Kicking Dogs: Angry Chileans

Chilensis tends to get most exciting when people are really angry.  Nothing quite beats counting how many times the neighbors use a form of “huevón” when they’re yelling at each other.

But today, we’re just going to cover some basic ways to point out that someone is angry.

Estar chato

Or estar harto: to be fed up.  When I say I’m chata, it means I’m on the verge of getting pissed.  You will often hear people say that certain things or people “have” them chato or harto.

Estos trámites me tienen chato.  (This paper work is pissing me off.)

Choreado

Ticked off.  This is a little less angry than cabreado, which is used frequently in Chile, but I guess it’s also used in Spain, so I’m officially leaving it out.  Regardless, the little boy in the video below gives a fantastic performance of choreado

Empelotado

While this can also mean “en pelota” or “butt naked,” in certain contexts it means really angry.  Or, in the case of this father who protested the high costs of education while naked, it means both.

Emputecido

Girlfriend throws him a surprise party; he gets pissed because she hides things from him

In normal Spanish, emputecer is to prostitute oneself.  In Chile, it means to get really angry.  I mean beside yourself, fuming angry.

How or why it made the transition, I’m not sure.  Our best guess is that when angry, you might run about saying puta a whole lot.  Any other guesses?

Andar pateando la perra

Jorge Sampaoli anda pateando la perra

You know when you’re so angry you just want to kick a dog?  Specifically a female dog?  Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kick a dog… but I know what it’s like to be so miffed that I’m walking around kicking at the air and muttering under my breath.

Jorge Sampaoli, the coach for Chile’s national soccer team, is pictured to the right, kicking a dog after Chile and Spain tie during overtime.

That’s it for today, folks!  Have a good weekend, keep calm, and don’t kick dogs.

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Winter Blues in the Summer: Chilenismos for sadness

Ok, so I don’t have the winter blues, considering I’m in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s summer here.  Also, I never get the winter blues; it’s more like a year-long fluctuation between bedridden and seemingly functional.  What’s that called?

The long and short of it is that I haven’t been posting as often as I want to.  Here are some of my excuses:

Ando bajoneada

gatito bajoneadoA bajón is literally a fall or sharp drop, and when you apply that to moods you get depression or something like it.  (When you apply it to substance abuse, well… that’s something else.)  Feeling “bajoneado” is like feeling blue.  You can also use this in verb form: bajonearse.  For example,

Después de que perdió Sfeir, me bajoneé demasiado.

Estoy achacada

In normal people Spanish, achacar means to put the blame on someone.  In Chilensis, achacarse means “to get depressed,” and a person who is achacao is burdened with all sorts of problems, overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or sadness.

When people remark on how I look so happy all the time…

Estoy depre

Awww, sounds cute!  It’s like depresión, but shorter!

I think we run a constant line between making light of depression and wanting it to be understood for the serious and debilitating illness that it is (as I am demonstrating with this tongue-in-cheek post).  Our inadequate use of the little vocabulary that we do have exacerbates this gap in understanding.  Andrew Solomon describes this phenomenon as

a strange poverty of the English language, and indeed of many other languages, that we use this same word, depression, to describe how a kid feels when it rains on his birthday, and to describe how somebody feels the minute before they commit suicide.

Estoy “down”

Un cachorrito que anda down.

Yup, another case of throwing around English phrases.  I don’t know that everyone will understand you if you say this, but most will.  If they don’t, just show them this picture of depressed puppy.  They’ll get the message pretty quickly.

Summertime Sadness or Sickness?

It’s unfortunate that these ways of describing emotions make it hard to explain my experience with an illness.  Usually, I tell people that I’m sick, that I’m stuck in bed, that I’m nauseated, achy, light-headed, fatigued, etc.—which is all true, and all of those are possible symptoms of depression.

Now, I don’t want you all to think I’m like this guy, but it’s important to acknowledge the sickness, to treat some of what I think and feel as part of the depression and separate from me.  Depression should be a sickness that you can talk about the way that you could talk about a cancer or something else that alters your daily life, but not who you essentially are.

How do you think we can improve conversation about mental health?

