Thursday, August 6, 2009

Es Un Pingo

Raising a kid in Mexico is a daily learning experience. Well heck, I guess raising a kid anywhere is a daily learning experience, but for me it's not just parenting lessons, but language and culture lessons as well. There are some expressions that people use that leave me befuddled the first time I hear them though I find myself using them repeatedly once I have learned them. I still don't understand why parents call their children "papi" and "mami", shouldn't it be the other way around? Don't get me wrong, I use them too, but at first it seemed a little odd. Now I call Max "Pa" more often than not and when I talk to little girls I find myself calling them "mami" or "hija" though they are neither my mother nor my child.

A few of my other favourite "kid" words in Spanish....

Chamaco- Used to refer to any child, but more often than not it seems to be used when the kids are being annoying. "Pinches chamacos, siempre estan gritando y llorando", "Damn kids, always screaming and crying".

Travieso- Naughty and mischievous! Dennis the Menace was "bien travieso", "very naughty".

Escuincle- The "escuincle" is literally a dog native to Mexico, but the word is used to describe kids in general as well, usually in an affectionate way. "Mi escuincle es muy listo, puede contar hasta 100 y solo tiene 3 años!" "My child is very smart, they can count to 100 and are only 3 years old!"

Mamitis/Papitis- A "condition" whereby a child is overly attached to "mama" or "papa" and has a case of separation anxiety. "No puedo consolar a mi niño cuando sale su papa, tiene un caso de papitis", "I can't console my child when his father goes out, he's got a case of daddyitis".

Berrinche- Every parent knows this expression, it means "tantrum". "Max, estoy hasta aqui con tus berrinches, callate ya!" "Max, I am up to here with your tantrums, be quiet!"

The latest addition to my kid vocabulary list is "pingo". I've heard it used in reference to Max by teachers, other parents and by Hubby. The sound of the word makes me think of the game on "The Price is Right" called "Plinko", you know, where you drop a disc down a field of pegs and it bounces around like crazy, it's final stop unpredictable. Seemed appropriate for my energetic little guy. I knew by the context of the conversations that "pingo" was akin to "travieso", I thought it was "energetic and a little naughty". When I finally decided to search it and find the exact meaning, my oh my was I surprised by what I found! Apparently in other countries, "pingo" means drug addict or prostitute! I'm quite certain that Max is neither of those things, so I had to dig a little further. Thank goodness for a site called "Jergas de Habla Hispana" which allows you to search Spanish terms by country. Phew, ok, so in Mexico it can mean "naughty child" or "devil", not nearly as bad as drug addled gigolo!

I suspect that over the next few years my school-age slang will be improving (meaning my language skills will be deteriorating!), Max will bring words home from school and I won't know whether to punish him for saying them or give him a high five. Some of them will oh so clearly lead to a time out, but I just know that my little "pingo" will do his best to push my buttons with language he shouldn't be using. And honestly? I'm looking forward to it.


Unknown said...

When you have a chance to visit Guatemala you can learn a lot of different meanings for words you an Max could have learned in Mexico.....that´s the hard and fun part of spanish varies from country to country.
anyway, if you need help with another spanish word, maybe i can help someday.

Susan Lechuga said...

Is it sad that every single one of those words describe mi chiquillo? I love reading your blog still. You teach me new things.

globalgal said...

That link is fantastic - and funny for me to read all the jerga from different countries. I'm headed to Spain to visit friends & family next week, but so much of the jerga they use is very local and it doesn't show up in the dictionary. This is my biggest language challenge at the moment. Mexico is huge compared to Spain, is there a lot of regional variation? (Hi, I'm new to your blog.)

Carlos Ponce-Meléndez said...

What about "mocoso" and "enano"? You can include "bodoque" (a fat kind) and "diablillo." Harsher would be "carajo" "el carajillo ese no deja de joder." En fin.

Tyffanie said...

In Chile, they say "pendejo" for annoying kid--kind of like how you described "chamaco". They also say "cabra/cabro" which is for a baby goat, or like we say in English "kid" too (however I think this is probably similar throughout the Spanish dialects). Another chilenismo is "lolo/lola" which means like teenager. And all of the kids here call their friends' parents "tío/tía" even though there is no relation at fact, sometimes they use the same terminology in school.

Ahhh the joys of dialects! Thanks for posting a link to Jergas de habla hispana. I'm definitely going to check it out!

¡Saludos desde Chile!

Sue said...

Hmmm...Miguel calls me "Ma" but not his daughter - she is "Chookies" or something like that. Someone mentioned cabra/cabro - I've heard cabron and cabrona, probably similar - usually in reference to one of our animals.

Esunicle - too funny, I never saw it in print before so have always 'translated' it phonetically and figured it meant "is the only" (es uniqo - I think I made that up).

I don't envy you trying to keep ahead of the slang and words Max will be bringing home. Good luck!

Great link and great post. Thanks!

1st Mate said...

Pingo makes me think of a kid on springs, bouncing around. Thanks for the link.

Gaelyn said...

Seems there's always words, good and bad, that are generational. You just have to learn the language as well. I'm sure Max will help you out.

