Mira que tiene cosa...

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by makemelaf247, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. makemelaf247 New Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    USA English
    I had a question about this phrase, Mira que tiene cosa...

    In I Love Lucy, whenever Ricky gets mad and runs of in spanish, he ALWAYS starts his ranting with "Mira que tiene cosa blah blah blah..." And the blah blah blah usually is always his explanation of the situation that is making him angry.

    Translating this phrase into English isn't working for me so can someone explain to me what he's trying to communicate or express when he's upset.

    Thanks so much ;)
  2. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    That's hard to translate in isolation.
    I would venture: "Would/can you believe it? (The guys in the band want longer cigarette breaks between sets....)
  3. aurehen Senior Member

    Hello Makemela, I speak Spanish and the expression doesn't make much sense to me, could you tell us where the movie is from? I'm from Mexico and it's a little difficult to understand for me. I'd say that's slang.
  4. errefg

    errefg Senior Member

    Connecticut, USA
    Spanish - Spain
    It's a very colloquial expression meaning that the situation is too much to take, it went beyond the normal. A literal translation is not helpful; the mira que phrase calls attention to the scene.

    Similar expressions would be Mira que tiene inri or Esto es el colmo.
  5. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Desi Arnaz was Cuban. The series was American, but Desi ("Ricky Ricardo") would break into Spanish when excited, as makemelaf notes above.
  6. Magazine Senior Member

    Quite so, in Spain too.;) Makes perfect sense though.

    It always refers to a previous scene, so we might say

    Look what he just said! Look what just happened!

    Now, this is really something!
  7. cristina 2008 Member

    in my opinion tha's a local expression, may be very common in Madrid and surrounding. I believe that a literal translation wont help you. the suggestion of Aztlaniano is the best for me: can you believe it?
  8. Virgo1956 New Member

    English - American
    I'm a professional translator & the whole idea of "quality" translating is to not translate literally from 1 language to the next but to use the best "equivalent" in the receiver language, especially with colloquial phrases where word-for-word or exact translations are rarely possible.
    While yes, the "idea" behind Ricky Ricardo's phrase may be "Can you believe this?!!", the more "natural" equivalent in [American] English would be as follows:

    RICKY: "¡Mira que tiene cosa la mujer esta!"
    ENGLISH: "How do you LIKE this woman!!!" (expressing both incredulity & exasperation)

    Or the following: when in Hollywood, Ricky discovers that Lucy, Ethel & Fred have stolen John Wayne's footprints from Grauman's Chinese Theater & have hidden them under the Mertz' hotel room bed:

    RICKY: "¡¡¡Mira que tiene cose de ir al frente de Grauman's Chinese Theater y robarse los footprints de John Wayne!!!"
    ENGLISH: "How do you like THAT!!! Going to the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater & stealing John Wayne's footprints!!!"

    You get the idea.

    These translations say nothing about "can you believe it?" yet that feeling is certainly conveyed in the "very natural" & quite common American English expression of "How do you like THAT!!"

    Meanwhile, Ricky Ricardo is Cuban, so this is a very common colloquial expression from Cuba. In other Spanish-speaking countries, while no doubt this phrase would for the most part be generally understood, there may be other phrases specific to each of those countries that's more "natural" to them & would be heard more frequently than Ricky's "Mira que tiene cosa...". Which would explain why the native Mexican speaker responded that he/she didn't understand this phrase.

    Hope this helps.
  9. Conaty Girl of 1956 New Member


    Virgo1956, you are awesome!! I passed this explanation to a friend who, about 35-years-ago or more, asked me what it meant! Because of your post, we both understand the expression. I kinda felt that it means to say something like: Will you look at that?... that being the incredible action of another. But, straight out translation or better meaning for the trite expression: Mira que tiene cosa... was not in my vocabulary or list of saying in my Spanish "repetoire".

    Speaking of a Spanish expression for "Will you look at that"..... does, "Pero mira lo mas?".... does this loosely translate or mean.... "But, will you look at that!!!??" Or, meaning ... that one should observe another outrageous or bad behavior? I love expressions... and, many Mexican expression in Spanish, are doozies....LOL (My grandparents ... both sets, migrated to the US way before the Great Depression; my parents and their sibs are all American of Mexican ancestry..... with some bits of French (Cotê, later changed to Cota ), Russian (Fuchs... which means fox in German. Then later Fuchs changed to Fox or Foss)..... what a mess).

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