Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Word of the Day: Estudiar

It's been a while since I've posted here. I suppose I should make things clear; I don't have time to post a new word every day, but I will do so as much as possible. It will probably end up being two or three times per week. So, here we go...

, of course, means 'to study', but Costa Ricans will also use the word to mean 'to read'. When I got to the country and had stretches of time with little to do but to read, people would often apologize that they didn't mean to interrupt me while I was "studying". I would often respond, "I'm only reading". This seemed to confuse them. Before long I accepted that reading and studying are one and the same to many Costa Ricans. Since I was living in mostly rural areas, most people I knew read only when they had to.

My theory is that this correlation between academic work and reading was so strong that people started melding the two activities together in language. I haven't tested this conjecture scientifically, but it seems the most plausible to me. Does anyone have more intimate knowledge of this usage?