Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemud

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?

DigiTrad:
GREEN GROW THE LAURELS
GREEN GROW THE LILACS


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: The Green Laurel / Green Grows the Laurel (53)
Jeprody - Green Grow the Lilacs - OKi (12)


lady penelope 08 Apr 02 - 04:47 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM
Mr Red 08 Apr 02 - 05:06 PM
53 08 Apr 02 - 05:57 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM
Bullfrog Jones 08 Apr 02 - 06:04 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 06:41 PM
Uncle_DaveO 08 Apr 02 - 06:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Apr 02 - 07:04 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 08:01 PM
Amos 08 Apr 02 - 08:09 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 08:10 PM
Dicho 08 Apr 02 - 08:20 PM
Dan Schatz 08 Apr 02 - 10:41 PM
Maryrrf 08 Apr 02 - 10:49 PM
mack/misophist 09 Apr 02 - 12:54 AM
GUEST,Zorro 09 Apr 02 - 01:07 AM
toadfrog 09 Apr 02 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,paddymac 09 Apr 02 - 02:10 AM
pavane 09 Apr 02 - 02:21 AM
Escamillo 09 Apr 02 - 05:08 AM
masato sakurai 09 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 02 - 09:31 AM
Amos 09 Apr 02 - 09:43 AM
Bill D 09 Apr 02 - 11:44 AM
pict 09 Apr 02 - 01:24 PM
Dicho 09 Apr 02 - 01:53 PM
Don Firth 09 Apr 02 - 02:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 02 - 04:06 PM
Dicho 09 Apr 02 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,julia 09 Apr 02 - 05:21 PM
Dicho 09 Apr 02 - 05:34 PM
Bullfrog Jones 09 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM
lady penelope 09 Apr 02 - 06:22 PM
masato sakurai 09 Apr 02 - 08:15 PM
Bill D 09 Apr 02 - 11:13 PM
Coyote Breath 09 Apr 02 - 11:34 PM
Escamillo 10 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM
Dicho 10 Apr 02 - 12:37 AM
Coyote Breath 10 Apr 02 - 12:40 AM
Escamillo 10 Apr 02 - 03:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 02 - 05:11 AM
Dicho 10 Apr 02 - 04:51 PM
Dicho 10 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM
Escamillo 11 Apr 02 - 12:11 AM
Allan C. 11 Apr 04 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 Apr 04 - 12:11 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 04 Oct 10 - 03:02 PM
Q 04 Oct 10 - 04:42 PM
Richard Mellish 04 Oct 10 - 04:58 PM
Q 04 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Oct 10 - 05:04 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 10 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,TonyA 05 Oct 10 - 08:28 PM
Lighter 06 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM
maeve 06 Oct 10 - 10:17 AM
TonyA 06 Oct 10 - 12:36 PM
Slag 06 Oct 10 - 03:37 PM
Q 06 Oct 10 - 04:08 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Oct 10 - 04:27 PM
mayomick 06 Oct 10 - 05:59 PM
TonyA 06 Oct 10 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,Sue Jones 06 Oct 10 - 10:12 PM
TonyA 07 Oct 10 - 09:40 AM
Q 07 Oct 10 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Songbob 07 Oct 10 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,guest 23 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Feb 12 - 03:13 PM
EBarnacle 23 Feb 12 - 08:58 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: lady penelope
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 04:47 PM

Parker has just come up with a possibly very interesting notion. Did Mexicans call Americans "gringos" because they commonly sang "green grow the rushes O" to march to, during their various spats?

Come on, I've got to know if there's any truth in this as it just sounds so good!

TTFN M'Lady P.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM

The general consensus is derivation from griego, Greek or foreigner in Spain and Latin America. It came into print during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. Generally applied to Englishmen and Americans disparagingly, now often applied humorously as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 05:06 PM

I heard the GGTR Oh! story but as a defiance during a siege.
BUT maybe it was a case of - "we don't need no steenkin gringo's"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: 53
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 05:57 PM

The same reason that we call Mexicans, Spics. Adidos.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM

The OED, unlike the Webster's Collegiate, gives no derivation and defines it as a "contemptuous name for an Englishman or an Anglo-American." Although often thought to have originated with the Mexicans, its use is widespread and it has even appeared in Spain. Gringa is the feminine equivalent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 06:04 PM

