Keep Calma and Vote Obama

I’m not planning on getting too political here on Latinaish.com despite it being an election year, but I couldn’t resist sharing this greeting card I discovered this evening at Target.

Wow – this simple card manages to hit 3 demographics at once!

1. Spanglish speakers
2. Democrats or others voting for Obama
3. People familiar with the “Keep Calm” meme

Congratulations to the artist at Recycled Paper Greetings for hitting it out of the park. And for Republicans out there, no worries, there was a much less catchy “Keep Calm, Vote for Rom” version as well.

Pizza Patrón Forcing Hungry Gringos To Speak Spanish – Gringos Outraged

Image source: Seth Werkheiser

Bilingualism has many rewards including enhanced cognitive skills, lower occurrence of dementia in old age, higher paying job opportunities, double the pool of friend and relationship possibilities, and now, free pizza.

A Texas-based pizza chain is getting some backlash over their latest promotion. On June 5th from 5 to 8 pm, Pizza Patrón customers who order in Spanish will receive a free large pepperoni pizza, but this has some monolingual English-speakers feeling a little cheesed off. (I couldn’t resist the pun. ¡Perdóname!)

“This is America and in America we speak American when we order Italian food!” said one angry customer, (Okay, I made up that quote, although it’s not much of an exaggeration from real quotes I’ve read.)

Pizza Patrón unfortunately can’t claim to be surprised by the reaction they’ve gotten since they generated a similar response in 2007 when they announced that they would accept pesos as payment.

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Regardless of how ridiculous people are being about the promotion, they can’t accuse Pizza Patrón brand director Andrew Gamm, of not playing fair – Hungry gringos wanting their share of the pie will not be left out. “If you don’t speak Spanish, come on in. We’ll give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza.” (By the way, the very difficult phrase customers must learn how to say is “Pizza, por favor.” …Seriously people, if you can’t say that, you have bigger problems than not being able to get a free pizza.)

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Did you notice how “pizza” is spelled in the advertisement above? That is genius marketing at work. Here’s an excerpt from a Pizza Patrón press release explaining:

“Collateral materials for the promotion feature the word PIZZA spelled with a “C” resulting in text that reads PICZA POR FAVOR™ (pronounced “PEEK-ZA”). Company officials say many of Pizza Patrón’s corporate staff members pronounce words like PIZZA as PICZA or PEPSI as PECSI.

“Nearly half of our corporate staff says PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) instead of PIZZA,” says Gamm. “And when we dug a little deeper, we soon realized that a good number of our Hispanic customers also say PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) too. We thought it would be fun to incorporate that cultural component into the campaign.”

I have to say, at our house it’s pronounced “PEEP-SA”, but “PICZA” is close enough that I smiled, recognizing right away what they were up to.

How do you pronounce “pizza” at your house?

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Bonus: Check out this hilarious take on the Pizza Patrón news story over at Pocho.com – Speaking Spanish gets you a free pizza – and Pocho Ocho other things

Sniglets for Latinos

Image source: sAeroZar

When I was a kid I discovered a book at my grandparents’ house called “Sniglets” by comedian Rich Hall. The book explained that a sniglet is “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should” and was full of humorous made-up examples, such as:

Aqualibrium (ak wa lib’ re um) – n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

Cheedle (chee’ dul) – n. The residue left on one’s fingertips after consuming a bag of Cheetos.

Nurge (nerj) v. – To inch closer to a stoplight thinking that will cause it to change quicker.

Purpitation (per pi TAY shun) – v. To take something off the grocery shelf, decide you don’t want it, and then put it in another section.

Shmiddle – (n) The hole in the center of a bagel. “The cream cheese was oozing out from the shmiddle.”

Snargle (snar’ gul) – v. To lessen the visual impact of a horror movie by filtering it through one’s fingers.

[more here]

After I discovered that book of Sniglets as a kid, I began trying to come up with my own and had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t remember any of the ones I invented back then but I decided I wanted to come up with some today – except I wanted to put a new spin on it. How about Sniglets for Spanish/English bilinguals? Here are a few I thought up.

Sniglets for Latinos

Ranchteza – (ranch-tay-sa – noun) the sadness one feels while listening to classic Mexican Ranchera music that they enjoy but depresses them nonetheless. Example: I love to hear Pedro Infante sing Cu-cu-rru-cu-cú Paloma, but it causes me to feel some major ranchteza.

Bilingaffe – (by-ling-gaff – noun) when a bilingual person unintentionally uses the grammar of their second language when saying something in their native language, resulting in odd speech. Example: The other day when Carlos asked me why I wasn’t eating I said, “It’s that I don’t have hunger” and immediately cracked up laughing because my brain thought “Es que no tengo hambre” but my tongue spoke English – I made a bilingaffe.

Inglespond – (en-glay-spond – verb) when children respond in English even though they’ve been spoken to in Spanish. Example: I asked my daughter “¿Dónde está tu chaqueta?” and she inglesponded, “I left it at school.”

