Friday, May 18, 2012

Cangrimán, Fostró, Chavos, Zafacón and Limber

Spanish flag, PR flag, USA flag
Spanish flag, PR flag, USA flag by Oscalito

The Origin of 5 Words from Puerto Rico: Cangrimán, Fostró, Chavos, Zafacón and Limber
May 15, 2012 by Diana Caballero
Ever stop to think how slang words develop? It’s a fun experience since their history will often teach you about major historical influences in a culture. These 5 Puerto Rican words do just that.

A colony of Spain for 400 years, we Puerto Ricans adopted words that are still alive today. For example, we use the word peseta (Spanish monetary unit prior to the Euro) instead of quarter, for the 25-cent coin. A century-long relationship with the United States has also influenced Puerto Rican Spanish. Even though Puerto Ricans have adopted a lot of English vocabulary (more than other Spanish-speaking countries), we don’t speak English fluently. There are some words, often called Spanglish, that are easily linked back to their English origins. Examples are: lonchera (lunch box), gufiao or gufeado (goof), parquear (to park) or pichear (to pitch).

But what about other words such as cangrimán, fostró, chavos, zafacón and limber? Are Puerto Ricans the only ones who use them? Where did they come from?

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