I subscribe to the 'Green Grow The Rushes Oh' theory as expounded in my song 'Gringo', about Los San Patricios, an Irish regiment who fought for the Mexicans against the USA. They're still regarded as heroes in Mexico. You can listen to a clip of the song HERE

BJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 06:41 PM

The word gringo first appeared in print in 1849 in J. W. Audubon's "Western Journal." J. W. assisted John James Audubon in the preparation of the plates for his "Birds of America" and other works and is well-known for his "Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California, 1852. He reported in his 1849 Journal that "We were hooted and shouted at as we passes through, and called 'gringoes'."
There is no evidence for any association with "Green Grow the Rushes" and no clear evidence of a relationship to the San Patricios.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 06:43 PM

I had heard the story about the song, but the song was supposed to be "Green Grow the Lilacs", a completely different tune and words. And it was American cowboys, with whom the song was at one time very popular, who were the supposed singers.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 07:04 PM

I've heard it as being "Green Grow the Lilacs" too, but as sung by the invading American soldiers in the war upon Mexico. It seems more likely than "Green Grow the Rushes", if you were going to singing it while on the move.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 08:01 PM

Diccionario Castellano, 1787: in Malaga, "foreigners who have a certain type of accent which keeps them from speaking Spanish easily and naturally" were referred to as gringos, and the same term was used in Madrid, particularly for the Irish. Gringo
The term is therefore 60 or more years older than the Mexican War. The origin in this write-up is "most likely that it came from griego, the Spanish word for Greek." The word could have been introduced into English through the Mexican-American War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 08:09 PM

I like the singing version, myself. Can't see why you refer to Norteamericanos as Greeks -- the average Mexican is quite aware of the difference.

FWIW, "gringo" is hardly derogatory anymore. I suppose it can be used that way still, but for the most part it is simply a shorthand for a North American.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 08:10 PM

In 1767, Spanish soldiers sent to Mexico by Charles III were called gringos by the Mexican people. From Honduras This Week, Jan. 25, 1997. Gringo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 08:20 PM

Amos, it is still heard derogatorily, often as "gringa," applied to pushy females from the States and Europe. I have heard it applied to the wealthy European business group in Mexico City. The word 'Greek" for foreigner has a long history- even Shakespeare used it. It applies to those who speak incomprehensibly. Note above where it was applied even to Spanish soldiers, who were poorly understood by the Mexicans. The word may go back to the 17th C. There is absolutely no evidence to relate the word to a song. Romantics often prefer myth to fact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 10:41 PM

The "Green Grow the Lilacs" story has been around a long time, but doesn't hold much water, for all the reasons cited above by people who apparently know far more than I do. The word actually comes from an archaic form of "griego" - which did mean Greek, but also any stranger (as in, "It's all Greek to me"). I remember in my Latin American Studies days at the University of Texas hearing a paper delivered on this very topic at a conference. One point made was that the idea of "gringo" as a misheard song lyric would have been very popular with those who wanted to portray Mexicans - and in particular mestizos - dimwitted. After all, it might have been reasoned, they couldn't even hear song lyrics correctly.

We, of course, like the theory because we like singing and are thus innocent from galloping ethnocentrism.

Dan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 08 Apr 02 - 10:49 PM

There's another story - that it was a corruption of "Green Coats" which were worn by some army or another.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 12:54 AM

Dicho: Thank you. The most authoritative derivation I've heard yet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,Zorro
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 01:07 AM

I vote for Dicho's answer. I've always thought the word was a result of the Roman (Latin) language influence on the European languages. In Rom, the Gypsy name for a non gypsy is Gajo (sp?) and (fem) Gaja. Strangely enough in Japan the name for a non Japanese is Gaji! Z


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: toadfrog
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 01:22 AM

GUEST: Yeah, that occurred to me, too. I had heard the Rom (Indo-Aryan) word spelled "gadgie." As in . . . she's awa' with the gadgie's gear." And the Japanese word pronounced gai-ji. A Japanese friend of mine once said it meant "hairy Chinese."