OVNI-plato – (ohv-nee-plah-to – noun) the plate of food one takes home from a party, which usually consists of a styrofoam or paper plate inverted on top of another styrofoam plate and wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. Could contain pastel de tres leches or main dishes such as tamales, carne asada, arroz, & other sides. Example: Hey, Ramón, make sure you bring me home an OVNI-plato from Silvia’s party!

Dulcovery (dools-covery – noun) a piece of candy one finds in the grass, discovered long after the breaking of a piñata. Example: Look at this, dulcovery! I found a Bubu Lubu over by the lilac bush – must be from Estefany’s cumple last week.

Your turn! Leave me some “Sniglets for Latinos” in the comments! Feel free to mix it up – use English and/or Spanish words to come up with your own word!

How Bilingual Siblings Argue

A photo of kitty siblings fighting, because it's cuter than human boys fighting.
Image source: Tambako the Jaguar

(Overheard conversation between my two sons yesterday.)

13 year old: Ugh! My hair is being so stupid! It won’t do what I want it to!
10 year old: I hate when I can’t style my hair, too.
13 year old: Ha! I wish I had your hair! You have good hair!
10 year old: Does that mean you think I’m bonito?
13 year old: No, you’re still feo.
10 year old: What?! … Well, you’re feo-er!
13 year old: You’re the más feo del mundo.
10 year old: Well, you’re feo to the luna and back!

You realize how badly you want your kids to be bilingual when you make no attempt to break up the argument but instead smile that they’re insulting each other in Spanglish.

Spanglish Mentiras

For years my younger son has had the habit of crawling into my lap at the dinner table after he finishes eating. I don’t remember why, how or when this started – I only know that he’s a big 10 year old now with unwieldy limbs, and this tradition is becoming uncomfortable. This is the conversation we had at breakfast this morning.

10 year old: Let me sit with you!

Me: No, ahorita no, this chair isn’t built for two people. La silla se va a quebrar.

10 year old: Por fa? I’ll wash the dishes!

Me: Mentira!

10 year old: I’m not mentira-ing, I really will!

I love his Spanglish, but his Spanish is getting better when he chooses to use it – His bribing skills though, are quite advanced. Check out a post I wrote for SpanglishBaby called, The Lesser Known Dangers of Bribing a Bilingual Child.

My Spanglish

There have been plenty of posts such as, “Pass the Vacuum” and other Carlos-isms, which poke fun at Carlos’s English. I also still make fun of him for asking “How many years do you have?” when we first met – So I thought it was only fair for me to write a post about my Spanish mistakes. The one that still makes my cheeks burn red is in the post Most Embarrassing Spanish Speaking Moment, but here are a few words I’ve apparently invented on the path to Spanish fluency.

Quesoso – (pronounced “kay-so-so”) I’m actually proud of this one and have stubbornly used it for years. I call things “cheesy” a lot in English, like, “Oh my gosh, this novela is so cheesy!” … But how do you say “cheesy” in Spanish? I don’t know, so I took the word for “cheese” and added on the appropriate ending.

Afordable – (pronounced “ah-for-dah-blay”) I didn’t know the word for “affordable” in Spanish (“asequible” which I still forget) – so I took a stab in the dark… hey sometimes it works.

Polandia – I was watching a soccer match and Carlos asked me who was playing. I answered “Polandia contra …” (whoever was playing against Poland, I can’t remember.) … Apparently Poland is “Polonia” in Spanish… I still think mine makes more sense.

Tiene un punto – I was trying to say “He has a point” but Carlos says this idiom can’t be translated directly. Oops!

That’s all I can remember for now, but I’m sure there will be more to come.

History of Spanglish + A Spanglish version of Little Red Riding Hood

Sometimes we think of Spanglish as a modern invention – something that the younger generation has created as the Latino population grows in the United States and American culture becomes increasingly popular in Latin America. The truth is, Spanglish has been around a long time. The term, “Spanglish” was first coined by a Puerto Rican linguist named Salvador Tió in the late 1940s. Tió also came up with the word “inglañol” – which is not nearly as popular, (my guess is because it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the same way.)

While the term “Spanglish” first started being used in the late 1940’s, its roots go much further back to the 1800’s, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the 100,000 Mexicans left on the new U.S. side of the border – Mexicans who later became known as “Chicanos.”

Honestly, while I suspected the origins of Spanglish to be something similar to what I found, I wasn’t prompted to research it until recently. Watching I Love Lucy with my little boy before he goes to school is one of my favorite parts of the day. An episode called “Ricky Minds the Baby” aired one morning and in this episode, Ricky tells the story of “Caperucita Roja” (Little Red Riding Hood), to Little Ricky – and he tells it entirely in very charming and amusing Spanglish.

1/18/54: “Ricky Minds the Baby”
I Love Lucy Episode 80 – Filmed 12/3/53
Story: Ricky decides that Lucy deserves a rest, so he offers to take care of Little Ricky.

Links:

Hispanicla.com – Spanglish I
Living in Spanglish: The Search for Latino Identity in America By Ed Morales
Wikipedia – Spanglish
Latinaish – Spanglish Songs
About.com: Caperucita Roja – Vocabulary