Friday, June 5, 2009

Slang: thy name is Chilensis

Well then, since we've been talking about animals and things and how they're classified and what it all means in English vs. Spanish (or at least Chilean Spanish, which this website (which Abby mentioned, and which I had just recently added to my blogroll) can help you with, it's worth turning our attention to Margaret's comment on the issue.

Aburrido como ostra
. Bored as an oyster. Bored out of my mind, I guess I'd say in English. Margaret wonders how we know that oysters are bored. I suppose they're just sitting there, anchored to the bottom with some kind of promordial slime, opening and closing their shells (gah! must I think of the mystery phalanges again, I seriously am never going to get over having eaten that mariscal), and waiting for the next tasty bite to come along. Sounds leisurely. But I guess all that opening and closing gets boring. So there we have it, bored. You know, like an oyster.

At another point I talked about things being "like eggplant" and I took that to mean that they didn't like the taste of eggplants themselves but I was later told that was a skirting way of saying it's like (pardon me, PG-13 moment coming), balls. As in testicles. Okay, I don't know what eggplant they sell in your country, but here... Anyway, yet another digression in which I refer to my own blog yet again. In Chile this is called being "autoreferente" and it is a despisable characteristic. Go ahead! Despise away. But please do it from a distance, as I am very sensitive, and do not enjoy being pelted with rocks, even if they are small.

So today, after a long and autoreferente (hey, but I refer to other people, too!) introduction, including being bored as an oyster and someting being like eggplant, we can curiously ponder the following animal-based Chilean expressions (yes, I know, eggplants are not animals, but maybe we could use the Mr. Potatohead feet and facial features and pretend). Though even I have to admit that Mr. Eggplanthead doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Patos malos (bad doobies. People to avoid. Flaites, if you will. Translation: bad ducks

Hacer una vaca
(put money in the kitty. Literally: make a cow, and oh dear, I've talked about this before, too.
bicho raro (strange person, literally: unusual bug, and for the record, I love this expression)
gamba (here can be used to mean foot, though in other countries means shrimp, is the name of our 100 peso coin (worth about 15 cents)

oh heck, let's throw in some non-animal, yet still food and drink-related ones

Me importa un comino (Couldn't care less, literally: it's as important to me as a single cumin seed)
Vale callampas (it's worthless, literally: it's worth mushrooms)

Ni chicha ni limoná
(neither here nor there, literally: neither fermented cider nor lemonade)

Oh worldy and wise commenters and soon-to-be commenters alike. I beseech thee. Broaden all of our horizons with more food/drink/animal/plant/fungus related Chilean slang.

8 comments:

Bystander said...

I arrived in Chile with 27 years experience of speaking Spanish but often could not understand a word anyone was saying. The first day I went to the school to pick up my son, a mother said to me: "Que caballo es tu cabro!" Literally, how horse is your baby goat. I could sort of figure out that she meant kid when she said "cabro", but the horse bit was a mystery. I was later told that when something is "caballo" it means it is great.
Eileen, que caballo es tu blog!

Anonymous said...

Hey! "gambas" también son un tipo de shrimp en Chile!

Y la expresión es "valer callampA", en singular ;oD

(Daniel de Mayami)

Abby said...

Oooo! Fun!

I can think of a few food related ones:

"Rayando la papa"...literally peeling the potato, it means that someone is going crazy

"Se cree el hoyo del queque"...literally that someone believes they are the hole in the cake, it means they think they're all that and a bag of potato chips (conincidently also a food related phrase in English! Ah! I love languages)

Eileen said...

@bystander but your baby goat is so horse! I don't know why you deny it! That is so cute!

@ Daniel, darnit! if Chileans pronounced their s's, I would have known that. I'll go back and change it.

@ Abby. I love rayando la papa, and it always reminds me of peinando la muñeca, but that's not food related, sadly.

okay people, what else? Daniel, don't you have any more, since you were born speaking Chilensis?

Sharon said...

I never replied to that previous post about eggplants, so I'm going to say it now. I disagree 100% with the eggplant as balls interpretation. That's true for "como las brevas", but berenjenas don't resemble balls in the slightest. Besides, eggplants are indeed one of the most hated foods over here. And I know that because we eat them a lot and the look of my friends' faces when they realized what was for lunch/dinner was simply priceless.

Abby said...

I have more!

"Anda a freir monos al Africa" literally, Go fry monkeys in Africa, literally it's kind of a softer way to say "go screw yourself," or in Chilean, "Anda al punto del cerro."

And "sapo", meaning toad, means someone who is gossipy or gets in other people's business.

Also, in addition to "cabro chico" (as Bystander mentions) I've heard people call their kids "chanchitos", in an endearing way. Can you imagine being called a little piggy as a term of endearment?

Eileen said...

oh! and chanchitos are burps, especially for a baby. Poor pigs! getting the bum rap! Plus it makes me think of that trip we all took (but not together) to Pomaire. Awww, three legged pigs.

Guisella said...

In Chile they usually describe people by the face, my favourite is "el cara de taca" (or pronounced: el care taca). It referes to someone with an angry face and literally means: hard clam face. Very useful expression :))

Young men some times call their close male friends as "perrito" which means little dog.