Chilenismos and Holiday Decorations

It might surprise you to know that even though it’s summer here in Chile, they are going to go ahead and celebrate Christmas anyway.  It certainly surprised me.  That’s the true Christmas spirit: overcome all obstacles for a little holiday cheer.  It’s heroic, really.

I love the fake snow.

I love the fake snow.

They don’t even try to cushion the blow.  In fact, Santas are still dressed in ridiculous North Pole suits, and “White Christmas” is still heard jovially in the streets.  In Spanish.  (It’s not like they don’t know what “blanca navidad” is about.)  My mother-in-law even told me it didn’t seem strange to her!  Poor soul.

The Christmas trees are up in offices, houses, malls, and the streets.  Poinsettias and wreaths hang from the lampposts.  Some people have even put out inflatable snowmen and reindeer in their front yards.

I just can’t get over it.

Halloween aND Christmas??This has all been more ridiculous considering Chileans have been milking it since October.  OCTOBER.  They don’t have Thanksgiving to break it up, so… why not set the Christmas stuff next to the Halloween stuff?

More interesting, however, is the amount of gringo culture reflected in these celebrations and decorations.  But I’ll talk about cultural transfer another day.  Let’s get to the chilenismos.

Pascua

This word is how Chileans say navidad or Christmas.  Kind of.  Because it’s also the word for Easter and Passover (you know, from the Hebrew pesach/פסח).  And Easter Island, which is part of Chile, is called Isla de Pascua.  Anyhow, here are some other things that contain pascua.

El Viejito Pascuero

Surfing SantaSanta Claus is known by many names all over the world, but Chile is the only place to affectionately call him “the little old Christmas man.”  The men who dress up as el viejo pascuero here really have hearts of gold—I mean, apart from systematically lying to children—it’s way too hot to be wearing that suit!

Pan de Pascua

image from kaminokultural.blogspot

A traditional bread that resembles fruitcake… but it’s generally more revered in Chile than fruitcakes are in the US.  Also, if someone has a ton of acne, you might mention that their face looks like pan de pascua.  If you were a jerk.

Cola de Mono

Monkey’s tail!  This is like a Chilean version of eggnog… Except it has milk, coffee, sugar, spices, and aguardiente (firewater! or “alcohol prepared with local ingredients”).  No, it doesn’t include monkeys, but there are some interesting theories about how the drink got its name.

Cola de mono is a very traditional Christmas drink, and if you’re interested in making a glass or two to go along with your pan de pascua, check out the cooking show below on how to make both.

Engañito

Knowing that this word comes from engañar, which means “to decieve,” you might not think you would like to receive an engañito.  But it’s actually the Chilean word for a little gift that may not be worth too much money, but it’s an expression of love and caring for the other person nevertheless.

It’s like saying, “Here, I got you a little something for your birthday.  It’s nothing big…”

It could be something that didn’t cost the other person much.  For example, we have some wonderful tíos who came to our Vermont wedding and bought us little souvenirs from the locale.  They told Edwin to give them to me for our first anniversary.  That’s an engañito—it probably only cost them a couple bucks, but it was really special.

Happy holidays to all!

What’s your favorite holiday phrase?  Any chilenismos that I missed?

¡!Chilenismos: Dumb and Dumber

You need today’s lesson in Chilenismos for two reasons: to know when you’re doing something a Chilean deems stupid, and to describe everything about your teenage self.

Basically, these are the words to enjoy whenever you spend an evening reading the latest Darwin awards.

Ahuevonado:

Coming from arguably the most typical Chilenismo out there (huevón, for those of you who are really gil), this is the equivalent of “dumb@$$.”  It can be said under your breath with a hopeless shake of the head… or very angrily at soccer games.  You’ll notice that, as with huevón, the spelling varies quite a bit.

amermeladoAmermelado:

Check out the root of this word: mermelada, or jam.  Now imagine the movement of the sticky mush that is jam… that’s you.  So sloooooooow and stuuuupid.  Again, it’s not nice to say this.

Asopado:

Asopado’s root is sopa, or “soup.”  But this word gives the feeling you have soup instead of brains.  For example, everything about Napoleon Dynamite makes him look asopado.  Blank stare, mouth open, maybe even a little drool coming out of the corner of your mouth…. It’s like:

“Hey, soup for brains!  Anyone in there??”

