Monday, November 9, 2009

la canasta basica

el precio de la canasta basica: the cost of basic nutritional needs (for a family)

NOT the basic basket, or even food basket or shopping basket. Though it is certainly poetic, we just don't say that in English to mean this technical financial thing as it is widely used in Spanish - and given how few people in the North even shop with a basket I doubt people will be able to make that leap and figure it out (though these days I'm proud to say nearly everyone seems to take their own bag in Vancouver). The tricky thing about this term is though it's widely used in Spanish just to refer to the weekly or monthly cost of food, in some countries and instances it technically means the cost of all essential goods (in Mexican government documents for example this includes the cost of condoms), AND services (like electricity). I suppose this could be rendered as just the cost of meeting basic needs.


Margaret said...

In fact, English does use “basket” in this context, too. You can see relevant examples with this search. Typically, it is called a “market basket” or “basket of goods [and services],” as you can see in the hits.

Sara Koopman said...

Well, I still think this just isn't commonly understood to mean this. I asked a bunch of well educated English only speakers and they didn't understand what it meant in English. what do other folks think?