I have now published the new site FAQ, including @SergioCinos's translation to Spanish. Thank you to everyone who helped shape the FAQ.

Below is the proposed site-specific FAQ (largely and shamelessly plagiarized from the FAQs of English L&U and French L&U). Please offer suggestions for improvement, before we publish this as the official FAQ.

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Spanish Language and Usage - Stack Exchange is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) Spanish-language enthusiasts. Questions on the following topics are welcome here:

  • Linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
  • Orthography (spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization)
  • Etymology (history of words’ development)
  • Dialect differences
  • Usage, word choice, grammar, and pronunciation
  • Problems encountered by people learning Spanish

But please, don’t ask any questions about these topics. They are out of scope for this site.

  • Please proofread my document ("are there any mistakes in this text?")
  • Languages other than Spanish (including translation)
  • How to improve my Spanish
  • Criticism, discussion, and analysis of Spanish literature
  • Peeving about grammar disguised as a question
  • "Explain this joke to me", except in the case where the crux of the joke relies on an aspect of Spanish covered by one of the welcomed topics above
  • "List" questions, where every answer is equally valid
  • Questions of culture that don't directly relate to the Spanish language

Should I post in Spanish or English?

Both languages are accepted. If you are learning Spanish, we suggest that you learn by doing, and ask in Spanish, but there is no obligation. When answering a question, we encourage you to answer in the language of the question, if you are able. Don't worry about making a few mistakes, other community members can help with corrections if you are not as strong in that language.

All tags should be in English, except when there is no English equivalent for a concept, then Spanish is accepted.

A living community

This site, and by extension, this FAQ, is a work-in-progress, and is likely to change over time. If you feel that some guideline mentioned here needs revisiting, or that some topic ought to be covered, please participate in the Meta site, and ask a question about your area of concern. This FAQ is intended to represent the opinions of an active community, not an arbitrary list of rules that are set in stone. As the community grows and changes, these guidelines ought to change to reflect the needs and desires of the community--and that includes you!

4 Answers 4


Not an answer, just providing the Spanish translation:

¿Qué tipo de preguntas puedo hacer aquí?

Spanish Language and Usage - Stack Exchange es para lingüistas, etimologistas y entusiastas (serios) del idioma español. Las preguntas sobre los siguientes asuntos son bienvenidas:

  • Lingüística (fonética, fonología, morfología, sintaxis, semántica, pragmática)

  • Ortografía (acentos, puntuación, guiones, mayúsculas)

  • Etimología (historia del desarrollo de las palabras)

  • Diferencias dialécticas

  • Usos, elección de palabras, gramática y pronunciación

  • Problemas encontrados por la gente que está aprendiendo español

Pero por favor, no hagas pregunta sobre los siguientes asuntos. Están fuera del ámbito de este sitio.

  • Por favor, corrige mi documento ("¿hay algún error en este texto?")

  • Otros idiomas diferentes del español (incluyendo traducciones)

  • Como mejorar mi español

  • Crítica, discusión o análisis de literatura española

  • Quejas sobre la gramática disfrazadas de preguntas

  • "Explicadme este chiste", excepto en el caso donde el punto esencial del chiste se basa en un aspecto del español cubierto en uno de los asuntos válidos indicados anteriormente.

  • Preguntas sobre "listas", donde cada respuesta es igualmente válida

  • Preguntas sobre la cultura que no se relacionan directamente con el idioma español

¿Debería escribir en español o en inglés?

Los dos idiomas son aceptados. Si estás aprendiendo español, te sugerimos que practiques y preguntes en español, pero no es una obligación. Cuando respondas a una pregunta, te animamos a que respondas en el idioma de la pregunta, si eres capaz. No te preocupes si cometes algunos pequeños errores, otros miembros de la comunidad pueden ayudar con correcciones si no dominas tanto ese idioma.

Todos los 'tags' deben estar en inglés, excepto cuando no hay un equivalente en inglés para ese concepto, entonces el español es aceptable.

