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#1
Old 08-14-2011, 12:58 PM
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Is the word "Chino/a" in Spanish a general term for Asians?

One of our non English speaking Mexican cooks referred to a Vietnamese waiter as Chino. The waiter was offended and corrected to cook. "I'm not Chinese I'm Vietnamese." The cook called him "Chino" once more, thoroughly pissing of said waiter.

Trying to calm him down, another waiter who knew a little Spanish said that "Chino" in Spanish is a general term for all Asians, and that the cook was not deliberately trying to piss him off.

Was he correct?
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#2
Old 08-14-2011, 01:03 PM
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According to the Wikipedia article on Alberto Fujimori (formere presiden of Peru):

Quote:
During the campaign, Fujimori was nicknamed El Chino, which roughly translates to "Chinaman"; it is common for people of any East Asian descent to be called chino in Peru, as elsewhere in Latin America, both derogatively and affectionately.
#3
Old 08-14-2011, 01:05 PM
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It's commonly used that way... technically it does mean Chinese and there are words for the different nationalities as well as a general word for Asian: asiático. But at least among the poor, uneducated Latin Americans that live around here I almost never hear the word asiático actually used, it's always chino/a.

It's similar to white Americans referring to all Latinos as Mexicans. Ironically, their culture hasn't developed to the point yet that they understand/care how it could potentially be offensive to an Asian person to refer to them as Chinese when they're not. I don't know whether more educated Latinos are sensitive to it or not.
#4
Old 08-14-2011, 01:11 PM
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In my experience, it also may be used for anyone who looks kind of Asian, even if not actually of Asian ancestry.

It's kind of like "gringo" in that although it can be used derogatorily, it is usually just used as an identifier without offensive intent.
#5
Old 08-14-2011, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
It's similar to white Americans referring to all Latinos as Mexicans.
Now I feel obligated to clarify that the cook was actually Mexican

Thanks for the feedback ya'll.
#6
Old 08-14-2011, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Know_Nothing View Post
One of our non English speaking Mexican cooks referred to a Vietnamese waiter as Chino. The waiter was offended and corrected to cook. "I'm not Chinese I'm Vietnamese." The cook called him "Chino" once more, thoroughly pissing of said waiter.

Trying to calm him down, another waiter who knew a little Spanish said that "Chino" in Spanish is a general term for all Asians, and that the cook was not deliberately trying to piss him off.

Was he correct?
Yeah, he was. And as Colibri said, it's also used for people with "Chinese eyes" or with jaundice. Wasn't Chino the (nick)name of one of the Hispanics in West Side Story? Yep, it was. Check out his looks.

Nowadays we know it's politically incorrect, but, well... it certainly is a lot shorter than "someone who looks like his/her foreparents were from the Easternmost areas of Asia", you know? In general, if you have more-accurate information it's best to use this, but if you don't know, well, you don't. Calling the waiter "Chino" twice was impolite on account of disregarding the actual more-exact information available.

We do the same with other groups. In Spain, "Dominicana" is shorthand for "a female domestic worker from Latin America, country of origin unknown", "Ecuatoriano" and "Andino" are both shorthand for "a guy from Latin America with a lot of Amerindian blood, actual country of origin unknown" and well, I'm sure Uruguayans are up to here of being called Argentinians on account of the very-similar accents. And when I go Over There, I get called gallega. It's all right so long as we all agree that's how it works, the problem is when (as in the OP), you get culture clash.

Last edited by Nava; 08-14-2011 at 02:40 PM.
#7
Old 08-14-2011, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
We do the same with other groups. In Spain, "Dominicana" is shorthand for "a female domestic worker from Latin America, country of origin unknown", "Ecuatoriano" and "Andino" are both shorthand for "a guy from Latin America with a lot of Amerindian blood, actual country of origin unknown" and well, I'm sure Uruguayans are up to here of being called Argentinians on account of the very-similar accents. And when I go Over There, I get called gallega.
Here in Panama, colombiana is shorthand for "prostitute."
#8
Old 08-14-2011, 02:48 PM
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My insurance agent has the nickname "Chino" but he told me it meant "small boy" and that his relatives have always called him that (his given name is Anselveno). Come to think of it, he does have vaguely Asian features.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:04 PM
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Both myself and my very-Americanized Filipino husband were shocked when one of his young cousins (age 5 or so at the time) was referred to by his parents as "Chinky-eyed".
#10
Old 08-14-2011, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
In my experience, it also may be used for anyone who looks kind of Asian, even if not actually of Asian ancestry.

