Monday, March 26, 2012


icebreaker: actividad de desinhibicion, 'dinámica', dinámica rompehielo

I always heard these referred to as just 'dinámicas' in El Salvador (and word is that's true for most of Central America), but apparently in the southern cone rompehielo is used. In Colombia the term more widely used seems to be the more first formal one, which I would imagine would also be understood elsewhere, but then, rompehielo probably would be too, even if folks hadn't heard it before. Thanks to Flavia for this great link to a bunch of these rompehielos.

One of my favorite icebreakers is the telaraña: have people stand in a circle and throw a ball of yarn randomly across the circle, when you get it you say your name and one thing - maybe something relevant to the topic of the workshop or meeting. I even did this once at a large mixed baby shower where we each said our wish for the parents. Lovely. The photo is of this being done at one of the workshops of the Colombian Historical Memory Commission, photo by Jesus Abad Colorado. (More of his amazing human rights photography is online here.) I am working on translating and adapting this toolkit by the commission that is full of great techniques for doing participatory historical memory work in areas of conflict.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

volunteer interps needed for great event in DC

wow, a trailer for a movement event? and there's a spanish version too. now all we need are some volunteers to help us make these events against US militarism in the Americas fully bilingual. Are you driving distance from DC? Can you please help? Or pass this word on to someone who might?

Interps are needed for both the conference and strategy sessions, and the camp. The camp sounds amazing - great chance to learn nonviolence skills in exchange for YOUR interp skills. Gas stipend available to get you there. If you can help contact nico (at)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

the R word

If you live in the US or Canada I hope you've been exposed to some of the wonderful campaign to ban the R word and replace "retarded" with intellectual disability. Sometimes the term developmental disability is also added - though this can lead to some confusion since, for example, not all people with Cerebral Palsy (CP) have intellectual disabilities - but when the terms are strung together it is often assumed that they are. Indeed, my friend who has CP and also a PhD has to regularly prove herself, since people see her body and assume that her mind is also disabled. The term 'developmental disability' means a lifelong disability attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18. So as I understand it, all people with intellectual disability have a developmental disability, but the opposite is not necessarily true.

Some states in the US put a slash between the terms and use intellectual/developmental disabilities. Some groups use 'and', as in intellectual and development disabilities. Thanks to my friends Betsy and Tom who in the last few days talked through these terminology issues with me and suggest the use of 'or', as in 'intellectual or developmental disabilities'.

As far as the Spanish version of all this, it's pretty much a matter of cognates: discapacidad intelectual o de desarollo.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


chucha is one of those words with what seems like a thousand meanings depending on the country. Below is a video making fun of these sorts of words. It's slow to get going but well worth the fun terminology lesson if you keep going. The many definitions of chucha come in around minute two.

thanks to Tedd for this link and to Victor Manuel for the reminder.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

great translation tool

wordreference has added new search bar add ons for firefox since the last time I blogged about the tools I use

or if you prefer, they have also set up a keyword system

the new ones go in each direction, and also have synonyms, which are useful for going sideways when you're stuck (i.e. find another way to say it in the source language and then go to a source to target dictionary) - and include the Sp > Sp RAE (LA real academia)