Chin …


 

El Gallo de Oro Mexican Restaurant

Actually, that’s only the half of it. When I was in Celaya, Sometimes my cousin Ignacio caught himself in mid-word, “¡Chin … !“, when he saw children around, and not complete the final syllables of “-gado.” My father would start out, “Chi …” and then see brothers and me, and immediately change to the word, “¡Chihuahua!” You see Mexicans are famous for being the most notorious practitioners of swearing of all Spanish speakers in the world. And their favorite swear word has to be, “chingado.” Occasionally, when my father didn’t feel like referring to dogs or cheese with the word “chihuahua” would say, “chispas,” which merely means sparks. So if you hear someone who is frustrated by their present circumstances, and they shout, “¡Chispas!“, “¡Chihuahua!“, or “¡Chingado!“, behold (and beware), because you are most certainly in the presence of a Mexican.

¡Ay Chihuahua! is a common Mexican expression.

The other day, my Spanish class asked me about the word “chingado” and I was brutally honest with them. I told them that it’s derived from an Aztec word. Since I had the interest of the entire class, I snuck in a Spanish class without them realizing it. I began with the infinitive chingar and I conjugated it for them: chingo, chingas, chinga, chingamos, chingáis, chingan. They were so enthralled by me lesson that they didn’t even complain that I had used the vosotros form of the verb, as they usually are scared of it. I even showed them how to use the past participle as an adjective: chingado gobierno, chingada migra, chingados rateros, chingadas cuentas. Once I had their interest, I was able to teach that day’s lesson easily. They paid attention the whole class. It was simply amazing!

¡Chingago! I mean, ¡Chihuahua!

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.