Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Panamanian slang words and expressions

This is some very cool, up-to-date stuff that I found on Wikipedia. It's about Panamanian slang. Note how it relates to our "Pig latin". This is an informative article that I recommend to folks going to Panama or who just like to learn a little slang from other cultures. After reading the snippet I've included below you can read the entire article at Wikipeda Enjoy!

Panamanians also speak a form of backslang, perhaps derived from a highly successful shoe marketing campaign from the 1970's, whose slogan "EL TO-ZAPA [zapato] MAS CLASE" prompted high-schoolers everywhere to start using reverse slang, much to the dismay of teachers and parents. ZAPATO (shoe) became TO-ZAPA, PELAO (dude) became "LAO-PE", and so on. Even after another campaign in which the characters stopped each other from saying these neologisms, the usage "stuck", becoming mainstream. Some examples of reverse slang include:

* TE-FREN = Frente (front of, in front)
* DA-TIEN = Tienda (convenience store)
* SO-PA = Short for "qué pasó" = "What's up". Compare to "'sup" in US slang
* IS = SI (yes)
* ON = NO (no)

You get the picture. The general rule is that the last syllable becomes the first syllable and the rest of the word follows, except where pronunciation would become difficult, when some changes can be made. Panamanian reverse slang is also comparable to the verlan language game.


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