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  1. #1
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    Default aguanile

    Can anyone tell me what aguanile means? Its a Marc Anthony song. Not in dictionary or RAE.

    Thanks

    Steve

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    Default Afro-Cuban vocabulary-

    That's an amazing salsa isn't by the late Hctor Lavoe? It's one of many remakes of his songs by Marc Anthony who paid tribute to the legendary artist in the film El cantante.

    YouTube - marc anthony - aguanile

    The word and meaning of aguanile is a perfect example of how language and culture intertwine. To get to the root of the word one would have to know its origin. The lyrics of the song indicate that the meaning is associated with religion and then if one is familiar with salsa (originating from el son cubano) then one would know that its origin is Cuban.

    The Cuban vernacular has plenty of words of West African origin due to the influence of their popular religion santera. Many words in Caribbean Spanish have West African influence namely in the names of food and music. However, the Cuban vernacular takes it to a whole different level because of santera which is also manifested via Cuban music- salsa, son, timba etc. This aspect of the Cuban vernacular I find absolutely fascinating which always distinguishes a part of Spanish spoken in Cuba from the DR and PR which have more in common linguistically while at the same time Spanish spoken in the three island nations are similar and very comparable.

    I happen to have a good source which separates Cubanisms from religious vocabulary and to note the spelling of 'aguanile' is adapted meaning altered to accommodate Spanish or it was not known to whoever wrote the song (possibly H.Lavoe who was Puerto Rican) how the word is spelt due to its origin. However, the correct spelling is aggun- ile. The source I have does not have-ile listed but I have found other references that indicate it means house. Aguanile means 'spiritual cleansing' and that's what the song is about.


    Definition:


    Aggun:.- Limpieza, exorcismo. Tambin plato.

    -Marianopolita.

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    Thanks Lesley. I asked a Cuban friend the meaning of the word and he really could not translate it adequately but said it is a cuban expression heard a lot in songs.

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    Default Siempre a la orden-

    rolfdog,


    I am not surprised that he could not explain the meaning because more often than not these terms are cultural and/ or local and in the target language there is no equivalent. In this case, a description of what it means is more appropriate which is why I said 'spiritual cleansing'. Aguanile= una limpieza espiritual. There is no way to extract that translation from the word itself. Thats where the cultural knowledge comes in handy and not just being able to speak the language. I think if you had asked your friend to explain to you in Spanish what it means he may have been able to detail some of the cultural nuances. However, if he does not know anything about santera (which is quite possible even though hes Cuban) then he would not have a clue.

    If you are a fan of Cuban music you can expand your Spanish vocabulary and cultural awareness exponentially just by listening to the lyrics. I am a dedicated fan of Issac Delgado and Adalberto lvarez. Ask your friend about these two Cuban singers. If he knows about Cuban music he will know they are giants and two very well respected Cuban artists who really have no comparison. They also use a lot of Cuban expressions in their songs you will be amazed at what you can learn about Afro-Cuban culture.

    Cuban literature is another way to broaden your horizons about the vernacular language. Many authors include the local dialogue in their books and it's an eye-opener. If you read Spanish literature at all you will notice the cultural nuances via language that you cant get simply by studying Spanish grammar. I am just giving you ideas to broaden your scope. You know I love these elements of language.


    -Marianopolita.

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    Default

    Aguanile is a Yoruba word (A language from Nigeria West Africa)

    In salsa it stems from the Afro-Cuban religion called Santera. You hear it (and other santera phrases) a lot in Cuban salsa. Most often you hear the full phrase "Aguanile mai mai" and it is part of the toque for the saint (orisha) Oggun.

    The term Aguanile mai mai is praising the Yoruba orisha called Ogun. Ogun is the god of war and metal. He is the diety that works day and night without ever resting. He is the primordial black smith. He held the secrets of metals and forging tools. He held these secrets to himself until the orisha Oshun (river diety) seduced him out of the forest so that civilization could be created.

    He is also praised in Cuba in the religion of Santeria (La Regla de Ocha Lukumi). The language used in Santeria is called Lukumi which is an offshoot of the Yoruba language of Nigeria West Africa.

    The song goes as such:

    Aguanile o Ogun ariwo. Aguanile o Ogun ariwo Ogun afomode. Oinle abere mariwo Ogun de baba. Aguanile onile... Aguanile mai mai. Guayo guayo guayo ke aguanile mai mai.

    Aguan= a cleansing. (also refers to a basket that is used in ceremonies where different types of foods and animal offerings are contained after the inititates have cleansed themselves with these items.

    Ile= house

    Note: this is not proper Yoruba spelling. This is Lukumi where there is really not a standardized spelling and words may vary slightly depending on the priestly lineage of the Santeria practitioner.

    Contrary to popular belief, mai mai does not mean "water". The word for water in the Lukumi language is "omi"

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    Default

    Wow JrH....i'm impressed. thanks.

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    Default the link was not included-

    The link was not included as the source of the post above. It's directly from this link.

    WikiAnswers - What is aguanile


    I sent an email to a Cuban friend of mine to see if she has any knowledge of the subject matter that I may add to my posts above about the meaning of aguanile. In the song by Lavoe, the God he's praising is an African God (santera) but the actual meaning of the word based on what I can understand from the definition of 'aggun' is a kind of spiritual cleansing or religious ritual. Something along those lines.


    rolfdog,

    Maybe you can ask your friend if this makes sense. Thanks.


    -Marianopolita.


    Quote Originally Posted by M.A.R. View Post
    Wow JrH....i'm impressed. thanks.
    Last edited by Marianopolita; 09-22-2009 at 01:50 PM.

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