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Mexican Slang

Review by Carl Franz

(Lorena Notes: The latest edition of this is Mexican Slang Plus Graffiti, by Elizabeth Reid, Charlene Lopez and Linton H. Robinson)
Mexican Slang: A !*#@&%+! Guide by Linton H. Robinson, 1992.

At the risk of sounding like a college graduate, this pint-sized book could make the difference between achieving true fluency in Mexican Spanish versus mere facility. Slang is not easy or even safe to learn, however, es Color pecially in a machismo-based culture like Mexico. Like many Spanish lessons, I've learned the proverbial "hard way" that the inappropriate or ill-timed use of slang can deflate your self-confidence faster than a "whoopee" cushion.

How can you safely learn slang? Most books I've seen approach this important subject too carefully, with a dry, semi-scholarly tone ("verga: the male reproductive organ") or they go burlesque, with cheap humor and knowing winks. In fact, slang is such a normal, everyday element in Mexico that it merits a serious -- but sympathetic discussion.

Mexican Slang: A Guide begins with a humorous "Sleazy Moral Disclaimer" that warns readers of coarse language ahead, then proceeds to "The Obligatory Boring Scholarly Introduction", and a discussion of the fascinating "tapestry of Mexican slang". From there, the book neatly covers everything from Translated Americanisms to Major Mexicanisms, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, Nicknames, Border Slang and even body parts. The writing is skillful and entertaining and the author's translations are "right on". This book isn't a lightweight gimmick but a useful, insightful guide to a difficult subject.

It is a cold day in Coatzacoalcos when I am unable to put down a Spanish text book. Mexican Slang is absolutely padrisimo!

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Mexican Slang Plus Graffiti

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