I’ve just watched the Disney film “Encanto” and there was plenty of Spanish in it

I’ve just watched the Disney film “Encanto”, and there was plenty of Spanish in it, so I thought I’d write a quick article about how we can use any bit of Spanish we find to improve our language skills.

What is “Encanto” about?

The film is about a family who live in a magical house, but then the house starts to lose its magical abilities, and it’s up to Mirabel to figure out why.


The word “encanto” has quite a few different translations. It can mean:

a spell / charm / beauty / attractiveness / loveliness

Have a look at it on WordReference: encanto

I love it

But there is also a verb, “encantar”. If you’ve learnt any Spanish before, you might have seen the phrase, “me gusta”. Well, “encantar” is used a lot like that.

me encantaI love / I love it

You can put any verb on the end of “me encanta” to say what it is you love doing:

me encanta cantarI love singing
me encanta hablar español I love speaking Spanish
me encanta viajarI love travelling

You can also put any noun on the end of “me encanta”, but there is one thing to remember. Sometimes, it’s useful to look at the literal meaning of phrases in order to understand how they work grammatically. If you look at “me encanta” literally, you’ll see it means “it makes me happy”, so when you put a verb on the end, you get:

me encanta cantar I love singing (it makes me happy to sing)
me encanta viajar I love travelling (it makes me happy to travel)

If you put a noun on the end of “me encanta”, it means “noun makes me happy”

me encanta el queso I love cheese (cheese makes me happy)
me encanta esta película I love this film (this film makes me happy)
me encanta el vinoI love wine (wine makes me happy)

But if you put a plural noun on the end of “me encanta”, you’d get something like “me encanta los perros”, which would literally mean, “dogs makes me happy”. This isn’t grammatically correct, since you would say in English, “dogs make me happy”. So, you have to use the plural version of “me encanta” when you’re using a plural noun: me encantan.

me encantan los perrosI love dogs (dogs make me happy)
me encantan las vistas I love the views (the views make me happy)
me encantan mis botas nuevas I love my new boots

The same thing goes with “me gusta”. This phrase means “I like”, or literally, “it pleases me”. You can put any verb on the end of “me gusta” or any singular noun. Just like with me encanta/me encantan, you have to use “me gustan” if you’re using a plural noun:

me gusta cantar I like singing
me gusta hablar español I like speaking Spanish
me gusta viajar I like travelling
me gusta el queso I like cheese
me gusta esta película I like this film
me gusta el vinoI like wine
me gustan los perros I like dogs
me gustan las vistas I like the views
me gustan mis botas nuevas I like my new boots

You can change the word “me” in “me encanta(n)” and “me gusta(n)” to say “you like” and “he likes” etc…

I’ll conjugate “me encanta”, but you can do the same with “me gusta”.

me encantaI love
te encanta you love
le encantahe loves / she loves / you love
nos encantawe love
os encanta you love
les encantathey love / you love

¿Qué te gusta hacer?What do you like doing?
le gusta ir de compras he/she likes shopping
nos gusta el vino we like wine
nos encantan los gatoswe love cats
les encanta leer they love reading
no les gustan los perrosthey don’t like dogs

La Familia Madrigal

The main family in “Encanto” are called “La Familia Madrigal”, and the matriarch is the “abuela” called “Alma”. The word “abuela” means “grandmother” in Spanish, and she lives with her enormous family in a magical house.

Here’s a family tree of La Familia Madrigal:

So, “abuela” means “grandmother” and “abuelo” means “grandfather”. You’ll see that a lot in Spanish: the words for female family members end in an “a”, whilst the words for male family members are the same, but they end in an “o” instead.

abuela grandmother
abuelo grandfather

tía aunty
tío uncle

prima cousin (female)
primo cousin (male)

sobrina niece
sobrino nephew

hermana sister
hermano brother

hija daughter
hijo son

esposa wife
esposo husband

The only odd ones out are the words for mother and father:

madre mother
padre father

La Casita

Another huge part of the family in the film Encanto is the magical house. The word for “house” in Spanish is “casa”, but you’ll hear the characters call their house “casita” a lot. Whenever you see the suffixes -ito and -ita on the end of a noun in Spanish, it means a smaller version of it.

un perroa dog
un perrito a little dog

un gatoa cat
un gatito a kitten

un poco a bit
un poquitoa little bit

mujer lady
mujercita young lady

hombre man
hombrecito young man

So, when they say “casita”, they really mean “little house”. However, there is another reason Spanish people put “ito” or “ita” on the end of words: they can be terms of endearment.

