Thursday, June 07, 2007

more porteno, for fun

just cause:

(and i am not really sure where this idea initially came from except that yesterday i saw an ad for the movie nacho libre, and began to think, what would that be? free chips? a pound of chips? then it occured to me that i never heard the word nacho used in argentina. not once. no. cause they don't have nachos, or tortillas, or anything of the sort there. then i wondered what chips would be in castellano, and it further occured to me that when i first got there (and before a freer trade was established between the states and argentina), the closest thing was galletitas, the sweet versions of which were similar to cookies, and the salty versions more like british "bisquits"--or maybe british bisquits are actually more like our cookies, and the salty versions of galletitas are more like our crackers? oh, fuckt if i know, shit. now i am all confused. anyways, the point being that galletitas aren't really like chips at all. then the free trade occured, and we started seeing pringles and the like in argentina. and they were simply called cheeps, which is how portenos would pronounce the english word "chips", and that led to the following insanity:)

when i first arrived in argentina, i was relieved to see some familiar name brands in the local kioskos (small corner stores, from the word "kiosk"--there is a plethera of european, middle eastern, and even asian influence in argentina), though all packaged or bottle or whatnot in argentina.

so i went into a local store and asked for colgate (toothpaste), pronouncing it as we do here in the states, kol-GAYT. the proprietor looked at me a bit blankly and said, "que buscas? flaco, que no te entendi" (and let me take a moment to say i sure miss being able to type accents and upside-down punctuation, cause that sentence is horribly lacking) [what are you looking for, man, cause i didn't understand].

i explained i wanted the red and white toothpaste, and pointed, and he said, "ooo, colgate." pronouncing it as it would be in porteno, or that is to say, col-GAH-tay.

yes, i tell him and he gets it off the shelf.

now, the really funny thing about that is colgate in castellano is, literally, "go hang yourself!"

no biggie, back the next day for a liter of 7-up. i ask for "siete-ooop" cause that is how it would be pronounced.

again, the proprietor makes with the googly-eyes and brushes with the tips of his fingers under his chin (the universal porteno sign for "i've no fucking clue"). i point, again, and he says, "ooo, seben-ahp."

what we have here is a failure to communicate.

so it became a fun game of, do they pronounce it in porteno or in an approximation of the product's name in english? the big chains of pop were all in yank: pepsi was peksee, coke was, plainly, coke, and 7-up was seben-ahp. sprite, however, was SPREE-tay.

the beatles, who is, was, and always will be, huge in argentina, was a tricky one. in el campo, or small towns in the country, they called them los bay-AHT-lays, which was confusing as hell: "te gustan los bay-AHT-lays?" to which i would brush my fingertips under my chin with a slight shrug.

"los bay-AHT-lays? jone, pahl, ringO, shorj?"

"aaa, the beatles! si, me gustan."

"como se dice?"

"the beatles?"

"de beeetells?" (which, in their mind, must be spelled "bitels")

in the city, i asked a pibe if he liked "los bay-AHT-lays" and he did the chin-brush thing, and i explained, and he said, "ooo, de beeetells, si a mi me re encantan."

oh, and those cheeps they imported from the us, they called them "PREEN-gless"

so i fucked that up, too.

darth sardonic

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3 Comments:

Blogger Prada Pixie said...

Well that clears all that up then!

So when I sat in the movies in Philly a couple of years ago and during the adverts said to my two american friends 'They don't have adverts for fags anymore do they?'

I wondered why the place went quiet.... you now English slang for cigerattes.

What was the problem??? :)

11:47 AM  
Blogger Krissie said...

You should hear me speaking English.

BTW, not that I think you want to, but just in case... If you ever feel like reading my blog again, e-mail me so I can invite you.

12:57 PM  
Blogger The Queen said...

Muy funnito. I don't speak Spanish (though I've taken three classes since college) but that doesn't stop my Spanish-only speaking neighbor from trying to communicate with me. You should see the two of us trying to hold a conversation. It's hilarious and ends with one or both of us shaking our heads and doing the universal arm wave for "aw, forget it."

9:32 PM  

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