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Some Linguistic Gymnastics

Whether speaking or singing, members of ChocQuibTown are not afraid of linguistic gymnastics. The proudly Colombian crew plays with slang, made-up words, and foreign ones (as the English "Town" in their name attests). For example, listen in on these lyrics of Somos Pacíficos.


Allá rastrillan, hablan jerguiado, te preguntan si no has janguiado

There they rub, speak slang, they ask you if you haven't hung out

Caption 16, ChocQuibTown - Somos Pacifico

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"Rastrillar" means "to rake," as in using a rake (un rastrillo) to clear the yard of fall leaves. But here the verb expresses just how close the bodies can get on the dancing floor. Rubbing, raking, bumping and grinding... you get the picture. Moving along, "jerguiado" comes from the noun "jerga," which is found in any basic dictionary as "slang" or "jargon." But ChocQuibTown playfully throws in the past participle of their made-up verb "jerguiar" ("to slang"). So, we could have translated "hablan jerguiado" as "they speak slanged." How slangy is that? Finally, "janguiado" is a classic example of fun with Spanglish. With "j" in Spanish pronounced like "h" in English, the verb "janguiar" is a "latinization" of the English expression "to hang out."




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