An aubergine is an aubergine, right? Wrong, in the U.S.A. it is an egg plant. An avocado pear is just a pear in Jamaica, a
palta in Peru and aguacate in the Dominican Republic. Go fishing for Dominicanisms; once hooked you can relish them before serving them up in your own conversation. You will sound like a native in no time and have a lot more fun, too. Try these to get you started and whet your appetite.
A baby is a chí chí and small children are affectionately called
carajitos. Tiguerito can be used as a child who is into everything and smart as a whip.
Tiguere, on the other hand, refers to older versions whose antics may not be so amusing but rather felonous.
"Marchanta!" "Come and look at my wares,” hail the vendors; you are the customer when so addressed.
You get from place to place by guagua, that is, the bus or by
concho, the public taxi that picks up as many people as can fit and follows a set route.
Motoconchos are motorcycles employed as taxis. Remember the old adage “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It may not be what you are used to, but surely that is the fun of being abroad.
Dotted about residencial areas are corner shops, known as
colmados, where you will learn a lot about life in the D.R.while sipping beer and playing dominoes.
When you only need a little amount of something, it is un chin and even smaller is un chin-chin.
One that stumped me for a while is the diminutive of ahora, meaning now.
Ahora mismo means right now but ahorita means later.
Are you going to a party or get- together with friends? That is a
Don’t get confused between bonche and boche. The former you might enjoy tremendously but the latter, a scolding or disagreement is something you may want to avoid. Seeing we are on the “B's,"
bomba is a lovely word. It rolls off the tongue with satisfaction and gives you a sense of the meaning to boot. Popularly meaning great or wow in the positive sense, but it can also be used when things aren’t going right, for example, “I had a flat tire, and now I have to buy a new one!” Answer: “Bomba!” Take note that a
bomba is also a gasoline station.
What was popcorn or rositas de maiz is cocaleca from now on.
Come the windy season and the sky is arrayed with chichiguas, all kinds of kites. You can buy the reeds used to make them locally at the open market. It is fun and inexpensive to try your hand at making your own.
The plastic bag in which the supermarket places your purchases is called a
funda. Be careful with this one, do not use the word bolsa. Here, it refers to a certain part of the male anatomy.
Papaya, a favorite for breakfast, is called lechosa.
Do you need a straw for that drink? You want a calimete.
The word coño is so strong in some countries such as Cuba and Colombia that the comedian Alvarez Gueddes once suggested that half the word is more than enough of an expletive, and hence “ño” came into being. Having lived in several Latin American countries, my mouth dropped open in shock, standing in the school car park waiting for one of my charges. Every second word uttered by the brilliant young things emerging was “coño.” There, and the men’s locker room, are the only places where it should be used with such abandon.
Only mad dogs and sturdy Englishmen go out in the midday sun while Dominicans have the sense to take what is called a
pavita, a siesta or rest.