Spanish slang suffix -uqui?
May 10, 2014 6:03 PM   Subscribe

In Mexican telenovela Qué Pobres Tan Ricos, there is a character (Leonardo Ruiz Palacios) who often uses some sort of slang that involves adding "uqui" to the end of certain words. For example, he'll say "amiguqui" instead of "amigo." What does this suffix signify?

For context: The character in question is a snobby, rich (well, formerly rich), gay 20-something. He has lived in England and maybe Italy as well as Mexico, and he mixes in some English in his speaking much more than other characters.

He adds this "-uqui" suffix to all sorts of words, even pretty mundane ones. E.g. "clases" becomes "clasesuqui" (I think). He uses it as freely with his mother as he does with friends. No other character on the show uses this suffix, not the other rich people, not other 20-somethings, so I can't tell if it's a cutesy youthful slang, a snobby thing, or what. It seems like it's used similarly to a diminutive like "-ito."

I watch the Spanish closed captioning, but I only can partly follow it, so there is probably a lot more context to this or usages that I am missing.

Do you know what it means? How common is it? Who uses it and/or where is it used?
posted by dayintoday to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure, but Nahuatl has the suffix -qui (forms agent nouns). I guess it's plausible that Spanish could have borrowed it.
posted by dilaudid at 7:50 PM on May 10, 2014

It's a mix of all the things you describe, a sugary, snobby manner of talking that also lets the people around him know that he is immature and spoiled. Spoiled children are, in Mexico, typically depicted as distorting words either in pronunciation or structure ("hablar chiqueado" or for adults, "hablar fresa") and it's considered a very undesirable thing.
posted by cobain_angel at 7:55 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here is a joke about "chavos fresa" that shows the pronunciation they typically tend to use. I started the link at the time in which the comedian starts using the specific inflection and manner of speaking, but you'll see him lapse in and out of the mimicry throughout the standup.
posted by cobain_angel at 7:59 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in to say pretty much what cobain_angel said. Sounds like he's doing that annoying hablar fresa thing.
posted by birdherder at 8:01 PM on May 10, 2014

It seems that it's the way that an urban class of people called mirreyes talk. Here's a run-down (in Spanish) of the subculture, this bit being what interests you: "Al hablar termina las palabras con “uqui” e “irri”". Yeah, seems a bit next-gen fresa!
posted by bunyip at 8:04 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

And fresa, literally strawberry, is a Mexican term for the wealthy elite. People with posh homes and lives on both sides of the border - they're fresas.
posted by ADave at 10:17 PM on May 10, 2014

Is it a diminutive, like baby talk? Like saying 'num nums' for dinner, say?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2014

Mirrreybook was the perfect exponent of the trend, similar to Look at this fucking hipster. Enrique Peña Nieto, current president of Mexico, is considered to be a Mirrey: rich, hansome-ish, vapid, pretentious, but in truth he can't speak English correctly.

The female equivalent is Lobuki (a play on the word loba, wolf). So yeah, they are today's fresas.

Is it a diminutive, like baby talk?

They are diminutives, but not exactly like baby talk. We Mexicans use a lot of diminutives to soften words or expressions, but Mirreyes take it to the next level, using words as champañirri (sort of a diminutive of champagne) to make it sound cooler, I guess.
posted by clearlydemon at 12:07 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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