Category Archives: Language

¿Cómo te llamaí? Nicknames in Chile

Name TagEl** Kike, Coke, and Vicho were hanging out with la Maite, la Coté, and la Chabelita before class. The bell rang, they took their seats, and the teacher calls out: Enrique (presente), Jorge (presente), Vicente (presente), and then continues… María Teresa, María José, María Isabel (most women in Chile seem to have double names that start with María). Continue reading

Pouf, Jumper, Panty, Slip: More Linguistic Giggles

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, in coronati...

Image via Wikipedia

Pouf, jumper, panty, slip, and cueca all have in common? No…whatever it is you’re thinking… just stop right there! It’s cross-culture language confusion time again folks!

A guy friend from England said, “You left your jumper in my car,” and I stared at him in disbelief. I haven’t worn a jumper since I was about 14, and I most certainly never left one in ANY guy’s car! Continue reading

Dumb Stuff the Gringa Says

What?

Foot in the mouth (What? by I am Brad via Flickr)

There are real pros and cons to speaking another language. The pros are much talked about, but let’s get serious. Speaking (or attempting to speak) another language leaves you wide (I mean WIDE) open for riduclosity (I know that’s not a word–but it helps make my point!) Continue reading

Blogger Tag and My Seven (Just Seven?) Links

Girl running in grassy fieldRemember how much fun it was to play tag as a kid? Well, I just got in on a grown-up blogger version. Eileen at Bearshapedsphere just tagged me, so now I’m it. Thanks Eileen!

I have no idea who made this game up, but the way it works is a blogger tags you, you match your own posts in specific “Most this” and “Most that” categories, and then you tag another 5 people. I like the idea—except for the ‘just one’ part—it’s made me go back and think about everything I’ve posted here over the past 2 ½ years or so—not to mention how interesting it is to see what everyone else puts in their categories.

Here goes: Continue reading

Gasfiterfobia & How the ark almost made it to the 19th floor

Unfinished plumbingWe all have our monsters in the closet. Things that make us shudder. The stuff of phobias. Maybe yours is a fear of flying (aviophobia), or of snakes (herpetophobia) or even a fear of foreigners (xenophobia), although I hope not. I confess my fear is a Chile-based phobia–which makes it a fobia–and I had to invent its name, although anyone who has lived here any length of time will not only recognize it, but probably share it.

I suffer from gasfiterfobiaContinue reading

Bad Translation Fun: Menus

Bad Translation Fun Menu: Choritos to the Vapor, Chile

May I have Males to the Vapor ?

You don’t need to travel far outside your language zone to find well-meaning but often funny and even unfortunate translations. Signs, tourism information, and especially restaurant menus are often a great source of entertainment (as the Asian-oriented fun-with-language-gaffes site Engrish proves over and over again) , and Chile is no exception. Get your red-hot menu blunders here! Continue reading

Damned Diphthongs!

Vectorized version of Image:Cardinal vowel ton...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m coming up on 20 years in Chile, and I speak Spanish all day, every day. Sure, I still have an accent, but it rarely gets in the way—except when a diphthong is involved!

The dastardly diphthong is the sound produced when two vowels buddy up in the same syllable and get so tight they morph into a whole new vowel sound (sounds almost biological, doesn’t it?). Continue reading