Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[Week 3] Galego Word of the Week: Poquichiño

Week 3: Poquichiño 

I first learned this word from my friend Samuel at church here. Someone else who was also new to the church asked him about words in galego and wanted to start learning a few from a native. Naturally I, who had already been reading texts in galego since the previous summer, was very interested in learning some new words to expand my vocabulary and knowledge of the Galician culture.

Samuel explained that galegos like to say a word called, “poquichiño” to refer to a little thing instead of using the comparable castellano form, “poquito.” In galego, there are a lot of words that end in –iño. Such as: mariñero/a, sardiña, garapiñada and many more. As a matter of fact, galegos like to add the letter ñ onto the end of a lot of words in their language and that construction is an easy way that helps you differentiate between the two languages fairly easily. It’s actually my favorite letter in the Spanish language so I’m not complaining. (My favorite sound is definitely the ‘erre’ as I have been practicing the sound ever since I learned it as a young girl.) Poquichiño with the –iño ending also sounds very endearing and pleasant to the ear. I even imagine a cute little abuelo or abuela it every time I hear the word. It paints a nice picture for me and I smile whenever I hear it. :)

The endings –iño, -iña and –ito and –ita (in Galego and Spanish respectively) are called the diminutive form. In other words, changing a regular word into this form is not only diminishing its size but it’s like calling it a cute little thing (for example, cosita). These diminutive word endings vary by Spanish speaking country but in Spain, they vary by region. 

Pasteliños courtesy of one of the teacher's on her birthday last October!

In my beloved Andalucia, you will hear the locals ending a lot of their words with the ito/a endings like in hamburguesita which I heard spoken to me once in Malaga a couple years ago when I *shamelessly* visited a McDonald's for dinner one night. And I don’t know how many times I heard, “niñita,” in reference to my age by numerous older women in Sevilla. I suppose to some people a 21 year old young woman is still a girl and you just can’t argue with them. (Note: You will rarely win an argument with an older Spanish woman, especially an Andalusian woman, haha.)


Farther north of Andalucia, when you visit Central Spain such as regions like Madrid, you will hear –illo and –illa at the ends of words such as problemilla or bolsilla. But, if you travel as far as Galicia (the northwest corner of Spain), –iño/a will be attached to a number of words. I first heard and noticed one of the major differences between the North and the South language-wise when I made an appointment at a local beauty salon. I was just about to get my eyebrows waxed in Spain for the first time when the salon worker advised me to “sacame las gafiñas.” (Translation: Take off your little glasses for me.) I’ve also heard “hasta loguiño” when saying “see you later” and also bolsiña in almost every supermarket I visit. I was taken off guard at first but after a few more similar interactions with store clerks, teachers and a couple of doctors, I realized that that was the way they said things around here. I liked it but at the same time I was missing the familiar -ito/a endings I've been accustomed to hearing all the other places I've visited or lived.

I've only been to other regions such as Cataluña, Castilla La Mancha (in fact, I was just there this weekend in Toledo!), Castilla y Leon, Murcia and Extremadura one time each so I can't say for sure which endings the locals in these regions tend to say the most. There are also so many other provinces and regions in Spain that I have not set foot in but truly want to in the next few months to a year. I'm by no means an expert on all the regional language ticks in this country but I would like to be one day. 

So, this week's word was fairly simple and easy to understand but it will hopefully be the last one of its kind in this series. I wanted to include it so that you as the reader (and perhaps student of the Spanish language) could see how many different forms of the diminutive there actually are.

Even when I'm not living in Galicia, I will still think of this word fondly and remember the musical gallego who taught it to me. And the fact that it also reminds me of Pinocchio though it has no relation at all, haha.

What diminutive word endings in Spanish have you heard before and in which country did you hear them? What's the cutest little word someone has said to you? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Pros and Cons of Traveling With Family (Sibling Edition)

Train station in Toledo, Spain

  1.  You always have someone to do things with (ie: trying a new restaurant, sightseeing, going dancing or to concerts, movies, etc).
  2. You can see things from a different perspective (what they notice and you don’t –and viceversa-) at any given moment.
  3. You can make memories wherever you go and remember them for years and years to come!
  4.  You can show someone else a place you have been before and guide the other person to where you both need to go.
  5. They can show you new things in an old or familiar place and you can do the same for them.
  6. You learn what your strengths and weaknesses are over and over again!
  7. You learn to view problems and the world around you both from a different perspective.
  8. You can both navigate a new country and/or new language and be embarrassed together at times!
  9. You both learn to laugh at yourselves!
  10. You fill in each others’ gaps and learn which areas you need to improve.
  11. You learn to become more organized and prioritize your time better (this can be learned the easy way or the hard way and I definitely recommend the former! :P)
Bonus: You can help each other get over fears and especially help the other person learn how to talk to the opposite sex –which could lead to matchmaking if one of you plays your cards right! ;)

The trip to Cordoba to see the famous Mosque Cathedral and hear andalu that almost didn't happen! So glad it did.


  1. You have to compromise or do something or go somewhere you initially may not have wanted to go.
  2. You will argue a little bit (or a lot) and hard or hurt feelings could ruin the trip for both of you.
  3. Miscommunication could lead to missed transportation or ruined or foiled plans.
  4. You both have to take time out from having fun and plan your whole trip or the next day's activities (it’s not always fun and games).
  5. You may find that traveling together is too stressful and may vow to never do it again.

Bonus: Communication is key and every important decision must be made together!
            It’s important for you both to have alone time when traveling for an extended period of time (ie: 2-4 weeks or more; personal example: we had to take separate trains to/from Cordoba as it just worked out that way and it was for the better).

Every second of your trip counts! One extra minute spent wandering down the wrong street or surfing the Internet could mean missing out on a more worthwhile and unforgettable experience together. Or you could miss out on having time for a really meaningful conversation that you wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. If you want those things to take place, don’t waste your time doing other things!

What advantages or disadvantages would you add to this list? Have you ever traveled with a family member for a long period of time? How did it go? Tell me about your trip and suggestions in the comments below!