It's kind of like "gringo" in that although it can be used derogatorily, it is usually just used as an identifier without offensive intent.
True enough. I knew of a Puerto Rican guy with Asian-looking features, and his co-workers (soso Puerto Rican) called him Chino.

Last edited by 11811; 08-14-2011 at 04:38 PM.
#11
Old 08-14-2011, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
"Ecuatoriano" and "Andino" are both shorthand for "a guy from Latin America with a lot of Amerindian blood, actual country of origin unknown"
Here the term for someone who looks like are mostly Amerindian is "cholo." I'm not sure how widespread the term is. I have heard it used in police reports, as the suspect has "cholo hair" (straight and black). It can be derogatory; on the other hand I have seen a baseball team that was called Los Cholos and met guys who had it as their nickname.
#12
Old 08-14-2011, 05:21 PM
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Colibrí, have you been blessed (?) to listen to the song "Lean like a cholo"?
#13
Old 08-14-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Here the term for someone who looks like are mostly Amerindian is "cholo." I'm not sure how widespread the term is. I have heard it used in police reports, as the suspect has "cholo hair" (straight and black). It can be derogatory; on the other hand I have seen a baseball team that was called Los Cholos and met guys who had it as their nickname.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Colibrí, have you been blessed (?) to listen to the song "Lean like a cholo"?
Was about to say... Colibri, I know you don't live in the States but around here, "cholo" means (roughly) "gangster".
#14
Old 08-14-2011, 06:28 PM
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Dunno, I found that that stupid stupid idiotic song is referring to a cholo acting like a gangster. At least, that is what I want to believe.
#15
Old 08-14-2011, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
Was about to say... Colibri, I know you don't live in the States but around here, "cholo" means (roughly) "gangster".
He lives in Panama. Cholo doesn't have one single meaning.
#16
Old 08-14-2011, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Here in Panama, colombiana is shorthand for "prostitute."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
In my experience, it also may be used for anyone who looks kind of Asian, even if not actually of Asian ancestry.
Actually, in the Caribbean, the feminine form (china), is used as a term of endearment, similar to negro or negra for men or women.
#17
Old 08-14-2011, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Know_Nothing View Post
One of our non English speaking Mexican cooks referred to a Vietnamese waiter as Chino. The waiter was offended and corrected to cook. "I'm not Chinese I'm Vietnamese." The cook called him "Chino" once more, thoroughly pissing of said waiter.

Trying to calm him down, another waiter who knew a little Spanish said that "Chino" in Spanish is a general term for all Asians, and that the cook was not deliberately trying to piss him off.

Was he correct?
i don't think so. it's just that europeans knew of the chinese ahead of other peoples in the far east. spanish explorers called various peoples specific and descriptive names (ladrones, indios, moros.)
#18
Old 08-14-2011, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Yeah, he was. And as Colibri said, it's also used for people with "Chinese eyes" or with jaundice.
More often to refer to someone with "Chinese" eyes is to indicate that they have a strong indigenous appearance, rather than illness. In this song by El Gran Combo, it implies attractiveness:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ojos Chinos, by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

Mira que bonito tiene,
La chinita los ojitos
Cuando me hace una guiñada
Yo me tengo que poner rojito...

Que linda es chini ....mi chiní
Que buena es chini.....mi chiní
Que chinitón que chinitón que chinitón ton ton
They're not saying she's actually Asian, and certainly not jaundiced. Really, it's that she looks more Native American.

[roughly:]

Look how pretty are the darling's ("chinita's" lit.= Chinese girl's) eyes
One little wink from her just makes me red
So cute my little darling (chini)
So adorable, so adorable
[Literally, "So Chinese, so Chinese..."]
#19
Old 08-14-2011, 07:23 PM
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Papa
papa
papa

the Pope
father
potatoes
#20
Old 08-14-2011, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post


Actually, in the Caribbean, the feminine form (china), is used as a term of endearment, similar to negro or negra for men or women.
I once had a misunderstanding with a Costa Rican woman who referred to a rather large black man who was also her boss as "negrito" (-ito being a diminutive suffix.) I understood it to be disrespectful at best and racist at worst, but she had another Costa Rican back her up that it was an acceptable term of endearment.