Agilado:

This is stronger than the food comparisons.  Calling someone gil is like calling them an idiot or worse.  I mean, some people are clueless and harmless like Napoleon, and some people are jerks on top of being stupid.  That’s agilado for you.  (Seriously, make out on your own car.)

Weastancio*:

Okay, this is yet another play on huevón or huevada.  I’m sorry, but there are a lot of them.  This kind of makes it sound like the dude’s name is huevón.

“Stupid?  Stupid’s my middle name.”

Use them wisely, friends.

Are there any I missed?

*Thanks to Mauricio for suggesting güeastancio!  I promise to stop calling you that…

Not too Shabby: Chilenismos of Quality

“Poor quality” has never been easier to say.  Chileans have various incredibly common words to describe things that are shoddy, sub-par, or of inferior quality.  And frankly, after a trip to the registro civil, you’ll understand why.

Penca:

Something that is irreparably poor quality.  When a situation is flat-out sucky, penca is the most commonly used description.  This has long been one of my favorite chilenismos (as demonstrated in the stories here).  Careful, in true Chilean form, this word can also mean a certain male organ.

Chanta:

Chinese knock offs and professors who watch Naruto instead of teaching their classes are things that first come to mind with the word chanta.

Mula:

A perfect word for overpriced knock offs is mula.  These are objects that scream YOU GOT SWINDLED.  That mula dress you bought yesterday cost you seventy bucks, and it’s already falling apart, for example.

charcha chilenismosCharcha:

Purely poor quality.  Something that’s really cheap and probably breaks really easily.  For example, according to Edwin, my father-in-law always buys charcha tools that break after one or two uses.  (When asked how to describe Miley Cyrus, I would say charcha, among other things.)  It comes from an indigenous word that means “deficient.”

Rasca:

Consider that this word comes from the verb “scratch”… and then imagine the dirtiest, scratchiest, shabbiest thing you can.  That’s rasca.  Like a mangy mutt.  Look up the meaning of “mange” and you’ll get it.

Peliento:

Peliento is like rasca, but it’s a little sadder.  Like, if you see a street dog that on top of being mangy is limping and listless, that’s kind of like peliento.  It comes from a word meaning vagabond.

Flaite:

Something that’s ghetto, but not in a good way.  It could be something so flashy it’s tacky or looks like bad taste.  It could be the duct tape holding together the frame of your car.  It could be the insanely loud reggaeton music shaking your neighbor’s house.  But mostly, it’s a kind of person, according to wikipedia, an “urban youth of low socioeconomic background.”

And finally, a word to describe something of excellent quality:

Filete:

A big old sirloin steak… that is the definition of top-notch for many people.  For example:

¿Has leído el blog de la pelirroja peligrosa?  Es filete.

Keep in mind that puro filete is something you might hear as a piropo… because seeing women as a piece of meat is always a flattering thing.

Still looking for more words?  Look up some of these: punga, cuma, picante.

Piropos: ‘Tis the Season to Cat Call

As one of my students put it, it’s spring and the women have started peeling off their clothes as the weather has increased.  There are certain things that draw more male attention here in Chile, and one of them, unsurprisingly, is skin.

That settles it then—let the season for piropos begin!

Piropos; piropear: cat calls or pick up lines; to cat call.

Typical Piropos:

Piropos wordle

Guapa, hermosa, preciosa, maravillosa, linda, bonita: These are all words that are used to say beautiful or pretty.  They can be used in many variations to modify the meaning.  For example, adding superlative with –ísima.  Here are some other uses:

  • ¡Guapísima!
  • Ay, !qué hermosa! (How beautiful!)
  • Qué lindos ojos tiene.  (What  pretty eyes you have.)
  • ¡Super preciosa! ¡La cosa más maravillosa que he visto en mi vida! (Super beautiful!  The most marvelous thing I’ve seen in my life!

Rica: This stands alone to me… probably because it means “sexy,” but it also means that something is delicious.  You might notice people comparing you with cakes or other tasty things to eat:

  • Rica la torta.  (The cake’s delicious.  They say this about you, just to be clear.)
  • ¡Qué bombón!