Una comunidad viva

Este sitio, y por extensión, este FAQ, es un trabajo en curso, y es probable que cambie con el tiempo. Si crees que alguna directriz mencionada aquí necesita revisión, o que algún asunto debería ser tratado, por favor participa en el Meta sitio, y haz una pregunta sobre tu preocupación. Este FAQ pretende representar las opiniones de una comunidad activa, no una lista arbitraria de reglas escritas en piedra. Según esta comunidad vaya creciendo y cambiando, estas directrices deberían cambiar para reflejar las necesidades y deseos de la comunidad -- y eso te incluye a ti!

Some sentences/concepts/words have been complex to translate, and I'm not very sure about my own translation, so please, feel free to suggest any improvement, ask any question about the translation or correct the errors.

  • Thank you for the translation!
    – Flimzy
    Mar 9, 2012 at 6:05

I think it works. Maybe just a couple of mentions:

  1. The first one, that we can probably group in a "larger" category, which is the "tell me what is this audio about" kind of question.

    Do we want to allow it? Forbid it? If not totally, at what conditions?

  2. Another one is the "translation of/equivalent of..." types of questions. I don't think we should allow any. As I said in the past, put a simple condition: show research effort.

    If effort is shown, even the simplest of questions can be challenging.

I think I don't have other things to add for now... :)

  • 1
    I think #1 is essentially a translation question. I think perhaps #2 ought to be allowed for idiomatic expressions that don't have a direct translation.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 2, 2012 at 6:18

Two thoughts:

  • Since this is geared to be an expert-level site, maybe we should be more careful about the technical terms used in the examples of what make good questions. Rather than describing pronunciation as consisting of phonetics, phonology, and dialectology, I'd suggest a more general linguistics bullet like:

    • Linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics)

    And instead of "spelling and punctuation," maybe it should be:

    • Orthography (spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization)
  • The "list questions" bullet could use a little more explanation for people not familiar with the SE network (probably using the word "subjective"). Isn't there already a blurb on this somewhere in the close reasons or the generic FAQ?

  • "List" questions and "subjective" questions are two unrelated categories of questions. They often overlap, but are fundamentally quite different. "What's your favorite X?" is both, but "What online Spanish courses exist?" is a list question, but is not subjective. Also, "subjective" is covered in the standard FAQ. Do you think it needs more attention in our site-specific portion?
    – Flimzy
    Mar 2, 2012 at 6:17
  • I have updated the question with your other suggestions, with the addition of the word "pronunciation" in the Linguistics list. I know it's technically redundant, but non-Linguistic experts may understand that term better..?
    – Flimzy
    Mar 2, 2012 at 6:20
  • @Flimzy: I see what you're saying about list questions. I just think "where every answer is equally valid" isn't the best description of them (I've seen non-list questions where every answer is equally valid, but each is from the perspective of a different Spanish-speaking region, for example).
    – jrdioko
    Mar 2, 2012 at 17:17
  • @Flimzy: I agree pronunciation should be in the list, but probably not under "Linguistics." Maybe it could be added to the first bullet (Usage, word choice, grammar, and pronunciation)?
    – jrdioko
    Mar 2, 2012 at 17:22

Another thought:

While we are happy to answer good questions asked by someone having trouble understanding the basics in a Spanish 1 class, my understanding is that we want our goal to be more expert-level questions. So maybe it would be helpful to reorder the appropriate parts of the FAQ. For example, should:

students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language

be replaced with:

linguists, teachers, and students wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language

Compare EL&U's, which has no mention of students at all (and maybe should be the direction we go?):

The English Language and Usage Stack Exchange is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts.

And maybe the more "technical" items should be at the top and the less technical ones at the bottom, to keep the priority clear. Something like:

  • Orthography (spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization)
  • Linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
  • Etymology (history of words’ development)
  • Dialect differences
  • Usage, word choice, grammar, and pronunciation
  • Problems encountered by people learning Spanish
  • Thanks for the suggestions. Proposal updated.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 2, 2012 at 21:35
  • 1
    In my opinion, hyphenation is a bit out way here, has it is very uncommon in the Spanish language. Also, I'd add 'accentuation' to the Orthography sublist. Mar 7, 2012 at 7:56
  • @SergioCinos: Good point, agreed. I was thinking in terms of English orthography.
    – jrdioko
    Mar 7, 2012 at 16:56

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