Yeah, Spanish is generally much less PC than English.
#21
Old 08-14-2011, 07:55 PM
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(missed the window)
ETA: She did genuinely like the guy, because he was really a great person and boss, and she was speaking of him in a positive context. That's part of what threw me, since she was speaking well of him, and used a term that just seemed wrong to me.
#22
Old 08-14-2011, 08:13 PM
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Sometimes, when used as a term for endearment, one doesn't even have to be that skin color to receive it (as someone who has been called "negrita" and "negra").
#23
Old 08-14-2011, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Sometimes, when used as a term for endearment, one doesn't even have to be that skin color to receive it (as someone who has been called "negrita" and "negra").
Yeah, they're used kind of like honey, or baby in English.
#24
Old 08-14-2011, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
Colibrí, have you been blessed (?) to listen to the song "Lean like a cholo"?
No, never heard it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
Sorry if I might have offended you, but that's the situation. Panama has a much better economy than Colombia, so there are a large number of illegal Colombian immigrants here. As in the US, illegals mostly work in "fringe" activities. A large majority of the prostitutes here are in fact from Colombia; there are a few Dominicans and others. Relatively few are Panamanians, since the economy is pretty good and they can get better jobs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot
Actually, in the Caribbean, the feminine form (china), is used as a term of endearment, similar to negro or negra for men or women.
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltaire View Post
I once had a misunderstanding with a Costa Rican woman who referred to a rather large black man who was also her boss as "negrito" (-ito being a diminutive suffix.) I understood it to be disrespectful at best and racist at worst, but she had another Costa Rican back her up that it was an acceptable term of endearment.
Here in Panama, I have been told that it is considered rude to refer to a person as "negro/a." However, it's apparently OK to say "negrito/a," at least among friends. The "proper" word for a black person is "moreno/a"; I met a woman whose nickname is "La Morena."
#25
Old 08-14-2011, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
i don't think so. it's just that europeans knew of the chinese ahead of other peoples in the far east. spanish explorers called various peoples specific and descriptive names (ladrones, indios, moros.)
Considering that we've had at least one native speaker (Nava) say it is correct, I don't know why you would come in here and say that you "don't think so".

Note that the question was not whether the term is technically correct, but whether it is common usage, today. It is common usage, today.

Quote:
Papa
papa
papa

the Pope
father
potatoes
And...?

Last edited by John Mace; 08-14-2011 at 08:43 PM.
#26
Old 08-14-2011, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Considering that we've had at least one native speaker (Nava) say it is correct, I don't know why you would come in here and say that you "don't think so".
vivio en asia por quince años.

Quote:
Note that the question was not whether the term is technically correct, but whether it is common usage, today. It is common usage, today.


And...?
some spanish-speaking people today may believe it sums up all asians but they're woefully ignorant, same as those who seem to have coined the term "pacific islanders" for some asians.

NB: i disagree with nava on some points, like how castillians pronounce double-L.
#27
Old 08-14-2011, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
vivio en asia por quince años.
So? We're talking about what slang people use in Spanish Speaking countries.


Quote:
some spanish-speaking people today may believe it sums up all asians but they're woefully ignorant, same as those who seem to have coined the term "pacific islanders" for some asians.
But that's not the question. Of course we know that all Asians aren't Chinese. But "chino" is still used commonly in the Spanish speaking world to mean "East Asian".

Even in the US, you will find quite a few people who will assume anyone who looks East Asian is Chinese.
#28
Old 08-14-2011, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Sorry if I might have offended you, but that's the situation. Panama has a much better economy than Colombia...he "proper" word for a black person is "moreno/a"; I met a woman whose nickname is "La Morena."
It's my girlfriend (barranquillera), actually, who takes the offense. (I call her "morena"; she calls me "mono.") And as of today, she's decided to call all the hookers on Sunset Boulevard “panameñas.” So there.
#29
Old 08-14-2011, 09:24 PM
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[at john mace]
go back to what nava and colibri wrote. 'chino' according to them is an abbreviation of 'chinito' or chinese-looking features, particularly the eyes. even if we assume that all far east citizens appear to have ojos chinito, calling them chino on that basis is at best a loose term since 'chino' or 'de china' are real terms that mean 'chinese.'