"Griego" sounds persuasive to me. But I had also been told "Gringo" derived from "Ringold," a very well known artillery officer from the Mexican War.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,paddymac
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:10 AM

Gee, a mondegreen before we ever knew what it was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: pavane
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:21 AM

I thought the song in question was 'Green grows the Laurel'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Escamillo
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 05:08 AM

Curiously, the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language) says only "origin is under discussion". The Spanish researchers I've seen agree with the theory of the deformation of the word "griego" meaning "a person who speaks an unintelligible language", applied mainly to Irish people in Spain, and the word appears in 1787 in the Dictionary mentioned by Dicho (which incidentally means "already told" in Spanish). It's interesting that in Argentina, the term has been used to name the Europeans in general, much before its use for Americans. It is still derogatory, but could be used as a friendly treatment, unless accompanied by the suffix "de mierda", which you should never accept. :))))

Ref.http://www.levieuxcoq.org/G.html

Un abrazo - Andrés in the troubled Buenos Aires


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM

Margaret Bradford Boni's Fireside Book of Folk Songs (Simon and Schuster, 1947) may have helped to spread the etymology:

"An old Irish song, widely popular with the early Texas cowboys. A colorful fable holds that the Mexican word 'gringo,' meaning cowboy, was derived from the song, for the Mexicans referred to the Americans by the first two words of the title 'Green Grow,' pronouncing it 'Gringo.'" (p. 174)

Denis McLoughlin, in The Encyclopedia of the Old West (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), says:

"GRINGO. Contemptuous Mexican name for Anglo Americans. The fact that 'Green Grow the Rushes' was a favorite nineteenth-century American song has given rise to the belief that 'gringo' is a more or less phonetic rendering of 'green grow'; this is an ingenious surmise and nothing more."(p. 204)

According to Peter Watts' A Dictionary of the Old West (Alfred A. Knopf, 1977, p. 150),

gringo
(from Sp griego: Greek, a term used for foreigners in past times). In the Southwest and Mexico, it was applied derogatively to Anglos, but one suspects it was employed at times to label any strangers other than Indians. Barrèr and Leland 1897 states that it was applied to a newcomer, a johnny-come-lately. (Davis 1857; Weseen 1934)

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 09:31 AM

Well, if its in a dictinary from 1787, iy's clear enough that the song idea is wrong. Which doesn't mean it might have been a misundersatnding by Americans at the time as to where the word came from.

It could even have been a joke by a Mexican who was asked what the word meant. "It's from that song you keep on singing."

Which would still leave open the question which of those two songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 09:43 AM

Well once we have established that it wasn't a song -- thanks for the good scholarship guys!! I am abashed in my romantic naivete -- I don't see much benefit in trying to figure out which song it wasn't! LOL! I guess that's an unbounded set, isn't it?

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 11:44 AM

I never DID credit the idea that enough soldiers sang one song enough to create an entire classification, so the scholarly analyses based on language just 'feel' more logical.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: pict
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 01:24 PM

I have heard a similar story about the American Indian word moccasin.When some Gaels from arrived in America or Canada they landed in the middle of winter and many of them were barefoot after trudging through the snow they met with some Indians and they complained "Tha mo chasan reòta"("My feet are frost bitten")and so Mo chasan became the name for the shoes.Sounds a bit fanciful but that's a virtue amongst us Celts;)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 01:53 PM

Pavane, Green Grows the Laurel is in the same group as ...lilacs- and as broadsides I have seen go, earlier. No real data on this, however.
Odd, in all the versions, I have never seen the words to the one we sang as kids in New Mexico and Colorado. It ended "Green grow the lilacs on the Oregon Trail." Perhaps only this line was different- I can't remember now. Anyone else know of this wording?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 02:13 PM

The "Green Grow the (fill in botanical phenomenon of your choice)" explanation has the aura of a bunch of people sitting around over beer and speculating about where the word came from. Eventually they all agree on one possible expanation that sounds reasonable. Then later, one of the imbibers quotes the speculation as fact and it since it does sound reasonable, everybody accepts it as the official explanation. Lots of misinformation gets manufactured that way. I go with the link Dicho posted.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 04:06 PM

Mind you, just because some site on the web says it's so and even gives a reference, it ain't necessarily so. The Diccionario Castellano of 1787 may well have that definition. But that link Dicho gave isn't to the Diccionario Castellano of 1787. It's to a site talking about it.

So there's still the possibility that some joker might have made it up, and planted it somewhere where that the way some joker faked an 19th century version of The Fields of Athenry.

