When in EastLos, language moves with a rhythm… and a cause. Here’s your little pocket translator guide to how we speak and how we live.
Romántico: tenderly passionate
The Viejitos dancing in the plaza a corrido, a cumbia or a danzon, say “romántico,” while looking into their partner’s eyes, a lot.
De fresa, de piña, de mango: Come and get it!
The Paleteros, sounding their little bells on their carts, yell, “De fresa, de piña, de mango, horchata, y dulce de leche también.”
Gentefication: (hen-te-fi-kay-shun), “People-centered change,” not “gentrification”
And we say this because our abuelitas have always told us, “Gente before profits.”
Que rico!: Tasty
Doña Flor, selling her tacos, calls out, “Tacos, tacos. Cómodos pal’ bolsillo y buenos pal’ corazón.” But she then also translates for the taco-buying monolingual Pochos strolling down the streets, at low riders’ speed, “Heels, heels. Easy on your feet, and good for your corazón.” Reason why Pochos and Pochas in EastLos say, “Que rico!” a lot.
Barrio prices: E-Lo low, low prices on everything.
Down the street and on the other corner Doña Ramona slaps the pupusas with her tender hands into shape, like beating the skins of ancient drums that will bring even your palate to dance, after you have tasted one. And they only go for a dollar twenty-five cents, Ese! That’s why in EastLos we say we have “barrio prices.” Jejeje. And we are all for legalizing not just those without papers, stamps and letterhead, but the home flavors of street vendors, también.
Because we have so many languages to choose from in EastLos, like Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya Kiche; English, Pocho, Spanish and Spanglish, we say lots of things like:
Órale carnalito, Viva La Raza, Sí Se Puede, Ese, Vato, Pachuco, Comunidad, Chido, Chingón, Cheech Marin, and Zapatismo, but that’s more than five. Can’t teach you everything.
JeJeJe: a giggle or snicker en español.
Every Friday after school, to start the weekend right, we turn to the left of the dial and listen to The Pocho Hour of Power, because it’s like going to a laughing church. And we laugh a lot.
We treat the whole barrio like our backyards in EastLos, or the front loans most of us don’t have. But like Doña Flor sometimes says, “…and you can put a smiley face on that, mi’jo.” : ) And of course in EastLos, we say “Gracias!” very much, también.
(Top Image used under a Creative Commons License. Photo Credit: Greeblie.)