Bilingual Inside Jokes

Nos gusta hacer el tonto.

That means, if you didn’t already know, we like to be silly. Since Mario has a girlfriend who speaks two (of his four) languages, it’s all the more fun. I like to make linguistic jokes, too. It’s okay, I admit to be hopelessly nerdy.

The other day, I got to thinking. Mario and I have some inside jokes (just writing that reminds me of high school and how hilarious we all thought we were), but they wouldn’t really make sense to most people—only to those who are blessed to understand both Castilian Spanish and American English. I thought about these for a while and tried to write them down. By the way, it’s quite difficult to write down inside jokes because they never come to mind when you’re trying to document them, only in the moment. At least for me that’s true.

  • Tejado de menos. To say, “I miss you” in Spanish, you say “Te echo de menos.” Well, “te echo” said in a hurried manner sounds quite like “techo” or “ceiling.” Thus, I thought it would be funny to turn “techo” into “tejado,” which means “roof.” So the phrase “tejado de menos” was born.
  • Estoy espalda. In English, when we want to say we’ve returned, we often say “I’m back.” I guess to Spanish speakers this must sound a bit odd when they learn it because being “back” (returned) and having a back (large posterior area of the human body) are two very different things. So Mario, being who he is, decided to tell me that he was back quite literally—“Estoy espalda”—which, as you might have guessed, makes no sense in Spanish.
  • Se me olvidó ponerme las lentejas. The word for “contact lenses” is “lentillas.” An Anglophone friend of Mario’s once said that she forgot to put in her contact lenses. Only instead of contact lenses (“lentillas”) she said “lentejas.” If you’ve read my previous entry, you’ll realize that you probably don’t want to put any lentil stew in your eyes. Especially without your contacts.
  • Espainish. Obviously, Spanish. We have no problem joking around about the other’s accent. Actually, though, Mario’s accent is pretty darn good, but we like to joke around saying “americanooouu” in the exaggerated way or “Espainish estudent from Espain.” You know, normal people stuff.
We really are completely normal.

Totally.

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16 comments

  1. One of the most entertaining parts of bilingual relationships. Kike and I say, is a yema. Those pesky Spanish Js! Or something like, que puppy you eres. But that’s just because we call one another puppy like weirdos.

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