And that doesn't mean I'm clinging on to that song explanation, just that this seems like a good opportunity for someone to chase up the actual references and pin down the facts. Maybe Escamillo could sort it for us?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 04:36 PM

Yep, original sources are the best, but sometimes hard to find. In the Honduras This Week article to which I gave a clickie, a quote from Father C. E. Ronan, Dept. History, Loyola Univ., Chicago, says, in an article in The Arizona historical quarterly "Arizona and the West," (Univ. Ariz.): "The word gringo was mentioned in Spanish literature as early as the eighteenth century. ... In his famous Diccionario, compiled sometime before 1750, Terreros y Pando, a Spanish historian, states that gringo was a nickname given to foreigners in Malaga and Madrid who spoke Spanish with an accent, and that in Madrid, the term had special reference to the Irish." He goes on to give the quote from the Diccionario. Father Ronan is also the source for the statement I posted about Spanish soldiers in Mexico being called gringos. He goes on to quote the use of the word in Peru in 1838-42. A play in Madrid in 1834 has this line: "Que es eso? Contais en gringo?" If anyone has these references, let us know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,julia
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 05:21 PM

You've convinced me "gringo" isn't from a song, but for anyone who wants to read some misinformation or read about the connection between Green Grows the Laurel and Lilacs there's something in an Alan Lomax book (don't have it anywhere near me for the time being).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 05:34 PM

Lomax has a nice version of Green Grows the Laurel as sung by Robin Roberts of Utah in "The Folk Song of North America."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM

Hey -- why let the facts get in the way of a good story!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: lady penelope
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 06:22 PM

Wow! I turn my back for one day and look at that! I'm impressed guys!

I agree with Dicho ( very, very impressed ) but Bullfrog Jones and his band did write a damn fine song ( and several others, I might add ) about it.

So I'd like to follow McGrath of Harlow's idea of a jestering Mexican, playing mind games with Americans!!

I told Parker this was the place to get answers to questions like these!

Cheers everyone!

TTFN M'Lady P.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 08:15 PM

Alan Lomax says definitely (without evidence) that:

"This refrain [to "Green Grows the Laurel"] was so much sung by the Irish-American troops who marched into Mexico during the 1846-8 war that Mexicans thenceforth called Americans 'gringos' (from 'green grows')." (The Folk Songs of North America, p. 326)

This may have consolidated the popular notion of the word origin.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 11:13 PM

well, I SAW Alan Lomax live, once...and sure didn't look like he'd lie to me!...*big grin*..(actually, he didn't look clever enough to lie)......

Alan Lomax did a lot of stuff, but I sure take his 'scholarship' with a grain of salt!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 09 Apr 02 - 11:34 PM

I like this thread. Green grows etc. and Griegos and El Greco (the painter) and I might add something off the wall (as usual) current derogatory slang may or may not use the word gringo (gringa) but how about gabacho and gabacha? A gabacho as I have had it told to me by a young man from Guadalajara in Jalisco State is a "little white worm". The 'b' is almost pronounced as a 'v'.

CB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 12:30 AM

No luck for an original version of that Diccionario Castellano of 1787. I could swear that I saw this word in some pieces of Argentinean literature of 1810 to 1830, referring to Germans, but can't remember a title. We'll see. Gabacho is of Spanish origin too, from the region of Catalunya, derived from an ancient uncertain term GAVATXO which meant French.

Un abrazo - Andrés


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 12:37 AM

Gabacho-gabacha in Spain is a term of scorn for the French. Gusano is a worm or grub (a mediocre brand of tequila has one in each bottle) but also a miserable SOB, etc. Terms change meaning with time, as they do everywhere. During the imposed reign of Maxmillian, gabacho would apply to one of the French or foreign occupiers. Later it remained a term of scorn- little white worm or take your choice. White because the majority of Mexicans, Mestizo or with Indian blood, are darker than the Europeans or Americans. But nowadays this is saloon talk.
NOTE: 99 44/100 of Mexicans are more polite than we generally are. I doubt that you would hear either of these words in a visit to Mexico. The ordinary Mexicans are very solicitous of anyone who is friendly and treats them fairly and as equals. The old politness especially prevails in the countryside outside of the big cities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 12:40 AM

Catalunya? I know a guy from that region, Ruben Aramburo. He gets a real hoot out of Mexican Spanish so another guy at work who is fluent in a couple of Spanish "dialects" jokes around with him in the most outrageous "East Los" dialect imaginable, sort of Low Rider ala Cantinflas. I don't have enough Spanish to follow everything but the accent alone is a hoot. Our Catalan buddy breaks up to the point of incoherence.

