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Bennie García

Aug 22, 2011, 3:29 PM

Post #26 of 49 (3477 views)

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Re: [Maesonna] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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My wife likes: "Banqueta" for sidewalk, [...] I notice people in Mexico City smiling sweetly when they hear my wife's Yucatecan accent and her colloquialisms and shibboleths. (and yes, some other Spanish speakers also use banqueta.)



Within Mexico, I’ve only ever lived in Mexico City, and all my Spanish is picked up here. Banqueta is the only word I know for sidewalk. What am I missing?


Banqueta is pretty universal. Acera is another common term for sidewalk.


esperanza

Aug 22, 2011, 3:38 PM

Post #27 of 49 (3474 views)

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Re: [Maesonna] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Maesonna, I'm with you: I've lived all over this country and have only ever heard and used banqueta. What's left?

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









mazbook1


Aug 22, 2011, 4:45 PM

Post #28 of 49 (3469 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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YucaLandia, "On a strange note, I have several expat friends who speak Spanish with a pure American English accent, with no attempt to pronounce things in Spanish, but their verb conjugations and vocabulary are superb, making them almost universally understood here."

That may be true in Mérida and envirions, but it sure isn't true in most of México. I actually had a bookstore customer (from the U.S.) tell me that he thought he spoke pretty good Spanish, but no one seemed to understand him. After a short conversation in Spanish with him (he had a very high level of fluency), I told him it was due to his poor pronunciation, and he should buy my little book that concentrates on pronunciation. He was reluctant (to say the least), but finally did buy it. Two weeks later he returned and thanked me. Although his level of Spanish was far above the level in my little book, the guide and drill on pronunciation was just what he needed. His very words were, "Now everyone understands me!".

Many years ago, a professional linguist who had for many years a language school in Mazatlán (both English for Spanish speakers and Spanish for English speakers) asked me if I knew what the absolute one MAIN difference between English and Spanish was. I had to reply that I really didn't know. She then went ahead to explain to me that it was how information was transmitted. English transmits information by the word order in sentences (this is why we can read English sentences that have every word misspelled or jumbled and still understand the sentences), but that Spanish transmits information by the pronunciation of words/sentences. That was what started me on the quest to writing my own little book on beginning Mexican Spanish for tourists and newbies.


YucaLandia


Aug 23, 2011, 6:45 AM

Post #29 of 49 (3445 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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mamitis = very close to nebbish(?) - a mama's boy?
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


tashby


Aug 23, 2011, 7:35 AM

Post #30 of 49 (3438 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Are the ones you're posting specific to the Yucatan? It would be good to know.


(This post was edited by tashby on Aug 23, 2011, 7:39 AM)


YucaLandia


Aug 23, 2011, 7:51 AM

Post #31 of 49 (3434 views)

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Re: [tashby] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Some things are from the Yucatan, others = ???

Aren't all slang, idioms, and shibboleths potentially regional?

I post mamitis to see how others react: is it a local thing, or regional thing, or Mexican thing? Lo no se.

When used at the right moment, it cracks up locals here, and humor can be a great way to break-down barriers and increase trust and communication. Tome el agua del pozo?
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


esperanza

Aug 23, 2011, 8:49 AM

Post #32 of 49 (3422 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Mamitis (mah-MEE-tees) is a Mexican thing. I've heard it everywhere in the country.

According to Dictionary.com, a nebbish is a person, esp. a man, who is pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive.

A man (or in our case, our male dog) who has mamitis may ALSO be all of the above, but they don't necessarily go hand in glove. It means that he can't stand to be too far away from his mami--he's tied to her apron strings.

Think of it this way: it is describing (and is derived from the name of) an infection. The -itis is the same as saying you have bronquitis, or rinitis (bronchitis or rhinitis). In the case of mamitis, it means infected by his mami. A big strong truck-driving, soccer-playing, tequila-drinking man may have mamitis just as easily as Sr. Casper Milquetoast (pitifully ineffectual, timid, and submissive) might not have it.

When someone asks why Juan Fulano has never moved out of the family home, in spite of his many girlfriends, you will hear Mexicans say, tiene un caso grave de mamitis aguditis. (He has a seriously acute case of Mom-itis.)

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









mazbook1


Aug 23, 2011, 11:33 AM

Post #33 of 49 (3404 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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esperanza, high points for your explanation, BUT really mamitis is more a disease/condition of the mami, not her offspring. It is when she won't or can't cut those "apron strings" and allows/encourages her offspring to walk all over her…forever!

