Pavo vs. Pavo Real

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Carlos: Guess what?

Me: What?

Carlos: At work the other day, my boss said I was the best guy in my department.

Me: Oh yeah?

Carlos: {smiling and nodding}

Me: That’s awesome, nene. I bet you felt pretty proud.

Carlos: Yeah, my chest felt like a turkey.


I think he meant some version of “proud as a peacock.”

(Peacock = pavo real, turkey = pavo) … Similar words in Spanish, but not so much in English. Regardless, I knew what he wanted to say.

After 14 years together, I’m starting to believe that at some point we will eventually have a language that will be uniquely understood only between the two of us – It will be a mix of mispronounced Spanish words, inside jokes, broken English and inadvisable direct translations of idioms from one language to the other.

Ricky: You shouldn’t cross your bridges before they’re hatched.

Lucy: What?

Ricky: You shouldn’t burn your chickens behind you!

– I Love Lucy


  1. I love the idea of a special language between us bilingual couples. My man speaks very good english but sometimes something still gets lost in translation. I actually was going to email you because he was cracking me up today. I fell asleep before him last night while he was watching netflix on the ipad. today he tells me:

    him: perdiste la peli que vi anoche. fue muy interestante, de los aliens que hacian popsicles
    me: popsicles? hay aliens que hacian popsicles?!?
    him: no, de hecho son los humanos que los hacen, cuando es muy noche con mecate en la granja pero la gente piensa que son aliens
    me: wtf? popsicles hecho en la granja? porque? me confundes. fue un cartoon?
    him: no es realidad, un documentario de estés popsicles

    we went on así for like ten minutes til he finally showed me the documentary on…. can you guess what it was actually about?

      • yes, crop circles! i laughed for like ten minutes when he showed me.

        You always make me laugh with your posts so I’m glad I can return the favor.

        (In my boyfriend’s defense, the documentary was from Britain, so there were accents to contend with and no subtitles on the netflix.)

  2. Soooo funny. I love that we can switch and talk in either language and understand each other. If he’s not understanding me in one, I can try it in the other. And while that sounds like we’d have great communication skills, it’s the complete opposite. Not sure why that is.

    @graciela…I’d guess crop circles….but it took me a minute to figure out…what a hilarious conversation. My husband and I will have 10minute long conversations and be talking about completely different things. It’s always funny at the end.

    • LOL – you guessed it too. I wonder if it would be more difficult for people who don’t have experience in this type of “translating” jajaja.

      As for conversations where we realize, 10 minutes in, that we’re both talking about two TOTALLY different things – YES, those are hilarious too!

  3. I’ve run into a few similar situations with people I know.

    One in particular that stands out is someone that once told me “you threw salt on us.” As in “nos salaste” i.e. you cursed us. LOL

    Likewise, had he told that to someone else, they’d probably would have been totally lost, but given I knew the saying, I was able to put 2 & 2 together and “translate” what he meant. LOL

  4. Even though my husband speaks English very well, there are some words that that he always says wrong. Listening to my family talk recently I’ve realized that my son and even my English is starting to sound more like my husbands.

    • LOL – this is pretty common but outsiders will think you’re imitating the accent on purpose which is embarrassing. I read somewhere that the more empathetic you are, the more likely you are to mimic a person’s speech and body language. It makes sense to me.

  5. I JUST snorted reading that… my chest felt like a turkey! ROFL You should have seen my face. My eyebrows crinkled and I thought to myself.. what the heck does that mean? I, like you, think my husband and I have our very own language too.

  6. Tracy, I think that Carlos meant he was “strutting like a turkey” or he was going around “bien culón” after his boss gave him some compliments!

    I had have those moments where I have almost cried in frustration becasue my hubby doesn’t have the foggiest of what I’m talking about, like when I asked him to get me some “bay hales” for our front lawn, and he was like “what is it that you want?” “bay hales, bay hales, the ones that they rope in big round packages, but I do not want the big ones, I want the small square ones, and maybe your friend can get us some cheaper that the ones at the garden spot, those mofos are soo overpriced, If you get me 2 or 3 bay hales, I can stick the scarecrow on top and place some pumpkings, like the neighbor did” n my husband goes “HAY BALES, YOU MEAN HAY BALES!” and he busted out lauging! It is so amusing that now, even if I know which is what, i still misspronounce to see him smile.

    But it balances out when he comes out with some weird saying that you cannot find in none of the english dictionaries… It took me awhile to realize that “Over Yonder” is like saying, over there! and I kept thinking what the heck is that yonder he talks about?

    • LOL! Thanks so much for you comment. “Bay hales” is something I might even say, even as a native English speaker – it’s easy to flip the first letters of words like that.

      As for Carlos – he meant he felt proud and that his chest swelled (puffed up) with pride. jajaja

  7. Hi!
    I can totally relate to this. I’m Argentinean, my husband is Dutch. At home Language 1 is English, ergo, a third language, but we mix it with words from Spanish and Dutch all the time, or we Dutchify Spanish words or viceversa. At this point, after 9 years of marriage, I don’t know what we speak anymore, in fact! :D
    Very interesting blog! I’ll come back.

  8. Ay Tracy too funny! I was like pavo real (totally reading in english like whatttt) lol hahaha I should have known their would be comedy out of that. I love that you two have your own love language Im slowly learning the hubs an vs and since most of or communication is via text I know had he messaged someone else with that they’d question him quick TFS

  9. Lol! With a compliment like that I’d feel like my chest were a turkey as well!

    I once told my esposo I was going to Safeway (the grocery store). He kept asking “Who? Adonde?” and my response was “Me. Safeway”. (Imagine back and forth for about 5 minutes.) I finally realized he thought I was saying, “Se fue.” He wanted to know quien se fue, y a donde!

    Another time, after a bad day at work, he told me some guy was “Crisping his nerves.” Despite him being upset, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Crisping your nerves?! Do you mean ‘getting on your nerves’?” Before that I’d never heard the Spanish expression, “crispa mis nervios.” Now when someone irritates me, I love to tell my husband that they are crisping my nerves.

    • LOL! These are fantastic examples of exactly what I mean! Love how you guys always understand me here :)

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