“She wanted more, more slang, more figures of speech, the bee’s knees, the cats pajamas, horse of a different color, dog-tired, she wanted to talk like she was born here, like she never came from anywhere else”
― Jonathan Safran Foer
I am not a fluent conversationalist in Spanish, but I consider myself to be a fluent listener. When local slang words or colloquialisms trip me up while listening or reading Spanish, I become curious about their origins. It is kind of like one of our colloquialisms in the states; Why do we call the box in the dashboard of our cars a glove compartment?
This morning in La Prensa, there was an article about home invasions in Granada. I was so tickled I posted the conversation on Facebook.
I pictured four juvenile delinquents, each with the leg bone of a pig, ramming the doors of the residents of Granada, or better yet, using a live pig to smash down the door. The comments were even more hysterical:
1. Are they briskets or tender?
2. We need stricter laws on pork leg possessions.
3. They are really using pork legs. They are desperados in the literal translation. I suggest incorporating this into a blog post. BTW: pork leg in Italian is stincho (pronounced stinko). I tried to explain the amusing irony once and it went badly.
4. A lot of delicious looking recipes come up if you google patas de chancho
5. One of my friends who lives in Granada asked if I knew the area where the break-ins occurred. I responded, “it is the area where many teachers live. The article said they wait for them to leave for work and then break into the houses with pork legs.”
After a funny discussion on Facebook we agreed that a pata de chancho is a crow bar.
1. It is funny to me it is a tool that we called pata de chancho but I don’t know If exist that Word in English? It is metal very strong the masson and the blacksmith use it to bend iron
2. To which someone responded, “When you think about it, “Crow bar” might sound strange to non-English speakers. Can they order flor de caña at a Crow bar?
3. My Spanish teacher says it’s a colloquialism for herramienta: a tool used in construction, made of iron (hierro), and drew a picture of a crowbar.
And how did this phrase originate?
Jim suggested, “Hmmm. My hometown of Salisbury, CT, was famous (Google “Arsenal of the Revolution”) during our civil war for its iron production. The molten iron was called “pig iron,” as it poured out of the ovens into molds of sand that sorta resembled a nursing sow and her piglets. Once cooled, the bars/piglets could be handled.”
For that matter, what is the etymology of the word crow bar? This from Snopes rated FALSE.
Well, that’s my entertainment for a rainy day in Nicaragua! Thanks, Jim, for suggesting that I write a blog post about a pata de chancho.
What other colloquialisms do you find strange or wonder about the origin of the word or phrase?