One of my favorite things about my dialect of Spanish (Northern Mexican / Mexican American) is an odd construction that emphasizes (often irritating) repetition.

I call it the “chingue y chingue” form, from the common vulgar expression for “riding someone’s ass” / “being fucking annoying.”

The form uses the auxiliary…

I’ve eaten both Ethiopian and Korean food with jalapeño peppers, so I thought it was time to explore the etymology of this worldwide phenomenon.

“Jalapeño” is short for Spanish “chile jalapeño” or “jalapeño pepper.”

Some fresh jalapeños. From López-Dóriga Digital.

The suffix -eño makes nouns and adjectives out of place names (for example isla, “island” becomes…

Nearly anywhere you go, a certain combination of trumpets and violins will elicit a similar response: listeners will immediately think of Mexico, overcome with an urge to throw a hat onto the ground and spin around.

What is this song and dance? It’s called the “jarabe tapatío,” a pretty unusual…

One of the hardest things about growing up Mexican [American] is learning to clean. If you don’t wash dishes right or wring out the mop properly, you leave behind an odor that moms and abuelas despise.


The name of this elusive but unpleasant odor has several forms: the main…

A question recently came up on Twitter: Did Huitzilopochtli, patron god of the Mexica, have a wife?

In fact, two major sources preserve the sacred story of how the Mexica “acquired” a “wife” for Huitzilopochtli, angering an entire nation in the process and helping to fulfill their destiny.

To share…

Dear non-Latinx folks in the US (mostly y’all, White people):

Hey, heads-up. You may be making things harder on the Latinx community by how you’ve been using Latinx, Latina, Latinos, Latinas and Latinos. Let me explain some nuances for you so that you don’t deploy those terms the wrong way.

Because of the work I do sharing information about Nahuatl lexicon and grammar, I (very occasionally) get into debates on Twitter about the niceties of this word or that. A recent disagreement about the meaning of “Tlaloc” got me thinking.

I should write about the origins of the names of…

David Bowles

A Mexican-American author and translator from deep South Texas, David Bowles teaches literature and Nahuatl at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley.

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