ale hop


Venga, perrito. ¡Salta! ¡Ale hop!

Now here’s a funny word if ever I saw one. For the longest time I didn’t even realise it was Spanish. I’d been walking past the “Ale Hop” shops (a franchise here in Spain, which sells cool little gadgets, trinkets, and stuff that makes fun presents) and in my head I was pronouncing the name “eɪl hɒp”*, thinking it was some English or German word for a pub crawl or something. Tee hee. Silly me.

I don’t remember when the penny dropped. I think I heard my partner Alejandro mucking about with the kids, making them jump over obstacles or through hoops or some such daddy rough-housing, when I finally made the connection. “Ohhhhhhhh! Ale hop!!” (ælɛ hɒp*). Sounds kind of how a French personal trainer might tell you to hop up on the monkey bars at the gym, “allez hup” (but we’d better leave that little fantasy right there… Pop it in a box and walk away, Louisa…)

Lo and behold, after carrying out extensive online research (OK, Wikipedia), I found out that it is, indeed, a phrase of French origin: “allez hop!” and is “used as a cue by French gymnasts and trapeze artists.”  So there you go. Mystery solved. You’re welcome, dear ñerdies. 😉

What funny words or phrases have you misunderstood for a long time, and when/how did the penny drop?


* Hope I got that right. Phonetics was not my strongest subject at uni… Feel free to correct me, language-geeky friends. 🙂

Photo by Viktor Hanacek


13 thoughts on “ale hop

  1. setmeravelles

    I had no clue either.

    I just figured out Whiskey DYC last summer. As I never ordered it, I never realised it wasn’t pronounced D-Y-C in Spain but like a nickname for Richard.

  2. Lucille

    Very interesting – there are a number of these Ale Hop shops in Valencia city and, before I looked in their windows, I assumed it was a chain of craft breweries or similar! Well, how funny to see an explanation just a day or two after I had started wondering …

  3. Angela Drury

    Thank you. I have always said Allez Hop. I did not even notice the “Ale” as in beer part until someone pointed it out to me!! Love Ale Hop all my scarves are from there and their latest pareos are magic.

    1. My Little Spanish Notebook Post author

      Hi! Thanks for commenting. I love Ale Hop shops too – great fun to mooch around (and I’m no shopper in any shape or form!). Sorry for the late reply – I fell right out of the blogosphere for most of the summer. Just getting back into the swing of things now. I feel a post coming on!

  4. Michael Stephenson

    Don’t suppose it has anything to do with leaving out the “S” at the start of the name ie Sale-Shop!!!!!


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