Monday, September 5, 2011

Favor de no tirar las canastillas

Once you start your Spanish studies, it doesn't take long to learn that "basura" means trash.   But that's where our Spanish book seems to stop.  But don't worry, I'm going to pick up where your Spanish book left off.

I'm going to translate this for you, on the off chance you don't already know what it means.  But you should know by now I'm go to take the scenic route to arrive at our translation.

Let's start with canastillas.

First of all, canastilla is a diminutive form of canasta.  And here's a picture of a canasta.

Yes, a canasta is a basket.  Although a search for pictures of canastas will bring up all kinds of baskets, not just the kind Yogi Bear likes.  And if you don't know who Yogi Bear is, the only thing I can say is enjoy your youth.

Getting back on track, now that we know a canasta is, here's a picture of a castanilla, or a little basket.

Technically, that's called a canastilla botanera. At some point you've probably been served food in one of these things. And if you have an overwhelming curiosity to know the names of restaurant supplies, take a look at this site:

I actually found that site kind of interesting and bookmarked it.  But then again I'm a nerd with an unhealthy obession for Spanish. 

So now that we've covered that, let's move on to the verb tirar.  Among other things, tirar is used to talk about throwing out the trash.

Tira la basura
Throw out the trash

Now we can translate the message in our picture:

Favor de no tirar la canastillas
Please don't throw out the baskets

Pan comida right?  You probably figured out what the translation was once you saw the picture of the canastilla.  But this post is about more than canastillas, so let's keep going.

We've already learned that you can use tirar to ttalk about throwing out the trash.  But if you want to take out the trash, you need the verb sacar.

Tengo que sacar la basura
I have to take the trash out

There's also emptying the trash, using the verb vaciar.

Vacía la basura
Empty the trash

So now we have three options for getting rid of the trash, but guess what?  We're not done yet. 

No botes las bolsas plásticas de las compras, úsalas para botar la basura

Botes comes form botar, which is yet another way to talk about throwing out the trash.

Let's translate this.

No botes las bolsas plásticas de las compras, úsalas para botar la basura
Don't throw out the plastic shopping bags, use them to throw out the trash

There's one more thing we need to talk about.  Most of you have probably already guessed what the missing link is, now I just have to tell you what it's called.  Here's a picture:

We know this as a trash can, and in Spanish this is known as a bote de basura, or bote for short.  Just like trash cans come in all shapes and sizes in English, it's the same in Spanish.  If you search for pictures of "botes de basura", you'll find all kinds of great pictures.

Depending on what country you're in and who you're talking to, a trash can may also be known as a basurero, or cubo de basura.  I almost forgot papelera, which may be used to refer to your office trash can.  I can tell you that paperla is definitely what your deleted email folder will be called in Google Mail. 

There's one last thing I need to tell you about the word basura.  It works as an insult just like it's English counterpart.

Eres una basura
You're a piece of trash

Hey, you never know when you need to tell someone off.  And if you watch telenovelas, you're probably very familar with this insult.

That's it for today. Now you can go yell at your kids to take out the trash in two languages.  It probably won't help though.


  1. "A nerd with an unhealthy obsession for Spanish?"!! Love your blogs. I included them on my blog post called "My Favorite Spanish Learning Blogs"

    How would you say "keep up the good work" in Spanish?

    Fellow Spanish nerd

  2. I have also seen "cesto de basura" used in Argentina and apparently "tacho de la basura" in other parts. And sometimes the verb "echar" is used.

  3. Decimos "zafacón" para un bote. ( en la Republica Dominicana)

  4. Me encanta cómo usas las fotos en tu blog! Mi hijo es maestro en Atlanta y enseña a los niños latinos que tienen inglés como segunda lengua. Compartí tu blog con él porque está tratando de aprender más español para poder comunicarse mejor con los padres de sus alumnos. Gracias por todos tus esfuerzos!