CancunCanuck said...

Estuardo- Hola, gracias por tu comentario! I love how much Spanish changes not only from country to country, but region to region within the countries themselves. Speaking with folks from the Pacific northwest of Mexico brings up a whole new vocabulary! I look forward to having the chance to visit Guatemala and learn new "jerga". :) Thanks for the offer of help!

My3Ros- Heehee, I think those words describe a lot of little boys of that age! Nice to see you girl. :)

Globalgal- Hi and welcome! I really liked your blog, great reading and very interesting to hear about life in China. Glad you like the link, I forgot about it and was happy to dig it up again after a year or so. I'll be truthful, I have a hard time understanding people from Spain, the accent and vocabulary are quite different, it takes me a while to get "into their groove" so to speak. Have a fabulous trip! (I've put you on my reader and look forward to your posts). :)

Carlos- Ahh, I forgot about "enano", it's one of Hubby's pet names for Max!! Mocoso, jiji, kind of like the English "little snot". Haven't heard "bodoque", most little ahem, overweight kids get the simple "gordo" label. "Carajo!" is a word that flies out of Hubby's mouth when he is very frustrated with Max, I wasn't sure how harsh it was but I knew it wasn't a term of endearment. Gracias por tu comentario!

La Chilenguita- Here "pendejo" is fairly strong, like "asshole" so I've only heard it used for adults. I like "lolo/lola", "Lola" is my little dog's name, haha. You do hear "tio/tia" from kids/teens speaking to adults who are not family, still respectful to the elders but a little more familiar. Thanks so much, love hearing how Spanish is used in other countries! Saludos!

Sue- "Cabron/cabrona" is a "light" version of "pendejo", not as harsh as "asshole", but same idea (my understanding of it anyway, someone correct me if I am wrong!) I love slang, always gets a laugh out of new Mexican friends when I use it. :)

1st Mate- Ah yes, pingo, pogo, great image and totally appropriate! Enjoy the link, I can get lost in that site for hours if I am not careful.

Gaelyn- Generational words are fantastic, I love trying to explain them to my students. They'll see the word "neat" and I'll explain that it's how my parents say "cool" ("chido" en español). I know that I date myself when I say something is "groovy" and have to explain that one as well, they are amazed that I remember the 70's, lol!

globalgal said...

I know what you mean about people from Spain being difficult to understand. I learned Spanish in Costa Rica. My first month in Spain was tough! Since I'll be hanging out with my nieces & nephew, I plan to find out what words are used to refer to kids there!

Anonymous said...

It doesn’t matter what the language is kids always seem to know what words they shouldn’t say. Then they tend to say them more often especially if an adult accidently laughs when hearing such a word come out of a little mouth.

Alex said...

Ah and you will be super up-to-date with your slang from Max than me!.. I feel old :S Without paying much attention, I call my son "papi" until my hubby told me he didn't know if I was talking to the kid or to him! papi is an endearment term, I suppose it comes from "papacito" that is like hot/handsome... but since it is a kid, papi would be like cute... like they call babes to girls that could be as old as the dinosaurs but as long as they are cute... anyway, just guessing here!

Kelsey S said...

Hi! I wanted to say I am just loving your blog! For the past 5 years we have spent our Summers down in Quintana Roo specifically Puerto Aventuras (south of Playa and north of Tulum) and I have such a respect for the Mexican people and the land everything about it is beautiful. I started reading your blog during our last month on vacation this year and used some of the phrases and colloquialisms you have explained and have gotten such a great reaction! I don't think anything feels as good as having a taxi driver actual laugh and understand your feeble attempt at a joke. Thanks so much for your blog!

Heather said...

I use "mama" when speaking to thais sometimes and my grandma always used cha-cha traviesa when yelling at me growing up, lol!

Clementina said...

I love th word "escuincle" but for some reason the words reminds me of the sound of squeeling piglet!
Then again our family coined our own words:
Chacachai--a stinker. "No seas chacachai o te voy a dar en la torre!"--the equivalent of "I'm taking you to the woodshed."
Bungungdangas--my mother's word for junk food.

CancunCanuck said...

Gack, I thought I responded to everyone, I am so sorry!

Globalgal- Spanish is sooo different in all regions, even within a country! Trying to sort out the accents and the slang is a full time job sometimes, haha. Kid language is a whole other matter, have fun with the nieces and nephew!

Jackie- Kids LOVE to push buttons, bad language is one of the easiest for them. Not laughing can be difficult though, those cute little faces with those foul words, it's all I can do not to giggle. :)

Ale- You'll get "what the kids are saying" in no time, your little sweetie will help you out! I like your analysis, works for me, thanks!

Kelsey- Thanks for the lovely words! Glad you were able to use some of the expressions, it makes vacation here so much more fun if you communicate in a bit of Spanish, especially slang, you get big laughs!

Heather- Cha cha traviesa? Ha! Love it!

Clementina- Love your family's made up words, very cute! I think each family has their pet names, always terms of endearment, even when we're angry, teeehee. Thanks for stopping by!

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