Chileanese 101: A primer of crazy talk for your español
Being a newbie to this town and its surrounding areas, I find myself learning more and more words that I didn’t know existed in either English or Spanish.
So I guess it’s only fair that I get to return the favor.
Every country in Latin America has its own way of saying things in Spanish. We Chileans do, too. Some of the things we say will make no sense.
Some of them will make plenty of sense. At any rate, it is my responsibility, in this globalized world, to bring to the forefront new and innovative ideas on how to express oneself. That, and it’s a heck of an easy column.
Let’s begin today’s lesson by squeezing your heinie cheeks.
Seriously. Squeezing your heinie cheeks means “fleeing” in Chileanese. I could not possibly make up something this silly.
Moving on, let’s talk about good and evil. More precisely, let’s talk about good waves, good fabric and good hooks, bad milk, bad paws, bad fleas and bad thorns.
When someone is “good waves” it means someone is likeable and friendly. When someone’s “good fabric” means it’s trustworthy. And when someone’s got “a good hook” means clothes look good on him or her.
On the other hand, someone with bad paw is unlucky, someone with bad fleas is cranky, someone giving you bad thorns is someone that makes you uneasy and suspicious, and someone who’s bad milk is, well, bad news.
On to the zoology part of the lesson, let’s talk about cows, frogs, deer, cats, geese, turkeys, mules, roosters, hens, ducks and parrots.
A cow is someone whose word is no good. A frog is someone who’s in everyone’s business. A deer is someone whose spouse hasn’t mastered the fine art of fidelity, a cat is the name of the game tic-tac-toe, a goose and a turkey are both short on smarts.
A mule is something fake, a rooster is a guy, a hen is a cowardly guy, a duck is a guy (or gal) without any cash to his or her name, and a parrot is what hangs from a “rooster’s” nose after a really big sneeze.
Now let’s look on the international side of things. To “do an America” is to come up with something that makes you a lot of money quickly.
Then there’s the confusing stuff. The word for “bus” in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries is “guagua” (wah-wah). Which of course, in Chile means “baby.”
The word for punch (as in left hook) in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay is “piña” (Pee-gna), which, of course, in Chile means “pineapple.”
The word for hairpin in Chile is “pinche” (peen-chay), which in Mexico means…I think I’ll leave that one alone for now.
Then, there’s the delicious taco. Famous the world over for its taste and for its way of meaning four different things in Chile. Taco means taco, but it also means “traffic jam” “shoe heel” and “pool cue.”
And yes, there are ways to put all four in a sentence. You can be eating a taco while in a traffic jam waiting to take back a load of pool cues to the person fixing your shoe heel and it would be “en un taco, comiendo un taco, llevando un taco al que arregla tacos.”
Easy, right? If you say yes, congratulations. If you say no, and all you want to do is squeeze a certain body part (see top of column) to parts unknown, don’t worry, that’s how this whole thing started.
Sebastian Moraga is the sports editor of the QVPR, and like any good journalist, is proud to be a longtime frog. Call him that in public, though, and you might get a pineapple.