The great oído/oreja controversy!

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by blabby, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. blabby New Member

    English, USA
    I am a bit stumped. I finally carefully surveyed several of my clients last week because I have been told several things about this issue. Five people told me that, yes indeed, "oreja" was the word for the ear of an animal and "oído" was the word for the ear of a human. However, two people told me that this was not correct. They said that the oído was basically the inner part of the ear and that the oreja was the outer part. They said that animal vs human had nothing to do with this oreja/oído thing. My son said the latter also. He is studying Spanish in grad school but his Spanish is really Spain Spanish. One of my clients who had the latter position told me timidly that probably the people who claimed the animal/human distinction were not very well educated. The clients that I am mentioning are all from Mexico. I don't know if there could be regional differences within Mexico related to this issue. I would really like to feel some certainty about this since I am always yapping to little children about this body part.
  2. AmethystSW

    AmethystSW Senior Member

    English, USA
    I have also been taught that "oreja" is the outer ear and "oído" is the inner. I have used the word "oreja" with friends from Mexico and wasn't told that it wasn't supposed to be used for humans. Also, here is the link to the page in our dictionary for "ear". I hope that gives you the reassurance you need.
  3. Tape2Tape

    Tape2Tape Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    British English, Spain
    In Spain one of our most successful pop groups of recent years is La Oreja de Van Gogh.

    And although old Vincent could be a bit of an animal at times I reckon he was human after all. Then again, he did cut off the outer part!

    I always thought oído was the sense of hearing as in duro de oído.. but of course there are always the differences between Latin American Spanish and castellano peninsular!!
  4. Tape2Tape

    Tape2Tape Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    British English, Spain
    Also, a popular delicacy of pigs' ear (which no British friends visiting will ever touch) is called oreja so - in Spain at least -that rubbishes the animal/human theory!!
  5. blabby New Member

    English, USA
    I have looked at that dictionary stuff but it didn't really wrap this up for me. For example, it had oído and orejas as syns in one part. And, it had as one of the definitions for each, the very same thing--"Órgano de la audición." So, I don't know if this is clearly more consistent with the animal vs person version or the inner vs outer idea.
  6. vickysad Senior Member

    I've just read the following:

    Oído: organ for hearing. Humans and animals have two of them, on each side of the head. It has three sections:

    1. (outer ear) oído externo u oreja
    2. (mediun ear) oído medio o caja del tímpano (eardrum)
    3. (inner ear) oído interno o laberinto (labyrinth)

    No more doubts concerning oido/oreja!
  7. Tape2Tape

    Tape2Tape Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    British English, Spain
    I'd go with the inner / outer.. tengo los oídos entaponados (¿?) ..

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