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.

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:

The Diminutive: Is Everything Smaller in Chile?

I have spoken with several gringos who, upon arriving in Chile, no longer recognize simple Spanish vocabulary like coffee, tea, bread, or cheese.

Suddenly, these words are not café, té, pan, o queso;  they’ve changed to cafecito, tecito, pancito, and quesito.

This, my friends, is a classic case of overused diminutives.  And it’s an epidemic here in Chile.

It’s (not) the Small Things

Contrary to what you might expect, Chilean diminutives do not exclusively indicate that something is small.  In fact, if you refer to the highly technical and scientifically proven pie chart below**, you’ll see that size description is one of the less frequent uses of -ito.

Creative Chart on Chilean Diminutive

Here’s a breakdown of some of the uses.

For small things:

This is pretty straightforward.  For example, if someone is looking for a niñito, it’s probably because the boy is little.  Simple enough.

Affection:

We don’t go to Grandma’s house.  We go to Little Grandma’s house—adonde la abuelita.  If I want to drip disgusting affection to my partner, I can can call him amorcito or even amorcitito (two times the littleness!).

What’s even more fun is when people affectionately call their loved ones “my little pig,” or mi chanchito.

Chanchito ricooooo!

Politeness or charm:

I might ask my husband to echarle una miradita (take a look) at my computer.  In this case, the diminutive is almost like adding a “please” or “pretty please.”

Or maybe I want to ask someone to wait for a minute.  I’d say, “Espera un ratito.”  You and I know that for a Chilean, that could mean any quantity of time.   

Cushion or downplay a statement:

In Chile, it’s ok to tell a person they’ve gained or lost weight.  At least, everyone does it.  And to cushion the statement, someone might say, “Tay gordito.”  (Estás/ you are a little fat.)

Tonto is more likely to mean stupid or foolish, while tontito is more likely to mean silly.

But rapidito means really fast.  Don’t ask me why.

Absurd, meaningless overuse:

Finally, there are the things I will never understand.  Like why it seems there is no such thing as a normal-sized coffee in Chile, only cafecito.  Or consider the following sentence from the current popular teleseries, Los Carmona:

No te quiero ver nunquita más!  Nunquita.”  

What??  Did you just turn nunca, meaning “never,” into nunquita?  Why?

Expectation vs. Reality: Chilean -ito

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post!  Don’t forget to send in any requests, suggestions, or questions, and come back next Friday for more Chilenismos.

** I just made this chart up on the spot.  Maybe I should have taken my methodology courses more seriously.