Today’s word . . . wish . . . -n’t know. Sad to say . . . lately been . . . a lot. Which . . . -lievably frustr- . . . Grrr! I mean . . . happy to learn . . . one Spanish word I . . . without.

Wait, what? Breaking up? . . . and out? That’s weir- . . . -thing is fine . . . end. Here, why don’t . . . Spanish?

Hoy quiero . . . palabra . . . ya quisiera yo . . . Últimamente, todo el . . . esta palabra . . . celular . . . señal . . . pésima . . . mi apartamento. Oye, ¿ahora . . . escuchas? ¡¿Que no?! . . . digas. Qué . . . cabeza . . . Dios.

So, now you know what my cell phone conversations have felt like ever since I moved into my new apartment a few months ago. It’s like they’re being censored. The signal is terrible, and it’s really the pits. For the people on the other end, that is. I hear them just dandy, but they hear me in dribs and drabs. There I am just chatting away, pouring my little heart out, when they have to break in with that ghastly, dreadful word: Qué pena, pero te escucho entrecortada. Oh, how I’ve grown to despise entrecortado! A horrid, gut-wrenching word that I’d just soon as not know. And you all know how obsessive I am about Spanish. As soon as I hear entrecortado, though, I have to do this frenzied dance where I run back and forth between the apartment’s windows, jiggling the phone, squinting at the bars on the screen, and once again kicking myself for not having devised some solution to this problem. If I need to put rabbit ears on my phone, rabbit ears it will be. If I need to stand on my head while taking calls, sign me right up. Anything to not hear that word of doom again. But for the sake of a little education, I’m bucking up and sharing it here, as unpalatable as it may be for me. I’ve had it up to here with entrecortado, and I’d be pleased as punch if you guys could take him off my hands for a little while.

Entrecortado/a (on the phone): breaking up, going in and out, cutting out

In other contexts, it can be translated as intermittent, faltering, choppy, or jerky. Think of cortar (to cut), and entre (between)–like someone with a chef’s knife and a cutting board that keeps chopping, chop-chop-chop, right in the middle of your call. It’s enough to make you want to claw your eyes out. The only silver lining I can find to the whole thing is that I’m now solid on how to say this in Spanish, and now you are, too. Don’t let my bad calls be in vain!

No sé si sea la señal o qué, pero se escucha muy entrecortado.

I don’t know if it’s the signal or what, but the call keeps going in and out.

¿Puedes repetir lo último que dijiste? Es que está un poco entrecortado.

Can you repeat the last thing you said? It’s been breaking up a little.

Te escucho como entrecortada, debe ser porque voy por la calle.

It keeps cutting out, probably because I’m on the street.

Being the bigger person (though obviously childishly insisting on getting the last word), I will say one thing in its defense, and it’s this: it is rather elegant and concise that Spanish can express this idea with just one word. Whereas we need a whole phrase to do so in English. Oh, entrecortado. I guess you and I won’t be breaking up anytime soon, after all.

4 responses to “Ent…cor…do

  1. Very useful, although I’ve always used and heard “te escucho cortado”. It’s nice to have another option.


  2. That reminds me of the “can you hear me now?” commercial. You forgot to mention the famous aló, aló :)


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