Tearing up in Spanish

. . . because, let’s just face it, not all of your moments in Spanish will be just peachy. Sure, at the beginning you’ll just sit there, a happy-go-lucky statue, your eyes perpetually glazed over and a wan smile on your lips, because you’ll lack the Spanish to shows the depths of other emotions. Once your vocabulary branches out a bit, though, you’ll be able to throw fits of rage, ooze disdain, become rabidly paranoid, be bouncing-off-the-walls giddy, wax poetic to the apple of your eye, and split your sides laughing hysterically. Probably in that order, too– it takes a while before you can really get humor in Spanish and elicit laughter from Spanish speakers with your killer jokes and brilliantly wry comments. Or maybe it was just me. Or them. Ah, well. They knew I thought I was funny, though, and that’s all that counts in the end.

Everyone needs a good cry every once in a while, but sometimes your eyes just mist up a bit out of the blue. You look around quickly to make sure that no one noticed, tilt your head back, hoping the tear duct is a two-way passageway, and wave your hands like little fans in front of your eyes, thinking you can maybe just dry up that telltale moisture. No matter. How do you say that your eyes watered in Spanish? I’m most used to saying and hearing Se me aguaron los ojos. In some places, they say Se me humedecieron los ojos. I remember that in Medellín, they sometimes said Se me chocolatearon los ojos. No joke! Like, my eyes turned to chocolate. I guess if you have brown eyes, this would be a pretty good description of what happens when they turn into brown, melty puddles. Mine are hazel.

@AleRivolta #YoConfieso que ayer se me aguaron los ojos cuando el abuelito declamó en Colombia tiene Talento (I admit that yesterday I teared up when the grandpa on Colombia’s Got Talent recited poetry)

@DianysPao Que viejito tan queriidooo, me hizo aguar los ojos #ColombiaTieneTalento (What an adorrrable little old man–he made me tear up)

Wow, I guess I’ve got to see that clip! Be right back . . .

OK, I tracked it down, and, YES, it made me tear up too! This will take just a minute of your time, but it’s well worth it, I promise. Plus, you’ll get a good feel for how Colombian Spanish sounds. The good news is that it’s very clear!

Presenting Jorge Elías Campos in Colombia Tiene Talento:

Wow. Weren’t you taken back by how he read his poetry? Not what you were expecting, was it? And I loved the judges’ feedback. The best part was what he shared at the end about his dream of recovering poetry in the culture, especially for young people, and seeing it gain ground over reggaeton. That and the part at the beginning when he said that poetry has provided him many satisfactions . . . such as letting him capture the hearts of his many girlfriends. And then he said that he’s too sensitive. Oh, what a dear old man. I now have a crush on him. Oh, I’m such a sucker for poets! And I just broke up with one, alas. Such is life.

Back to the topic at hand:

@Byxina ays, me estoy acordando de la peli y se me humedecen los ojos… snif! (I’m remembering the movie and my eyes are watering… sniff!)

A mí se me chocolatearon los ojos e hice un esfuerzo pa´no llorar al leer lo que cuenta don Fernando. (I got tears in my eyes and had to try really hard not to cry when I read what Don Fernando wrote.)

I’ve also read llorarse los ojos, but someone will have to confirm that. In García Márquez, I’ve read anegarse en lágrimas for eyes brimming with tears, which is one step beyond tearing up, but it appears this is pretty literary.

Now you’ll be linguistically prepared the next time your eyes start . . . sniff, sniff . . . chocolating up. Make sure you have some milk on hand.

_________________________________________________ Non-natives, what’s your experience with these verbs? Had you heard them before? How have you heard them used? Where? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with? 


2 responses to “Tearing up in Spanish

  1. Decimos “se me escurrieron las lagrimas” o tal ves “mis ojos son llorosos”. Depende la situación.


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