Posted by: janecronin | April 1, 2018


“Correr” means “to run”.  It can also mean “to hurry up” as you often hear parents saying to their children when they want them to get a move on: “¡corre, corre!”  Grammatically speaking “correr” is a standard regular verb, so works in exactly the same way is “beber”, “comer” or whatever other verb you may have as a model.

Probably the biggest challenge with this verb for many English speakers is the pronunciation of the double ‘r’ in the middle.  When the letter ‘r’ appears at the beginning of a word or doubled in the middle of a word, it acquires the extra strong rolled ‘rrr’ which is so difficult for some of us to achieve.  Those who have the advantage in this game are the Scots, who also run ahead of us with the throaty “g” sound, not to mention those nice pure vowels.

A word you may not have identified as coming from “correr” is the word for post or mail, which is “correos”.  This does actually come from the same root and presumably goes back to the days when somebody did actually run with your letters.  It has the same root as the French “courir” from which we get the English word “courier”, which performs the same basic function as the post office.

In English of course we have other uses of the verb “run” which do not translate as “correr” in Spanish.  For example, we might “run” a company (dirigir), “run” a campaign (organizar) or “run” a car (mantener). We also have the strange habit of “running” water, whilst the Spanish “abrir el grifo” (open the tap), although they can also “dejar correr el agua” (allow the water to run) which amounts to the same thing, and is a little more logical, I think.

If you would like some idiomatic uses of “correr”, we do say “correr la voz” (to spread the word) and also “correr el riesgo” (to run the risk).  If we expand the verb with the prefix “re” to make “recorrer”, this means to travel around as in:  “Me gustaría recorrer toda España” (I would like to travel all round Spain).

Another word that is clearly linked to “correr” is the “corrida” which is the Spanish word for bull-fight.  If we connect it with the idea of running, then we would probably think of bull-running, but in actual fact “corrida” refers to the fight itself.  The word for the bull-running is “encierro” which means “enclosure” or “enclosing”, as the bulls were originally run from one enclosure to another.

Going back to the “mail” theme, the Spanish for “e-mail” is “correo electrónico”.  However, the vast majority of people nowadays use the English word “e-mail” imitating the English pronunciation of “mail” despite it not following Spanish phonetic rules.  I suppose that a few years down the line they will alter the spelling to “imeil” to complete the process of “españolización”.


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