Why Are Mexicans Starting to Use 'K' Instead of 'Qu' in Spanish

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why does this column have to use Spanish?

DEAR MEXICAN: Stop using Spanish in your column. I like reading your column, but when every other word is in Spanish, I don't know what the hell is going on. It makes you sound like that nerdy kid who uses big words to try to sound impressive.  Don't be lazy, and just write a good column.

Lazy Gabacho

DEAR GABACHO: Primeramente, I AM that nerdy kid—except when I use grande words, I sound like a nerd, not impressive. Secondly, don't be flojo. Since I know most gabachos no hablan, I use Spanish sparingly, judiciously, so that even the most pendejo American can understand it. Since you're a fan of the columna, you're not tan dumb—but wake up and smell the tacos, cabrón, and learn español from mi columna. Bilingualism is a wonderful thing, and studies are continually showing it leads to bigger brains and healthier sex lives. After all, better you learn from yo than the coming imposition of mandatory dual-immersion programs the Reconquista will institute à la what's already slowly happening in California under threat of eating your heart—oops, did I just say that out loud?

 

DEAR MEXICAN: What's up with substituting "k" for "qu"? Is this like the confusion of "v" and "b," or is this some youth fad or laziness? I've started reading some Mexican crime blogs and noticed this practice in the comments sections.

KE PAZA

DEAR GABACHO: Natural evolution of language, is all—but don't take it from me. I turn the columna over to Kirsten Silva Gruesz, professor of literature at UC Santa Cruz and a chingona who's working on a book about the history of Spanish in the United States with the awesome tentative title Bad Lengua. "K linda la pregunta!" the profe responds. "Your reader is right that standard Spanish doesn't use 'k' except in foreign words. But substituting 'k' for the proper 'qu' was a way to flout authority long before the rise of cell phones: Young Basques would spell Castilian words with a 'k' in homage to their own language, Euskara, which has plenty of k's and which the Spanish government used to suppress. Some of that countercultural feeling (think of those anarchist signs denouncing 'Amerika') has carried over to virtual youth hangouts such as Internet message boards. But Spanish texters all over the world have also taken to the 'k.' Y? bkz its ezr. (By the way, you can blame the Romans for this whole mess; they used 'k,' 'q' and 'c' to represent the same sound, depending on where it landed in a word. The Castilians tried to clean up their spelling during the Renaissance and make it more consistent with pronunciation, which is more than you can say for the English!)"

Gracias, profe! Parents, send your Mexi kids to UC Santa Cruz—some great desmadre being raised in them thar hills.

 

PREORDER TACO USA! Gentle cabrones, my much-promised Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America will finally hit bookstores April 10, but that doesn't mean you can't already order it (yes, grammar snobs: I just used a double-negative, but Mexican Spanish loves double-negatives the way we do cute second cousins). Place your order with your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, but place it: My libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don't sell enough copies! Stay tuned for book-signing info!

 
My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
Juan Villar
Juan Villar

"doesn't mean you can't already order it" doesn't qualify as a double negative. It shows no logical inconsistency. Now if you had said "ain't no meanin' ye cain't 'ready order it" then you would have the contradictory logic. You would also be wearing some kind of Tom Sawyer straw hat, chewing on a small twig, and ain't wearin' no shoes none.

BetaRayBill
BetaRayBill

They are not Mexicans, The are lazy ass pochos.

BetaRayBill
BetaRayBill

I know why, Fucking lazy assholes. Bueno Una por guevones y otra por ignorantes. Como son buenos para denegrar la cultura algunos Pinches pochos, nada mas cagan el palo andando de pandilleros y buenos para nada. Not to mention El parkeadero y parkear el carro.

Avidsatanist
Avidsatanist

lla lla lla, i get it all that

but what's with the insha'llahs all of the sudden? just curious.

CHS
CHS

I thought the "k" instead of "qu" was a mark of illiteracy, not protest.

El Gabacho Viejo
El Gabacho Viejo

You know, Mexican, you're probably far more correct about this than you might think. There's actually a lot of debate about it in Latin where "c, que and k" were all present. However, I do remember my old Latin professor who was and expert on pronunciation, even wrote about it for encyclopedias, saying that even Cicero said that his name in ancient Greek was "Kikero." So it goes without saying that altlhough we say "Ceasar' with soft a "c," it was likely pronounced more like the German term, "Kaiser." But my old professor also said, that even in Caesar's time, that in the streets, Romans were likely already saying his name with soft "c's." So even then, language was rapidly evolving. Now would you like me to discuss the pronucication of "c" further which through Etruscan sources could also have the "g" sound as in the name Gaius? I didn't think so.

Felipe
Felipe

hola Senor Arellano - I enjoy reading your column and have followed your career for many years. As a gabacho who speaks Spanish and have traveled in Mexico, Spain and Costa Rica over the last 15 years and lives in San Diego, I have often wondered what is next for Gustavo Arellano. Has the novelty of your career warn off or do you have new horizons to conquer in the not-too-distant future ? I seem to think this part of your life is just a stepping stone to greater things.and you were meant to ascend to a higher level be it politics, the diplomatic world , academia or perhaps writing on a grander scale. I'd enjoy an update on you and your future.

Felipe :)

Amy Lineburg
Amy Lineburg

In an interesting twist, at least in Peru (the only place I can speak to), some members of the indigenous language family, Quechua, are starting to protest the Spanish-ization of their language by leaving the 'qu' behind in favor of a 'k' whenever possible in writing their language. Protest through alphabet use!

Graciela Mireles
Graciela Mireles

Ke Paza - Ke te importa! It's no different than all the OMG's, WTF's, and TTYL's going on in text messaging, & FB'ing (see I did it again)!

Joel Mielke
Joel Mielke

English used to allow for double negatives, but authoritarian Victorian grammar extremists decided that English speakers should no longer enjoy the visceral pleasure of saying things like, "ain't now way I'm doin' that."

909Jeff
909Jeff

That dont make no sense..

 
Loading...