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Thread: guagua

  1. #1
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    Default guagua

    I know what it means but how did it originate and is it used in any other Spanish speaking country besides the DR?

    For those that don't know, it's a small type van used as a bus. I've heard people refer to the big carebi tour bus as a "gua gua" as well.

  2. #2
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    No one really knows how it originated. I've read different versions. It is spelled guagua, together. It is the popular word for bus in Cuba, DR, PR and Spain's Canary Islands. Once I read that it developed from the English word wagon, and because people could not pronounce it, they said guagua. Nobody knows for sure.

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    From the sound it makes while accelerating. Motoconchos were called brapppppppppppppppppppp!!!! 's for a while.

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    Default Most likely has an indigenous origin (not 100% sure)

    Guagua has different meanings throughout the Spanish speaking world. For example in some South American countries specifically Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile it means baby.


    LDG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesley D
    Guagua has different meanings throughout the Spanish speaking world. For example in some South American countries specifically Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile it means baby.
    I was always taught that it is an onomatopoeia -- like a "taptap" in Haiti -- guagua being the sound of a twice-blown horn. This has been debated before here on DR1, with no definitive answer provided as to date.

    Hey, Rob and Dolores, this is post 1,500 for me. When do I get my gold watch? If not for 1,500 posts, then how about for spelling onomatopoeia correctly?

  6. #6
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    Default The RAE gives the South American origin

    Porfio_Rubirosa,

    With languages I never speculate. I just checked the RAE and the South American origin is from quechua which is the indigenous language of Peru.

    Here it is:

    guagua(2).
    (Del quechua wwa).
    1. f. . Andes. Nio de pecho. En Ecuador, u. c. com.


    LDG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Porfio_Rubirosa
    I was always taught that it is an onomatopoeia -- like a "taptap" in Haiti -- guagua being the sound of a twice-blown horn. This has been debated before here on DR1, with no definitive answer provided as to date.

    Hey, Rob and Dolores, this is post 1,500 for me. When do I get my gold watch? If not for 1,500 posts, then how about for spelling onomatopoeia correctly?

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    Porfi, I was going to make that very point but I wasn't sure of the spelling and was too lazy to double-check. Surely in the case of the Caribbean bus as well as the Andean baby the word is onomatopoeic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesley D
    Porfio_Rubirosa,

    With languages I never speculate. I just checked the RAE and the South American origin is from quechua which is the indigenous language of Peru.

    Here it is:

    guagua(2).
    (Del quechua wwa).
    1. f. . Andes. Nio de pecho. En Ecuador, u. c. com.
    Speculate, no. Paint with too broad a brush, perhaps. I would say still no definitive answer for the caribbean bus. It makes no sense to call a bus a "nio de pecho", unless the RAE can provide further explanation. Odd that the RAE ignores the caribbean useage origin entirely, don't you think? It sort of confirms the anti-caribbean bias that I see in your posts and have always suspected of the RAE. Seems quite possible that the andean word and the caribbean word are not just of different meaning, but of different origin as well.

    For example, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a "gyro" is an abbreviation for a "gyroscope". Yet every American knows that a "gyro" is a greek sandwich of shaved lamb or beef served with onions and yogurt sauce in pita bread. When's that greek guy who posted going to open his restaurant, anyway?
    Last edited by Porfio_Rubirosa; 05-10-2005 at 11:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna Coniglio
    I know what it means but how did it originate and is it used in any other Spanish speaking country besides the DR?

    For those that don't know, it's a small type van used as a bus. I've heard people refer to the big carebi tour bus as a "gua gua" as well.
    What I heard was that it was the name the Taino Indians used to call the bigger canoes that was used as a form of transportation to transfer people from one village to another.

  10. #10
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    Porfio_Rubirosa,

    I think the anti-caribbean bias comment is uncalled for. Whatever you detect from my posts is your issue not mine because I know quite the opposite about myself and that's not the point here so please leave it at that. My point is however, which I was trying to deduce is the very fact that the SA origin is from quecha (please refer to the title of my previous post) which is as I suspected different from the Caribbean origin and can be found just with a little more research. I am curious to know the Caribbean origin but was surprised that it was not in the few dictionaries I quickly researched. The RAE happened to reference the SA origin. Bias maybe on their part not on mine. Remember the original question by Anna was "is the word used in any other country" and I interpreted that as with or without the same meaning.

    LDG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Porfio_Rubirosa
    Odd that the RAE ignores the caribbean useage origin entirely, don't you think? It sort of confirms the anti-caribbean bias that I see in your posts and have always suspected of the RAE. Seems quite possible that the andean word and the caribbean word are not just of different meaning, but of different origin as well.

    For example, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a "gyro" is an abbreviation for a "gyroscope". Yet every American knows that a "gyro" is a greek sandwich of shaved lamb or beef served with onions and yogurt sauce in pita bread. When's that greek guy who posted going to open his restaurant, anyway?
    Last edited by Marianopolita; 05-11-2005 at 10:21 AM. Reason: word missing

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