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Thread: Gringo. ¿Que signífica?

 
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    Default Gringo. ¿Que signífica?

    A good friend and I were discussing que signífiga la palabra "gringo" and its origen. We learned that it had a different meaning to each of us. What does it mean to you?
    vicente

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    Senior Member lauracipolla's Avatar
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    I know in other Latin American countries it's different (and I will let THEM explain), but in Argentina we don't use it as a way to identify an American living in our country (we call these "yanquis", not in any way connected to the Civil War, or anything disrespectful or pejorative). if any, it applies to any foreigner (and in the past, mostly Italians, whom we call "tanos" at present).

    what I'm really curious about is the origin... any ideas or information, vicente?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lauracipolla
    I know in other Latin American countries it's different (and I will let THEM explain), but in Argentina we don't use it as a way to identify an American living in our country (we call these "yanquis", not in any way connected to the Civil War, or anything disrespectful or pejorative). if any, it applies to any foreigner (and in the past, mostly Italians, whom we call "tanos" at present).

    what I'm really curious about is the origin... any ideas or information, vicente?
    Until now I thought gringo was a word created by the Mexicans during the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. I had heard a story that Mexican citizens protesting the presence of American troops in Mexico City carried signs and shouted "Green Go Home!" (a reference to the green uniforms of the Americans).

    I have heard the word commonly used in Central America to identify a white U.S. citizen. I don't know if it might also apply to Canadians and other North Americans regardless of color. In my experience it is not necessarily derogatory. That depends on the manner in which it is used.
    vicente

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    Senior Member Julio Jaubert's Avatar
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    I have heard the same story vicente.

    And I agree with you about the kind of people we imagine is a gringo: a white man/woman, never a black, a chinese or a latin one, no matter if they are Americans.
    Julio Arturo Torres Jaubert
    English-Spanish and French-Spanish translator

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    Senior Member Guadalupe's Avatar
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    This is what the RAE says:

    gringo, ga.
    (Etim. disc.).

    1. adj. coloq. Extranjero, especialmente de habla inglesa, y en general hablante de una lengua que no sea la española. U. t. c. s.
    2. adj. coloq. Dicho de una lengua: extranjera. U. t. c. s. m.
    3. adj. Am. Mer., Cuba, El Salv., Hond. y Nic. estadounidense. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s.
    4. adj. Ur. inglés (natural de Inglaterra). U. t. c. s.
    5. adj. Ur. ruso (natural de Rusia). U. t. c. s.
    6. m. y f. Bol., Hond., Nic. y Perú. Persona rubia y de tez blanca.
    7. m. coloq. Lenguaje ininteligible.


    Hi everyone! Yes, the word is used in Argentina. Of course words change as time goes by. Currently, I think that the most important fact regarding the term (at least this is my feeling) is that the person does not fully "match" the environment. There is something that makes one feel that the person does not belong to a culture (of course, a foreigner does not know every single custom in another country). Perhaps, that is why in many places they use the word to refer to white people. You notice them immediately.


    However, I wouldn't use this word. It's a term you may hear from people in their fifties or sixties (or even older).


    Your story on the orgin made me feel curious about it, so I've done some research and found this: http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/gringo.asp. Really interesting!

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    Forum User aleCcowaN's Avatar
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    The story about the Mexico-USA war and gringo created as a term to address American people is something they would like to be true in both countries. The fact is that the word is probably a vulgar term for "greek" meaning "a language you can't understand, both written or spoken", later applied to people that spoke such languages. This term is included in the "Diccionario castellano con las voces de ciencias y artes" compiled by Father Esteban de Terrero y Pando and printed in 1790.

    If you visit CORDE, the site of Real Academia Española which database contains selected texts in Spanish from 980 to 1970, you'll find that "gringo" is used in "El Matadero" by Esteban Echeverría, an Argentinian writer, in 1838, and also used by Manuel Bretón de los Herreros, a Spanish writer, in "El Pelo de la Dehesa", published in 1840. In the case of all Argentinian writers of that time, "gringo" means those people who speak Spanish with a strong accent, mainly English, Irish, French and Scotts by that time (including my great great great grandfather ). Echeverría wrote "gringos y herejotes", both derogative and tender terms (herejotes -kind of heretics- because some gringos were Protestant), quite a contradiction, meaning "those who are not alike us". Bretón de los Herreros used gringo to refer to an unintelligible foreign language.

