To slang or not to slang 2: I say go for it! dale gas!

Gotta love mexicanos, they come up with the most hilarious slang or their own special pronunciation of English words! A lot of folks view it as trashing the English language but I think it’s such a cool phenomenon because they really are trying to pronounce the word as it should be pronounced: granted, it may sound a little funny pero se entiende! they are understood! Heard one on the radio awhile ago … el ‘donpei’ de la casa – which, as we all know, is a ‘downpayment’! LOL.

In my classes at SFSU, I was always the one who had a blast with slang, I feel completely comfortable throwing out slang words in English, Spanish, and, of course, Spanglish! Love this description of Spanglish that I found online: Spanglish is the term used to refer to the mixing of the English and Spanish languages …” With 10% of the U.S. population speaking Spanish [2], and the percent only expected to rise, a mix between the two languages seems inevitable. Spanglish, “takes three main forms: borrowing words, switching from on language to another between or even within sentences, and mixing the grammar of one language with the words of another [1].” Much debate exists over the idea of Spanglish, such as it being recognized as a language at all, rather than sloppy slang. Other criticism includes Spanglish in schools, its grammar structure and the overall standardization of the language.

When I was at Sac State, I used to drive Professor Hill in my Spanish Phonetics class crazy with my ‘slanguiadas’, to the point that he asked me to count the times I would “code-switch”, that is, switch to either English or Spanish during the course of a conversation — of course I lost count at 500 times! Now in Spanish class, I could totally understand the importance of speaking Spanish correctly and really did try to make the effort to do so. Now, fuera de clase, out of class is another thing, totally love to hear how culture affects language! Totally makes life interesting for me aaaand it’s always a welcome break for me especially when I’m studying proper Spanish and English all of the time! For me, it’s a total embracing of both of my worlds.

From time to time, I will ‘bloguear’ some of the funny Mexican slang and Spanglish words that I see or hear por ahi – you’ll definitely get a kick out of them and you’ll probably learn something too! An important tip: these phrases cannot just be spoken, you have to get into it and say it with feeling! LOL

¡Qué Poca Madre! (1) – slang
Literal Meaning: How little mother
Meaning: That sucks!
Example: Mis padres no me dejan ir. ¡Qué poca madre! (My parents won’t let me go. That sucks!)

¡Qué Poca Madre! (2) – slang
Literal Meaning: How little mother
Meaning: That’s awesome!/It’s awesome!
Example: Tu vestido es de poca madre. ¡Me encanta! (Your dress is awesome. I love it!)

¡Chin! – slang
Pronunciation: cheen
Meaning: Bummer! That’s a drag.
Example: Juan: Perdió tu equipo, La América. (Your team, La América, lost.) Lola: ¡Chin! (Bummer!)

A Poco – slang
Meaning: really?
Example: A poco crees que voy a salir contigo. (Do you really think I’m going to go out with you?)

Miti Miti – slang
Meaning: fifty fifty
Example: Este postre es divino. Pero porque te quiero, lo vamos a dividir miti miti. (This dessert is divine. But since I love you, we’ll split it fifty fifty.)

Although Spanglish and slanguiando is sooo much fun … it’s also important to make a concerted effort to speak proper English and Spanish as well!


Life Goal Round One DONE!

Still on a high from Friday’s events…it was a beautiful, windy day in Alameda as I searched for the Prometric Testing Location. Driving across the 880 Freeway from the very Latino area of Fruitvale into cool Alameda was like night and day. I remember thinking to myself, “if I don’t move to another location in Pleasanton, I’m moving here!”

I had been in a very stressed state only a few minutes before, called my Mom in tears, that I hadn’t studied enough, that my job has kicked in 100% and I was too slammed conducting training presentations to be able to study, and on and on and on. Once again, my sense of calm, “aventadaness”, and the “mevalemadre” attitude filtered thru my mind and body and, by the time I found the testing location, I was like “let’s DO this!” A good sign was that I found a parking meter with time left on it!

