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Colloquialisms


7a WAISers have rightly pointed out that, while Spanish pronunciation is clear, vocabulary varies from country to country. Replying to my question about "chilangos," Jaqui White explains:
     "Chilangos are people who live in Mexico City. It refers to the people, not the language. Mexicans from the rest of Mexico DETEST the Chilangos because they think they are very presumido. There are bumper stickers everywhere which say,"Haz Patria, Mata Un Chilango" (Make Mexico great, kill a Chilango).
     My comment: I have been going to Mexico since 1944, and I never heard the word. "Chilango" and the urge to kill them would clearly not be popular in Mexico City, any more than "kill a nigger" in Harlem. Also it is probably a recent development, as Mexican "provincials" are filled with disgust by the incredible crime wave in Mexico City. It is a variant of the "hate Washington" syndrome in many parts of the U.S.
     Concerning the remark of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar about Basque nationalists, Jaqui remarks:
     "I contacted my born and bred Spaniards, ie Amos Salvador, his cousin who has taught Spanish all her life, and Amos' wife, Lynn Sherwood Salvador, concerning Jose Maria Aznar's remark, "una patada en el nilo." They ALL (plus my family in Mexico) have NEVER heard the term "nilo" used in that capacity - it has the simple meaning of the Nile River. They say that the term culo is used instead of nilo."
     My comment: Jaqui's friends are correct. I listened caefully to what Aznar said, and it was "kick themselves 'en el propio nilo." It meant "kick themselves in their own behind", a witty way of describing a difficult feat. Proper French people avoid the word "cul," even when speaking of the bottom of a bottle, and I guess that proper Spaniards like Aznar are equally prudent in their choice of words. Incidentally, his prudence is working; a poll just released shows that he and his party have improved their standing. The same poll showed that only 17% of Basques favor independence, but 70% would like a referendum to settle the issue. The trouble with terrorists is that they use violence to hide their minority status, and hope that a repressive reaction will win them support. That happened in the American Revolution and in Ireland, where Edward VII was popular.
     Finally, Jaqui wants us to look up to the heavens:
     "March 2nd is the Full Moon, and March 31st is the BLUE MOON!!! " Please note these dates on your calendar. The people of Mexico were startled by the appearance of two very bright stars together. It turned out that it was the conjunction of Mars and Venus, symbols of the nasty men responsible for the wars of the world, and the women who nurture humanity and peace. I am sure Jaqui will appreciate that assessment.

Ronald Hilton - 02/28/99


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