Vesre


Vesre

Vesre (reversing the order of syllables within a word) is one of the features of the Rioplatense Spanish. Natives of Buenos Aires and Uruguay use vesre sparingly in colloquial speaking, and never in formal occasions. Tango lyrics make widespread use of lunfardo and vesre to highlight the intended underworld atmosphere, or for comical relief.

Other cities in Argentina have their own customs. Rosario has its "gasó" method for obfuscating words (also called "Rosarigasino"), and Córdoba has an entirely different set of colloquial conventions. Yet, most Argentines have been exposed to vesre through tango lyrics or the media.

Even though vesre has spread to other countries, and can be heard in Peru, Chile and Ecuador, Spanish speakers outside the River Plate area are usually less inclined to use it. Popular speech has created some instances; for example, natives of Barranquilla, Colombia often call their city "Curramba", in a stylized form of vesre.

Examples

* revés → vesre (reverse)
* café → feca (coffee)
* caballo → llobaca (horse)
* libro → broli (book)
* flaco → cofla ("thin man"; since the 1970s, usually a colloquialism for "young man")
* amigo → gomía (friend)
* doctor → tordoc (doctor, usually meaning "physician" but also used for lawyers. "Tordo" is standard Spanish for blackbird).
* carne → necar (meat)
* pizza → zapi
* baño → ñoba (bathroom)
* camión → mionca (truck)
* boludo → dolobu (dumb, literally "one with big balls")
* mujer → jermu (wife, sometimes also woman)

Occasionally, vesre is a stepping-stone towards further obfuscation, achieved by evolving into a longer word. For example:

* coche (car) → checo → checonato (after a once-famous sportsman named Cecconatto)
* cinco (the number five) → cocín → cocinero (literally "cook"; used mostly on the racetrack to mean "the five horse")

The original and "vesre" versions of a word are not always synonyms; sometimes the reversal adds some extra nuance to the meaning. For instance, the word "hotel" bears the same meaning as in English (i.e. a normal tourist hotel), whereas "telo" implies that the establishment is actually a love hotel.

In other languages

Colloquial French has a form of intentional metathesis known as verlan.

Tagálog, the language of the Philippines, also has a similar construct known as binaliktad.

Serbian has a form of slang called Šatrovaki followed in the 1990s with a more ambiguous slang called utrovaki.

In Brazilian Portuguese from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the local version is called gualin, from lingua (tongue or language). While it is pretty straightforward, the final "s" in plurals and the final "r" for the infinitive tense of verbs are usually dropped. A typical example is: "Cevô lafá gualin?" (Você fala gualin? Do you speak gualin?).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.