Tuesday, November 28, 2023

endosexism: endosexismo

I can't believe I only just now learned this word. Endosex is the opposite of intersex. I am an endosex person, as my physical and hormonal presentation fits normative medical and social ideas of what a woman's body is "supposed" to be like. Endosexism then is discrimination against intersex people. It has google of only around 6,500 in English and 350 in Spanish, but I did find this definition of it in Spanish as "incurrir en sesgos, discriminar, marginar o patologizar cuerpos intersexuales". Go Universidad de los Lagos in Chile for posting this!

N.B.: this is the intersex pride flag

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

engentada: peopled out

I just learned this word in Spanish here in Mexico City and made up this English translation. Captures perfectly how I feel after several days here. There are just SO MANY people a toda hora! 

Friday, August 25, 2023


I noticed today in this interesting Guardian article about indigenous drug runners in the Amazon that they kept the term maloca and followed it with "circular communal house." That nagged at me because it does not convey that it is a traditional indigenous structure, nor that it is sacred and ceremonial space - and I know that some of them are not circular. Interestingly the wikipedia entry calls them "an ancestral long house used by indigenous people of the Amazon." Hmm, that also seems a bit off, because they are often round, not long (though in fact I've been in several long ones). I would certainly keep the word maloca and then describe it. I've seen it described as a "big house" in other places. I don't love that either, for the reasons above. I'm curious to hear how you have described malocas in your translation and interpretation. Please comment!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

panfleteo (Col): (threatening) flyering

In Colombia usually the term panfleteo references the spreading around town or just left in front of certain people's houses of short one page flyers with death threats. To use the term pamphleting or even pamphlet for this does not work well. In English pamphlets are usually in color and folded, at least once but usually as a trifold. I don't see death squads taking the time for this sort of layout and folding! Usually the sorts of things the death threats use in U.S. English we would call a flyer. But just calling this flyering in English would not carry the connotation of death threats, thus my suggestion of adding the term threatening.

This term and the false cognate jumped out at me in this powerful article, which despite this term hiccup I strongly recommend:

Ruette-Orihuela, Krisna, Katherine V. Gough, Irene Vélez-Torres, and Claudia P. Martínez Terreros. “Necropolitics, Peacebuilding and Racialized Violence: The Elimination of Indigenous Leaders in Colombia.” Political Geography 105 (August 1, 2023): 102934. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2023.102934.
As the authors put it, panfeleto has "been widely used since the 1970s by illegal armed groups as a way of intimidating social leaders, generating fear, encouraging displacement, and attempting to gain territorial control. These pamphlets are associated with ‘social cleansing’ that has become part of everyday life."

Monday, June 12, 2023

junt*s instead of junt@s

It used to be somewhat common to use the @ to denote, say, juntos y juntas. The problem is that it still reinforces the gender binary.

I don't think the * solution is common, but I like it. I was reminded of it by the book Junt*s transformamos a Colombia. Not sure how you pronounce it though - as juntes? The e ending has become more and more common since I first posted about it in 2015 (my all time most read post). I like it, but some are insisting on including the a and o as well, so in this case juntos, juntas, y juntes - meaning that e would not capture male and female, but just nonbinary folks. Good grief. I'm fine with just the e for everyone, but if you want to be more inclusive, maybe the * is the ticket. Doubt it will catch on though.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Comuna 13 (Col): District (comuna) 13

Comuna 13 (Col): District (comuna) 13

This is another one that sometimes gets rendered with the extremely misleading false cognate commune. I wish that everyone held property together in the comunas of Medellin but that is most certainly not the case! You could also use borough for this, but that is such a New York City specific term for large divisions inside a city that I think district is a more global English rendition. You could also keep it as comuna and just add the definition of district the first one or two times it comes up. 

Comuna 13 is particularly known for Operation Orion, carried out in 2002, where the area was occupied by some 3000 paramilitaries working openly with the army. They were ostensibly seeking FARC guerillas and collaborators but many civilians were disappeared that day. The photo here is from the grassroots work to push for and support the work to find and identify their bodies. There are dramatically more disappeared in Colombia than in any other country of the Americas, and the peace accord established a unit to search for them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

caserío: small rural community vs. small village

I have posted about caserío before, and rendered it as small village. But yesterday I was showing my reconciliation seminar students the Basta Ya video about the war in Colombia as part of our study the outputs of truth commissions (as an aside, this video is from 2013 but frustratingly the recent truth commission has not subtitled any of their videos and the few translations I have found of their texts into English have not been done by translators and are chock full of errors). I noticed that in the video they subtitled caserío as small rural community and I think that is not half bad. Village has almost as many connotations as hamlet, the other option. Community is more vague, but that's not always a bad thing.