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What is Chat in Spanish?

Chatear. To chat, with a cup of coffee or a cerveza fría (cold beer), is charlar, conversar, hablar.  In Mexico and areas under Mexican linguistic influence (parts of Central America, the American South West, for example) they use platicar.

Chatting, as in IM, or IM-ing (IM-ing is like whispering, perfect for furtive, racy exchanges—or slimy, perverted ones, as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd put it) is chatear.

Whispering = susurro, murmurar.
Furtive = furtivostealthy.
Racy = picante, subido de colorsexy.
Exchange = intercambio.
Slimy = Fangoso (muddy), baboso (mucous).

Instant message = Mensaje instantaneo (MI). Spanish-language servers offer: Chatear en tiempo real. But that’s not Spanish, purists complain. That’s nothing but that hybrid, that bastard dialect Spanglish (espanglish in Spanish, notice that languages are not capitalized in Spanish). Well, if you ask Amherst College professor Ilan Stavans, Spanglish is a new language, and, said Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, only dead languages remain uncontaminated. A purist even threatened me physically for defending Spanglish. I had to remind him Castilian borrowed the word ESPAÑOL from the Provencal. Castilian for Spanish until the 11th century was españón.

By the way, speaking of beer, Ernest Hemingway needed three expressions to get by in the Spanish-speaking word: Una cerveza, dame un beso, and llama a mi abogado.

Dame = give me.
Beso = Kiss.
Llama = call.
Abogado = lawyer.

 

    

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