Americanisms and Mexicanisms

An “Americanism” is a phrase from one of the native American languages, which is incorporated into other languages, or a word of those languages (especially Spanish and English) that is created or modified in its usage because American speakers.
Examples from Spanish accepted into the Royal Academy Dictionary, 2001 edition, are:

* Baulera. (Argentina). Back room, usually in the basement of an apartment building.
* Chascoso, sa. (Peru). Matted hair.
* Chulón, na. (El Salvador). Naked, without clothes.
* Jetonear. (Costa Rica). To tell lies or fabrications.
* Paramar. (Ecuador). To drizzle.

The Dictionary of Americanisms was born as a need and demonstration of the different varieties of Spanish in America. It is the result of efforts of many to keep the many different versions of Spanish in Latin America alive.

But besides this compilation of Americans of all America, another unique dictionary was created for Mexico, which is conceptually the same as the one for Americanisms, but only for native expressions of the Mexican people.

Words such as “chido”, “muy padre”, “el ruco ese”, “a todas margaritas”, among others, are present in the Dictionary of Mexicanisms.

One of the striking things that were observed after the end of the dictionary project were the cultural implications in expressions. We discussed this also in some past articles.

In Mexicanisms, the role of sexism in the Spanish of Mexico stands out. A clear example is the male sexual organ, which has about 200 names, while the female only reaches 30.

Another cultural factor is the entrenched concept of death, which generates many meanings in the language of Mexico, for example, “chupó faros” (sucked headlights), “colgó los tenis” (hung up the sneakers), “petatearse” (no literal translation, akin to “kick the bucket”).

Once again, we see in these two dictionaries of Americanisms and Mexicanisms how cultural elements is always present in our thoughts, determining much of our language.

For more information please see Translation Services.

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