vato redux

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Jack seems to have closed the previous thread, but I want to reply to Eddy, so I'm opening up another one.

Eddy wrote:
*According to the Urban Dictionary

The word Vato is Spanish for "dude", or "man" - made popular by the song appropriately named "Vato" by Snoop Dogg...*

Baloney! The word vato was certainly not made popular by Snoop. It has been in use since at least the 1950's, and anyone who is even remotely familiar with Hispanic culture in the US, and especially the West Coast, has known this word for years. Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame used to use the word all the time back in the 70's, and it appears in movies and TV shows frequently.

4952 views
updated AGO 17, 2008
posted by 00bacfba

16 Answers

1
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Don't use it in Argentina either. I guess is only used in Central America.

updated DIC 19, 2010
posted by 00e657d4
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  1. Thanks to Guillermo for the dicho that he provided. I look forward to having an opportunity to use it. Tiene mucha gracia.

  2. I think James goes overboard in what appears to be an exhortation for "political correctness". There is a difference between SAYING something insulting and DISCUSSING (or illustrating a discussion with) a word/phrase that may be insulting. I don't think that a forum devoted to Spanish language/culture should shy away from the latter. Vulgarisms/insults are an integral part of language and anyone hoping to learn a language will need to do so with an open mind and the expectation of encountering "cultural clashes". The phrase "someone, especially someone whose native language is not Spanish, could conceivably misunderstand" is what I think is especially over-the-top. Especially in a forum like this, when reading something not in one's native language one should be especially slow to take offense because there are so many opportunities for misunderstanding the intent/meaning of what one reads.

updated AGO 17, 2008
posted by samdie
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Guillermo, I understand what you mean. But I was saying that someone, especially someone whose native language is not Spanish, could conceivably misunderstand the last two words, which in English are definitely fighting words. And when you translate the saying into English, it sounds like a subtle, indirect insult.

I actually had never heard the saying, so I was glad to learn it, and I took in the sense of "Don't be a lemming!," meaning don't do something just because everyone else is doing it. However, communication by writing is always dangerous, because we humans evolved to communicate by looking into each other's faces, so what we say in writing can easily be misconstrued. That's why it is sometimes better to play it safe on forums such as this.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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James, I agree with that it may be considered vulgar, but I would never consider it as an insult to anybody. I'ts just a commonly used expression.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00e657d4
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Te parece insultante el uso de la palabra m..... A mi me podría parecer insultante la comparación (que no me lo parece porque como ya dije es un poco de sarcasmo). Si se dice "coma excremento" la frase no suena igual. Coincido en que puede ser vulgar, pero me pacece que estás confundiendo vulgar con insultante y no son sinónimos.
Bueno, pensándolo mejor, puede que sea insultante......... para las moscas.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00e657d4
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Guillermo, that's how I took it, too. I like Lazarus a lot, so I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that he was trying to be insulting. We're just two strong-willed people disagreeing about something.

However, the last two words of that dicho COULD be misinterpreted very easily, so I don't think it's the best expression to use on this forum.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Lazarus, más de una vez estuve tentado de escribir ese dicho en este foro. Yo no creo que sea insultante. Es solo una forma sarcástica de decir que el hecho de que muchas personas hagan algo no implica que ésto sea correcto.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00e657d4
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That's a clever reply (I like it, even if it could be taken as an insult to me), but it doesn't really address what I said. If I have seen "vato" so many times, but never "bato," how does that not reflect a real trend? And it is the job of the RAE to ascertain trends of usage for such slang, not to define how the words should be used.

Again, I'm not saying that "bato" is never used, but then again, I often see baca, buelo, and boy, and I don't think you would say that those are correct.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Overall trend? Well, no wonder here. Como dice el dicho:

Un triillón de moscas no pueden estar equivocadas. ¡Come mierda!

¡Vale!

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Despite what the RAE says, here (Mexico and its former dominions, i.e., the western part of the US), where the word is most commonly used, it is almost always spelled vato. Since it is a slang word, its spelling will of course vary, but I'm just telling you how the word virtually always appears in print. In fact, while I have seen this word literally dozens of times in print over my life, including everything from newspapers to books to email, I have never seen it spelled with a B, not even once.

You may say that my personal experience is only a dot on the graph, but I find it hard to believe that the overwhelming use of the V I have seen is not representative of the overall trend.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
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I guess that's because of the mexican people living there. I have some friends from Mexico and I know the word, but it's not used in Argentina, although some people there may understand it, mostly for hearing it on TV shows.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00e657d4
0
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Hi James
*Eddy wrote:
According to the Urban Dictionary

The word Vato is Spanish for "dude", or "man" - made popular by the song appropriately named "Vato" by Snoop Dogg...

Baloney! The word vato was certainly not made popular by Snoop. It has been in use since at least the 1950's, and anyone who is even remotely familiar with Hispanic culture in the US, and especially the West Coast, has known this word for years. Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame used to use the word all the time back in the 70's, and it appears in movies and TV shows frequently.*

I suppose the urban dictionary could have over exaggerated the claim that Snoop Dogg made the word popular. I think they may have a point if they had said he made it "MORE" popular. Evidently it has been used in the past but it is possible that he has now made it "COOL" to be used by todays youngsters. After all, meanings and acceptances of words do change with use and future generations as you have often pointed out to Lazarus on numerous occasions.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by Eddy
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You can spell it Biuut if you want, but seeing both spellings in Wikipedia does not instantly mean that they are correct. The people who write the Diccionario de la Real Academia have made sure, through serious research, that the information they publish is reasonably accurate and trustworthy. In Wikipedia anyone can write anything, whether it is right or wrong, and there is no way we can tell. Even I have written articles in Wikipedia. The spelling "vato" is not recognized by the RAE, and the fact that the guy who wrote that in Wikipedia (i.e. an anonymous guy we can't trust) has probably seen both spellings and couldn't decide, so he included both just in case.

The most likely etymology of "bato" is explained in the etymological dictionary of Corominas, and it says that it comes from batueco, which even in the 17th century it meant "rustic". A village was named Las Batuecas for the same reason, and "baturro" is likely to derive from the same root.

Both spellins are not right, but if you are still not convinced, just give me a few minutes, I edit the article you checked in Wikipedia, and I change it so it says that "bato" is the only correct one, and I add the relevant quotes. What will you say then'

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
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"Bato" is indeed in the DRAE, but it is not registered in the comprehensive Manuel Seco dictionary, which has been compiled using contemporary Spanish sources. On the other hand, it is in my Collins, translated as simpleton.

In any case, just in case someone is interested, in Spain this word is unlikely to be understood.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Bato is not used in Spain, would not be understood, i gather.

updated JUL 25, 2008
posted by 00494d19