The one in charge or the one ordered?  Ways of commanding and commanding oneself in Cuban Spanish

The one in charge or the one ordered? Ways of commanding and commanding oneself in Cuban Spanish

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how curious the nuances of journalism are sometimes. In a report for television there was talk recently of “basic basket” to refer to what everyone in Cuba calls “errands.” The twist is surprising due to its little adjustment to the reality of speech in our context. The idea of ​​a basket, as simple as that, refers to a beautiful, woven object, ready to be filled with multiple and varied products, various of them, labeled, colorful… This is not the case of “errands”, sata’s version of the fine basket , whose content is deposited on any random continent.

But let’s not be so picky about the semantic dimension. Let us ask for the word, for sonorous and neighborhood that it is; By polysemic, well… Let’s ask because “commanded” in Cuba can be many things.

The term itself is fickle in its meaning, since it not only refers to a matter that has been ordered and must be fulfilled, but it can also respond to the sense of something that is sent, that has been entrusted. There is in him, therefore, a notion of obligation and compliance, but also of speed, of displacement. Among us, it also stands out for those senses that come from the substantivization: “the errand”, “the errands”. And they do not always refer to a single element.

As happens with almost everything in Spanish, the combinations of a lexical item can vary significantly if it is related to “ser” or “estar”, verbal forms that provide a different grammatical aspect in our language: that of an invariable condition (” I’m pretty”), or that of state or circumstance (“I’m pretty”). To say of someone that “it is an errand”, for example, usually means that it is an obedient, submissive person, ready to fulfill the mandate or desire of another.

But also, and especially in a diminished version (a “mandaíto”), it can express that someone is excessively determined, daring, impetuous, etc: “he is a mandaíto to run”. However, if we use the form “to be”, both formulations change from a natural condition to a specific situation: “that child is in command” (he is behaving inappropriately, incorrectly, irreverently, etc.), “if he said it, it is because he is commanded” (they ordered him to say it). A singular case is the combination “command to kill”, which usually highlights that some question of dubious legality or transparency has been solved through the denunciation: “They caught him stealing last night. That was sent to kill.”

And here the entanglements of island Spanish begin, since “being commanded” does not mean for us only that we come to fulfill the mandate of another. The expression is quite ambiguous and absolutely depends on the communicational context in which it is issued, the attitude of the speaker, his gestures, his extralinguistic expression. Of those who are enervated or upset, or angry, it is said that “está mandao”. But also of those who stand out in the fulfillment of a task or duty: “that baseball player is in charge, every time he comes he hits a home run.”

The curious thing is that the combinations with “to be” also provide other meanings such as those of special relevance, a superlative degree of goodness: “that movie is commanding”, “those shoes are commanding”. There is a notable emphasis here on what exceeds the norm, which stands out precisely for exceeding the limits of the normal. It usually manifests itself, for example, in the reference to excessive prices: “the pound of lemon is commanding”, “pork meat is commanding”, “in that store the prices are commanded”.

Something almost identical happens with those combinations in which displacement, movement, and speed stand out: “ese car va mandao” (it moves at great speed), “guy left mandao” (it went very fast), etc. However, there are certain senses of commanding oneself that are more metaphorical, so that a very clear correspondence cannot be established with the basic notion of “commanding”.

When we say, for example, that a person “sends and buzzes”, that action of sending is not directly related to an order or to a shipment. Only very randomly with the notion of displacement, which I alluded to earlier. In this case, “command” indicates initiation of action, sudden transformation of a state. Something similar occurs in the very popular phrase “se mandado pa ‘jon’”. The expression has been borrowed from baseball slang. In the game of baseball, stealing a base implies advancing position on the field, with the addition that stealing the home (‘jon’) means courage and skill (as long as the pitcher can easily get the ball to the catcher to put out to the runner) but also the possibility of scoring a run.

Taking this origin into account, “mandarse pa jon” is an act of recklessness, courage, an action that makes the person who undertakes it stand out. Whoever “sends pa jon” is resolved, determined; he has lost his fear of doing something, no obstacle stands in the way of his desires or aspirations.

Commanding oneself also has a sexual connotation among Cubans. It is much more common to hear associations with the penis, some of them in formulations that may even sound paradoxical. This is the case of: “So and so is sent badly”, where the bad thing consists of a size that is out of the norm due to excess. For both sexes, the phrase “sends tremendous…” (or “tremendous”) works, adding the organ that you want to highlight.

However, it is curious that, in the substantivization process associated with this sexual connotation, the result only refers to the male sexual organ: “el mandao”. This is one of those cases in which the new senses of a word begin to exist independently, without necessarily having a correspondence with what gave rise to the term. The “mandao” designates today any type of penis, it is a generic noun. The size doesn’t matter, and anyone who gets too close to us in a bus, whether tall or short, fatter or skinnier, blonder or darker, we say: “mostro, you’re hitting the mandao on me”.

And finally, we have the closest and most endearing feelings between us. The “mandao” as delivery, order, favor… On this horizon we have in the first instance what is sent to us, the delivery that we expect monthly and to which we refer exclusively in the plural: “errands”. Our relationship with them is almost blood, natural, endemic.

Errands have lived through times of prosperity and crisis, sometimes with a few pounds more or less, but they are in the Cuban DNA.

In the same way, the action of “running an errand” (fulfilling an order or task) has a special connotation among our compatriots. A more affective and sometimes effective formulation can even be heard if the person who must fulfill the order shows resistance, or wants to convince with pity: “I need you to do a little errand for me.” In both cases, the use of the undefined character of what is going to be done when running an errand has always caught my attention.

If one, for example, does not want to give a reason for what they will do, they simply say “I have to go run an errand”. If he cannot justify his presence in a place, then he would say: “I am doing someone an errand.” And if he wants to hide what he is bringing, the object of the order or diligence, then he will use the word: “Partner, I bring you the mandate.”

There is, then, everything in our “errands”: speed, order, mandate, displacement, excess, excess, delivery, diligence, packing.

That’s how rich are the paths of the Cuban language and linguistics. God knows what we send ourselves with in the next installment. For today they send me to put the full stop.

Source link

Previous Story

Tricolores and Barriojarenses want to wash their faces

Next Story

Messi would return to Barcelona in July

Latest from Cuba