Tico, nica,...

Chapanay

New Member
Germany - ger./engl.
Hi all,

I truely hope that this is nothing offensive, and I'm sure it's not meant that way in the song I'm translating, but I can't find the words in the dictionary.

The line is from a Leon Gieco song called "De Igual a Igual":
"Tico, nica, el boricua, arjo, mejo, el panameno hacen cola en la Embajada para conseguir un sueno."

I'm assuming "boricua" refers to Puerto Ricans. Tico, nica, arjo and mejo are unclear.

Thanks for your help. Again, if these terms are in any way offensive, I apologize. But if you know Leon Gieco, you know what he stands for.
 
  • Maruja14

    Senior Member
    Español - España (Madrid)
    Tico -> costarricense (de Costa Rica)
    Boricua->puertorriqueño (de Puerto Rico)
    Panameño->panameño :) (de Panamá)
    Nica -> nicaragüense (de Nicaragua)

    Los demás ni idea.

    Saludos
     

    volky

    Senior Member
    Spanish/English
    I don't consider these to be offensive.

    These are names given to people from different countries:

    Tico - from Costa Rica
    boricua - from Puerto Rico
    panameno- which is panameño - From Panamá
    nico - from Nicaragua

    The others are:

    hacen cola - wait/are in line

    para conseguir un sueño - to pursue a dream.


    ARJO: I found a document defining this as: be the first, to guide, to lead, to show the way, but I found no association with any country.

    MEJO: I found it being used instead of the word "mejor" which is best, better. El mejo sabor. (the best flavor). Didn't find any relation with a country, although I have hear some people from Spain, (in TV shows/movies), using this word.

    Hope this helps.
     
    This is rather late, but, just to mention, I know the word Tico isn't offensive when Costa Ricans use it with each other. Foreigners generally shouldn't call them such, though. I think it's similar with the other words; they're used between locals to refer to each other...
     

    Rubik

    Member
    Spanish - Costa Rica
    I'm Costa Rican and I don't consider "Tico" to be offensive, it's more of a nickname and the story of how we got it is actually kind of interesting:

    In Costa Rica we tend to use a lot of diminutive words, but instead of saying "pequeñito" (very small), we would say "pequeñitico" (really very small) and so on: "poquitico", "chiquitico", etc..

    This is why foreigners from other spanish speaking countries gave us this nickname of "Ticos".
     

    idania

    Member
    Spanish, Nicaraguense
    these nicknames are not offensive, but i heard that in Costa Rica say "nica" to somebody is an offensive. can anybody clear that?
    particulary i don't feel that nica is an offense.
     

    Mirlo

    Senior Member
    Castellano, Panamá/ English-USA
    Don't worry "nicknames" are something very use in our culture at least in my house we had to: we have 3 "Yolandas" 4 "Humbertos" etc, so we have to put "nicknames" to be able to comunicate:D
     

    JB

    Senior Member
    English (AE)
    Since we are on this subject, no one mentioned chapines (guatemaltecos), guanacos (salvadoreños) or catrachos (hondureños).

    As to being offensive, when I (a gringo) use them, people are usually pleasantly surprised that I know the terms. I suppose tone of voice and a smile might have something to do with it.

    ¿Qué diablo pasó con los panameños? Debemos inventar algo.

    By the way, how would you translate "De igual a igual"? Literally, "From Equal to Equal" doesn't sound right. I am guessing "We are all equals," or "We are the same". I am not sure of the sense. I did find another song with the same title, here, a tango from 1944. Any thoughts on a poetic translation?

    I also tried a literal Google translation of the song. The "nica . . ." section was not translated, but I did enjoy "they make tail in the embassy." Well, they hav to do something while waiting in line.
     

    Mirlo

    Senior Member
    Castellano, Panamá/ English-USA
    Since we are on this subject, no one mentioned chapines (guatemaltecos), guanacos (salvadoreños) or catrachos (hondureños).

    As to being offensive, when I (a gringo) use them, people are usually pleasantly surprised that I know the terms. I suppose tone of voice and a smile might have something to do with it.

    ¿Qué diablo pasó con los panameños? Debemos inventar algo.
    hey! we call each other "Pana" at least in my times:D :D
    By the way, how would you translate "De igual a igual"? Literally, "From Equal to Equal" doesn't sound right. I am guessing "We are all equals," or "We are the same". I am not sure of the sense. I did find another song with the same title, here, a tango from 1944. Any thoughts on a poetic translation?

    I also tried a literal Google translation of the song. The "nica . . ." section was not translated, but I did enjoy "they make tail in the embassy." Well, they hav to do something while waiting in line.
     

    JB

    Senior Member
    English (AE)
    Gracias Panito (o Panita).
    I just came across another intersting example. In Los Angeles, there are billboards (carteles) advertising Spanish language radio stations, that say they play 20 songs, pegaditos, literally "stuck to one another" plus the diminutive, which does not translate.
    I assume this means "20 songs in a row, one right after another, without a pause.
     

    armedlovers

    New Member
    USA - English
    As far as I understand it, nica is not an offensive term. When I was in Nicaragua it was used liberally by many of the people there to describe themselves.
     

    piedra_de_locura

    Member
    English - Received Standard
    A veces también se les llama a los panameños "canaleros/as" por el hecho de que tienen el canal de Panamá.

    A propósito de "nica" solamente los ticos piensan que es ofensivo. Los nicas lo usan con frecuencia.

    También decirle "paísa" a un tico le resulta ofensivo, pero para los inmigrantes a Costa Rica no es nada ofensivo.
     
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