LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||10/SET/2010 4:28 AM|
|Assunto:||One is UP and UP...|
Almost every day I hear a joke about a misunderstanding between speakers from different Spanish speaking countries. In Mexico a milpa is a cornfield, elsewhere it's a maizal. In some countries an ear of corn is an elote, in others it is a choclo. In many countries an avocado is a aguacate, but in others it''s a palta. In many countries a rumba is a dance, in Colombia it's a party.
Speaking of Colombia, I was in a Colombian restaurant a few weeks ago. The owner was from Ginebra but knew Cali quite well. I asked the waitress for pericos (literally, "parakeets"). She thought I meant coffee because pericos is slang from Bogota for a type of coffee. However, the owner understood perfectly that I was asking for scrambled eggs, because in Cali the expression pericos means just that. The pericos were quite good, by the way.
A chiva (goat) in Costa Rica is a kept man, a man supported by a women or women, possibly a pimp. In Panama and Colombia, a chiva is a type of bus usually seen in the country. In the city, often the seats are removed so that people can go through town drinking and dancing. Yes, dancing. (I have heard this kind of bus called tropical in Mexico.) In other countries, a chiva is a goatee (a "cavanhaque", like the one I have). In Costa Rica, if chiva is used as an adjective, it means "cool, fantastic, great". In Panama, the hotel clerk asked if I had been bothered by the "pescadoras". Women who are fishing? No, it turned out to be local slang for "women of the night". In many countries a coco is a coconut. In Central America there are two words for coconut: the "coco" is the inner hard shell, and the "pipa" is the coconut as it is found in a tree before it is prepared for eating or market. In other words, a "pipa" is the entire coconut. A man told me that he jokingly told some Mexican friends of his Nicaraguan wife that she was "pinche". In Nicaragua, it means she is stingy. In Mexico it means "damn, worthless, etc." I won't use the words in Spanish, but I heard of a Colombian woman who suggested to her husband and his Ecuadorian friend that they buy a 12-pack of beer while the women went shopping. The Ecuadorian couple understood the expression to mean "Why don't you two go have an orgy?"
And I could go on and on and on...
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