Makes sense that the word, gavatxo, refers to the French and is also derogatory!

CB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 03:50 AM

I'ts very interesting how many derogatory terms we have for anything / anybody alien to our culture or nationality. These are some terms used in Argentina:

Gringo : as discussed, to all Europeans
Yanki : to North Americans
Johnny : to the British
Franchute : to the French
Yorugua : to Uruguayans
Bolita: to Bolivians
Brasuca : to Brazilians
Paragua : to Paraguayans
Ruso : to all Jewish, including natives
Turco : to all of Arabbean origin including natives
Gallego : to the Spanish of all regions
Tano : to the Italians of all regions
Chino : to all of oriental origin, including the Japanese who will get mad at hearing this
Polaco (from Poland) : to anybody who does not fall in the other categories.

Curiously, the extremely few black people who live in Argentina did never receive a derogatory term, because "Negro" is either an affectionate term to name a friend, or a derogatory term for indigenous natives but not for Afro-american people.

The most derogatory I've heard is a Colombian term to name those people from the Colombian region of PASTO. They don't call them Pasteños nor Pastenses, not even Pasteros. They call them PASTUZOS. Reasons? Who knows!

Of course these words are part of a humorous and vulgar jargon which you'll never hear in a visit to our troubled country. You will be called Caballeros (gentlemen).

Un abrazo - Andrés


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:11 AM

"Polaco (from Poland) : to anybody who does not fall in the other categories."

So Irish Argentines are called Poles? Really?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 04:51 PM

Interested in the Gallegos used for Spaniards. In New Mexico, families named Gallegos settled in the 17th Century. The name is still very common. Did Galicians settle widely in Argentina? Or could they have been widespread in Spain before the waves of colonists and soldiers started coming over?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Dicho
Date: 10 Apr 02 - 05:01 PM

Can anyone provide evidence that the "Green Grow..." song was known in the United States before the Civil War?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Escamillo
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 12:11 AM

McGrath: if they are known to be Irish Argentineans, they will probably be called Irlandeses or simply gringos. Polaco is used humorously for those whose origins are absolutely unknown, or for those who have such an obvious Spanish or Italian name, that it is a joke to name them Poles. For example, the famous tango singer Roberto Goyeneche (more basque than a beret) was called El Polaco.

Dicho, about 20% of Argentineans are descendants from Galizians who arrived by hundreds of thousands at the end of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. My wife is 100% Galizian because her parents arrived in the latest immigration waves of 1930/40. The wave of colonists was formed mainly by Basques who have always been the traditional owners of the richest lands. Curiously, Galizia is presently offering openings for immigration to Argentineans, in the concept of repopulation of Galizian lands, and there are people who spend the whole night in the line at the doors of the Spanish Embassy to sell their position to applicants.

Un abrazo - Andrés


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Allan C.
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 09:21 PM

There was such a good posting in another thread that I thought it would be worthwhile to include it here:

Subject: RE: The Alamo--Needless Martyrs
From: Stilly River Sage - PM
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 09:34 AM

That "green go the lilacs" bit is a myth.

From WikiPedia:


Gringo (feminine, gringa) is a term (sometimes derogatory) in the Spanish and Portuguese languages for a person who speaks a non-Romance language. Normally it is used to refer to a white English-speaking person, but it could be used to name a German, Swedish or Croatian citizen, as well as U.S or Canadian people regardless of their ethnic origins.

Etymologically, gringo comes from griego ("Greek"), since Greek was the proverbial example of not understandable language: an example of this is found in Shakespeare's "It was Greek to me" (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2). It was applied to speakers of foreign languages, especially the English language, by the eighteenth century. In Spanish it was later extended to white-skinned people even if Spanish-speaking, and can sometimes even mean just blond. Brazil, after learning the word from its Spanish-speaking neighbours, has kept closer to its original sense.

A recurring folk etymology explanation for the derivation of the word states that it originated during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. The legend maintains that "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh!" was a popular song of the day and that Mexicans heard the invading US troops singing "Green grow..." and contracted this into gringo. Another version, heard in Brazil, refers to the USAF airbase near Natal during World War II. The soldiers, wearing their green uniforms, would be told "green, go!" by their sergeants during training. While the legends are certainly imaginative, they do nothing to address the fact that gringo was attested in Spanish long before either incident.

Most English language speakers have met the word in Western films.