The test was about 138 questions of synonyms, antonyms, slang terms, legal terms, courtroom terms, and interpreter do/don’ts questions. I finished in about an hour and got up to go drink water, just to make sure that I wasn’t like rushing thru the thing. I reviewed the test to make sure that I had indeed filled everything out, and went to check out and get my score. I was very happy to see that I had passed with a 96% score!

Being that I’ve been studying at SFSU for the past three years, everyone always seemed to discount the written portion of the exam, that it was ‘facilisimo’, ‘requetefacil’, ‘too easy’…but I knew better — I had taken the State Written Exam in 2005 and missed it by 10 points and it was because I thought it would be very easy, that’s what I get “por confiada”. So I decided that it was a very BIG deal to pass the written exam and to do it at 90% or more was very cool. It showed me that I had learned a lot since the last time I took the exam and that I was entering into the process with a quiet type of confidence.

I will need all of the confidence that I can get as I prepare for the next round — the Oral Exam which is composed of three components, Sight Translation – where you are given a legal document, 30 seconds to scan said document, and then translate it to the test committee. #2 is the Consecutive Interpretation component: I will be likely be listening to a testimony: where there is an attorney questioning a witness. I will need to interpret what the attorney says to the witness; and vice-versa. This also includes any shouts of ‘objection!’, etc, and judges’ remarks. I am most confident about this portion as I did very well and got A’s in my Consecutive coursework. The final component is the Simultaneous Interpretation, I believe that it will be between 7 and 9 minutes of a passage that we must interpret simultaneously. Being that I just finished the Simultaneous coursework and had to work for every point that I got and it was never easy…how many ways can you say ‘aaaaay!’

Whether I pass or not, today I am celebrating the start and, most important, the finish of a life goal that I made to myself a few years ago: To create an alternate career path for myself when the radio industry began to get more and more volatile. My life is radio/media/events and I can never say that I am out of radio for good, it’s so much a part of me that I know that I’m not done there yet. Now I don’t have to feel so desperate, so lost, so sad again when something comes to an end…I am now able to enjoy a new beginning and to see where this new knowledge and experience will lead me.

I feel very empowered today. I don’t know where my road will lead me but I feel hopeful for my future!

The Last Week of May: GoodBadSadMad week: which one?

As I look back on the major events of my life, I see that the majority of the major heavy-duty events have taken place in the final week of May: Most every job that I have ever held started during the last week of May, a few of job firings or lay-offs also happened during the last week of May, graduation(s) have happened in the last week of May, my mom had her stroke a number of years ago in the last week of May, I have also met many of the important people and mentors of my life during the last week of May.

For a time, I would tend to focus only on the negative events that happened during this time — but then I noticed that a lot of these events were nerve-wracking and exciting: like when I first moved out-of-state – que miedo but it turned out to be so awesome; and to be able to still have my Mom here still con salud quien todavia me da mi reganada if she hasn’t heard from me every other day LOL, the start of a new job, no matter where, is always so much fun too.

So now I’ll await the last week of May with anticipation, not knowing WHAT will happen, only that whether good or bad, it all usually works out in the end, que no?

I have my State Written Interpreter Exam in a few days, yes, during a last week of May, let’s hope that I do PASS so that I can add it to list my wild events that always happen during the last week of May! There are still a few more days of May, let’s see what happens during my good-luck week … Mi semana de la Buena Suerte!

Completing a life goal … finishing a project … a beginning and an end

As I sit here with a cold, I sit back and realize that, YES, I did complete a life goal…yes, I did finish a project…and yes, I saw something all of the way through! FINISHED my last class and my Eng/Sp Interpretation Program at SFSU. When I think about the many many many times that I wanted to quit school, that I was too tired to go to class, that I was always at a study group, that I was always having to open a book or, toward the end, listen to tapes non-stop! So many times, I would rationalize myself out of finishing something, out of doing the right thing — finishing up my program at SFSU was the first time, in a long time, where I decided that it was time for me to stop messing around, to actually finish for once! So today is a GOOD day where I have decided NOT to open a book or listen to another tape again! At least not for the next day or so…I have my State Written Exam on next Friday, May 27th — which also happens to the be date of my CSUS Graduation back in the day — good sign, que no?

