Monday, April 12, 2004

Spanglish Bouncing Beybies

This morning I saw lined (not college rule), hole-punched notebook paper taped sideways to the side of a bus stop enclosure. Handwritten in pen were the words:

Si necesitas Beybicir[,] favor de
llamar al numero se encuentra aquí

followed by two local phone numbers and the name "Elizabet" (as is standard procedure, the name and numbers were repeated a few times and the paper was cut so that you could easily tear off a copy of the name and numbers and put it in your pocket).

Beybicir clearly must mean "to baby-sit". It's horrible, horrible Spanish, but it sounds wonderful. FWIW, Si necesitas is "if you need", favor de llamar a is "please call", and el numero se encuentra aquí is "the number found here". Beybicir is exactly how you would write the English word using Spanish spelling conventions plus the obligatory "ir" ending to make it a verb.

A few notes:

I think that line was a comma, but there was a stray mark higher on the paper that, if intentional, would make it look more like an accented "i". From what Spanish I know, an "í" would make even less sense.

The other verb endings, "ar" and "er" sound wrong in this context. "Ir" is the only one that sounds right, probably because there are a lot of "cir" verbs — mostly from the Latin "ducere": traducir (to translate), conducir (to drive) — and "i"-consonant-"ir" verbs: bebir (to drink), dirigirse (to head or direct oneself [towards]).

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