city at night

city at night

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Looking at the Signs

I have often thought that if I were still teaching Spanish, a great lesson plan would be to present photographs of the signs of businesses and stores that I see as I wander around Mexico City.  It would be a way to present lots of practical vocabulary as well as some insights into the culture.  I have been out of the teaching profession for almost two decades, but as I was walking around taking pictures of colorful houses, I thought that the signs of the neighborhood might make an interesting blog entry.

Let's start with this banner hanging on the door of this home.  (Lots of families have small businesses within their homes.)


You can get a haircut (corte de cabello) at the home of Mrs. Rocío for only 50 pesos (at today's exchange rate only 2.89 U.S. dollars).  Make an appointment (cita) and ring the doorbell (toque el timbre).

The sign that you see most often for beauty salons is "Estética" and if it's an "Estética Unisex", they do both women's and men's hairstyles.




At Marilu's beauty shop you can get hair color (tinte), a hairstyle (peinado), a permanent (permanente), or just a haircut ("pelo" and "cabello" from the first photo are synonyms).  I am going to assume that "rayitos" (literally, little rays) are highlights.



While we're on the topic, the billboard announces that this store sells beauty products (productos de belleza), both wholesale (mayoreo) and retail (menudeo). 


Below, the sign says "todo para el profesional de la belleza" (everything for the beauty professional).  I wonder if Mrs. Rocío and Marilu get their supplies here.

There are many words that are "cognates"... words in that look like the same word in another language.  You don't need to have studied Spanish to know what a "dentista" is.



This dentist also does dental surgery.  (Cirujano = surgeon)



Another cognate that needs no translation...



If you are into alternative medicine you could come to this "clínica" for "acupuntura".


To the left is a list of symptoms they treat (some of them cognates that you should be able to figure out)... rheumatoid arthritis, muscle pains, joint pain, headache, insomnia, anxiety, stress, depression, sprains, rehabilitation after surgery, facial paralysis.

Mexicans are very much into modern technology.  It seems that people down here are glued to their cellphone (celular) as much as "gringos" are. If your phone is sick, you can bring it to this "hospital de celulares".  They are also a "distribuidor autorizado" (you can figure out those cognates) of Telcel, Mexico's leading wireless telecommunications company.



Here's another "hospital" where you can bring in your sick "tecnología" be it a computer, cellphone, printer or tablet.



Here's a word you will frequently see that is not a cognate.  "Abarrotes" is a word used in some Latin American countries for groceries.  These little stores stock a variety of canned and packaged foods.


This store also sells wine (vino) and liquor (licores) and obviously beer since they are advertising Corona.





A similar kind of store is a "miscelánea", a little neighborhood shop that, as the name implies, sells miscellaneous items.  ("Beky" is probably the owner's first name.  It's interesting how some Mexicans will take English names and adapt the spelling to Spanish.)



This sidewalk stand sells freshly prepared "jugos" (juices) and "licuados" (smoothies) made from "naranja" (orange), "zanahoria" (carrot) and "toronja" (grapefruit).


They also sell a variety of fruit-flavored "aguas" (water).  They have "melón" (cantaloupe), "sandía" (watermelon), "mango", "limón" (lime), "papaya", "guayaba" (guava) and "pepino" (cucumber)

Need cash?  You might need to go to a "Montepío" or "Casa de empeño" (pawn shop).  There you could pawn your "joyería" (jewelry), "televisores" or "electrodomésticos (electric appliances).



Going on a trip?  You might need to go to a "agencia de viajes" (travel agency).



Here is something you see frequently in Mexico that you don't usually see in the U.S. ... a "salón de fiestas infantiles" (a hall for children's parties).  Parents will often book these halls for a big birthday bash for their children.


This one is called "El Mundo de los Peques" ("Peque" comes from the word "pequeño" meaning "little", and is an affectionate slang term for a child.  So, the name means "The World of the Little Ones.)

I hope you are finding this interesting, because I have more photos of signs for another post.

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