Last edited by mac_bolan00; 08-14-2011 at 09:25 PM.
#30
Old 08-14-2011, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
[at john mace]
go back to what nava and colibri wrote. 'chino' according to them is an abbreviation of 'chinito' or chinese-looking features, particularly the eyes. even if we assume that all far east citizens appear to have ojos chinito, calling them chino on that basis is at best a loose term since 'chino' or 'de china' are real terms that mean 'chinese.'
It's like you're posting in a different thread.

The answer to the OP's question is "yes", not "I don't think so", as you are claiming. That is all.
#31
Old 08-14-2011, 09:59 PM
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the question is "is the word 'chino'..." not "are all 'chinito-eyed' people..."

so we're not talking about what a whole lot of people think, we're talking about a word meaning. 'chino' accurately translates to 'chinese.'

Last edited by mac_bolan00; 08-14-2011 at 10:00 PM.
#32
Old 08-14-2011, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
the question is "is the word 'chino'..." not "are all 'chinito-eyed' people..."

so we're not talking about what a whole lot of people think, we're talking about a word meaning. 'chino' accurately translates to 'chinese.'
Do you understand the difference between denotation and connotation?
#33
Old 08-14-2011, 10:09 PM
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yes, i think so.
#34
Old 08-14-2011, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
vivio en asia por quince años.
So what? That has nothing to do with what Spanish speakers call Asians.

Quote:
some spanish-speaking people today may believe it sums up all asians but they're woefully ignorant, same as those who seem to have coined the term "pacific islanders" for some asians.
Again, irrelevant to how the term is actually used, which is the question.

Quote:
NB: i disagree with nava on some points, like how castillians pronounce double-L.
Of course, she actually knows what she's talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
It's my girlfriend (barranquillera), actually, who takes the offense. (I call her "morena"; she calls me "mono.") And as of today, she's decided to call all the hookers on Sunset Boulevard “panameñas.” So there.
Fine with me; I'm not Panamanian. I'm only reporting here. Of course most colombianas are not prostitutes, and I'm sure that few if any of the hookers on Sunset Boulevard are Panamanian. The fact of the matter, however, is that nearly all the girls who hang out at the hooker bars and work the massage parlors and strip joints in Panama are colombianas. Well, at least in the high end places. Your girlfriend can take solace in the fact that colombianas here are considered top of the line.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-14-2011 at 10:52 PM.
#35
Old 08-14-2011, 10:56 PM
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why do people sound irritated? i hope it's just my ignorance. but as one implied, the word chino has an exact denotation but connotes something else to a lot of people.
#36
Old 08-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casta#Castas
Quote:
Chino usually described someone as having Mulatto and Indian parents. (Since there was some immigration from the Spanish East Indies during the colonial period, chino is often confused, even by contemporary historians, as a word for Asian peoples, which is the primary meaning of the word, but not usually in the context of the castas. Chino or china is still used in many Latin American countries as a term of endearment for a light-skinned person of African ancestry.
Then there's mulata, as in "bueno pa' gozar, mulata." Is dark/nonwhite skin coded as sexy in some cultures?

In Sudanese Arabic and in Persian, they use the word for 'green' to refer to dark-skinned people. In Sudan and Persia, there are lots of traditional love songs to dark-skinned ("green") women who are perceived as sexier. Could Spanish culture have picked up something like that from Muslim cultures? Are there other cultures who do this?
#37
Old 08-14-2011, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
why do people sound irritated? i hope it's just my ignorance. but as one implied, the word chino has an exact denotation but connotes something else to a lot of people.
The point's already been made repeatedly. There's no need for you to belabor it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_bolan00
go back to what nava and colibri wrote. 'chino' according to them is an abbreviation of 'chinito' or chinese-looking features, particularly the eyes.
I never said that, or anything like it. I said that "chino" was often used for people who looked Asian, and that's it. "Chino" is not an abbreviation of "chinito," rather, "chinito" is the diminutive of "chino." It does not necessarily refer to Chinese looking features or refer particularly to the eyes.

