Friday, September 25, 2009

De mentis, de a devis

Although these expressions sound like latin spells out of Harry Potter book, they are workhorses of old school Mexican slang and highly popular among children.

De mentis (the-MEN-tease) comes from de mentiras (lit. of lies). When something is de mentiras, it means it's fake or simply not true. De a devis (the-ah-THE-vees) comes from de a de veras (lit. of truths). When something is de a deveras, it means it's true or the real thing. De mentiras and de a de veras are no slang but formal Spanish.

Maestra: Pepito, sabes que no puedes traer pistolas de juguete a la escuela.
Pepito: No es de a mentis, maestra, es de a devis.

Teacher: Pepito, you know that you cannot bring toy guns to school.
Pepito: It's not a fake gun, teacher, it's real.

Pepito is an imaginary character that portrays the irrevent, childish and anarchist inner self of Mexicans.

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