language

panzonI was born and raised in El Paso in an area known as The Second Ward because of its political designation in city government.

In the greater community, it was most popularly called South El Paso. However, the approximately 25,000 mostly Chicano people who lived there referred to the neighborhood as El Segundo Barrio. It was a barrio that was like an island sandwiched between the Rio Grande Mexican border and downtown El Paso.

In this isolated area, about a third of the families were of second or third generation Mexican descent like ours. Another third was made up of mostly migrant newer arrivals and the rest were in transition. However, it was the Spanish language that served to unite the whole community. Although Spanish was prevalent, lots of exposure to English came through, school, work, movies, radio, music and TV, which was then in its infancy.

Although I love that I am bilingual, I was recently reminded that I am, in fact, trilingual. You see, this third language was unique to our Segundo Barrio culture because it originated there. It started as the jargon for the criminal element in our midst. These outlaws were widely know as “pachucos” because of the Los Angeles bent to their style of clothes. Most of us called them Tirilis and for all intents, they were the precursors of today’s gang members. [Mas…]

transwording_edited-2Like puro pochos, the peeps at Latino USA talk Spanglish. In this episode they talk about their favorite Spanglish vocabulary words and also check in with expert and POCHO amigo Professor Ilan Stavans, who literally wrote the book on Spanglish. [Mas…]

fdahuevosTechnically, the word I should have used above, in the headline, is “Manipulates.” As in, “Safely Manipulate Your Balls When You Celebrate!”

That’s what the Federal Drug Administration advises this season, anyway. (Screen capture, above.)

But I’m a writer who has spent a lifetime in both advertising and journalism, and I know the value of good clickbait when I have it in my hands.

Er… Line of sight. Sorry, I’m distracted by the FDA advising me to fondle one’s nether regions for Easter. [Mas…]

ranchosWhen Los Angeles was a still a little pueblo in the northern part of Mexico known as Alta California, Spanglish was born.

Public Radio International’s Global Nation explains:

…living in the a rancho just north of the pueblo was a young Scottish adventurer named Hugh Reid. In the 1830s he left the old world for the new — Mexico. And in his adopted home he was rechristened with an additional Spanish name, Perfecto Hugo Reid. Reid would eventually settle down on a ranch in southern California near the San Gabriel mission in what’s now Arcadia, a suburb of Los Angeles, where he married a local woman, Doña Victoria.

Robert Train has been obsessed with Hugo Reid’s backstory for the last few years. Train is a professor of Spanish at Sonoma State University. We met recently at the Huntington Library archives in Pasadena, to read Reid’s extremely yellowed letters.

[Mas…]


The BBC sent a reporter to the Southwest to find out what it means to be a Mexican-American. The answer? It’s complicated.

spanglishconf(PNS reporting from RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA) Factional fighting among Spanglish speakers, academics, and Raza activists doomed the first Spanglish grammar conference, held here Sunday.

“The idea was to create some foundational principles and ground rules for our people’s language,” co-organizer Lourdes Cervantes-Borges of the Professional Organization of Chican@s Oppressed by Society (POCHOS) told PNS. “We wished merely to memorialize those rules in a book of proper Spanglish Style, a Estronque y Blanco if you will, but then these know-nada nacos had to get involved.”

“No manches, son puras pendejadas! I ain’t down with all of that academic bullshit,” countered East Los delegate-at-large Oscar “Mocoso” Chavez. “Nuestra lengua is from the streets, and I ain’t talking ’bout that chingon taco troka on the corner of Beverly Boulevard.” [Mas…]


Tijuana was a welcoming destination for Jewish refugees who fled Europe, Asia and the Mideast looking for a better life. This is one family’s story, and a POCHO Rosh HaShanah (New Year) tradition because shanah sorta rhymes with Tijuana. The Jewish year 5775 begins at sundown Wednesday, September 24; we wish all who celebrate a happy, healthy, peaceful, loving, prosperous and sweet New Year.

OY! DON’T RUN AWAY SO FAST! HOW ABOUT SOME NICE KOSHER NACHOS AKA TOTOPOS DE GRIBEÑES CON GUACAMOLE?


Ever have an awkward moment when you have to pretend to be an Anglo at the taqueria because you don’t speak Spanish? Alfonso “White Boy Mexican” Ochoa reports.

Americans demand answers: Is my new neighbor Latino? (video)

by Bronco del Camino June 25, 2014 Cultura
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What do they look like? How can we tell? Is my new neighbor a Latino? Please tell me #whatlatinoslooklike. PREVIOUSLY ON WHAT ARE YOU…

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Shoutout to the Pinoys and Yo-Yos of Califas: You’re #3 (infographic)

by Chale Knickerbocker May 19, 2014 Cartoons
Thumbnail image for Shoutout to the Pinoys and Yo-Yos of Califas: You’re #3 (infographic)

Slate’s infographic mapping magic illustrates what we knew already — across most of the United Estates, Spanish is almost always the most commonly-spoken language besides English. But after English and Spanish, what’s Numero Tres? Here in California, it’s Tagalog, first language of a quarter of all Filipinos and the second language of most. Pinoys, ruled […]

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Pizza Patron: Our ‘La Chingona’ pies sold despite haters (video)

by MOSCA MEXICAN April 18, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Pizza Patron: Our ‘La Chingona’ pies sold despite haters (video)

Last month we made fun of the out-of-touch radio stations who wouldn’t run commercials for Pizza Patron’s massive pepperoni and jalapeño topped pie because the La Chingona name was too, uhm, spicy. Silly squares! The joke was on you, and the triumphant mad men and marketeers at the Texas-based company posted this video Thursday to […]

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Don’t call me a ‘Mexican,’ America! Also, I’m not a ‘Latino’

by Comic Saenz March 24, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Don’t call me a ‘Mexican,’ America! Also, I’m not a ‘Latino’

It’s a phenomenon older than the United Estates of America. We’ve named it Looking Down On More Recent Immigrants Syndrome: In 1751, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, a North American colonial with British roots, disparaged “stupid” and “swarthy” recently-arrvied German immigrants, who, he wrote, were too dumb to learn English, and did we mention they were […]

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John Vargas looks like a Mexican who could disembowel you (video)

by Soy Capitan March 6, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for John Vargas looks like a Mexican who could disembowel you (video)

Standup comic John Vargas looks Mexican (whatever that means) but he talks funny. [NSFW language.]

