a propósito de escopeta

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by nat1, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. nat1 Senior Member

    from a Nicanor Parra poem. I've seen it translated as "apropos of nothing." Can anyone confirm?

    a propósito de escopeta
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2010
  2. juandiego

    juandiego Senior Member

    Granada. España
    Spanish from Spain
    Hello Nat.
    I would say so if the escopeta has nothing to do at all with the remaining context. Otherwise, I'd doubt it. Is it this way? Where is Nicanor Parra from?
  3. JB

    JB Senior Member

    Santa Monica, CA, EEUU
    English (AE)
    As juandiego implies, you need to give us more context - not just a phrase in isolation. Please review:
    Sobre Contexto About Context
  4. nat1 Senior Member

    The full line is: "A proposito de escopeta, les recuerdo que el alma es inmortal." So in fact "escopeta" has nothing to do with what follows. My question is really whether "a proposito de escopeta" is an idiomatic expression or just something that Parra made up.


    oh yes--and Parra is from Chile.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2012
  5. jamafrind

    jamafrind Senior Member

    adinvino que se traduce como, "speaking of shotgun"....
  6. juandiego

    juandiego Senior Member

    Granada. España
    Spanish from Spain
    I can't find anything convincingly suitable for the context in the Chilean on-line dictionaries I've been browsing, Nat. In one of them it reads:
    Escopeta: 1.Instrumento para aspirar cocaina. 2.Afirmación.
    In another one (linked below), I have found other definitions pointing to it may mean some sort of promiscuous woman.

    So, I keep my, and your, previous point unless some Chilean comes and prove us wrong.
  7. miguel miguel New Member

    Chilean Spanish
    "a propósito de escopeta" was some special idiom used when someone wanted to propuse an other issue different compared with it was talking.

    At the beginning it was used like a joke because it was evident that nobody was talking about "escopeta" (an ancient shotgun).

    Nicanor Parra has used this expression in order to break the logical flow of the meaninng and to increase the contradiction between subjects.

    Miguel Miguel
  8. nat1 Senior Member

    thank you! This is extremely helpful.
  9. Randolph Carter Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Once I heard a joke about a man who was eager to talk his friends about his new gun, but they were having a lively talk in which he couldn't find the way to take part. Suddenly, one of them dropped a bottle that shattered with a loud bang. Then, the man started in desperation:
    -Oh! Speaking of 'bang', I've got a new gun!

    I wonder if Nicanor Parra refers to that joke or it´s purely coincidental.
  10. nat1 Senior Member

    hmm--interesting--I don't know--
  11. calibre12 New Member

    Español (Chile)
    I don't know if the expression " a propósito de escopetas" is related in some way with the joke that R. Carter told us, but his explanation is very close to the meaning of that sentence. When some people are speaking about some topic, using an informal language, and one of them wants to talk about a completely different issue, he may begin saying " a propósito de escopetas" , as a justification for the change. With that absurd explanation, he is saying that he can't justifie his proposal in the context of the conversation. In Chile, nowadays, not so many people use that expression, and I think that the most of young people don't know its real meaning .
  12. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    As far as I can remember, Nicanor Parra did not invent the expression "a propósito de escopeta". It was frequently used in the following context. Several people are in the middle of a long conversation, and one of them has been trying for a long time to talk about a completely different topic. Finally, when one of the others mentions an "escopeta" (shotgun), he immediately says "a propósito de escopeta(s)" (speaking of shotguns), and then goes on with his topic which, of course, is not related at all with shotguns...

    In other words, it was a standard phrase to change completely the subject of a conversation, and its use decreases all the time.
  13. MyArb Member

    U.S.A. English
    I lived in Chile for a while and also heard the phrase used that way. Now I'm wondering if it is region-specific. If so, is there a phrase with a similar meaning to "a proposito de escopetas" that is used more broadly in the Spanish-speaking world? I'm looking for a phrase that is used to change subjects might be understood by my friends from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Spain, etc.
  14. juandiego

    juandiego Senior Member

    Granada. España
    Spanish from Spain
    Hi MyArb.

    According to Oldy Nuts' point, I wonder whether the noun "escopeta" in the expression is, or may be, merely circumstantial and instrumental there. Maybe "escopeta" got fossilized in that expression in Chile for some reason but it would be equally understood with any other apropos term.

    I'd say that any Spanish speaker would understand perfectly —I have heard it around here, indeed— this sarcastic changing-topic expression using any other term the speaker comes across during the conversation close to the point when he decides to change topic.
  15. Hernan Pons Senior Member

    Nicanor Parra's expression is not a fixed one in Chile, but is readily understandable when it alludes to something incongruent or ridiculous. Parra is considered a transgressor poet, therefore he allows himself literary licenses profusely in his work. In this sense, he uses 'escopeta' as he could have used any other term unrelated to the context of his line. To help you grasp this use, imagine the Mexican comedian Gómez Bolaño (Chespirito) interacting with another comedian (Lucas) when saying "a propósito de bicicletas interestelares, me pregunto si habrá una vía láctea sin lactosa". (my invention) This conceptual incongruency is supposed to trigger a humoristic response.


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