Re.: Forwarded from Nestor (Ladino)

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at
Thu Nov 20 06:20:16 MST 2003

El Miércoles 19 de Noviembre de 2003 a las 23:34,
Chris Brady dijo sobre Re.: Forwarded from Nestor (Ladino) que:

> Ladino is also the term used for those of mixed blood (Spanish and
> Indian) in Guatemala.  I wonder if there is a Ladino who speaks Ladino?

Hardly so. I don't know the Guatemala case Chris is mentioning, but I
tend to feel that it has more in common with the general definition
of "ladino" and "indio ladino"  than anything else. And this
definition has little to do with Ladino as a language, though it
_has_ to do with language skills.

"Ladino", as an adjective, has a very definite sense in Spanish,
particularly in South American Spanish specially when applied at
Indians or mixed blood people, as for example in "indio ladino".
The general sense is that of "mischievously cunning, artful and
somehow dangerously resourceful".

The origin of this adjective is worth recording. To my best
knowledge, it was originated in America (though it may well date back
to the war of the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula): it refers to
those Indians who were instructed in the language and culture of the
Europeans; they "knew their Latins" (an old time way to say that
someone was a learned one). Most of these Indians were faithful to
their own kin rather than to the Spanish ruler, and many also
operated as "lenguaraces" (singular, "lenguaraz"), e.g., something in
the midst between an interpreter, a translator, and a mid-rank
diplomat. When you had a particularly learned lenguaraz (an "Indian
who knew his Latin") in front of you, it was impossible to fool the
Indians, thus the word "ladino" (which originally, as applied to
Indians, only seems to have meant that the man or woman in question
knew the language and uses of the Spanish ruler) acquired its
particular sound.

BTW: I don't forget I still have to give a full answer to something
by David S. Swamped in work right now. But will return.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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