You’ll hear this a lot in Spanish, especially with names. Even in the film Encanto, they add “ito” to the end of some of the names. One character called “Bruno” is called “Brunito” a few times. Another character called “Antonio”’s name is shortened to “Toñito”. And another name for “dad” is “papá”, and a couple of times, the main character in Encanto calls her dad “papito”, which means “daddy”.

They use a lot of terms of endearment throughout the film. Have a look at some of these:

mi corazón my heart
mi vida my life
mi amor my love

All of those words are some common terms of endearment in Spanish, but there are lots more.

Mi alma — my soul

This one is a very strong word, and it’s really reserved for very significant partners

Mijo / Mija — my son / my daughter

These two words are shortened versions of “mi hijo” and “mi hija”, which mean “my son” and “my daughter”. You can make them even more endearing by saying, “mijito” and “mijita”. All of these words are used a lot by parents.

Mi cielito — my little sky

This word is usually reserved for children, but it can be used between lovers occasionally, too.

Tío / Tía — uncle / aunty

A literal translation of “tío” is “uncle”, and “tía” is “aunty”, but you’ll also hear them used as terms of endearments between friends, especially in Spain. They’re sort of like the equivalents of the English words “mate” or “buddy” or “pal”.

Dos Oruguitas — Two little caterpillars

Another word used in this film, which is a diminutive term, is “oruguita”, which means “little caterpillar”.

una oruga a caterpillar
una oruguita a little caterpillar

This word is used towards the end of the film in a beautiful song called, “Dos Oruguitas”, which means “Two Little Caterpillars”. It’s a very beautiful song, and it’s completely sung in Spanish. Let’s have a look at just the first verse:

Dos oruguitas enamoradas
Pasan sus noches y madrugadas
Llenas de hambre
Siguen andando y navegando un mundo
Que cambia y sigue cambiando

dos oruguitas enamoradastwo little caterpillars who are in love

The adjective “enamorado” means “in love” or “enamoured”

pasan sus noches y madrugadas spend their nights and early mornings

In Spanish, the “madrugada” is the early morning, or “the wee hours of the morning”. There is a verb, “madrugar”, which means “to get up early”.

Me voy a la cama porque mañana tengo que madrugar I’m going to bed because tomorrow I have to get up early

So, we have “two little caterpillars who are in love spend their nights and early mornings…

llenas de hambre full of hunger

The adjective “lleno” means “full” in most senses of the word (it’s “llenas” in this song, because it’s describing “dos oruguitas”, which are feminine plural):

estoy lleno de entusiasmoI’m full of enthusiasm
la caja está llena the box is full
estoy lleno y no puedo comer postre I’m full and I can’t eat dessert

There’s also a verb, “llenar”, which means, “to fill up”.

ella llenó la casa de felicidad she filled the house with happiness
¿puedo llenar mi botella de agua?can I fill up my bottle with water?

Two little caterpillars who are in love spend their nights and early mornings full of hunger

siguen andando y navegando un mundo they keep going and navigating a world

The verb “seguir” means “to follow”, but it can also mean “to keep” as in “to keep doing something”.

el perro me sigue por todas partes the dog is following me everywhere

When you want to use it to mean “to keeping -ing”, you have to put the next verb in the gerund (that’s the verb form that ends in -ando or -iendo)

seguió corriendohe kept running / he kept on running
debes seguir aprendiendo you must keep learning
sigo pensando en mi familiaI keep thinking about my family

Two little caterpillars who are in love spend their nights and early mornings full of hunger, they keep going and navigating a world…

que cambia y sigue cambiandothat changes and keeps changing

The last line uses the verb “cambiar” in the present tense to say that the world changes, but then it uses the “seguir + gerund” construction to say that it keeps changing.

So, that was just a few things that we can learn in Spanish from the film “Encanto”. Hopefully, you’ve seen how we can turn anything into a Spanish-learning moment!

Gracias :-)


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.