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Mexican Plurality: Modismos

Every region in Mexico has its own way of speaking Spanish- its own sayings, regionalisms, lilt and accent. Xalapa and Mérida have very different ways of speaking Spanish. Here’s a look at some of the “modismos” (idioms) that have stuck out to me:

Te presto: This term is hard to get the hang of for most foreigners. “Prestar” is to lend. So, “Me prestas 20 pesos?” means “Can you lend me 20 pesos?” It’s a whole ‘nother tamale in Mérida. Here, “prestar” is more like “to borrow”. So if I say, “Te presto 20 pesos” it really means, “Can I borrow 20 pesos?” Clear as Agua Crystal, right?

Por: In Xalapa, people would say that I live on the street Golondrinas, “entre” (between) Martín Torres and Rebsamen. In Mérida, they would say that I live “por” (which in this case means “around”) Martín Torres and Rebsamen.

Quitarse: In Xalapa, when you are ready to leave a party, “te vas” (you go). In Mérida, though, “te quitas” (you take yourself away). For example, “Me quité a las cinco” (I left at five).

Separarse: In Xalapa, when you save a place for someone, “lo apartas”. In Mérida, “lo separas” (you separate it). “Te separé un lugar en el café” (I saved you a place in the café).

Ven acá: When my “cuñado” (brother-in-law) first came to Mérida, he was listening to his boss explain the ropes. They were standing next to one another, head to head, when “el jefe” (the boss) said, “Ven acá” (Come here). Rafa didn’t think he could possibly get any closer. Then he realized that “ven acá” means “pay attention”. Note: it’s pronounced “venacá”.