While I was in Xalapa and living at the hotel, a nice young Mexican girl asked me a fairly common question:
GIRL: “¿Cómo te llamas?” (How do you call yourself? or, What is your name?)
JEFF: “Me llamo Jeff” (I call myself Jeff or, My name is Jeff)
… In Mexico (or in Spanish), they do not pronounce the letter J like we do in English. In fact, the closest letter they have to our J is Y. Hence the capital Y at the beginning of “Yepts”. As for why the remainder of my name is also unpronounceable, I am just going to assume that the sounding J at the beginning of the name was so strange and difficult that it threw off her entire hearing of the rest of it. Now I know why in middle school and high school Spanish class they gave us “Spanish” names, because many of our foreign names would be so weird and difficult to pronounce in Spanish.
In English, there are some foreign words that we use verbatim, but butcher with an American accent (lots of French words come to mind like croissant or laissez-faire), and in Mexico they do the same with certain English words like Maple (“map-ley”) or the popular soda here, Squirt (“e-sqee-ert”) [thanks to Rebecca for the second example].
Squirt is so popular here that it is the common ingredient in the cocktail PALOMA (which is tequila, SQUIRT, lime, and salt.)
English words are funny here, especially proper nouns. We notice it on the T.V. all the time. Sometimes they use the English words verbatim (Terminator 3 is Terminator Tres), sometimes they translate to Spanish literally (Law & Order: SVU [Special Victims Unit] is La Ley y El Orden: UVE [Unidad de Víctimas Especiales], and yet other times they translate to Spanish and also change the title to provide the meaning (thus, the movie You, Me, and Dupree [with Owen Wilson] becomes Tres son Multitud.
Of course, they use Facebook here too, which is El Facebook. It is interesting to me how they determine that the noun gender of a service where you can look at pictures of former classmates and ex-lovers is masculine…)
And, since they don’t actually have the words “Face” or “Book”, often they just call it “Face”.
“¿Tienes Face?” translates to “Do you have a Facebook account?” or “Do you have Face?”
Mary E and I really don’t know why the don’t call it Libro de Cara or Caralibro.
One last hilarious version of the above occurs when they take an English word or proper noun, and then not only pronounce the word with a Spanish accent/inflection, but spell it phonetically in that way as well. For example, last night we were at the churro cart in Coyoacán with our friend and resident guru of México, Rebecca, and although we are getting much better at identifying the types of fillings in the churros (names of fruits and other delicacies), I had to ask her, “What the heck is Bailes?” Are these churros filled with dancing? (The verb bailar means to dance.) Her response: