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Why Is Spanish Like That?
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Dear Mexican: I’m not bilingual but I have a fascination with the differences and similarities between Spanish and English words and idioms. They often point to interesting differences between the cultures. Some words, like “vejigazo” (to get smacked in the ass with an inflated cow bladder) are self explanatory, but there is one that I’d like your help with. I don’t remember the word, because I stumbled across it in a Spanish-English dictionary once right before I fell asleep, but I do remember the definition. It means “to wear for the first time,” and I can’t think of any reason why a culture would need a verb to describe that situation. Do you know what that verb is, and more importantly, can you tell me why Spanish would need it? Thanks very much.

El Guapo

Dear Handsome Gabacho: The verb is estrenar, derived from the Latin strena, which meant a “favorable omen.” Estrenar isn’t just a verb to describe wearing new clothes, though: it also means, “to premiere,” as in “un gran estreno.” The Real Academia Española doesn’t give any clue how estrenar got its sartorial sense, but the connection is pretty obvious, and it ain’t unique to us hablas: every materialistic culture on Earth brims with modern-day Beau Brummels showing off their latest kicks, their most vintage St. Laurent—and you don’t need one word to describe this anymore with the advent of Snapchat. Oh, and #fucktrump

 

I know that in Japanese, when you want to emphasize a relationship with a person, you add -kun or -chan to the end of someone’s name. Is there anything like that in Spanish? I’ve heard people use an -ita or a -ito, but I need some verification.

Taco-chan

Dear Chinito Wab: You have verified correcatemente! The suffixes you cited are diminutives that Mexicans add to the end of male (-ito) and female (-ita) names to signify fondness or endearment toward the cabrones. Grammar rules are generally simple—the diminutive seamlessly latches onto the fín of nombres with consonants (Davidito, Daffodilita) and morphs in strange ways if they end in vowels (Pepe becomes Pepito, Maria transforms into Mariquita, and Maclovio’s diminutive is Maclovito). Males have two other suffix options, with the same grammar rules: -ote (which is the equivalent of calling someone “Big,” as in Big Miguel—Miguelote), and –ín (Gustavín), which makes no sense to me. You wouldn’t use them with girls—go ahead, try calling one gorda and see how fast mexicanas can punch. Oh, and #fucktrump

 

Sope. My question is, what is the proper way to actually eat the damn thing? Do you pick it up like a taco (inevitably making a mess), or do you saw it up with the usually barely adequate plasticware provided at the counter? And what part of Mexico did this enigmatic lil’ morsel originate?

CUlinarilly CHAllenged

Dear Gabacho: Proper way? Whichever way is your bag, baby. Where it came from? Goes back to the ancients, because putting something on top of a thick tortilla ain’t know thing, you know? Oh, and #fucktrump

 

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

 
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  1. Michel Thomas teaches several languages based on the fact that if you speak English then you already have a vocabulary of about a thousand words. The beauty of his system is that you don’t have to study or memorise anything because you already know it. Just by listening you’ll develop a sense for which words they are and will build upon that. It’s the best system that I’ve encountered even though my Spanish, French and Italian isn’t that great it’s been very useful.

    I wonder if others know of this system?

    True story… Many years ago I took a date to a Mexican restaurant in LA and (typically) the waiter spoke very poor English so I asked her what she wanted and ordered for us in Spanish. The date was very impressed.

    Some time later I took the same date to a fancy Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills where the waiters wore turbans and tunics but I could tell by our waiter’s accent that he too was a Mexican and, as before, his English was very poor. Again I ordered for us in Spanish and she was blown away…
    “You speak Indian TOO?” I confessed to having a flair for languages, what else could I do?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    Well pray tell, how many repeat performances did it take to finally get laid?
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  2. The first question about the verbs reminds me of our Spanish teacher in high school, Sr. Lara. When I would act up in class, he would say, “Williams, up on the wall!” in English and I would have to go stand in the corner. So some of the guys and I developed the verb larar: To be put up on the wall. And we would conjugate it.

    Yo laro: I am put up on the wall.
    Tu laras: You are put up on the wall.
    Nosotros laramos: We are put up on the wall.
    El lara: He is put up on the wall.
    Ellos laran: They are put up on the wall.

