Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tienes el nopal en la cara - Transcripts

So in my last post, I discussed the phrase "tiene el nopal en la cara". If you missed it, you can find it here. I actually discussed the phrase in a video, and as promised here's the transcript:

Hola, que onda, como están a todas?
Hello, what’s up, how is everybody?

Hoy voy a hablar de una frase. La frase es tiene el nopal en la cara.
Today I’m going to talk about a phrase, and the phrase is tiene nopal en la cara (You have a cactus on your face).

OK, primero voy a explicar que es un, un nopal.
First I’m going to explain what a “nopal” is.

En ingles, nopal significa "cactus". Desde hace mucho, desde los tiempos de los Aztecas y los Mayas, nopal se refiere a la gente mexicano.
In English, nopal means catctus. For a long time, since the times of the Aztecs and the Mayas, nopal has been used to refer the Mexican people.

OK, entonces, que signicica "tiene el nopal en la cara"? "tiene el nopal en la cara" significa que alguien se ve muy, muy, mexicano.
OK, so then what does “tiene el nopal en la cara” mean? It means that someone looks Mexican.

OK, les doy un emjemplo. Ella tiene el nopal en la cara pero no se hablar español.
**I should have said " sabe hablar español"
OK, I’ll give you an example. She looks Mexican, but she doesn’t know how to speak Spanish.

Esa frase tal vez no es muy util, pero pensé que era muy interesante, por eso quería compartirlo con ustedes.
This phrase may not be very useful, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it with you.

Bueno, ya esta, nos vemos. Hasta la proxima.
Well, that’s it. See you later. Until the next time!

That's it for the dialog, but let me add that a variation of this expression is tiene el nopal en la frente, which means the same thing.


  1. Rodney..I discovered you a year ago and now follow you religously. The video was great! I have just been trying to incorporate desde hace into my speech.We are moving to Oaxaca in June, so am working hard to get it all back. Thanks for the help!
    Victor Whitehurst

  2. Thank you for following my blog! I'm glad my posts are helpful to you.

  3. Hi Rodney,

    I tried to search this phrase on google and was led to your site. Thanks for sharing firstly ;)
    The thing is, I later asked my friend about this phrase and he told me it indicates facial characteristics more of indigenous features, or say, basically meaning 'look indigenous'. My friend is Mexican and I'm currently a bit confused. If you're still using this blog, could you please tell me what it really is?

    1. Hi Mora,

      While you might think getting a definitive answer would be easy, often that's not the case.

      To my knowledge, this expression only refers the fact that someone looks Mexican, not necessarily referring to indigenous features. I poked around in Google a bit and everything I found seems to support that.

      And just to confirm I asked a Mexican friend of mine and he says that it refers to people who look Mexican in general or the stereo typical Mexican .

      But that doesn't mean your friend is incorrect in his understanding of the expression. I would suggest asking a few other people what their definition is to see what their responses are.

      Expressions and informal words are often used or interpreted differently depending on where an individual is from. There are even words that differ in meaning or usage when you're talking a Mexican born in Mexico vs Mexican American.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to post a question. I hope my answer helps.