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Where in the US is Carmen Sandiego? And WTF is she saying?

by Barney Asada February 28, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Where in the US is Carmen Sandiego? And WTF is she saying?

Courtesy of Tio Sam’s United States Census.gov is this screen capture of Mexican-American distribution in the USA. Click here for an interactive map of other “Latino/Hispanic” ethnicities. Spoiler: Most Cuban-Americans are in Florida. [Click image to enlarge.]

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Did I ever tell you that I’m half Mexican? (Vine video)

by EDUARDO BURRO February 6, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Did I ever tell you that I’m half Mexican? (Vine video)

Brandon Calvillo tells his friend David Lopez that he, Brandon, is half Mexican. Lopez, it seems, is not all that pumped. [Remember, with these Vine videos, you need to hover and click on the top left corner of the graphic to hear the audio.] PREVIOUSLY ON VINE VIDEOS:

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‘America the Beautiful’ in Spanish pisses off the haters (videos)

by MOON GUAC February 3, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for ‘America the Beautiful’ in Spanish pisses off the haters (videos)

Sunday’s Coca Cola’s Super Bowl commercial spotlighting America the Beautiful (sung in the languages of immigrants who built and continue to build our country) predictably pissed off the Internet haters who have been waiting to dis little patriotic kids since Sebastien de la Cruz sang The Star-Spangled Banner at last year’s NBA finals. Didn’t see […]

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Me? In London, I’m a ‘culturally-American Mexican’

by NANCY LANDA February 3, 2014 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Me? In London, I’m a ‘culturally-American Mexican’

Where are you from? That is a simple question, isn’t? Well, for some of us, the answer is not so straight forward. My experience in London in the past four months has included fascinating dialogue with people I have come across. It is one thing I have come to expect from such a global city […]

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Public Service Announcement: No such thing as a ‘tamale’ (video)

by MOSCA MEXICAN December 13, 2013 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Public Service Announcement: No such thing as a ‘tamale’ (video)

As POCHO Subcommandanta del Ñews Sara Inés Calderón (she’s @SaraChicaD on the Twitter) noted the other day, there is no such thing as a “tamale.” There is one TAMAL and and there are plural TAMALES. Thanks in advance for your cooperation in getting this distinction across. PREVIOUSLY ON TAMALES:

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@SaraChicaD: Why do Latinos shame each other over culture? (video)

by Chale Knickerbocker November 6, 2013 Cultura
Thumbnail image for @SaraChicaD: Why do Latinos shame each other over culture? (video)

POCHO’s Subcommandanta del Ñews, Sara Inés Calderón (@SaraChicaD on the Twitter), wants to know why Latinos shame each other over culture.

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Breaking: Marketing to Latins? Talk Latin to us, activists say

by ZACK A. TEXAS August 12, 2013 Cultura
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(PNS reporting from UPTON ABBEY, MI) Frater Cassius the Yon was adamant. “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,” he insisted in a rare English-language interview Sunday. “There is no such thing as Latin dancing, unless you mean the “dance of death” from the Black Plague. And Latin music is Gregorian chants, Enya and […]

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Coming soon to a theater near them: Navajo ‘Star Wars’ (NPR audio)

by OBI JUAN XENOBI June 24, 2013 Audio
Thumbnail image for Coming soon to a theater near them: Navajo ‘Star Wars’ (NPR audio)

If you find yourself in the Navajo Nation (in Arizona) on July 3, you’re in the right place at the right time for a once-in-a-lifetime experience — the premiere of Star Wars, translated into Navajo. NPR reports: The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito […]

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Beyond the Facts: Patriotic student refuses to learn Spanish (video)

by Andalé Mono June 13, 2013 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Beyond the Facts: Patriotic student refuses to learn Spanish (video)

“You can’t force me to learn a foreign language on American soil,” high school sophomore Kyle Johnson said. “Spanish sucks! I’m American and I speak American!” And he went to court to fight for his rights. (NSFW explicit language.)

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Speaking bad Spanish makes Silverlake artist look like douche

by María Purísima June 6, 2013 El Now
Thumbnail image for Speaking bad Spanish makes Silverlake artist look like douche

(PNS reporting from SILVERLAKE) It was a shocker when encaustic and collage mixed-media artist Ben Brown found out. Even though he spent two years of high school learning Español, his habit of dropping a word or two in Spanish into day-to-day English conversations has not increased his “street cred” even un poquito. The self-proclaimed free-spirit, […]

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Mexicans stole your job? Talk like a Mexican and get five jobs! (video)

by JUANG CHUNG May 28, 2013 Cultura
Thumbnail image for Mexicans stole your job? Talk like a Mexican and get five jobs! (video)

Broke? Unemployed? Did a Mexican who barely can speak English esteal your yob? Learn to speak broken English like the Mexicans and you can get five yobs, just like they do! RELATED: Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce: ‘Mexicans work better’

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