World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Caló (Chicano)

Article Id: WHEBN0003176060
Reproduction Date:

Title: Caló (Chicano)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chicano, Mexican American, Slang, Languages of the United States, Argot
Collection: Cant Languages, Chicano, Spanish Language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Caló (Chicano)

Caló (also known as Pachuco) is an argot or slang of Mexican Spanish which originated during the first half of the 20th century in the Southwestern United States. It is the product of zoot-suit pachuco culture.

Contents

  • Origin 1
  • Development 2
  • Features 3
  • Examples 4
  • Usage 5
  • Caló in popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • Sources 8

Origin

According to Chicano artist and writer José Antonio Burciaga:

Caló originally defined the Spanish gypsy dialect. But Chicano Caló is the combination of a few basic influences: Hispanicized English; Anglicized Spanish; and the use of archaic 15th-century Spanish words such as truje for traje (brought, past tense of verb 'to bring'), or haiga, for haya (from haber, to have). These words were left in isolated pockets of Northern New Mexico and the Southwest, especially New Mexico, by conquistadores españoles.

He goes on to describe the speech of his father, a native El Pasoan:

My father had a vocabulary of Spanish words that to this day are not found in popular Spanish language dictionaries. He was born into a poor, migrant farm working family in a community of people that still used ancient words that some found improper and backwards but are to be found in Miguel Cervantez's [sic] classic Don Quixote. My father commonly used words such as minjurne for mixture, or cachibaches (also used in Cuban Spanish) for junk. I would hear them without knowing their definition but I knew exactly what he meant when talking within a specific context. Some words were archaic, others were a combination of English and Spanish. And though he knew "standard" Spanish of "educated" people, he also worked, lived, laughed and cried with words that were more expressive and indigenous to the border than standard Spanish.

The Caló of El Paso was probably influenced by the wordplay common to the speech of residents of the Tepito barrio of Mexico City. One such resident was the comic film actor Germán Valdés, a native of Mexico City who grew up in Ciudad Juárez (just across the US-Mexico border from El Paso), whose films did much to popularize the language in Mexico and the United States.

Development

Caló has evolved in every decade since the 1940-1950s. It underwent much change during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s as Chicanos began to enter U.S. universities and become exposed to counterculture and psychedelia. Caló words and expressions became cultural symbols of the Chicano Movement during the 1960s and 1970s, when they were used frequently in literature and poetry. Such language was sometimes known as floricanto. Caló enjoyed mainstream exposure when the character "Cheech", played by Cheech Marin, used Caló in the Cheech and Chong movies of the 1970s.

By the 1970s, the term Pachuco was frequently shortened to "'Chuco". The Pachuco originated from El Paso, Texas, which was the root of the city's nickname, "Chuco Town". Pachucos usually dressed in zoot suits with wallet chains, round hats with feathers and were Chicanos.

Caló is not to be confused with Spanglish, which is not limited to Mexican Spanish. It is similar to lunfardo in that it has an eclectic and multilingual vocabulary.

Features

Caló, like Spanglish, makes heavy use of code-switching. Unlike Spanglish, Caló uses rhyming and in some cases, a type of rhyming slang similar in Spanish to Cockney rhyming slang or African American jive.

Examples

Since Caló is primarily spoken by individuals with varying formal knowledge of Spanish or English, variations occur in words, especially of phonemes pronounced similarly in Spanish: c/s, w/hu/gu, r/d, and b/v. It is common to see the word "barrio" (neighborhood) spelled as "varrio", "vato" (dude) spelled as "bato", or "güero" (blond/white man) spelled as "huero" or even "weddo".

Usage

The translations should not be taken literally: in the examples below, one finds Spanish equivalents to English phrases like "See you later alligator", "No way Jose", etc.

¿Qué Pasiones?
(literally "What Passions") ¿Qué Pasa? meaning "What is going on?"
¿Si ya sábanas, paquetes hilo? or Si ya Sabanas, pa' que cobijas
(literally "If already sheets, packages thread?/covers what for") ¿Si ya sabes, pa(ra) qué te digo? meaning "If you already know, then why am I telling you?"

Occasionally English is spoken with Mexican syntax. When speaking to a sibling or family member about parents, for example, a Caló speaker will refer to them as "My Mother" (Mi Mamá) instead of "Mom" or "Our mother".

Rhyming is sometimes used by itself and for emphasis. Common phrases include:

¿Me comprendes, Méndez?
"Do you understand, Méndez?"
¿O te explico, Federico?
"Or do I explain it to you, Federico?"
Nel, pastel
literally "Nay, Cake", meaning "No way"
Al rato, vato
"later dude"; "al rato = later (lit. 'a while', from "al rato nos vemos" - see you in a while) / vato = friend or guy"
Me esperas, a comer peras?
literally "will you wait for me to eat pears?- "Will you wait for me?"
¿Qué te pasa, calabaza?
Whats going on? Literally, "What happens to you, squash?"
Nada Nada, Limonada
Not much. Literally, "Nothing, nothing, lemonade" (Answer to the above).

Caló in popular culture

See also

Sources

  • Aguilar Melantzón, Ricardo. Glosario del caló de Cd. Juárez. (translated by Federico Ferro Gay ; edited by María Telles-McGeagh, Patricia A. Sullivan. Las Cruces, N.M.: Joint Border Research Institute, New Mexico State University, c1989.
  • Burciaga, José Antonio. Drink Cultura: Chicanismo. Santa Barbara: Joshua Odell Editions, Capra Press, 1993. ISBN 1-877741-07-8
  • Cummings, Laura. "The Pachuco Language Variety in Tucson." In Pachucas and Pachucos in Tucson: Situated Border Lives. University of Arizona Press, 2009. pp 95–131
  • Fuentes, Dagoberto. Barrio language dictionary: first dictionary of Caló [by] Dagoberto Fuentes [and] José A. López. La Puente, California: El Barrio Publications, 1974.
  • Galindo, D. Letticia. "Dispelling the Male-Only Myth: Chicanas and Calo." Bilingual Review 16: 1. 1992.
  • Galindo, D. Letticia and María Dolores Gonzales, editors. Speaking Chicana : voice, power, and identity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, c1999. ISBN 0-8165-1814-9 and ISBN 0-8165-1815-7 (paperback)
  • Hallcom, Francine, Ph.D. "An Urban Ethnography of Latino Street Gangs in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties"
  • Metcalf, Allan A. "The Study of California Chicano English". International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 1974, Issue 2, Pages 53–58
  • JL Orenstein-Galicia. "Totacho a Todo Dar: communicative functions of Chicano Caló along the US-Mexico border." La Linguistique (Paris. 1965)
  • Ortega, Adolfo. Caló Orbis: semiotic aspects of a Chicano language variety New York: P. Lang, c1991. ISBN 0-8204-1542-1
  • Ortega, Adolfo. Caló tapestry. Berkeley: Editorial Justa Publications, 1977. ISBN 0-915808-21-8
  • Polkinhorn, Harry, Alfredo Velasco, and Malcom Lambert. El Libro De Caló: The Dictionary of Chicano Slang. Mountain View, California: Floricanto Press, 1988. ISBN 0-915745-19-4 [1]
  • Webb, John Terrance. A lexical study of Caló and non-standard Spanish in the Southwest. (dissertation), 1976.
  • Manuel Cantú - Pachuco Dictionary ISBN 978-0-615-15944-7
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.