Another typical piropo is the “Hello” adorned with compliments and dripping with suggestiveness:

    • Buenos días, señorita.  (Good morning, miss.  But trust me, there’s a big difference between how a polite concierge may say this and… well, not so polite people.)
    • Hola, mi amorcito.  (Hello, my love.)
    • Hola, mi reina.  (Hello, my queen.)

Sound effects are an essential part of piropos.  This can range anywhere from:

  • Whistling to
  • Incredibly loud kiss noises to
  • Honking (sometimes with excitable car horns) to
  • Making words sound longer.  You can do this by simply yelling “ooooh” at the end of a word (for example: ¡Ricaooooo!) or by adding “eh” (“Super linda, eh.”)

Finally, remember that piropos can also be pick up lines.

  • Tantas curvas y yo sin frenos (“So many curves, and I’m without breaks.”)

If you’re interested in hearing more Chilean pick up lines… that are totally inappropriate… check out the video Mejores Piropos Chilenos.

Oppression or Appreciation?

There are many reasons piropos might make you uncomfortable or unsafe.  Something about someone older than my father breathing “riiica” into my ear as he passes me on the street simply gives me the heebie jeebies.

Still, many people argue that there is no harm in piropos, that it is a form of showing appreciation for women.

Well, it depends on your definition of women.  If you define a woman as a body and not as an individual, I suppose this is a way to show appreciation.  More specifically, you’re expressing a sexually charged judgment of her body.

I recently went to our church for a father-daughter dinner, which I knew would give me more perspective on gender here in Chile.  Sure enough, during a competition of several father-daughter pairs to see who knew each other the best, I heard the message that women are valued for their bodies and beauty while men are seen more as individuals.

The first question was for the fathers:

What part of her body does your daughter think is most beautiful?

The second question was for the daughters:

What does your father think is his greatest virtue?

I know this doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but it is in these subtleties that we learn how to understand ourselves as gendered beings.  For example, I learned that Chilean men are all expected to be hardworking and easily angered (trabajador y enojón).

And taking it back to piropos, I’ve noticed that the second attention-grabber to get the piropos going is exactly what two out of the three daughters said was their most beautiful part: HAIR.

If I wear my hair down I get many more piropos than if my hair is up and I walk down the same road at the same time of the day in the same outfit.

Chime in!

What do you think of cat calls?  I would love to hear others’ stories and opinions.

Chile, that’s not the imperative.

Remember all those years you struggled to memorize the irregular imperative verbs?  You know, verbs like hacer, which doesn’t become hace but rather haz.  Or ir, which turns into ve?

Sorry, but you’re in Chile now.  And you’ll have to relearn all of that.

Sneaky shadow vowels?

At first, I thought I was just hearing shadow vowels or some form of over-articulation.  Chileans seemed to be adding an ‘e’ at the end of certain commands.

But after enough observation and internet interactions, I learned that Chileans actually use a different form of the imperative for several verbs, namely, hacerponer, and salir.  

And by different, I mean they do exactly what you took years trying to undo: they go to the third person singular.

ponele likePone:

We all know poner should become pon in the imperative.  But in Chile, it is normal to hear something like, “Pónele un poquito más de sal.” (Put some more salt on it.)

Or…

¡Pónele weno!  (Which is like ¡Hazlo con ganas!  Or, “Do it like you mean it!”)

Hace:

Imperative: you're doing it wrongHacer usually is haz as a command.  (So many years of practice down the drain.)  I think I’ll skip the explanation and go to the memes, because there’s basically nothing to say except Y U NO IMPERATIVE???

Sale:

Refer to the following meme.  I know this isn’t a good application of the meme, but it illustrates three interesting uses of Chilean imperative.

First, the author used sale instead of sal

Second, you’ll notice that the above image uses anda to say “go” in the imperative, as opposed to using ve or vete.  This is very typical in Chilean Spanish, and ve is basically only used as the imperative of ver.

BONUS!  Sálete??  Why “te”?  This is not a reflexive verb here, right?  What is that reflexive pronoun doing in there?  

In Chile, I’ve noted that people often tag on a ‘te’ when making commands to add emphasis.  (Correct me if I’m wrong, Chileans!)  For example, if you want your child to sit down and eat his food, you might exclaim, “¡Cómetelo!” (Eat it!)

The English equivalent might be the “Do” in a command like, “Do stay for dinner!”

In summary…

Listen to the puppy: