Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spanglish



I love Spanglish.

I’m glad many of my friends are bilingual so slipping from one language into the other, often in mid sentence, is no problem. I admit that picking the first word that comes to mind no matter the language, does tend to make you a bit lazy. At the same time, you also tend to pick the words that best describe what you want to express, so effective it is. I also love the English words that have “contaminated” proper Honduran Spanish (if such thing exists) and that have started living a life of their own. Cheque, for example. No Copaneco can come by without using that word at least once an hour. I guess it comes from the English word check (as in “done”), but here it means something like “okay”, and is often followed by leque. Cheque leque. I’m serious!

Another favourite of mine is wachimón (watchman or guard). Tools and car parts have terrific “spanishized” names (mofles, cloch, rines), not to mention the social media such as Feisbuh, that for some odd reason in Copán is referred to as Ceibo.

I once had a conversation with someone from Guatemala about the influence of English on Spanish spoken in Central America. I told him about the emergency I had one time with the breaker in my house, and that I’d realized I didn’t know the Spanish word for it. It happened to be bréquer. To which my Guatemalan friend said he could do better: in Guatemala it’s called flip-on!

There are so many great examples, but I think some of the best and “purest” completely Spanglish sentences are the following:
Voy shopping.
Qué nice!

Hasta later!

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