composition notebook

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by cipa, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. cipa New Member

    Queens, New York
    USA (English and Spanish)
    I am a teacher and each year ask parents to purchase for their children 4 "composition notebooks". The letter is provided in both languages however, the only words I know for notebook are "cuaderno", "carpeta" or "mascota". For some reason this confuses parents but I know no other words for notebook and I really don't know a word for "composition notebook." Can anyone help translate "composition notebook" and maybe even provide other terms for notebook that might be used in Mexico, Ecuador or Peru--which is where most of the parents of my students come from?
  2. fsabroso

    fsabroso Moderadiólogo

    South Texas
    Perú / Castellano

    If those notebook are to write text like an essay we, Peruvians, call it "cuadernos para composición".

  3. zumac Senior Member

    Mexico City
    USA: English & Spanish
    Hi Cipa, welcome to the forum.

    Fsabroso's suggestion is good, but I would recommend just saying "cuaderno".

    The "carpeta" is the equivalent of a three-ring binder, so you don't want that.

    The "machote" I've never heard used in the sense of a notebook, at least here in Mexico.

    I would suggest also that you specify whether you want the notebooks ruled or plain (rayado o sin rayas).

    Strange, but the typical black and white composition notebooks used in the States, are not available here.

    P.S, I'm from NYC, and spent several years of my youth in Jackson Heights (Queens).

  4. scotu Senior Member

    Paradise: LaX.Nay.Mex.
    Chicago English
    Welcome to the forum,

    In Mexico we call the notebooks that are used for this purpose libretas
  5. zumac Senior Member

    Mexico City
    USA: English & Spanish
    Yes. but "libretas" come in different sizes, and some are with soft covers.

    In Mexico, you would describe the required notebooks as
    "cuadernos cosidos, de pasta dura."

  6. scotu Senior Member

    Paradise: LaX.Nay.Mex.
    Chicago English
    Yes liberetas or cuadernos are not composition books but they are what the students in rural Mexico use; because composition books are not generally available and no one in the papeleria knows what a cuaderno cosido, de pasta dura is. ( I just checked with the two papelerias in town)

    cipa; libereta and cuaderno are synonyms, carpeta = folder, but I'm confused with the word mascota in this context.

    saludos, scotu
  7. cipa New Member

    Queens, New York
    USA (English and Spanish)
    Thanks, you've all been very helpful. Thanks for going out of your way to find out this info. I think that is the issue I'm having, these type of notebooks are not used in many of the countries that many of my students originate from. Also, there are so many words in English that cannot be simply translated by literal meaning, you have to understand the context.

    Scotu, to answer your question, the word mascota is used in Dominican Republic--I know the word because this is where my family is from. I thought it was odd also but no one seems to know its origin in this context either since it's just been used forever.

    I decided I would simply use the word "cuaderno" and include a picture in the letter. This way no one will be confused.

    Thanks again all!
  8. Wuasaby Member

    London, UK
    Spanish (Chile)
    We say 'cuaderno de tomar notas' in Chile.
  9. zumac Senior Member

    Mexico City
    USA: English & Spanish
    One final thought. Since the notebook that you want is to be described in a letter, and as you said:
    "these type of notebooks are not used in many of the countries that many of my students originate from."

    Then you couldn't possibly describe the notebooks in the local terms used in all these countries. Besides, they will be buying the notebooks in the NYC area, and not in their particular country.

    Therefore, I suggest your Spanish letter contain the following description:

    Favor de conseguir un cuaderno que en las tiendas se llama "Composition Notebook" o "Marble Notebook". Pedirlas de esta manera.

  10. gjaab Senior Member

    ¿Podría ser "cuaderno espiral" o es esta cosa que describes algo diferente? Yo creía que un "composition notebook" en inglés fue igual a un "spiral notebook."
  11. Wisconsinite Senior Member

    English United States
    Definativamente no puede ser un cuaderno espiral (spiral notebook) porque es cosido y por lo tanto no tiene espiral. composition notebook.jpg
  12. Wisconsinite Senior Member

    English United States
    On my school supply list, I call it "libreta de composición." It's a term that seems to be unique to the United States, and I think that captures the idea pretty well.

    Also, I always print school supply lists in both languages (front to back) so that families can know what the item is in Spanish, and also refer to the English to help them locate items in the store (where the items will be in English, not Spanish). Also, older kids who help their parents buy school supplies might be more familiar with the English terms than the Spanish. Lots of kids growing up in the United States have no idea what plumones lavables or notas adhesivas are.

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