Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hesusé! (& Hopi, & Hodé) -- #Curaçao Expressions on the #AtoZChallenge 2015)

Because in Papiamentu the J is pronounced the Dutch way (as Y), any J words sourced from Spanish or Portuguese are spelled with H. Which makes H a popular section in a Papiamentu dictionary. (And my life difficult for J day.)

Literally: Jesus-eh
In context: Oh, god (negative), Wow (positive).

You see an accident on the road: "Hesusé! I hope no one is hurt."

In a crowded street, you spot a friend you haven't seen for years. "Hesusé! Is that--?"

many (Papiamentu has hopi words that start with H)
very (I'm hopi glad you visited today)
very much (I love you hopi) -- but not much; that's masha, coming to a blog near you on M day

A song you'll hear everywhere in Curaçao -- anywhere there's a live band, anyway -- is Dushi, Mi Stimabo (Sweetie, I Love You). The first line of the song says,

"Dushi, mi stimabo hopi..."

Literally: f*cked, screwed (the dictionary says 'sodomized')
In context: your favorite @%$#&* of frustration

(NOTE: not an insult, not even seriously vulgar, but out of place in conversation with, say, your in-laws)

You're running late, and this is your third red light in the last seven minutes. You bang the steering wheel and mutter, "Hodé."

You run out of cigarettes at a party. It's 3 am; everything's going to be closed. Yeah. "Hodé."

(I think this one is borrowed from the Castilian Spanish joder, which has the same meaning and use--and isn't all that impolite in Spain [and Venezuela, I think], but in México would make eyebrows shoot up.)

Today's bonus word (what with H being so popular and all):

Hint: it's not coffee. 
Okay, that wasn't much of a hint. Here's another:

Take a shot. If you're the first to guess the right answer in the comments (or the closest, if no one gets it right), you'll be entered to win a copy of The Miracle of Small Things, a collection of short stories about Curaçao coming out later this year. The three winners will be announced the first week of May.


  1. interesting theme here. can learn a quite a bit of papiamentu in 1 month :)
    Points To Ponder

  2. I love your A to Z theme! And I love the expressions. Hopi is such a fun word to use in that context :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    1. Csenge, I'm honored--coming from such a creative person, your praise is worth triple. And yeah, "hopi" is a cool word. So much so, in fact, that even though I speak English with my Curaçao friends, I say "hopi" instead of "many" when I need to underline how very very many whatever there were :D

  3. I'm thinking wind, or spirit. I enjoyed listening to that song while sipping my tea this afternoon. Great to learn a new language!
    Thanks for commenting on my post about the Huskies, and Arctic Storm!

    1. Glad the video joined you for tea, Mary! Good guess, but not, sadly, correct. Thanks for the visit back, and I look forward to more of your A-Z posts :)

  4. I'm thinking either tranquility or paradise. That video is so relaxing.

    1. Paradise... I like that :) Glad you enjoyed the video. Thanks for the visit and the guess; even though it's not right (hofi means yard or garden), because no one guessed right I'm including everyone who did guess, close or not, into the draw for the short-story collection. Yeah, I'm just making up rules as I go along ;)

  5. :) patience! :D paying attention to small details?
    Think it is very interesting how languages intertwine.

    1. Oh, wow... I love your definitions, Sytiva. After this post (probably after this whole month), I'm never going to look at Papiamentu words the same. Sadly, hofi is something much more mundane... Yard, or garden. But, since no one guessed right, I'm including everyone who did into the draw. Tah-daah! :) You're so right about languages intertwining; it's fascinating, isn't it?

  6. Glad to have found you Guilie! I'll make a stab and say wind. Or maybe Nature.

    1. Susan! So glad you found me, too! I loved your A-Z last year; are you doing it again this year? I'll go catch up now. No, sadly hofi isn't wind or nature (I picked a hard one, so sorry about that); it's yard or garden. But, since no one guessed, everyone that took a stab at it is in the draw for the collection of Curaçao short stories. Yep. You, too ;)

  7. I'm wanting to incorporate words I'm learning here into some sentences today or tomorrow to help me learn. Maybe I'll start with Hesusé so that my teenagers don't start using Hodé. :)


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