Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Burro Effect

It's probably just a coincidence, but before we posted a week ago about the Instituto Cervante's World's Best Spanish Word Ever Award, Gael Garcia Bernal's oddball nomination of "Querétaro" was mired in sixth place, hundreds of votes behind "Sueño," proposed by self-help book author Luis Rojas Marcos, and "Libertad," by Mario Vargas Llosa, who we gather is also a writer of some sort. Since then, "Querétaro" has surged into first, with a seemingly insurmountable 500-vote lead.


We say insurmountable (which, incidentally, would be on our short list for Best English Word) because we very much doubt there is a constituency of people passionate about seeing "Sueño" win a fake award, whereas the 1.8 million residents of Querétaro would crawl through broken glass for a mention on Lady Gaga's Twitter feed. Seriously, we haven't seen this much ballot-stuffing since Pepe Calzada's surprise victory in the governor's race, and are proud to have done our part to enhance the civic pride. (To do yours, just click here.) Our prediction: "Querétaro" wins with 2.5 million votes, followed by "Libertad" with about 3,200.

Kudos to Garcia for being one of the few to understand the spirit of the contest. While most of the other nominators tried to show how clever they were by proposing words based on some poetic or symbolic reading of their meaning - "Yes," "You," "Spirit" and "Jesus" are all on the list - Garcia picks "Querétaro" simply because he likes the word, the way it sounds and feels and looks. (For our money, we'd have gone with "Murciélago," which means "bat.") But at the same time, shame on the Instituto for overlooking the fact, which we think is relevant in a poll about great Spanish words, that "Querétaro" isn't a Spanish word, any more than "Swampscott" is an English word. The Best Spanish Word in the World can't even be used in Scrabble.

Amusingly, the word "Querer," meaning "to want" or "to love," is currently in last place, despite being literally the closest thing the actual Spanish language has to "Querétaro."

6 comments:

Aguachile said...

As it were, I happen to be in Madrid right now. I will see to it that Instituto Cervantes, a mere couple of blocks from my apartment, will receive this vital information at the most hurried pace imaginable.

Burro Hall said...

"Aguachile" would totally be on our short list, too, by the way.

http://imustbecrazytoliveinmexico.blogspot.com/ said...

I voted for Querétaro using my fake IFE card that was issued to me this week by the students running for school elections. I'm sure it is as valid as any other IFE card in Mexico.

stt said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and let everyone know that my favorite English word has always been Indianapolis, so I feel like I'm among kindred spirits here.

Anonymous said...

huapango is another great spanish word that is probably not spanish. i tend to use pinche alot when chatting about mexico... so that has to be in my list of favourites.

Paul said...

I can't believe nobody mentioned Zacatecas.