In the opinion of mi esposa Mexicana—getting her degree in psychology at the moment—it is one of, if not the, worst failings of the Mexican culture, possibly even worse than machismo, although the two are related. You can be sure that NONE of our 4 kids are infected with mamitas by your definition, and you can be absolutely certain that mi esposa doesn't suffer from it by my definition. And please believe me, this is NOT due to any "infection" of mi familia with la cultura gringa due to my presence.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Aug 23, 2011, 11:37 AM)


esperanza

Aug 23, 2011, 4:36 PM

Post #34 of 49 (3381 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Mazbook1, with all due respect to you and your wife--and your children--after I read your response, I googled mamitis. Every single online definition, whether in Spanish or English (and I looked at about six of them), agrees with mine.

I think you might want to google it and then reconsider your opinion.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









YucaLandia


Aug 23, 2011, 4:45 PM

Post #35 of 49 (3378 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Delightful insights!

Here's a different perspective: Sons across the world leave home to get married. Every son then reaches a moment when has to choose to do something his mother wants at the expense of time with his spouse or the disapproval of his spouse. In most cultures, it's the young person's responsibility to individuate - choose their own path. It is the son who chooses to initiate the "cutting of the cord". After the son initiates, the mother can react to the son's choice, and make the transition easy or hard, but it is the son who makes the choice. Just because some Mexican mothers make the choice difficult, like the Jewish mothers (of nebbishes), doesn't relieve the Jewish or Mexican sons from choosing. I understand that Mazbook implies that Mexican sons are not responsible for their actions and choices? Modern society seems eager to approve of adult "children" blaming their parents for many many things. Is this another example of modern society blaming the parent ???
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Aug 23, 2011, 5:07 PM)


Bennie García

Aug 23, 2011, 5:26 PM

Post #36 of 49 (3368 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Mamitis and papitis can both be used to describe small children that are very close to one of their parents. It isn't necessarily a parent of the opposite sex.


(This post was edited by Bennie García on Aug 23, 2011, 6:24 PM)


mazbook1


Aug 23, 2011, 5:27 PM

Post #37 of 49 (3368 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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esperanza (and Yucalandia), technically you are correct, as it is a disease primarily of sons (and sometimes daughters too), BUT it would not exist without the encouragement and codependency of the mothers.

Rather than look at just definitions (which often don't tell "the rest of the story"), look at and read this article, the very, very first one on the list when you Google mamitis +mexico ,

http://www.deseretnews.com/...y-men-in-Mexico.html

and you will see why my wife believes it is the fault of and can only be changed by the women/mothers of México, since they are the ones encouraging it. The connection to the machismo culture is self-evident, once you realize that it allows the sons to be "mama's boys" or "nebbishes" without the danger of losing their self-worth of machismo.

YucaLandia, in answer to your question, "Modern society seems eager to approve of adult 'children' blaming their parents for many many things. Is this another example of modern society blaming the parent ???" the answer is absolutely not! Mexican men with this affliction would NEVER blame their mothers. Quite the contrary. I think that if you change your statement to "Modern society NOB seems eager…" and "Is this another example of modern society NOB blaming…" you would probably have the whole thing right.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Aug 23, 2011, 5:37 PM)


esperanza

Aug 23, 2011, 5:32 PM

Post #38 of 49 (3361 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Mazbook, your latest response implies that I learned about mamitis from Google. What I said is that AFTER I read your first response, I went to Google to see what I could learn. The only thing I learned is that the way I have always heard mamitis used and used it myself is in fact correct.

Bennie García is correct in that either male or female children can have this ailment, although I believe that it is more prevalent among the male of the species.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bennie García

Aug 23, 2011, 5:42 PM

Post #39 of 49 (3359 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Mazbook, your latest response implies that I learned about mamitis from Google. What I said is that AFTER I read your first response, I went to Google to see what I could learn. The only thing I learned is that the way I have always heard mamitis used and used it myself is in fact correct.

Bennie García is correct in that either male or female children can have this ailment, although I believe that it is more prevalent among the male of the species.


Amongst small children it probably equally prevalent between the sexes although it is probably more noticeable when it is child/parent of the opposite sex. Momma's boy and daddy's girl. Most grow out of it.

And in my experience, which is that of a father that raised three kids here from birth, it is heard much more often when describing infants than adults. The dictionary's mileage may vary.


(This post was edited by Bennie García on Aug 23, 2011, 6:09 PM)


mazbook1


Aug 23, 2011, 5:48 PM

Post #40 of 49 (3358 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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esperanza, you don't seem to get my point. The way you and those you know use the word in informal conversation is absolutely correct, BUT if you carry your disease metaphor a bit further, it is the mami who is the carrier of the disease.

