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by Jeremy Butterfield.In finding out Spanish, native origins.2 comments on The rain in Spain stays greatly on the … ; What does it mean? La llluvia en Sevilla es unamaravilla


Everyone to know the speak “the rain in Spain…”, but where does the come from and also what does the mean?

Let’s get one thing straight, first: the exact original wording that this expression that has taken source so strongly in English. Is it:


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I had constantly assumed the it come from the 1964 film of the music My same Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and also Rex Harrison (or “Sexy Rexy”, as my mother and other dedicated fans supplied to contact him).

You are watching: The rain in spain stays mainly in the plain is an example of

It is, that seems, several decades older: it an initial appeared in the 1938 film variation of George boy name Shaw’s Pygmalion. The play was notorious for the expression “Not bloody likely”, the very first use of the b***** indigenous on the British stage (how times have actually changed!), and also the film kept it, thereby becoming the very first film in which it appeared. The film spawned a stage play (1956) which begat My fair Lady (1964).

It has, that course, no connection with the realities that Spanish hydrology. Instead, that is one elocution practice – one that even today part pronunciation Nazis might approve of. Gift a nineteenth-century cockney, Eliza Doolittle, the heroine the both play and musical, habitually make rain sound favor the river Rhine, and thus, through not utilizing the standard or reputation pronunciation, immediately identified herself together socially suspect. “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” was the remedial drill implemented on she by she mentor, Professor Higgins – or, as she would contact him, ’Iggins.

Generally misquoted

It’s interesting that most people in the small sample I’ve gained from the vote on this blog, and from Twitter, think of the phrase as “The rain in Spanish falls largely on the plain.” The readjust is logical. What does rain usually do? it falls. And where does that fall? top top (or onto) something. The alters to the original show speakers amending it come fit their knowledge of English. In the way, they are rather prefer eggcorns.

The outcomes for the vote above, together of 18 October, 2016, are:

…falls mostly on the level 47%…stays mainly in the level 28%…falls mainly on the airplane (!) 14%…stays mainly on the level 11%

This earwormy phrase has actually been translated into languages together disparate as Estonian, Icelandic, and Farsi, and also many rather besides. Translating the English word because that word into another language has actually scant chance of producing anything remotely catchy, so each language renders use that its own rhythmic and also rhyming resources.

Thus, the Danish version translates ago into English together “A snail ~ above the roadway is a sign of rain in Spain”, the Italian as “The frog in Spain croaks in the country”, while the Portuguese fully removes any type of mention that Spain: “Behind the train, the troops come trotting.” 1. (Even native the English, you can see that words beginning with tr room what holds the together.)

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Spanish has actually played v it in at least three versions, 2 of which encompass the word because that “rain”. What is it?

1 “La lluvia en Sevilla es una pura maravilla.”

2 “El juez jugó en Jerez al ajedrez.”

3 “La lluvia en España bellos valles baña.”

Versions 1 and 3, rhyme, together you’ll hear if you say them out loud. They additionally contain the twin ll, i m sorry is nowadays generally pronounced similarly to the English y that yes, or, in some parts of Latin America, a little like the j of judge.

So, rewriting the native with twin ll in 1) to display their pronunciation offers us something an extremely approximately favor yoovia, seviya, and also maraviya.

Verson 2 is a bit of a tongue-twister (un trabalenguas) because that those whose mother tongue isn’t Spanish. It equates as “The referee played chess in Jerez”, Jerez being, incidentally, the city that gave English the word sherry.

Version 3 (“The rain in Spain bathes beautiful valleys”) consists of the indigenous bello. Unlike its Italian cousin bello, i m sorry is frequently used in daily language, Spanish bello is rather more refined and also literary. The everyday words to say that something is beautiful are hermoso or precioso, or lindo, in Latin Ameri ca. 

La lluvia en Sevilla es una pura maravilla” has come to be so famed in Spanish, that people often think it source in Spanish. Apparently, that is regularly simplified by leaving the end the adjective pura, to provide two present of equal size (7 syllables), matching to the Spanish verse type known together copla: La lluvia en Sevilla | Es una maravilla. The Seville edition of the nationwide newspaper ABC even offers the full history of the word

Here’s the dubbed (doblado) right into Spanish variation of the initial English film. It offers the “La lluvia en Sevilla es una pura maravilla” version. If you’d choose to test your comprehension, the diction is perfect. The original English-language variation is at the end of the blog.

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So, wherein does the real rain in Spain fall? as Andrew Eames memorably put it: “The rain in Spain no really autumn upon the plain at all; top top the contrary, the favours the country’s rocky, steep northwestern corner, wherein Iberia headbutts the Atlantic. Galicia, in fact.”2

1Dansk: En snegl på vejen er tegn på regn i Spanien

italiano La rana in Spagna gracida in campagna

português Atrás perform trem together tropas vêm trotando

2Something different for the Weekend, p. 143: Bradt take trip Guides, Chalfont St Peter, England.