I have a friend who is clumsy in an endearing way. He’s Colombian and talks a lot with his hands, so anything that is in gesticulating range – the salt cellar or wine glasses at the dinner table, for example – is in immediate danger of being karate-chopped and sent flying. When accidents happened I’d good-naturedly exclaim “clumsy!” and then, one day, realising that I didn’t know the Spanish word for it, asked him what it was. The answer: torpe.
Exclaiming “torpe!” has become a running joke between us – after all, his clumsiness or torpeza is ongoing – and I have Christened him Mr Torpe, Señor Torpe.
It is a word I will never forget, and quite pleasant-sounding too – two syllables, rather like the English words “tore’ and “pay’ joined together.
HOW TO MAKE NEW WORDS STICK IN YOUR MEMORY
A good way of learning and remembering new adjectives, then, is to give your friends appropriate nicknames in your target language, and then tease them mercilessly until the word sticks. Some other examples in Spanish.
- Mr Grumpy – Señor Gruñón
- Mr Fastidious – Señor Fastidioso
- Mrs Cheerful – Señora Alegre
- Mrs Forgetful – Señora Olvidadiza
And the one that’s most applicable to me? Príncipe Encantador (Prince Charming) haha.
MEET THE FIVE ROMANTIC MR TORPES
So, I know Colombia’s clumsy Señor Torpe (centre) but I have only just come across his other Romance language equivalents. Allow me to present the following, from left:
- Senhor Desajeitado of Portugal/Brazil
- Domnule Neîndemânatic of Romania/Moldova
- Signor Maldestro of Italy
- Monsieur Maladroit of France
That’s all for now.
Images taken from Pixabay.