Masticar vs. Mascar
In this blog post, I will teach you how to say to chew in Spanish while learning how to avoid a common blunder.
This evening I was online visiting a forum for English-speakers learning Spanish/Spanish speakers learning English.
And someone posted a question that reminded me of a mistake that I made when I first moved to Colombia. At the time, I was still living in a coastal city of Colombia called Barranquilla. By the way, if you ever plan to visit Colombia in the month of February, you may want to visit Barranquilla for “La Carnaval de Barranquilla.” Here’s a picture from “La Carnaval de Barranquilla.”
How To Say To Chew In Spanish
One day in Barranquilla, I was speaking to a “costeño” – the people from the Colombian cities Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena are referred to as “costeños” – which means “someone from the coast.”
I don’t remember the exact phrase that I made but it involved the Spanish verb “mascar” (to chew). For example:
El bebé está mascando el trozo de carne antes de tragarlo. (The baby is chewing the piece of meat before swallowing it).
My Colombian friend corrected my Spanish and told me that although the verb “mascar” means “to chew,” it is not the best verb to use to describe the act of someone grinding or crushing food with their teeth. And that I should have used the verb “masticar” instead of the verb “mascar.”
The verb “mascar” is best used to describe chewing that is NOT the chewing of food and that involves the chewing of something that is not intended to be swallowed. For example, “mascar chicle” or “mascar tabaco” (chewing gum or chewing tobacco).
So unless the baby was chewing tobacco instead of a piece of meat, I should have used the verb “masticar” instead of “mascar.”
El bebé está masticando el trozo de carne antes de tragarlo. (The baby is chewing the piece of meat before swallowing it).