Every country has a flag, food and symbols that identify them. But what about a single word?
During the 6th International Congress of the Spanish Language (VI Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española) celebrated in Panama, the blog Papeles Perdidos, created by the newspaper El País, published an atlas of the representative words of Spanish-speaking countries. They asked 20 writers which word they consider “best reflects your country.” The storytellers, poets and essayists responded with what they consider the most authentic words from their country, and this the word from Costa Rica:
Costa Rican Spanish: TUANIS
According to writer and journalist Carlos Cortés, tuanis is the word that best represents Costa Rica. “It doesn’t comes from ‘too nice,’ as said by Mexican comedian Adal Ramones when he imitates us, but rather from the military slang of the Salvadoran General Malespín in the 19th century.” Malespín slang created new words by changing the letters in a particular way:
• a = e
• i = o
• b = t
• f = g
• p = m
Use the previous key to change the letter of the word buenos and you will get TUANIS!
In the Diccionario de Palabrotas y Coloquialismos Ticos author José González Ugalde includes it with the alternate spelling tuanes and the following uses:
1. Pleasant, nice
2. Nice, excellent
3. Very well
Do you agree that this word is the one that best represents Costa Rica?
Check out these other Costa Rica Spanish Slang Word articles.