Compare with Yankee.

See also: American, Alternative words for American





It has a few embedded links I didn't duplicate here, but the link above takes you to this page.

SRS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:11 AM

Nice posting Allan C.

The reference is curiously absent from J. E. Lighter's Random House HIstorical Dictionary of American Slang.

Good Stuff,
THANX
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:02 PM

Ford, Ira W.,Traditional Music of America,” Folklore Associates, Inc, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1965, reprinted from the original, Copyright, 1940, E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., “Traditions of American Fiddle Tunes,” p. 184.

GRINGO

“Green Grow the Rushes, O!” was a popular melody of American soldiers at the time of the Mexican war, to which they set many verses. The following verse is descriptive of their associations in the land of the senorita:

“Green grow the rushes, O!
Red are the roses, O!
Kiss her quick and let her go,
Before you get the mitten O!

“The deviltry of the American soldier boys was very much resented by the Mexicans. Any American who attempted to kiss a senorita was certain to have his face slapped by her. They called this to “get the mitten.” Wherever Americans were would also be heard verses of “green Grow the Rushes, O!” The Mexican, in mockery, gave the name “green grow” to the tormentors, their pronunciation being “gringo.” After the war “Gringo” became the sobriquet for all Americans.”

Always nice to have a REAL printed primary source.

(gotta love SRS for the simple "fix."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Stumbled onto to this while searching for Joe's bloody RED sombrero.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Q
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:42 PM

Does Ira Ford, in his Traditional Music of America, cite any firm references to this song being known to American troops at the time of the Mexican War?

The earliest printing I can find in U. S. is an H. De Marsan sheet, no date, probably after 1850.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:58 PM

GUEST Gargoyle said
"Always nice to have a REAL printed primary source."

Not sure what you're meaning to imply. Did you mean that 1940 was the first appearance of the folk etymology deriving "gringo" from "Green grow the rushes/lilacs"?

Or did you mean that this really is the true etymology? If so, please re-read earlier postings on this thread, which have convincingly demolished it.

Richard


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Q
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM

I have posted previously that there seems to be no credible evidence of the song being known to American soldiers in the Mexican War.
Gargoyle's post that Ford's book was a "REAL primary printed source" could be interpreted to mean that some evidence was there. That was what I was trying to elicit from Gargoyle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM

The late Tom Brown used to sing "Green Grow the Laurel" (also known as Once I had a Sweetheart.") He used to introduce the song as the rationale behind the word gringo.

I suppose if enough people say it, it may have a ring about it, but I'm not sure, even now, over 20 years since Tom left us...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:04 PM

All four or so of the 'Green grow...... songs predate 1800' but surely the references above make all this romantic twaddle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:26 PM

The griego etymology sounds suspicious to me. Griego still means Greek. Why would anyone substitute gringo for the same meaning? That would be equivalent to English-speakers saying "it's Grink to me." Griego already had the desired connotation. It doesn't become more international or more derogative when you add the nasal. And it's not shorter, as when norteños say "spic" instead of Hispanic or "aussie" instead of Australian, nor a corruption of an unfamiliar foreign word, as when they say "dago" in place of Diego or "russkie" in place of Русский (rooskiy). Or when the residents of St Joseph, Missouri pronounce the name of founder Joseph Robideaux as "roobidoo."

The lilac etymology is at least plausible. Changing "green grow" to gringo is similar to the corruptions of foreign terms mentioned above. And remember that if you roll your R's, gringo is quite a bit easier to say than "green grow." Moreover, the song appears to have xenophobic and jingoistic sentiment (in the line "change the green lilacs to the red, white, and blue"), which might have made it a symbol of everything one resents about a people who've stolen half of one's country.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,TonyA
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:28 PM

That pro-lilac post was by me. I always forget to add my ID, and have no idea how to get it to register automatically.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 10:05 AM

For "gringo" all that's needed is a nasalization of the central vowel of "griego." (It happens in languages all the time: French for example. It's roughly the reverse of "dropping g's" in English, and we know how easy that is.)

It's harder to go from "green grow" to "gringo." Try it. Furthermore, every Spanish-speaking Mexican was familiar with "griego." No more than a handful could have been interested in "green grow" even if they'd heard it - and it's only an assumption that anyone did.

