Spanglish is a funny language. Spend enough time here in Chile and you end up pretty fluent in the Chilean variant, which I call Spangli-shilean!! (Get it?) See? Right there you need to be on the inside track to cachar la onda…
At our most recent Chilespouses dinner, our resident comedian Eileen Shea had the Spanglishilean speakers roaring with laughter—and many of the newcomers scratching their heads—with a story about a guy from work.
I asked her if I could post it here at Cachando Chile, and we ended up getting our chuckles while playing linguistic ping-pong with it for a few days until we finally came up with this version. Test your own level of Spanglishilean (and have a little bad translation fun) with this doozy:
There’s a rooster of the glue who told me his worse-is-nothing had improved herself and brought a baron to light at 3 in the morning.
The uncle said his creature may not have arrived with a hard roll under the arm, but he waits he was born standing up, like he was. What it will be, always that he doesn’t convert to a bad duck or a spear. He hopes he will finish at least his medium learning and perhaps make himself a frog, like his co-father, helping the microphone operators who drive like testicles.
The wedding was very happy they had a man for the end, since they already had 3 women. His wife doesn’t have any hair on her tongue and said that now that they have a man, she’s going to close the factory and go back to selling broken underpants on the microphones in the center of James, where they live in their half water.
Maybe it was big-footed of my part, but I asked the crazy man what wave, and he said his half orange and the snotty were passing it pig. I’m going to take her some cardinals—they enchant me because they are meat dog.
So, how’d you do? ¿Lo cachaste al tiro? Congratulations!
Consider yourself a fluent Spanglishilean speaker (I dare you to put that on your resume!).
Didn’t quite get that? Don’t worry… take a deep breath, and let’s walk through this together.
If you speak Spanish, take a moment to translate it and see what you come up with. Los que hablan chilensis lo cacharán rapidito…
If you don’t speak Spanish, feel free to just skip down to the end for a Spanglishilean to English translation… the rest of us will catch up later.
OK, Spanish speakers… Got that translation ready? Is it making sense now? No? Looks like you’re not up to speed on your Chilean!
Hay un gallo de la pega que me dijo que su peor es nada se había mejorado y dio luz a un varón a las 3 de la mañana.
El tío dijo que capaz que su criatura no haya llegado con la marraqueta bajo el brazo, pero espera que haya nacido tan parado como él. Lo que sea, siempre que no se convierta en un pato malo o un lanza. Espera que termine por lo menos su enseñanza media y quizás hacerse sapo, como su compadre, ayudando a los micreros que manejan como pelotas.
El matrimonio estaba muy feliz por haber tenido un hombre por fin, porque ya tenían 3 mujeres. Su mujer no tiene pelos en la lengua y dijo que ahora que tenían un hombre, iba a cerrar la fábrica y volver a vender calzones rotos en las micros en el centro de Santiago, donde viven en su media agua.
Quizás fui patuda de mi parte, pero pregunté al loco qué onda y me dijo que su media naranja y el mocoso estaban pasándolo chancho. Le voy a llevar unos cardenales; me encantan porque son carne perro.
Huh? You speak Spanish and you still didn’t get it? This, dear friends, is pure Chilensis.
Need an interpreter? Let’s go!
Some of these terms are regular Spanish, others are pure Chilean:
Gallo (rooster) = a guy
La pega (the glue) = work
Peor es nada (worse is nothing) = wife, in this case, but also used for husband
Mejorarse (improve oneself) = literally, to get better, though here, to have a baby
Dar luz (give light) = to give birth
Varón (baron) = man (Chileans use this term for a baby boy) Note: varón is not really baron, but since v and b are pronounced the same, it sounds the same.
Tío (uncle) = guy
Criatura (creature) = baby, child
Nacer con la marraqueta bajo el brazo (to be born with a hard roll under the arm) = to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth or to bring luck to the family
Nacer parado (to be born standing up) = to be lucky, born under a lucky star
Pato malo (bad duck) = hoodlum, thug
Lanza (spear) = pick-pocket or purse-snatcher type thief
Enseñanza media (medium learning) = high school
Sapo (frog) = person who lets the bus drivers know when the last bus along their route passed. They get the name from jumping on and off the buses all day.
Compadre (co-father) = literally god-father to your child, but often used to refer to a close friend
Micrero (microphone operator) = bus driver
Manejar como pelotas (drive like testicles) = to drive badly. To do something “como pelotas” is to do it badly.
Matrimonio (wedding) = a married couple. In Spain a wedding is a boda, but in Chile the term matrimonio refers to the ceremony as well as the couple.
Tener un hombre (have a man) = have a boy / son
Tener 3 mujeres (have 3 women) = have 3 girls / daughters
No tiene pelos en la lengua (doesn’t have hair on her tongue) = to be outspoken
Cerrar la fábrica (close the factory) = stop having babies
Calzones rotos (broken underpants) = typical Chilean fried dough pastry
Las micros (the microphones) = the buses (for some reason “micro” uses the feminine article la)
Santiago (James) = San Santiago in Spanish is Saint James in English
Media agua (half water) = a very basic, simple house
Ser patuda (big-footed) = to be overly forward, cross the line, push the limits
Loco (crazy man) = guy
Qué onda (what wave) = what’s up
Media naranja (half orange) = wife (or husband), like referring to one’s “better half”
Mocoso (snotty) = kid, young child (like saying “rugrat”)
Pasarlo chancho (pass it pig) = have a good time
Cardenales (cardinals) = carnations
Carne perro (meat dog) = this should really be carne de perro, but the “de” usually gets dropped out when spoken. It generally means tough, resistant, impossible to kill. In this specific case, flowers that are easy to grow.
(You can see more terms like these in the Cachando Chile Glossary).
Got that? Want a real translation now? How’s this:
There’s a guy from work who told me his wife had had a baby boy at 3 in the morning.
The guy said his son may not have been born wealthy, but he hopes he’s as lucky as he is. Whatever, as long as he doesn’t turn into a hoodlum or a pick-pocket. He hopes he will at least finish high school and maybe become a bus assistant, like his buddy who helps the bus drivers, who drive like idiots.
The couple was very happy that they had finally had a boy, because they already had 3 girls. His wife is really outspoken and said that now that they had a son, she was going to stop having kids and go back to work selling pastries on the buses in downtown Santiago, where they live in their little house.
Maybe I was out of line, but I asked the guy what was up, and he said both his wife and the rug-rat were having a great time. I’m going to take her some carnations—I love them because they last so long.
Many thanks to Eileen Shea for coming up with this great word game and letting me play too!
If you enjoyed this, take a wander over to see what Abby’s been up to (More word games on Abby’s Line).
And be sure to have a look at what Eileen at Bearshapedsphere has to say about “Dead men knocking at the door.”
Annje also takes the bait. Check her story out at “Annje Speaks Chilensis.”
Anyone else want to try? This could make for a great group blog… give it a shot, post to your blog, and let me know so we can cross link!
Update: Also see the related “Gringas die Laughing” post to see the reaction to this one!