Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z: D is for Dushi!

One of Curaçao's remarkable qualities is its inhabitants' flair for languages. Everyone speaks four--yes, four: Dutch, the official language; Papiamentu, the local language; Spanish, because of Venezuelan TV; and English, to communicate with the world. Some schools have the gall to teach German or French. Sometimes German and French.

It's almost too easy to integrate here.

But them locals do love their language, and the smile that lights up their faces when you, a foreigner, speaks even a mispronounced word in Papiamentu is well worth the effort.

That's why today Quiet Laughter offers you a Crash Course in Papiamentu!

Chichi Curaçao, the island's most
popular souvenir, embodies dushiness.
English: "That's awesome!"
Papiamentu: "Dushi, yu!"
[DOO-she, yoo]

English: "This tastes great!"
Papiamentu: "Ta hopi dushi!"
[Tah HOH-pee DOO-shee]

English: "I love this place!"
Papiamentu: "Ta hopi dushi!"
[Tah HOH-pee DOO-shee]

English: "Baby, come here."
Papiamentu: "Dushi, bin aki."
[DOO-she, bean AH-kee]

English: "Excuse me, ma'am/sir/miss."
Papiamentu: "Sorry, dushi."
[SOH-ree, DOO-shee]

English: "Tastes sweet."
Papiamentu: "Ta dushi."
[Tah DOO-she]

The floating market in Punda (downtown), where
everyone goes for the dushiest fruit.
Dushi is the operating word in Papiamentu, and not just because of its multifunctional applications.

Dushi embodies the spirit of the language--of the culture, even. Things that taste good, even when they're salty or bitter, i.e., not even close to sweet, are still qualified as dushi.

Your sweetheart is, of course, your dushi, but so are most strangers. Waiters and waitresses, certainly. Children, for sure. The girl behind the supermarket cashier will call you dushi, and no, she's not flirting. If you're a woman, the guy at the gas station will call you dushi, and he's not flirting either. Well... not necessarily.

Dushi is also used to describe a good party, a nice relaxed evening at home, an especially challenging swim, a great gift. Pretty much anything good, in Curaçao, is dushi.

Have a dushi day, everyone, and thanks for stopping by. Make sure to visit the other A-Z bloggers--lots of dushi friends to be made.


  1. Yay, I am learning a lot about a place I've never been! Thanks for sharing all this info :)

  2. Dushi for this explanation of the all-encompasing word. It reminds me of the Australian word - darling, although that couldn't be used to refer to food. Waitresses, sweethearts, children, acquaintances - all darling in Aussi speak.

  3. That's delightful; and we share a love for cultural diversity. I speak Afrikaans and English, can read Dutch and follow a little of spoken/written German. Dushi reminds me of an Afrikaans expression - ja-nee - which means yes-no. You can lump it at the front of almost every sentence, whether you agree or disagree with something. I hope I see you around MROP during April - today I'm talking about Disassociation as a creative writing tool/tip. -Belinda.

  4. How fascinating. I like these all-encompassing words. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I've seen you use this word so much, I figured it would be your D post!

  6. I love language, the sound, the melody, meanings, textures--all of it. And you'e made me want to visit your corner of the world.

    So. Sounds like dushi marries the meanings of America's all-encompassing "cool" and our Southern waitress vernacular of "sweetie." Dushi, yu!

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    E: Edging Toward Home

  7. Thanks for the crash course!
    Very interesting!

  8. Thanks for the new word. Enjoyed scrolling through your site and visiting your tabs.
    Have a great A-Z

    Blessings, Margot at A Devotional Mosaic and Spark My Creativity

  9. Dushi does indeed "embodies the spirit of the language". With Dushi, it is hard to ever use it wrong. Except if you call the wrong person Dushi. Check out this video


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