And of that handful, no more than *one* could have thought, "Wow! I'm gonna call all North Americans 'green grows,' because I've heard some of 'em sing that song! And I won't pronounce the second 'r' either! It's sooooo cool!" Then his friends would have had to think it really was cool; otherwise they wouldn't have started using it themselves.

As with everything else in the world, one cay always say "what if?" and "maybe...," and "that's just your opinion." But "griego" is the only choice that's supported by both fact and probability.

(It would still be even if the soldiers did have a song that started out with "Green grow...")


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: maeve
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 10:17 AM

TonyA- Looks like you've lost your cookie. Try going to the "Quick Links" menu at the top of this page. Click on "Login" to get to the place where you insert your user name and password. If that doesn't work, send Joe Offer an email at: joe at mudcat dot org(removing spaces and substituting symbols for spelled out words as needed.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: TonyA
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 12:36 PM

Thanks, Maeve.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Slag
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 03:37 PM

"Griego" makes a certain kind of sense but it seems to me that the evolution of the term would not run from "gree-EH-go to "GREEN-go" Si? No?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Q
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 04:08 PM

"Gringo" was already in Spanish in the late 18th c. Whether the origin was 'griego' or not is uncertain. The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy does not speculate on its origin.

Diccionario de la Lengua Española (Royal Spanish Academy) gives its common meanings, a few below:
1. Foreigner (extranjero), especially an English-speaker (add French for Mexico).
2. A speaker of English (found in Central America; Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador)
6. One with a light, blonde or ruddy complexion (Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, etc.)
7. One whose language is not understandable (Colloquial, widespread).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 04:27 PM

While the discussion here has been quite erudite and informative, I'm afraid I must resort to the very common (US) expletive:

"It's all Greek to me." - even when you say it in Spanish.

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: mayomick
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:59 PM

I find these folk etymology things interesting. The word griego or gringo was clearly used by Spanish speakers before the war but perhaps it wasn't so widely used . Along come US soldiers singing green grow the whatever it was and this reinforces the use of the word and gives it wider currency. Speculation I know , but such things can happen .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: TonyA
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:22 PM

Maybe gringo is just onomatopoeia, i.e. not based on any one particular word or phrase, but just an attempt to evoke the generally more guttural sound of English and other Germanic languages in contrast to Spanish.

I was taught that the Greek word for foreigner, βάρβαρος (whence barbarian), originated in that way, as a representation of how foreigners from the north sounded to the Hellenes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,Sue Jones
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 10:12 PM

Oh I love this thread ! My friends,who are English and spent a couple of years on motorbikes in South America, in the early 70s, Spanish speakers, were in Mexico, and were followed along a road there when they overheard one of the group following them, saying, 'Oh they are gringos'. My friend turned round and replied 'No soy gringa , soy Inglesa', and received an immediate apology and had a great night with them. So it's not just non-Spanish speakers but definitely U.S. citizens.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: TonyA
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 09:40 AM

What happened? Yesterday the Greek characters for BAR-bar-os displayed correctly, but today they're gobbledy-gook.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Q
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 01:23 PM

Testing
Α or α, Β, Γ ...Ω or ω


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 02:01 PM

Amazing!

This folk-derivation thread is possibly our first example of a Spanish "Mondegringo."

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 01:51 PM

Love this thread.   It reminds me that language is alive and does not stay static. Example is Shakespearean English or 1700 Revolutionary English and todays American English. Or the term gay meaning happy and today it almost exclusively means homosexual in the younger generation of today   
    I grew up a gringa in a hispanic society, BTW do not call the older generation chicano - it is an insult. At the time I was a kid it was an insult, but I found that if I embraced the term it lost its effectiveness as an insult. Today in the Southwest, it is an acceptable term.   
    After reading all the submissions, I suspect the truth is something like: the term meant foreigner or Greek, then as the Mexicans used it to refer to the Americans during the Mexican war Americans became curious as to what it meant. Not wanting to anger the American facing him, the Mexican related it to a song he had heard and thus the rumor began.
    I have experienced this with curse words in Spanish. When you ask what it means you get a watered down answer. Or for example I thought the word truchas meant danger or scatter or run because we used it to warn the kids the teacher was coming. I was 30 yr old before I found out it meant trout. Thus the scatter.
   Language origins can be so interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 03:13 PM

pinche guero!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ?Why Mexicans called them 'Gringos'?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 08:58 PM

And what about Greigo as a cloak or great coat?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 September 12:20 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.