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Old August 01, 2008, 06:39 PM
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Vulgar

This is one word which I´ve argued is one of those false friends between English and Spanish... I´ve looked it up in dictionaries, but still...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaina
There you go using the word "vulgar"........you are too quick to use it, aren't you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonso
Sí, suelo ser rápido en decir lo que pienso. El registro vulgar es una categoría de la lingüística que no comporta ningún juicio de valor sobre la persona que utiliza estas expresiones. No me extrañó que lo escribieras aquí, sino que dijeras que lo encontraste escrito en una revista. Por poca cosa que sea la revista, su vulgaridad es tremenda.

I´m wondering if Elaina ana Alfonso were talking about this word with the same understanding...
What does ser vulgar mean to a native Spanish speaker and what does it mean to be vulgar to a native English speaker?
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Last edited by Jane; August 01, 2008 at 07:06 PM.
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Old August 01, 2008, 06:52 PM
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To me vulgar in Spanish means rude.
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Old August 01, 2008, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemma View Post
To me vulgar in Spanish means rude.
So, how can a dress or a way of dressing be vulgar?
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Old August 01, 2008, 07:31 PM
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You're right. In that context it would mean tarty, not elegant.
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Old August 02, 2008, 03:24 AM
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To me, vulgar (Spanish) means common, ordinary, and not very good.

Let's see if my English explanation fits the Spanish one (although it's not a literal translation):

Vulgar significa algo o alguien ordinario, común y de no muy buen gusto.

¿Qué es el buen gusto? Bueno, ésa es otra cuestión.

Así pues, el concepto de lo vulgar tiene un alto grado de subjetividad, pues el buen gusto es producto de las modas, de la edad, del grupo social, de la cultura, etc. ¿Hay acuerdo en torno a lo que es el buen gusto?

Tampoco lo hay, entonces, en torno a lo que es vulgar.
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Old August 04, 2008, 08:55 AM
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I found this to be quite interesting..........

vulgar·ness n.
Word History: The word vulgar now brings to mind off-color jokes and offensive epithets, but it once had more neutral meanings. Vulgar is an example of pejoration, the process by which a word develops negative meanings over time. The ancestor of vulgar, the Latin word vulgris (from vulgus, "the common people"), meant "of or belonging to the common people, everyday," as well as "belonging to or associated with the lower orders." Vulgris also meant "ordinary," "common (of vocabulary, for example)," and "shared by all." An extension of this meaning was "sexually promiscuous," a sense that could have led to the English sense of "indecent." Our word, first recorded in a work composed in 1391, entered English during the Middle English period, and in Middle English and later English we find not only the senses of the Latin word mentioned above but also related senses. What is common may be seen as debased, and in the 17th century we begin to find instances of vulgar that make explicit what had been implicit. Vulgar then came to mean "deficient in taste, delicacy, or refinement." From such uses vulgar has continued to go downhill, and at present "crudely indecent" is among the commonest senses of the word.

What do you think? Is this what vulgar means to you? I did believe the word vulgar meant in poor taste and crude. The magazine I was reading was in poor taste and crude but vulgar, I don't know.

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Old August 04, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Just as the article states, vulgar has come to mean crude and vile. Another synonym is gutter. I almost always associate the adjective with the noun language, as in vile, crude, or gutter language.

It's good to remember that the Spanish word more closely retains its ancestor's meaning and hasn't sunk to the same degree as the English word.
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Old August 04, 2008, 12:59 PM
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You all made a great search about this word!

And the article Elaina offered us is really worth it to read (did I write this well? May I have a confirmation, please, as I'm doubtful?).

I think the same happens more or less in Spanish with the term vulgar, but I don't think, as Rusty has already said, that it has become the same grade of crudeness in Spanish that it seems to have become in English. For instance, we use the phrase latín vulgar to mean the Latin common people usually spoke during the Empire and Middle Ages. Of course, in this case, you are not conveying any nuance of vileness or crudeness, but only the fact that this was widely used by common people.

On the other hand, you can also use the word vulgar (Spanish) with a derogative sense. Although it's used so, I think you are being a little snob in that case.

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Old August 04, 2008, 01:04 PM
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To me, vulgar in English means crude or offensive, and is used especially when referring to how someone speaks. For example a swear word is vulgar.

Vulgar in Spanish means common, base, ordinary, and as other have said, is closer to the meaning of its Latin roots.
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Old August 04, 2008, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaina View Post
I found this to be quite interesting..........

vulgar·ness n.
Word History: The word vulgar now brings to mind off-color jokes and offensive epithets, but it once had more neutral meanings. Vulgar is an example of pejoration, the process by which a word develops negative meanings over time. The ancestor of vulgar, the Latin word vulgris (from vulgus, "the common people"), meant "of or belonging to the common people, everyday," as well as "belonging to or associated with the lower orders." Vulgris also meant "ordinary," "common (of vocabulary, for example)," and "shared by all." An extension of this meaning was "sexually promiscuous," a sense that could have led to the English sense of "indecent." Our word, first recorded in a work composed in 1391, entered English during the Middle English period, and in Middle English and later English we find not only the senses of the Latin word mentioned above but also related senses. What is common may be seen as debased, and in the 17th century we begin to find instances of vulgar that make explicit what had been implicit. Vulgar then came to mean "deficient in taste, delicacy, or refinement." From such uses vulgar has continued to go downhill, and at present "crudely indecent" is among the commonest senses of the word.

What do you think? Is this what vulgar means to you? I did believe the word vulgar meant in poor taste and crude. The magazine I was reading was in poor taste and crude but vulgar, I don't know.

Great research, Elaina.
I discovered that in Spain, the word, `vulgar´ is not as strong as it is to a native English speaker, who at present interprets vulgar to mean "crudely indecent".
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