same size that are "baterías". One is 1.5Volt, the other one is, for instance, 11 Volts. In fact "una batería" is technologically -or it used to be- an arrange of "pilas" or individual cells. In English, (voltaic) pile has been left in the cold of encyclopedias while battery took its place. [In Spanish "batería" have several meanings, one of them being a set of elements that do the same or are used by the same person or system: batería -drums-, batería de cocina -set of pans, kettles, etc-, batería -set of "batteries" or cells arranged together to give a higher voltage-]
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Old July 29, 2011, 05:23 PM
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"Batería" is correct but it is often used when referring to large batteries or those with specific designs (9V, car battery, notebook battery, etc.), one sided connectors. "Pila" refers to small batteries like C, AA, AAA and smaller ones, two side connectors.


Note to myself: refresh the page before posting. xD

Last edited by Cuholvke; July 29, 2011 at 05:26 PM.
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Old July 30, 2011, 01:47 AM
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Regarding other meanings for "pila" and "batería".

Pila is a small fountain with a particular shape, a fountain with a concave basin, usually standing over a stone foot. Therefore, you would say: "La plaza de la pila". (The square that has the fountain).

You can talk about "Una pila de libros". What would mean literally a pile of books. A set up of books one on top of the other.

Pila can also be, "Una pila de lavar" the place were one used to clean the clothes within the home, before we had washing machines.

Una pila de cosas, is also an expression to represent quantity. Accumulation.

We also say: "Una pila bautismal", which is the "baptismal font located in the church where usually children are baptized".

Regarding the word "batería". It is a word with certain military uses.

Una batería, today, can be a few lined cannons or simply one cannon. In olden days, it was a fortified place which had some cannons. Usually reinforced areas of the defensive wall which did not have the category of a fortress, and where cannons were displayed.

Una batería today, in the Spanish army, is the sum up of sordiers that form the basic unit of the artillery arm, usually under the comand of a captain.

Una batería de cocina is certain sum up of casseroles.

Last edited by Nivar; July 30, 2011 at 02:41 AM.
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Old July 30, 2011, 02:32 AM
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This is rather odd, because pile (L.pila, pile of stones) and battery (from Fr. battre, a collection of cannons) both mean an arrangement or collection of something. Neither word relates specifically to the voltaic cell, but means a collection of these to get a larger voltage than that of one cell. So in English we use battery incorrectly for a 'battery' of 1.5 volts, and Spanish uses pila incorrectly for the same, because there is only one cell for that voltage. For any higher voltage, both words are correct (if you think two of something can be a collection).
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Old July 30, 2011, 04:31 AM
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Again -and let me know if this contradicts what I said before -, pila is the unit -be it a cell, a voltaic pile or a matrix of cells- batería is the arrange of pilas created to achieve certain voltage with some technical purpose. I doesn't relate to the stacking of elements or lack thereof, it relates to the chronological evolution of Spanish. DRAE -as conservative and tardy (and ignorant) as it is in technological matters- had these words in the following editions:

1869 ---> pila. Fis. Aparato que sirve para desenvolver la electricidad, mediante el contacto de cuerpos de distinta naturaleza, como la de Volta y otras más modernas.
1884 ---> batería eléctrica. Fis. Reunión de varias pilas, que, comunicándose entre sí, producen grande acumulación de electricidad.

So, Bob, asking a batería for a hearing aid sounds overkilling and very uncomfortable, what should be a warning about false friends and false cognates in our languages, because it causes funny situations, like being thrown out and banned from a librería because you went to read a whole book there.
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Old July 30, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Thanks. Pila little ones, batería bigger ones.
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Old August 01, 2011, 08:47 AM
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To make it simple, lets use some images.
Here, 99% of the time (unless you are talking with someone unconvencional and trapped in the past) when you say pila, you are refering to:
Hidden Text: Show/Hide
Click to show hidden text - Da click para revelar el texto oculto



And when you talk about baterias, you are reffering to all the things left. Let's say, laptop's battery, cellphone's baterry, camera's baterry, car's battery, etc.:
Hidden Text: Show/Hide
Click to show hidden text - Da click para revelar el texto oculto



Nowadays, there are baterias that are really small, even near pila's size, so I wouldn't say that pilas are the little ones and baterias the bigger ones.
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Last edited by ookami; August 01, 2011 at 08:50 AM.
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Old August 01, 2011, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
In some countries "bateria" is any size battery. In other countries "bateria" is any large batteries, like those for cars, and "pila" is a small battery like those AAA.
For the sake of completeness, in some areas you can also use "acumulador" for car batteries.
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Old August 01, 2011, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
For the sake of completeness, in some areas you can also use "acumulador" for car batteries.
Yes, for those rechargeable power batteries. Used in some countries, it was almost reserved for car and truck batteries, but nowadays it is used again everywhere in a context of solar power:

pila recargable ---> small rechargeable battery
batería recargable ---> small rechargeable battery, in those countries where only "batería" is used
una batería (the big ones, or the high voltage ones) is supposed to be rechargeable by definition, though it is not necessarily truth all the time.
acumulador ---> rechargeable power batteries, like those in cars, trucks, submarines, diesel locomotives and residential solar power arrangements, often acumuladores, and even batería de acumuladores (battery arrangement)
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