muda [noun] – a change of clothes; underwear; moulting (when animals shed their fur)
Every language geek knows that there’s an unwritten law of vocabulary learning which somehow works with even the most obscure words. You clock the word on your language radar, store it in that special vocab memory part of your brain and then, the next time you open your book / switch on the telly / chat to your friend, that very same random word coincidentally crops up in conversation. It’s magic! Well, this week’s word just did that to me. It’s a word I’ve known for a while to mean “a change of clothes“. Every self-respecting mother of a toddler in a Spanish pre-school knows that you have to “llevar una muda” in case the inevitable happens. Well, the word caught my eye recently with a slightly different meaning, and I had the paragraph below ready in my blog drafts for -ahem- a couple of weeks, meaning to run it by my friend Marta before name-dropping, just in case. Here’s the draft:
I’ve been helping my subtitler friend, Marta, with the translation of the TV series Masters of Sex, a brilliantly-executed period drama about the trials and tribulations of the first researchers to study human sexual response. (Worth a watch – the theme titles alone are chuffing hilarious!) Anyway, in one of the episodes, the protagonist’s ex-husband says, “I’m living out of a suitcase. I’ve been turning my underwear inside out since Thursday.” And our (joint-effort) translation ended up being, “No tengo dónde dormir. Llevo dándome la vuelta a la muda desde el jueves.” I’d heard the word “muda” meaning “a change of clothes” before, but I didn’t know it could also be used to mean, more specifically, “underwear“. Interesting! Thank you, Marta. (And here’s a little link to her fabulous cinema translation blog).
That was my draft post. I finally decided at the weeked that I’d run it by Marta and publish the darn thing when I finish the Masters of Sex episode I’m currently working on.
And then the cherry on top came with impeccable timing on Saturday, when my partner Alejandro and I met up with his aunt, Beatriz, in the park, to take her new puppy for a walk. He’s an adorable, fluffy three-month-old collie. I asked Beatriz, “Con este tipo de perro, ¿no tienen una temporada cuando se les cae el pelo mucho?” (Doesn’t this kind of dog have a period where it loses lots of fur?“) And she replied, “Sí, la muda.” Bingo! My language-learning cup floweth over.
PS – This post is way too long already, but I had to add that Marta told me we can also say, “la serpiente muda la piel” (the snake sheds its skin). And for the ultra geekos out there, here’s a link to the DRAE and its nine entries under “muda”. Para que flipéis. 😉