People "sound irritated" because you really don't know what you're talking about, but insist on talking about it anyway. You are posting inaccurate information, and misrepresenting what others who do know what they're talking about have said. You are only contributing confusion to the thread.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-14-2011 at 11:29 PM.
#38
Old 08-15-2011, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
It's kind of like "gringo" in that although it can be used derogatorily, it is usually just used as an identifier without offensive intent.
I would suggest that you not call someone from the United States a gringo to their face.
#39
Old 08-15-2011, 12:45 AM
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I guess I have the benefit of working with only college-educated Mexicans (when working in Mexico), and have college-educated wife and in-laws. The standard term used in this crowd is almost always "asiático"; whereas "chino" is reserved for China. I would have thought that in general (not just amongst professional people, that is) that there'd be a lot more awareness of the differences in light of China being to Mexico what Mexico was to the United States in the 1990's (the loss of manufacturing, etc.)
#40
Old 08-15-2011, 06:19 AM
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In Yucatan, it can also mean "curly-haired". Obviously, this is almost mutually exclusive with "Chinese/East Asian". I was told it's a different word (with same spelling), derived from some Mayan word; but someone upthread (Johanna?) mentioned how it can be used elsewhere to refer to someone with "some African appearance", perhaps particularly kinky or curly hair, and that this does indeed seem to be the same word, with semantic development from "Chinese" to "Asian" to "Non-European" to "African".
#41
Old 08-15-2011, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
I guess I have the benefit of working with only college-educated Mexicans (when working in Mexico), and have college-educated wife and in-laws. The standard term used in this crowd is almost always "asiático"; whereas "chino" is reserved for China. I would have thought that in general (not just amongst professional people, that is) that there'd be a lot more awareness of the differences in light of China being to Mexico what Mexico was to the United States in the 1990's (the loss of manufacturing, etc.)
Since, as you say, China is the East Asian country with much more interaction with Mexico than any other*, this could (among all but the best-educated) actually reinforce the confusion of "Chinese" with "East Asian".

But let's not get so high and might about this, English speakers! After all, we (in the US) almost always use "Asian" to mean "East Asian", conveniently ignoring the billion people on the Indian subcontinent, not to mention all those "Stans". (Yes, now we use "South Asian" to refer to subcontinentals, but admit it...the word "Asian" only tends to evoke an East or Southeast Asian, for an American.)

(*I do know one Mexican of Japanese ancestry, so there are exceptions -- Colibri might have met him in some professional capacity --
and I believe the Japanese are investing in shrimp farms on the Sea of Cortez.)

Last edited by JKellyMap; 08-15-2011 at 06:28 AM.
#42
Old 08-15-2011, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casta#Castas
Then there's mulata, as in "bueno pa' gozar, mulata." Is dark/nonwhite skin coded as sexy in some cultures?
The times I've heard chino used, it's to imply Asian and/or Native American features (slanted eyes, dark skin, black straight hair). Please know, all of you, that even in the Caribbean there are plenty of Chinese (yes, real Chinese, from China) immigrants. Very few of other East Asian countries, or at least that they would publicly announce their countries. Not necessarily, at least in my culture, to imply someone from African descent.

The "bueno pa gozar, mulata" is a line in a street song about dancing (although I can see what is implied). Just like in the US, in other cultures black people have had the stereotype of being better dancers. And a low-class mulata who can dance was more likely than a white rich girl whose parents would've frown of seeing her dance. I just never looked any deeper into a street song than that interpretation.

Now, the terms "negra" and "negrita" as endearment, you can search for how that came to be.
#43
Old 08-15-2011, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
In Yucatan, it can also mean "curly-haired".
The same goes for central and northwestern Mexico, as well, or just "curly" when uses as an adjective. "El Chino" could be "the curly-haired one," and "El trae el pelo chino" means "He's got curly hair."
#44
Old 08-15-2011, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post

Fine with me; I'm not Panamanian. I'm only reporting here. Of course most colombianas are not prostitutes, and I'm sure that few if any of the hookers on Sunset Boulevard are Panamanian. The fact of the matter, however, is that nearly all the girls who hang out at the hooker bars and work the massage parlors and strip joints in Panama are colombianas. Well, at least in the high end places. Your girlfriend can take solace in the fact that colombianas here are considered top of the line.
Your consistent capitalization of "Panamanian" and lack of it with "colombiana" makes me go just a little bit.

