One of the biggest challenges of speaking Spanish in Mexico is not being able to express yourself as clearly as you would in English. You might be a regular Dave Barry spouting off one liners and clever anecdotes in your native tongue, but when it comes to Spanish, by the time you think of some hilarious pithy remark and remember what the past perfect form of “chinga” is, the conversation train has already left the station.
One easy way to gain self confidence and gain new friends is by making up new words and insults yourself. Some of my recent favorites include: Guanaco – an extremely handsome naco and Tiaguis su Madre – tell yo mamma to go to the store,and of course, Chilangabacha.
Let’s break this word down into its two parts.
First we have “Chilango/a.” Depending on who you ask it can be anything from an insulting term for a person born in the Distrito Federal, or an innocent apodo for anyone born outside of the city but currently residing here. The common theme is that it refers to a person who has lived in DF. So, for the purposes of this blog it can be anyone who lives, has lived, wishes to live, or will live in Mexico City. If you stopped by for a couple of weeks to get cheap plastic surgery, you’re cool too.
Then there’s “gabacho/a.” According to the most famous question answering Mexican, Gustavo Arellano, a gabacho is “a gringo. But Mexicans don’t call gringos gringos. Only gringos call gringos gringos. Mexicans call gringos ‘gabachos.'”
Add an “a” at the end to denote femininity and there you have it – Chilangabacha. Drop it in to your next conversation and see what kind of reaction you get.