Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fufurufo and other wonderful Salvadoran words

Fufurufo (or fufurufa if you're describing a woman) is a Salvadoran word that should be widely adopted, because it so perfectly fits. Think for a minute what fufurufo sounds like - that's right, fancy, wearing-four-inch-heels-and-a-cocktail-dress-to-the-supermarket fancy, a little too fluffy and a little too much and a little too delighted with yourself fancy.

This and other splendid Salvadoran words appear on a T-shirt I found in La Palma, and Pat and I have been working our way through it with Martha's help. Puchica I already knew as an all purpose exclamation, something in between "good heavens" and "I'll be damned." But chucho for a dog was new, as was patachucho, which is how you describe a guy who's out at the bars and hot spots when he should be home ("out catting around"?). Hediondo means stinky, and peche is the word for the last child in the family - the last one on the breast (breast is el pecho, and yes, it makes no sense that this word is masculine, but there it is).

Two of my favorite Salvadoran words don't appear on this shirt, probably because they're not at all uniquely Salvadoran, but they have a special flavor here. Cabal means "honest" or "exact" or "complete" according to my dictionary, but here it's used the way we use "right on" or "great!" in English. It's a beautiful word with a good full sound that makes a splendid exclamation point: ¡Cabal! And va, which means "it goes" is an all-purpose response here, meaning "OK," or "good" or "yes."

I'm a little hesitant to write about Salvadoran Spanish when I'm still so far from fluency - it's so easy to get it wrong and sound like a fake know-it-all, you know, fufurufa. If the word fits, use it!

No comments:

Post a Comment