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Originally Posted by JoelUpchurch View Post
I would suggest that you not call someone from the United States a gringo to their face.
As he pointed out, it's not always, or even usually, used with negative a connotation. I've been called gringo plenty of times and never took offense, because none was intended.
#45
Old 08-15-2011, 10:07 AM
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Because Panamanian is in English and supposed to be capitalized, but colombiana is in Spanish, and gerunds in Spanish are not capitalized. If he were saying Panañemo and colombiana, you may have a point, although he may also be accused of incorrect Spanish grammar. I suspect he may not want to write panameño because he may not want to deal with the ñ.
#46
Old 08-15-2011, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelUpchurch View Post
I would suggest that you not call someone from the United States a gringo to their face.
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltaire
As he pointed out, it's not always, or even usually, used with negative a connotation. I've been called gringo plenty of times and never took offense, because none was intended.
I'm called "gringo" here in Panama all the time, and I refer to other gringos as such in conversation. Both Panamanians and Americans use it as a simple descriptor; it normally has no derogatory connotations here. No offense is meant or taken. (But like any slang descriptor, it can probably be used in a derogatory way.) I think this is true in much of Latin America; in Peru one of the better known hotels near Machu Picchu is called "Gringo Bill's."

Now this may differ in some areas where Americans as a group are more visible (and perhaps resented), such as northern Mexico. Mexico is the only place in Latin America where I have been called a gringo with offensive intent (and I've traveled in most countries in the region).

Quote:
Originally Posted by voltaire View Post
Your consistent capitalization of "Panamanian" and lack of it with "colombiana" makes me go just a little bit.
I don't know why that would be, if you are familiar with Spanish and English rules of capitalization. English capitalizes the names of nationalities, and Spanish does not. I was using the English word Panamanian, and the Spanish form for colombiana. If I was doing the reverse, I would have used panameña and Colombian. Capitalizing colombiana would be just as incorrect as not capitalizing Panamanian.

Regarding "chino," in Panama there are not only a large number of full-blooded Chinese, but a relatively large percentage of the population has some Chinese ancestry since Chinese immigrants have been here since the building of the Panama railroad in the 1850s. So it can often be hard to tell if someone who has an Asian appearance is actually part Chinese, or whether it's due to Amerindian ancestry.

And it's not just in Panama. Chinese emigrated to much of Latin America to work on railroads and other construction projects or just to set up shops. There is often a Chinese restaurant, run by people of Chinese descent, even in small remote towns.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-15-2011 at 10:22 AM.
#47
Old 08-15-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltaire View Post
Your consistent capitalization of "Panamanian" and lack of it with "colombiana" makes me go just a little bit.
Panamanian is an English word, and in English non-proper nouns deriving from proper nouns are capitalized. The world colombiana is Spanish, and in Spanish non-proper nouns derived from proper nouns are not capitalized.

So not to capitalize the word colombiana is correct, although, technically, when you write in English about words--and especially foreign words--you should put them in italics, not quotation marks (as you did above), although that's what most people do on this board.
#48
Old 08-15-2011, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post
So not to capitalize the word colombiana is correct, although, technically, when you write in English about words--and especially foreign words--you should put them in italics, not quotation marks (as you did above), although that's what most people do on this board.
Right. I was being a little lazy about italicizing words in Spanish.
#49
Old 08-15-2011, 07:32 PM
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In CA, gringo can be anything from an epithet to an accurate descriptor. It all depends on the context. We have so many Latinos here that I will often call myself a gringo if I'm with mostly Latinos and I'm commenting on the fact that my Spanish is not very good or I don't know much about Hispanic food/culture.

I had some Hispanics working on my house a few years ago and I'd cook them lunch on most Fridays. Grilled tri-tip with rice, beans and tortillas. I called it: carne asada al gringo. It was my take on carne asada.

And I wouldn't italicize "gringo" since it's an English word now.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-15-2011 at 07:33 PM.
#50
Old 08-15-2011, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post

NB: i disagree with nava on some points, like how castillians pronounce double-L.
Yeah, didn't we already have that argument in a previous thread, ending on the conclusion that the "l-yeh" pronunciation has been out of use for 50 years?

When I lived in Spain, I futilely tried to explain to my roommates on several occasions why the people who ran the city's only sushi restaurant were not "chinos." I guess it was just my own cultural ignorance talking, because in retrospect, when they called those people "chinos," they didn't mean they were Chinese, but rather were referring to them by a generic term for Asians.
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