What is a gatito parvulo? The words are spoken by a character in Josh Lanyon and Laura Bambach’s Mexican Heat. The speaker is Spanish, but is undercover as a Mexican drug lord. [Which begs the question — did they think about the fact that the two are not interchangeable?] Anyway, the only definition I could find of ‘parvulo’ was ‘nursery school’. Does it have some other colloquial meaning that I’m missing? Because that really doesn’t make sense as a nickname (to me). Of course, some of the other Spanish used didn’t make much sense either. Ex: mi amigo grande del amor (my big friend of love?) and ‘comprender’, when asking “understood”, which probably ought to be ‘comprendes’.

Another question: are madre dios and madre mios colloquialisms or exceptions to the gender/number rule? I would think madre mia, and madre de dios would be grammatically correct. No?

ETA: okay, I found two other definitions: 1) de corta edad; or 2) inocente o ignorante. Well, the last isn’t flattering and wouldn’t work so much as an endearment, but since the speaker was referring to a younger man, the first definition could apply. It still doesn’t work for me — in part because, hello, accent needed over the a, and also because the spelling makes me think of parvo, a viral disease that can kill dogs.



Filed under spanish

2 responses to “Huh?

  1. Yeah, párvulo’s just an infant, but gatito párvulo doesn’t make much sense. Maybe she was just trying for kitty, or something. Although, given the other Spanish examples you quote, it doesn’t seem like they were too careful with the language.

  2. Ironically, I’m sitting here reading the same book (Mexican Heat) and found your posting looking for a definition of gratito parvulo myself. I see I’ll be in for some more interesting uses of the Spanish language as I work my way through this book.

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