I was just trying to expand on your definition (which was great) to explain the "disease" a bit better for those who have heard the word used without knowing the whole story. Somehow I got the idea that this was a forum for learning about the culture and language of our adopted country, and I was trying to be helpful, not to denigrate anyone's ideas. Sorry!


tonyburton


Aug 23, 2011, 6:05 PM

Post #41 of 49 (3351 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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and pity the parents who have kids with nini-itis, or even worse ninini-itis!


esperanza

Aug 23, 2011, 6:31 PM

Post #42 of 49 (3340 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Bennie, I do understand what you are posting and I hope that you understand what I am posting as well. The dictionary did not teach me to know what mamitis is. I learned it by talking with and laughing with many, many Mexican friends over the course of long years of living here. I first heard mamitis used in 1981, although it had been around far longer than I.

Your experience is related to children. My experience of its use is to describe grown men who are unable to marry and leave home because they can't bear not to be with mami. There are other, similar uses, but they all boil down to the same thing: emotional over-attachment to mami.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bennie García

Aug 23, 2011, 6:39 PM

Post #43 of 49 (3339 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Your experience is related to children.


How would you know what my experience is based upon? Do you think I have spent that past 39 years hanging around with infants? My oldest was born in Guadalajara in 1979. So do some simple math and you will see she is now an adult, as are her younger siblings. I had lived in this country for 6 years prior to her birth. For crying out woman, I have lived in a Spanish speaking household for 4 decades. You think I might have had a few conversations with adults during these past few years?


(This post was edited by Bennie García on Aug 23, 2011, 7:13 PM)


YucaLandia


Aug 23, 2011, 6:39 PM

Post #44 of 49 (3339 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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mazbook1,
I like your addition: It takes two to do the dance. and Yes, I agree that I am projecting a NOB perspective on "blaming the parent" that may not fit here.

I still like the "Mom - itis " . I can't shake the image of a little boy, grasping at and hiding in his momma's skirt = en las faldas de mamá. The joking about mamitis I hear here are directed at adult men, who just can´t let go.

For those of you with cuñados, you now have an new way to zing him. *grin*

steve
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Aug 23, 2011, 6:58 PM)


mazbook1


Aug 24, 2011, 10:33 AM

Post #45 of 49 (3300 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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YucaLandia, Well, I have plenty of cuñados, since mi esposa has 8 (yep, that's not a typo, eight) sisters. I don't believe i could "zing" any adult Mexican male about suffering from mamitis to his face, though. It's more the sort of thing that folks snigger about behind their back. It is a fine subject for adult chisme.

All that aside, mamitis is a debilitating cultural disease here. My wife and I have seen it in any number of families. The worst case we've seen was that of a fine, upstanding, lovely widow lady who married an older man (widower) we knew. The marriage, which was to all appearances a perfect match, came unglued in just one year, as she had so badly infected her adult son with mamitis she was unable/unwilling to put ANY of her new husband's wants or needs ahead of the son's. Very, very sad situation.


YucaLandia


Aug 24, 2011, 12:27 PM

Post #46 of 49 (3290 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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Wow, sad to hear about the marriage going kaput. It does take 2 to do the dance.

Which brings up my Spanish word of the day: kaput or caput, as in: hacer kaput .
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


mazbook1


Aug 24, 2011, 1:48 PM

Post #47 of 49 (3277 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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kaput or caput must be one of the very few loan words (this one from German) in Spanish that are pronounced exactly the same as in its original language. Oddly, U.S. English also pronounces it the same. Most loan words in Spanish from other languages change to a purely Spanish pronunciation, which can be very confusing to native English speakers that are somewhat fluent in Spanish (and maybe a bit "hearing challenged" to boot).


Bennie García

Aug 24, 2011, 1:57 PM

Post #48 of 49 (3277 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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YucaLandia, Well, I have plenty of cuñados, since mi esposa has 8 (yep, that's not a typo, eight) sisters. I don't believe i could "zing" any adult Mexican male about suffering from mamitis to his face, though. It's more the sort of thing that folks snigger about behind their back. It is a fine subject for adult chisme.


I agree. I would be very cautious using the word to "zing" someone.

The ubiquitous mandilón will usually suffice and most won't take serious offense. That is, si te llevas bien con ellos.


eyePad

Aug 25, 2011, 5:56 PM

Post #49 of 49 (3244 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Idioms, Slang, Shibboleths, and False Cognates

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In my opinion, English speakers who are adults and learning Spanish for the first time have several areas of concern: Hearing clearly the spanish words being spoken, grammar, and vocabulary. If you build the base then idioms and slang will happen naturally. there is no substitute for the solid base. And like anything in life worthwhile it takes a lot of work.
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