'Cutesy' Spanish

Ecuadorian Spanish is slow, clear, and supposively one of the easiest accents to learn. With four years of high school Spanish, a couple university courses, and a summer in Guatemala under my belt, my Spanish was adequate when I moved to Ecuador.

I used to have a Spanish tutor that came to my house for 2 hours each week, but after I was reading Harry Potter in Spanish and having proficient phone conversations, I felt I could pursue fluency independently. So I practice! I read youth fiction in Spanish (I’m working my ways through Lords of the Rings, El Señor de los Anillos, right now), I do activities online, I write down words I don’t know and look them up.

There is one aspect of my personality that just won’t translate. I’m not cutesy! Ecuadorian Spanish is gushing with flowery –itos and –itas, mi querida, mi amor. Spanish women in general are very feminine, or so it seems to me, and to be frank, I’m just not.

I don’t rave about how beautiful or cute my friends are. I mean, I will tell them if I like a shirt they are wearing, but they won’t get a ‘Oh guurrrrl, You look maaaagnificent!!!’ out of me. Sorry.

Ecuadorians tack a cute –ito or –ita on the end of everything. That should mean a word is small. A dog: perro; A small dog: perrito. I heard someone ordering lunch the other day ask for an ‘almuercito’ instead of an almuerzo. They got a huge bowl of soup, a mound of rice, meat, salad, veggies, and juice! Not a small lunch at all.

Today I ordered a fruit salad at school, ‘una ensalada de frutas por favor,’ only to hear the woman behind me order the same thing by asking for ‘una frutita.’ 

I talked about this with a British couchsurfer friend of mine this weekend. He said he notices the -ito being added onto names as an endearing phrase at work, so he tried it, and then got put down because that apparently means you 'fancy' someone! Yet I hear it all the time being used in all sorts of relationships, not just romantic ones. Hmph.

It’s not just adding the sound on to the end of the word, there is sort of an obnoxious cutesy sound that goes along with it too that I just can’t get down. The girls at my dance studio smother each other with affection and feminine compliments and I just can’t seem to jump on that bandwagon.

I’m just a crass, blunt, and sometimes vulgar person, and I don’t see that translating well to the Spanish culture or language.


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