Spanish Language/Spanish

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Question
Paz y Bien!
I found this in a cartoon: "¡ Válgame el cielo! A este mozo nada le arredra"
What does it mean? Is "¡Valgame en cielo!" something people usually say?

Answer
Hello Hank!

"Válgame el cielo" isn't an expression I have heard much in Latin America, but if I just heard it without doing any research, I would assume it is an expression of surprise similar to "Por Dios" o "My God!" in English.  However, it sounds old-fashioned.

I have done some research, though, to answer your question more precisely ;)

This is what I have found:

In this "wordreference" forum discussion, someone explains that it is an expression of surprise or disgust (or compassion), similar to "Por Dios" (but less common): http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1583035

In this other discussion forum, it is suggested that could be translated into English as "Heaven forbid!" : http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1336591

"Valgame" is the present subjunctive (and imperative) form of the verb "valer", which can have the meaning of "amparar/ayudar = to help", so you could also translate it as "Heaven help me!"

I hope this helps!

Do you need help understanding the other part of the phrase?  I think I would need more context to understand who the "mozo" is and why he is not afraid of anything!

Best,

Brandee  

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Brandee Strickland

Expertise

I can answer questions about the Spanish language itself, as I studied Spanish academically and also spent a significant amount of time living in Chile (as a teacher of English). I can also help with issues of translation, and with interpreting slang or other cultural anecdotes. As an experienced teacher, of both EFL and Spanish, I can answer questions as well about teaching, classroom practice, and the use of technology.

Experience

I am a native speaker of English but have studied Spanish since a young age, as well as living in Chile for 5 years. I learned Spanish as a student myself, and have also taught introductory and intermediate level Spanish courses both privately and at the University level. At the graduate level, I have studied linguistics and sociolinguistics, as well as focusing on language teaching and the use of technology in the classroom.

Organizations
University of Calgary, Canada; Universidad de Concepcion, Chile

Publications
Strickland, B., & O'Brien, M. G. (2013). A Review of the Literature on Technology in Second and Foreign Language Learning. Calgary: University of Calgary. http://arts.ucalgary.ca/lrc/home/literature-review-technology-language-learning Strickland, B. (Summer 2012). Communities of practice in the language classroom: Theory and reality. ETAS Journal. Strickland, B. (2009). De Gardner a Bajtin: La comunicacion mediada por ordenador y su impacto en la clase de lenguas. University of Calgary (Canada), ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. MR54572. Strickland, B. (2009). El mito de Narciso en la poesía española de los Siglos de Oro. Espéculos: Revista de estudios literarios, 40. http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero40/narciso.html

Education/Credentials
I have an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Psychology from Bowdoin College in the U.S. I completed an M.A. in Spanish and Second Language Acquisition and a PhD dissertation in the same field, both at the University of Calgary in Canada and currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Universidad de Concepción in Concepción, Chile.

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