One of the many things that the coronavirus has brought us are the terms and expressions that up until recently we had little or no understanding. Let’s take a quick look at some of these terms, to better understand what we are reading.
Estado de alarma y toque de queda.
- An estado de alarma, or state of alarm, is imposed only in extreme situations such as earthquakes, floods, epidemics, etc. The general rule is to stay at home and not go out.
- The toque de queda, or curfew, is a measure that the government may impose in specific circumstances. It prohibits the movement or presence of the general population at certain times, usually at night.
Aislamiento, cuarentena, confinamiento and distanciamiento.
Although they are often used quite freely, each has its own specific meaning:
Aislamiento, means to isolate something, leaving it apart from other things. Therefore, this term should only be applied in the case in which people who live alone or a sick person who lives with others has self- isolated in their bedroom in order to undergo a period of quarantine.
Cuarentena, or quarantine, is a period of time of aislamiento. It need not last exactly 40 days and is implemented in order to avoid infection. It is not necessary to be sick in order to undergo quarantine.
Confinar is to lock down a certain area. A confinamiento is, therefore, the containment or lock down of a certain area or region.
Distancionamiento social is perhaps the restriction which we Spanish find most difficult to conform to. This rule of social distancing means that we are not allowed to hug, kiss or touch each other. We now have to show our affection to each other from a distance of one meter.
- The expression, nueva normalidad refers to a new normality, in which we live in a society after a pandemic. It involves getting used to a new shared lifestyle which now includes various hygiene rules and norms such as the very Spanish and popular habit of greeting with two kisses. Other characteristics of the nueva normalidad are, for example, teleworking and online classes.
ERTES and teletrabajo.
- An ERTE (Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo) is the Spanish expression for furloughing, which is the government-approved practice employed to help maintain employment and protect Spanish companies.
- Teletrabajo is working away from the workplace, usually home, with the help of modern communications technology.
Other words that have become more relevant over the last few months:
- Balcón y aplausos. These are two terms that went hand in hand during quarantine. The balcón, or balcony, became the only place in which to breathe freely in the open air. Every day at 8p.m. the Spanish would gather on their balconies to show support to their health workers, police, soldiers, cleaning professionals, supermarket workers and telecommunications technicians. How? By putting their hands together and applauding their great work.
- Himno. Until recently the Spanish himno, or national anthem, did not have any lyrics and normally was only heard at sports and military events. However, during quarantine, we could hear other “anthems” rather unlike the national one, which served to motivate us and give us hope. These songs were “Color Esperanza” by Diego Torres, “Quien me ha robado el mes de abril” by Joaquin Sabina and “Reistiré” by the Dúo Dinámico, which enjoyed various cover versions by other artists: