Neo-Spanish word

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Those of you following the upcoming US presidential election know that Barrack Obama is the Democratic candidate. I don't want to get into any political discussion here (it would be very inappropriate), but I did want to share a clever new word that is appearing on T-shirts worn by Obama's supporters.

It is Obámanos.

And, yes, they even got the accent correct. I do realize that the second A would be an O in Spanish, but we have to grant a certain amount of poetic license.

I like this coinage (again, solely from a linguistic point of view) because it's catchy and also recognizes the new importance of Latino voters in the US.

10167 views
updated AGO 27, 2008
posted by 00bacfba

25 Answers

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A slogan isn't going to translate directly. It has to be catchy in both languages. "Yes We Can" sounds better in English than "Yes One Can" or "Yes It's Possible". "Sí, se puede" sounds good in Spanish; it's just not a direct translation.

Bien dicho. The phrase originally comes from the United Farm Workers (grape pickers, etc.) movement in California. Here's a Wikiquote.

Sí, se puede (Spanish for "Yes, It can be done!") is the motto of the United Farm Workers. In 1972, during Cesar Chavez's 25 day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, he and UFW's co-founder, Dolores Huerta came up with the slogan.

updated AGO 27, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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motley said:

It was late last night when I wrote this. I realize I should have said estoy confundido. Obámanos & Sí, se puede are really 2 different parts but I still think it s/b podemos for we can.

motley said:

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If it's "yes, we can"shouldn't it be podemos or does the nos in ObamaNos take care of that'. But then nos is us. estoy confundiendo

A slogan isn't going to translate directly. It has to be catchy in both languages. "Yes We Can" sounds better in English than "Yes One Can" or "Yes It's Possible". "Sí, se puede" sounds good in Spanish; it's just not a direct translation.

updated AGO 27, 2008
posted by Natasha
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It was late last night when I wrote this. I realize I should have said estoy confundido. Obámanos & Sí, se puede are really 2 different parts but I still think it s/b podemos for we can.

motley said:

If it's "yes, we can" shouldn't it be podemos or does the nos in ObamaNos take care of that'. But then nos is us. estoy confundiendo

>

updated AGO 27, 2008
posted by motley
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Does "ObamaNos" mean "Obama us" then'As in give us Obama'I think maybe we dissect things too much on here and seem to end up with 20 different meanings for everything!
Not a criticism,just an observation! grin

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by TimEivissa
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If it's "yes, we can"
shouldn't it be podemos or does the nos in ObamaNos take care of that'. But then nos is us. estoy confundiendo

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by motley
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Guaito, I'm not sure what your point is in posting that photo. It seems to shoot down your theory. Actually, ObamaNos makes no sense to me at all. All of T-shirts I have seen say Obámanos.

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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WoW this has totally become a thing. But that is very clever haha

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by Ashlita
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updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by Guaito
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Guaito said:

Acepto que, aunque para un nativo español la asociación de la frase con "vámonos" no sea obvia, pueda serlo para una cultura diferente. En eso doy la razón a los que conocen mejor que yo el entorno del eslogan. Sin embargo la aparición del acento en Obámanos puede tener su explicación:

El acento en "tóxico" se traslada a la sílaba anterior al sufijo en "toxicómano". Esto sucede también con otros sufijos, tal como en "alcohólico" o "germanófilo".

Análogamente, el acento en "obámanos", considerado como una contracción de "obamámanos".

¿O no?

I concede your point about the accent, but I still think my interpretation is the correct one. Your version would be understandable only to native speakers or very fluent non-natives, whereas my version is understandable to many, many Americans. We are familiar with many Spanish words through the influence of our southern neighbor, and vámonos is one of those words, as it has been used in many American movies and TV programs, etc.

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Acepto que, aunque para un nativo español la asociación de la frase con "vámonos" no sea obvia, pueda serlo para una cultura diferente. En eso doy la razón a los que conocen mejor que yo el entorno del eslogan.
Sin embargo la aparición del acento en Obámanos puede tener su explicación:
El acento en "tóxico" se traslada a la sílaba anterior al sufijo en "toxicómano". Esto sucede también con otros sufijos, tal como en "alcohólico" o "germanófilo".
Análogamente, el acento en "obámanos", considerado como una contracción de "obamámanos".

¿O no'

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by Guaito
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Sorry, James, this was my first too. I don't see how you can connect this with "vámonos"!

Actually, I'm now positive that I am correct. The accent mark is what made me realize this. If Guaito's theory were correct, there would be no accent mark. Furthermore, these T-shirts are meant not just for Latinos, but for the general public, and a large proportion of Americans know what vámonos means, but do not know what manos means. As Mark W says, you have to think like an American on this one, because to us the connection with vámonos is obvious.

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Actually I agree with James that it is a play on the word 'vámonos'. Being from the southwestern U.S. I understand how the hispanics here speak and think. Also, the phrase they are trying to say is "Sí se puede", not "Si se puede". If you've heard them say it, it would become clear by the intonation. Mistakes like that are common here in the southwest.

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by Mark-W
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Guaito said:

No creo que la palabra sea un verbo en modo imperativo según lo interpreta James, sino que "Obámanos" es una palabra derivada de raíz Obama y sufijo mano, de manera que significaría "partidario de Obama", de la misma manera que "toxicómano" significa "partidario (o adicto) a las drogas". Evidentemente se ha eliminado la doble sílaba "ma", que daría lugar a Obamamano.

Sorry, James, this was my first too. I don't see how you can connect this with "vámonos"!

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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motley said:

They got the accent mark over Obámnos but I don't see one on sí & I think it means "yes you can"

Motley, the difference between "si" with or without accent is the following:
"Sí, se puede" (affirmative) = Yes, it is possible
"Si se puede" (conditional). = If it is possible

updated AGO 26, 2008
posted by Dunia
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Guaito said:

No creo que la palabra sea un verbo en modo imperativo según lo interpreta James, sino que "Obámanos" es una palabra derivada de raíz Obama y sufijo mano, de manera que significaría "partidario de Obama", de la misma manera que "toxicómano" significa "partidario (o adicto) a las drogas".

Well, I guess I disagree. Your interpretation is possible, I suppose, but to me it's far more likely that it comes from vámonos (which means "Let's go," Sue). Bámonos and vámonos are pronounced the same in Spanish, so it's clever to play on this similarity.

I saw one blog where the guy said it means "Obama us," as if the verb were obamar, but I don't believe that interpretation, either.

Anyway, I guess it's open to personal interpretation.

updated AGO 25, 2008
posted by 00bacfba