By Dave Clark
Visual Link Spanish
The Spanish word
"tightwad" or "cheapskate". This
is one of my favorite gestures used in the Spanish
language. Maybe it's because I grew up in a
financially tight home and I can easily relate to it.
When I was growing up, because of income, my parents
would take my five sisters and me, to
McDonald's only two or three times a year. We
usually only had enough money to get a half a
hamburger each if we were lucky. We never had enough
money for fries or sodas. I also walked uphill both
ways to school barefoot in the snow (just kidding
about the school and barefoot part.)
Anyway, because of my
upbringing I learned to be conservative with my
money. My wife and coworkers often notice the fact
that I am "tight with my money", and they
occasionally tease me about it. They probably
consider me to be somewhat of a
"tacaño". If they knew the
"tacaño" hand gesture, they would
most likely use it on me.
Anyway one of the Spanish Lessons, let's
learn how to make the official Spanish sign for
"tacaño". Put your right forearm
in front of you with the fist pointing up in the air
(forearm vertical, the rest of your arm is
horizontal). Make sure your right hand is in a fist.
Then, with your left hand, slap the bottom of you
elbow three times (slap up and down and not
sideways). Go ahead and try-out this important hand
I was told by some
native speakers that this hand gesture is like having
money in your fist and you are trying to knock it
free by hitting your elbow. You are sort of saying,
"Come on!..Don't hold on to your money
In my own defense, I
do have to say that when I lived in Latin America, I
saw how generous the people were and I became more
generous also. I actually became a lot less of a
"tacaño" than I used to be.
Because of that, nobody ever made the
"tacaño" gesture to me, but it was
fun to watch others make it to each other and find
out who the real "tightwads" were.
Moral of the Story: It
is fun to learn different aspects of a new culture.
From gestures, to body language, to how people live,
learning the cultures of other people can enrich the
way we look at life and help us to appreciate the
differences of others.
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