Like the rest of the language academies in each of the Spanish-speaking countries, the Peruvian Language Academy has maintained intellectual relations with the Association of the Spanish Language Academies and the Royal Spanish Academy in a true team effort. It has been the benchmark for ongoing consultations of the highest Peruvian academic institutions and political organizations in regard to linguistic rules.
Among other meetings held in conjunction with the Association of Spanish Language Academies, the symposium “The Influence of Indigenous Languages oin the Spanish Spoken in Peru”, held from February 28 to March 1, 2008, stands out. The organizers were: University of Valencia, Ricardo Palma University, UNESCO Department on reading and writing in Latin America (Peru location), Peruvian Academy of Language Research, the Center for Applied Linguistics (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) and the Institute for Linguistic Research (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos).
This symposium discussed in detail the originating relationship that indigenous languages have had in the area of the language introduced by the conquering Europeans: Spanish.
Thanks to the lectures on this subject, it became clear that the Spanish spoken in Peru today shows a strong influence of vernacular.
The Dictionary of Peruisms
One aspect of the work in conjunction with the Association of Spanish Language Academies is to highlight the “Dictionary of Peruisms, the Spanish Spoken in Peru” by Juan Alvarez Vita.
Examples of “Peruisms” or expressions peculiar to the variant of Spanish spoken in Peru are:
– A la tela (to the fabric): (adv.) dress up.
A ese lugar debes ir a la tela; de lo contrario, no podrás entrar.
You have to dress up to go to this place; otherwise, you can’t get in.
– Agachados (Crouched): popular cheap diners. They are so named because there are no chairs available, and diners eat squatting.
Tenía poca plata, pero comí algo en los agachados.
I didn’t have much money, but I ate something at the “agachados”.
– Cayetano: life experience.
Te falta cayetano.
You need a bit more cayetano.
– Hacer la taba (Make ankles): to accompany.
Te hago la taba hasta la casa de tu amiga.
I’ll walk you to your friend’s house.
– Jama: food.
– Maldita (Cursed): excellent.
Esta foto está maldita, la pondré en un marco.
This photo is excellent, I am going to frame it.
– Pollo/cabeza de pollo (Chicken/chicken head): with low resistance to alcohol.
No le des nada a Mirta, porque es polla.
Do not give anything to Mirta, because she can’t hold her alcohol.
– Quinsearse: to make a mistake.
Mi amigo se quinseó de calle y se perdió.
My friend got the street wrong and was lost.
– Servilleta (Napkin): domestic worker.
Trabajar como servilleta.
To work as a domestic worker.
– Unas aguas (Some water): alcohol.
¿Tomamos unas aguas?
Want to have some drinks?
– Zapallo (Squash): cunning.
Este muchacho es un zapallo: está en todas.
This guy is really smart; he’s everywhere.
For any misunderstanding, we must consult a reliable source of information, such as the dictionary mentioned above, since the same expression in another country can have a very different or even opposite meaning.
(Versión en español: Academia Peruana de la Lengua)