Posted by paulrivas on:
Yesterday, Rivas Cultural Services overheard two amusing bits of
bilingualism. The first was at the student activities fair at UCSB's
Storke Plaza, where 100 tables advertised the activities put on by
various student organizations, associations, congresses, groups, and
splinter groups. MUJER, a women's sub-committee of El Congreso, was
selling cucumber slices and mangos topped with lime juice and chili
powder. Apparently a member of the table staff expressed a doubt, to
which the head mango man replied, "Mientras vendamos, it's all
good", meaning, "As long as we're selling, it's all good". This could
only happen in California! (Although the notion that fast revenue
matters more than customer service, planning and good business
practices is widely accepted throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas.
In Mexico, this half-assed way of doing things is generally referred to
as "a la mexicana", roughly "Mexican style" in English.
The other example is also purely California. On 91.9 KCSB was a program concerning Spanish-language sexual education. The speaker was explaining the importance of not sharing sex toys with other couples, and said, "...que cada uno tiene su propio, um, set", meaning "that each [couple] has its own, um, set." There is a perfectly good and well-known word for "set" in Spanish, but it's "juego", which Rivas Cultural Services believes the clearly mixed-up speaker in question may have avoided due to a perceived confusion with the version of "juego" meaning "game". Which would imply the bilingual speaker chose a strictly English word over a Spanish word because the Spanish word may have been confusing to other bilingual speakers. Which of course is pointless, in Spanish-language sex education.
There are real linguists who study these things, but Rivas Cultural Services always enjoys taking an amateur crack at a good linguistic enigma.