    Today the use of the term "gringo" varies from one country to another. In Mexico refers mainly to white Americans, in Argentina and Uruguay means mainly white people of European ancestry, Christian, that don't match the Spanish Mediterranean prototype (what includes me, as I can be described as gringo though now and then they call me "negro" or "negrito" -black or blackie). The term identifies the Germanic type in many countries, because they were British who were wandering by the Americas in the days this word became common lexicon.
    Si razona el caballo ¡se acabó la equitación! - césaR brutO

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    Senior Member mem286's Avatar
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    I'll tell you about my area -Santa Fe, Argentina- Gringos were the Italian inmigrants or their descendants who came from Europe in 1870 to work the land... "Gringo" was a very common nickname for blonde people -italian descendants- some years ago. Now it's not as common as it used to be but we still hear the word when referring to the people who own or work the land, they are called "los gringos del campo" (though they're not blonde all of them).

    http://www.pampagringa.com.ar/

    Lo que escribió Eduardo Larraza desde Alemania

    A José Pedroni

    Poeta de mi patria.
    Como tu Gota de Agua, clara,
    que sólo surjan, claras, las palabras.
    Para decirte, poeta de mi patria,
    lo que me dicta el alma.
    Te descubrí, poeta tierno
    de mi tierra llana,
    entre la cenicienta bruma
    del germano.
    Donde la noche del invierno
    es larga. Donde el alba nace
    sin tu sol soberano.
    Pero yo llevo, entre la niebla
    de las ciudades bajas,
    como un regalo del cielo,
    como una bella esmeralda,
    tu libro hecho de campos,
    tus versos al río y la calandria.
    Por oscuras calles silenciosas,
    por tristes campos regados
    con sangre de mortíferas batallas.
    Te llevo conmigo, donde el Rin
    rumoroso sobre el Tal se derrama,
    por el ancho valle, entre peñascos,
    arrastrando los siglos y las aguas
    del corazón de Germania.
    Te llevo en la mirada clara
    de una niña que pasa.
    Y en la apacible lluvia
    sobre la tierra magra.
    En la nieve sobre tumbas
    de almas ya pasadas,
    donde la paz es honda
    como la que a ti acompaña.
    "Santa Fe está lejos,
    donde tú descansas"
    Voy contigo por callejas
    desmesuradamente viejas,
    portando cual tesoro
    tu obra inmensa.
    Y no he encontrado
    en tus versos, José,
    ni una sola queja.
    Nadie, nadie como tú
    "hermano luminoso de Lugones"
    nadie como tú, cantó a mi tierra.
    Con la dulce frescura,
    con la mirada tierna,
    al indio, al gaucho y a la luz,
    al gringo, al lino y a la lluvia
    ¡sobre la Pampa Vieja!

    "Santa Fe está lejos,
    la del arado y la reja"
    La Esperanza tuya, José,
    por un instante será mía,
    cuando deje caer allí,
    donde tú duermes,
    la vieja espiga
    que amaste con fervor
    ¡sobre la Pampa Gringa!

    El poeta muere un día,
    pero su obra, su creación, perdura,
    si como tú, fue grande,
    viejo soñador. Pura ternura.
    Duerme tu sueño, José,
    largo y tranquilo.
    La Gota de Agua te acompaña.
    Y el sol, los pastos y el rocío.
    El petirrojo, tu viento hermano.
    En todas partes... el trigo.
    ¡Patria! Preserva tu poeta.
    Cúbrelo con tu manto
    de tierra y trigo.
    No lo dejes rodar
    al fondo del olvido.
    Descúbrelo a los ojos
    del hombre,
    en quien creyó y amó,
    del joven y del niño.
    Y guarda su luz inolvidable
    ¡para todos los siglos!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    ====-mem286-====

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    I've been called "Gringo" for most of my life. I find it offensive. I don't understand why I'm referred to by my racial characteristics when I have a name, personality, dreams, sorrows, and concerns. I sure as hell don't walk down the street saying, "Good morning, Nicaraguan! How are you doing, Costa Rican?"

    I heard it a lot when I was a kid living on the Mexican border. A lot. I hear it once in a while here in Costa Rica, and I heard it a few times in Southern Brazil where I lived. Yes, Brazilians use it too. I have to remind myself that in the US it's considered very bad manners to make constant references to someone's race, nationality, weight, use if eyeglasses, etc. In Latin America these references are quite common: el chinito de la esquina, mi gordito, la flaca, cuatrojos, etc. It's a cultural difference.

    One night years ago a Costa Rican asked my why I objected to the term. As usual, I was told that "gringo" was not intended to be offensive. I reponded by saying that I held Costa Ricans in high regard, and I had no idea why they were offended when I called one an "hijo de p***". After all, it was said with respect and affection, and without any intention to offend. He looked at me for a few moments and said, "Now I understand."

    Years ago I heard something that has stuck with me. "We don't say what we say. We say what others hear." Regardless of our intentions, if what we say is found offensive by others, maybe we should think about not using the word.

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    Forum User aleCcowaN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas
    I've been called "Gringo" for most of my life. ...
    They addressed you "Hey, gringo!" or just spoke about you "el gringo dijo esto o hizo lo otro"?
    Si razona el caballo ¡se acabó la equitación! - césaR brutO

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    Senior Member Dragona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicente
    A good friend and I were discussing que signífiga la palabra "gringo" and its origen. We learned that it had a different meaning to each of us. What does it mean to you?
    I want to thank everyone for the history lesson, i got schooled!

    One "reason" I'd heard about the "gringo" word was that it was taught during the driving lessons......green means go....so those who didn't know much english would say "green go" all together ending up with "gringo"....hahahaha!!!

    It was a joke!

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