Amigos and Life-Altering Decisions

One of my very best friends, Rosa Elvira Salinas, celebrates a birthday today … and she’s not here for me to call, email, text, or visit her … Rosa passed away, by her own choice, 15 years ago.

I remember the details like it were yesterday: We were celebrating the start of Cinco de Mayo weekend with my familia … the station had two big events planned for the next day and Rosa and I would be working an event in Modesto. I arrive to the venue and call Rosa’s cell, then called her home, more than once. By the time the event started, Rosa didn’t show up, and, while I was disgusted, I did what I always do: just moved forward with the day’s events, ni modo.

I don’t remember calling her before that Monday after the event, as I was still mad that she left me hanging at the events. I was working on some production (commercials) in one of the studios, when I get a call on my cell phone from a mutual friend, Victor. First thing Victor asks me is if I’m sitting down and then he tells me that Rosa was found dead by her mother and daughter. Her daughter had been away at a camp for the week and her grandmother had gone to pick her up as Rosa failed to show up.

I was inconsolable and stayed with my familia as I was afraid to be alone … I could not believe that Rosa was gone and, to this day, I still have a hard time hearing how she was found. Rosa was not perfect but she was really trying to overcome her codependency to a certain guy and his issues and she was getting ready to move to a new job in a few days and get a fresh start on her life. As it happens, I was also getting ready to make a major move as well out of California so we got together that night with my fam to toast the future.

Turns out that the police had been looking for me too on that Monday … they were conducting an investigation on the events surrounding Rosa’s death and they heard my voice on the many messages that I had left Rosa looking for her the next day. I know that I was one of the last people to see her alive because she was still wearing the clothes that I described to the police. Her death was eventually ruled a suicide although I still have my doubts.

I had a few months of absolute darkness and very challenging times ahead of me but Rosa’s death taught me that there was another way out of one’s problems, gave me a little more courage to face life instead of running from it, and, eventually, I began to remember Rosa as I had always known her: smart, funny, stylish, confident, always wearing red, taking care of business. I would give anything for Rosa to have seen herself thru my eyes…maybe she would made a decision to embrace her fear and her life instead of making that fateful decision to leave it all behind.

A few months ago, I drove by the place where we last partied, and it had been converted into a Mexicano grocery store and I smiled when I saw what it is now called, you guessed it, “Rosa’s”. So I always send her a silent shout out when I pass by her ‘place’!

Happy Birthday Rosa and hope that you are resting in peace!

Send good vibes to your good friends today … no matter where they are!

To Slang or Not to Slang

Last Saturday, while studying, Yesenia and I got a serious laugh attack about some of the crazy slang things we hear in our Simulataneous Interpretation class! While we all do try and keep our vocabulary professional and sounding the way it should be as we interpret, the assignments roll by so fast in English in the headphones on our ears, that when we are trying to interpret into Spanish, some fuuuuuuny things come out of our mouths!

The one that had us laughing was someone’s translation of “he shook her around” and instead of saying “la sacudio”, the guy says “y la sangolateo por todos lados”! to which someone else responded, “y ese, de cual rancho salio?” LOL Which made me think further about how much fun it would be to interpret these very legal and proper phrases “a la bravota” all in slang.

You have the right to remain silent … tienes el derecho de callar tu hocico y no decir nada

Do you understand, Mr. Sanchez, that you will go to jail if you return to this court?” … Sr. Sanchez, y ahora entiendes que vas direeeecto al bote si veo tu cara aqui en esta corte?

But I did not take any money, Lucy is lying. Pero no robe ni madres de feria, ‘ta mintiendo la Lucy’

And on and on and on and on…gotta love mi raza and, no doubt, I will have more to add to this list! TWELVE DAYS LEFT to the finish line! 12 Days to my Final Exam! 12 Days to finishing my Sp/Eng Interpretation Program! The Journey Continues…