domingo, 20 de febrero de 2011

What does Charneg@ mean?

Charnego (Spanish: charnego; Catalan xarnego (Catalan pronunciation: [ʃəɾˈnɛɣu]) is a pejorative or descriptive term used primarily in the 1950s-70s in the Catalonia region of Spain to denote a person who had immigrated to Catalonia (typically due to a depressed economy[1] in their place of origin) from other parts of Spain, often Andalusia, but who did not speak or learn Catalan, the primary language spoken in the region and one of Spain's four official languages. A charnego can also be someone born in Catalonia with immigrant or mixed heritage. The word is never used to refer to the latest wave of immigrants from outside of Spain - it has a historical nature.
The original meaning of the word in Spanish was a type of 'greyhound', although this has changed a great deal over the course of several centuries of use. The latest meaning of the word came about in the 1950s and 1960s due to massive immigration from other Castilian speaking regions of Spain to Catalonia.
The majority of immigrants did not take up speaking Catalan or learning Catalan traditions based upon the premise that while they had moved, they were still within Spain, which at the time, due to fascist policies of Franco, considered Castilian the only official language of the country. Catalan was banned from being taught in schools and even being spoken in public, although it was spoken in private and returned to the public sphere upon the death of Franco and democratization of Spain in 1978.
Today charnego is rarely used as an insult, and many people proudly call themselves charnegos. Charnego is often used in much the same way as the word "chicano" is used in the United States, to designate someone who is of Mexican origin.
The Spanish counterpart to charnego in the despective sense is "polaco" to designate the Catalans, or even "perro Catalan" during the Franco regime.
A related word is "guiri", used throughout Spain to designate a foreigner, usually a tourist and usually from the Anglo-Saxon or Northern European sphere.

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