July 13, 2008


Pucha! A broken egg!
(Image: a well-stolen photo from Google)

Why is it that slang words or cuss words sound so much funnier when a foreigner says them?

I rarely say any Spanish slang. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm not comfortable enough with my Spanish to risk it. When it comes to those naughty words that you say in frustration or anger, I think your first-language words just seem to pop out.

For some reason, my sister-in-law wanted me to say '¡púchica!' I haven't really noticed that word used very much around here, but to make her happy, I exclaimed, "¡Púchica! ¡El restaurante está cerrado!"

Everyone laughed like when the first time a child says 'damn' or something similar.

A word that I have heard more frequently is 'pucha' which I guess is similar. The folks at Word Reference say that pucha is a soft (and polite) way to exclaim anger, disgust, frustration, or regret, similar to 'Shoot!' or 'Darn!' or 'Dang!' in English and perfectly acceptable for ladies.

¡Pucha! I broke the glass.
¡Pucha! The dog peed on the floor.
¡Pucha! I'm out of minutes on my cell phone.

I like 'pucha' better. Poooh-cha! You sort of spit it out, which suits the occasion. Try it now. Poooh-cha! It feels good to say it. Try it again. Poooh-cha! It is more satisfying than 'darn it!'

'Pucha' is not to be confused with 'puta', which is another commonly heard word but one that is not acceptable in polite company. Puta is often used the same way as pucha.

And like a child who enjoys the attention, I took every opportunity to say "¡Pucha!" "¡Pucha! ¡Tengo hambre!" "¡Pucha! Donde est está el restaurante?" "¡Pucha! ¡La ventana no funciona!

And, like a child who has learned a new trick, I was appropriately rewarded with giggles each time.
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