Saturday, October 27, 2007

How Do You Say Sheep?

My visit to the Sheep Ranch this week sent me to the dictionary looking for the Spanish word for sheep. While at the ranch I kept hearing the word borrego but the packaging for the cheese said "queso de oveja." Ned even got involved in trying to solve this riddle and he checked out several on-line dictionaries while I rummaged through our Oxford Spanish Dictionary. We are still confused.

According to the various dictionaries.......
Borrego (a) can mean sheep or lamb OR it can mean a false rumor
Oveja means sheep
Cordera means lamb
Carnero means mutton

Okay, cordera or carnero is pretty clear but when do I use borrego or oveja?


Babs said...

Here's a cute story that happened with my next door neighbor's little boy who is about 5. They had a goat which for about a week he walked up and down the street. I assumed this was a new pet and asked him it's name. He promptly answered "Cabrito"........After that day I never saw the baby goat again..........I never asked again, either!

wayne said...

It is probably one of those things like fish. Pez is in the ocean, pescado is on your plate. I'll ask several of my Mexican buddies and see if I can get a distinction for ya.

John W said...

Driving through the countryside, I've seen lots of signs offering barbacoa del borrego, which as it turns out, isn't barbecued lamb. Instead it's strongly flavored sheep meat cooked for hours over fresh agave leaves. I suspect the barbacoa I tasted came from sheep born before I moved to Mexico.

Billie said...

John, We have had barbacoa del cordera and it was delicious. We were told that you put vegetables and water in the bottom of the pan and then the agave leaves overlapping up the sides of the pot. Then you put in the cordera with lots of salt, fold the agave leaves back over the cordera and cook for a long time. Seems like they said 14 hours, all night or something like that. I don't think it would be the same with a carnero (mutton)

I've had some private emails and I may have the usage sorted out. Oveja means the female sheep thus the Queso de Oveja. Cordera DOES mean lamb but borrego can mean lamb too as well as sheep. Thanks to everyone who has responded. Now I just need to find some sentences to use in conversation with my Spanish speaking friends to show off my new vocabulary.