Monday, May 18, 2009

It's a Bich, Oh (bee-cho)

Many long years ago, I learned that Spanish for fly was mosca, mosquito was mosquito, bug was bicho and insect was insecto.

So here I am in Zacatecas after 2 years in Spain, 4 years in another part of Mexico and several vacation trips to other Spanish speaking countries.

And, the other night the lady who cooks and cleans for me was telling me not to let the blankets on my bed fall on the floor or the "sancudos" would crawl up them and they bite. Sancudo? Never heard it before! It's an animalito that flies and bites. "Animalito?" Little animal?

A little bit of research on the web:

Mosca = fly

Mosco = Mosquito = zancudo (z and s sound the same in Spanish)

Bicho = bug = any insect = animalito (can't find it in any dictionary, I'm just guessing.)

Insecto is indeed the precise term for insect and zancudo is an obsolete word for mosquito, but it's obviously not obsolete in Zacatecas.

Maybe it would have been better to come down to Zacatecas with only a basic vocabulary. At least the slate would have been blank, more or less, and picking up new vocabulary not so confusing.

On the other hand, it's kind of fun getting explanations and talking to the locals about what different words mean and when to use them.

1 comment:

  1. I can only imagine what kind of fun you run into :D
    I think knowing some spanish / mexican ahead of time is better, since you can at least ask what on earth people mean when you don't get a word.