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Los Sesenta: The Sixties and the Grammar Police

Chatting with Arturo Vega, the artistic director of the seminal New York rockers The Ramones, we learn he's from Chihuahua, Mexico (yes, the namesake of those tiny Taco Bell / Paris Hilton dogs). We also learn that he came to the U.S. in "los sesentas" ["the sixties"] -- as in, "los años sesenta." In fact, in just over six minutes of chatting in front of the camera, Vega mentions "los sesentas" four times (in captions 29, 30, 40 and 50, to be precise).

 

En los sesentas empecé a viajar y por supuesto en los sesentas era más atractivo ir a lugares como San Francisco, California

In the sixties I started to travel and of course in the sixties it was more attractive to go to places like San Francisco, California

Captions 29-30, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 1

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But the grammar police say that Vega gets it wrong four times: In proper Spanish, the decades are supposed to be singular, so it's los sesenta (short for los años sesenta).

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Well, let's give Vega the benefit of the doubt. You see, Anglicisms in Spanish are increasingly popular. By "Anglicism" here we are referring to the application of a rule of English grammar to Spanish. Besides making decades plural, as an Anglicism, you may hear some family names pluralized in Spanish as the are in English. For example: Los Ramones (as uttered by our interviewer in caption 37) is technically the incorrect way to refer to the members of the fictional Ramone family.

 

Y... aquí fue donde... conociste a Los Ramones

And... it was here where... you came to know the Ramones

Captions 36-37, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 1

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(Granted, "los Ramone" does not echo the name of the legendary band....) Note: the band members each took the last name "Ramone" as stage names, but these neighborhood pals from Queens were not, in fact, related, nor born with this surname.

Tip: If you want to hear a more traditional translation of a famous U.S. family into Spanish, tune into
Los Simpson
. (Yup: it's singular: "Simpson.")

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