The Parrot Isn’t Dead: A Short List of Euphemisms

For all the criticism they get, Spanish politicians show us that it is possible to be positive even in the most unfortunate of circumstances. If you thought Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s “conscious uncoupling” sounded annoying, wait to hear a few of the expressions used by our politicians every day. If you happen to find yourself watching or reading the news in Spain, you might need a dictionary: here’s a brief attempt.

Movilidad exterior (external or outward mobility) = emigration. Admitting how bad it is that a great deal of young educated people is leaving the country –aka fuga de cerebros – doesn’t sound very good.

Apoyo financiero / Préstamo en condiciones favorables (financial support / loan on favourable terms) = bailout. The Spanish government managed to agree to a rescue package, without ever mentioning the word “rescue”.

Recargo temporal de solidaridad (temporary solidarity fee) = increase in taxes

Crecimiento económico negativo (negative economic growth) = economic downturn

Reformas estructurales (structural reforms) = budgetary cuts

Moderación salarial (wage moderation) = wage cut

Ejecución hipotecaria (mortgage foreclosure) = eviction

Ayuda a ahorradores (Support for big savers) = tax reductions for the rich

Impacto asimétrico de la crisis (asymmetric impact of the crisis) = the crisis affects the poor more than the wealthy

Externalización (externalisation) = talking about public services: privatisation

These few examples might make you think that these politicians are good with words and rhetoric. Far from the truth, while one may recommend listening to Obama to someone learning English, I certainly would advise you to steer clear of any Spanish political discourse if you don’t want to be discouraged forever.



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