    Read More
  3. STOP saying #fktrump! you are pissing me off, and I am not gringo!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realistic
    #fucktrump
    , @Haha
    Hey in the middle...fuck you and fuck trumpy....and you are a GRINGO, just look in the mirror you fucking coconut...get it...brown on the outside and white as a GRINGO on the inside...
  4. @in the middle
    STOP saying #fktrump! you are pissing me off, and I am not gringo!

    #fucktrump

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Realistic,

    only Melania, can do that, unless you are a girl, go ahead and do that
  5. @Realistic
    #fucktrump

    Realistic,

    only Melania, can do that, unless you are a girl, go ahead and do that

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realistic
    #fucktrump

    BTW, you should go back to school. Your English grammar sucks!
  6. Hey Mexican,

    If you say fuck Trump one more time I’m going to come beat your spic ass. I’m not kidding. Knock it off.

    Read More
  7. @in the middle
    STOP saying #fktrump! you are pissing me off, and I am not gringo!

    Hey in the middle…fuck you and fuck trumpy….and you are a GRINGO, just look in the mirror you fucking coconut…get it…brown on the outside and white as a GRINGO on the inside…

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Hey dumb Ass! your mother is GRINGO, and so are you ass kisser to your mom Hellier!
    , @in the middle
    You are asking for a good ass kicking from a Trumper!
    , @in the middle
    Are you jealous because you are not white? hahahaha, man, that is funny. I am not going to coward just because they talk S*hit about whites, like others, who are afraid of the racist card. So F*ck you, also.

    TRUMP for President 2016!

  8. Hacer América grande de nuebo…

    But ”America” is in its apex…

    make america great just like in the early 2000′s…

    Read More
  9. @Haha
    Hey in the middle...fuck you and fuck trumpy....and you are a GRINGO, just look in the mirror you fucking coconut...get it...brown on the outside and white as a GRINGO on the inside...

    Hey dumb Ass! your mother is GRINGO, and so are you ass kisser to your mom Hellier!

    Read More
  10. @Haha
    Hey in the middle...fuck you and fuck trumpy....and you are a GRINGO, just look in the mirror you fucking coconut...get it...brown on the outside and white as a GRINGO on the inside...

    You are asking for a good ass kicking from a Trumper!

    Read More
  11. @Haha
    Hey in the middle...fuck you and fuck trumpy....and you are a GRINGO, just look in the mirror you fucking coconut...get it...brown on the outside and white as a GRINGO on the inside...

    Are you jealous because you are not white? hahahaha, man, that is funny. I am not going to coward just because they talk S*hit about whites, like others, who are afraid of the racist card. So F*ck you, also.

    TRUMP for President 2016!

    Read More
  12. @in the middle
    Realistic,

    only Melania, can do that, unless you are a girl, go ahead and do that

    #fucktrump

    BTW, you should go back to school. Your English grammar sucks!

    Read More
    • Replies: @in the middle
    Straight and to the point:

    TRUMP for President 2016!
  13. @Realistic
    #fucktrump

    BTW, you should go back to school. Your English grammar sucks!

    Straight and to the point:

    TRUMP for President 2016!

    Read More
  14. @NoseytheDuke
    Michel Thomas teaches several languages based on the fact that if you speak English then you already have a vocabulary of about a thousand words. The beauty of his system is that you don't have to study or memorise anything because you already know it. Just by listening you'll develop a sense for which words they are and will build upon that. It's the best system that I've encountered even though my Spanish, French and Italian isn't that great it's been very useful.

    I wonder if others know of this system?

    True story… Many years ago I took a date to a Mexican restaurant in LA and (typically) the waiter spoke very poor English so I asked her what she wanted and ordered for us in Spanish. The date was very impressed.

    Some time later I took the same date to a fancy Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills where the waiters wore turbans and tunics but I could tell by our waiter's accent that he too was a Mexican and, as before, his English was very poor. Again I ordered for us in Spanish and she was blown away…
    "You speak Indian TOO?" I confessed to having a flair for languages, what else could I do?

    Well pray tell, how many repeat performances did it take to finally get laid?

    Read More
  15. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    You can #fucktrump all you want… as if I cared about Mexico.

    Read More
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