Sunday, October 28, 2007

¿Qué carajo está pasando hoy acá?

What the heck is going on here today?

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Discovery said...

You might want to be a little careful using carajo. While a relatively light swear word (at least in Argentina it seems to be), it's still a little bit bad.

Andate al carajo is like "f off."

Vamanos, carajo! - "Let's go, dammit."

For trivia's sake, the carajo is the crow's nest on a ship. So I'd guess that the expression has sailing roots. And we all know how eloquently sailors speak ;).

Ignacio said...

I thoroughly agree with Discovery: care should be taken with words like carajo.

I think it's important to understand the meaning of these words, but bear in mind that in some situations, they can be (highly) offensive.

Unless you know what you're doing, you'll be better off asking instead things like:
- "¿Qué está pasando hoy acá?"
- "¿Qué es lo que está pasando hoy acá?"
- "¿Alguien puede decirme qué está pasando hoy acá?"


Buenos Aires, Argentina

Carmelita in Canada said...

It's true. You do have to be careful when using even mild expletives. I always find it surprising - and sometimes a little funny - when, for instance, a sweet, well-behaved young woman speaking English as a second language uses an almost skin-peeling obscenity in an attempt to speak idiomatic English. Best to avoid it altogether (and maybe mutter the obscenities to yourself if the situation warrants it) - which is what I do anyway.

I found a couple of other uses of the word "carajo" which are kind of interesting.

el carajo or la caraja - an unknown person, but not in a nice way.

But, you can also use "carajito" as an affectionate term.

del carajo - super, fantastic, great.

This goes from mildly to extremely vulgar, depending on what's being described.

And on and on.

I guess the exclamations "caray" and "caramba" may be a way of expressing the same thing a bit more politely.

Languages! Full of pitfalls and shades of meaning. Wonderful stuff.

Dana Law said...

I read your comment to my wife during here "morning briefing" and we loved it.
I appreciate your deep knowledge of the language.
The good news is will spend the rest of our lives learning languages and that is the bad news too. I wouldn't have it any other way. A lifetime of learning.
Thanks for your comment.
Dana Law
Spanish Phrase of the Day