Costa Rican slang dictionary

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Mon Mar 19 02:38:01 UTC 2001

Barry [Bapopik at AOL.COM] notes the existence of a  "DICCIONARIO DE LENGUAJE TABU
EXPRESSIONES COLOQUIALES DE COSTA RICA",  by Joe Antonio Gonzalez Ugalde and Amy
Smith.  [No date, no publisher.] He notes that a number of words

> are listed as "p.c.u." for "Possible Counterpart Unknown," or "n.p.c." for "No > Possible Counterpart.")

That's funny.  The book's title implies that it lists both taboo phrasings and
colloquial expressions.  Many of the words Barry cites are mere colloquialisms
that are not necessarily taboo, just as one might expect from the book's title.

My Spanish leans heavily toward varieties spoken in Mexico and Guatemala, so I'm
not surprised that Barry's list contains a few words I don't recognize. Most of
the p.c.u./n.p.c. words he cites, however, should be familiar to Spanish
speakers from Texas to Panama -- and their counterparts in English are equally
common words in the U.S. Of course, I might be missing some secondary meanings
of the "nudge nudge, wink wink" variety, but I thought that the guy who says
that in the Monty Python sketch didn't know what he was winking and nudging
about, either. Anyhow, here are a few examples  of what I mean:

> al rato          shortly  (closest equivalent: "anon")
> alistarse        get ready (ready oneself)
> amanecer         daybreak (Spanish verb, English noun)
> botado, da       discarded; drunk
> caer bien, caer mal
                   to please/displease  (lit: "fall [in] well"/"fall badly")
> el que no llora no mama
                   (the baby) who doesn't cry doesn't get to nurse  (roughly
                   equivalent to "the squeaky wheel gets the grease")
> horno de microondas    microwave oven

and so on through most of the list.

Yes, there are some words on the list that have clear double meanings, and a few
that border on the risque:

> caliente culos   hot assholes
> tetona           woman with large breasts; "Big tits"

I particularly like

> me cago en las tetas de Ofelia!
                   I shit on Ophelia's tits!

The only explanation I can find for the authors' "possible counterpart unknown"
or "no possible counterpart" is that the authors just don't know much English.

-- mike salovesh   <salovesh at>   PEACE !!!
        IN MEMORIAM:     Peggy Salovesh
        25 January 1932 -- 3 March 2001

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