Monday, April 5, 2010

Mis tenis son chafas, son marca patito

When I first heard this I thought "¿De que hablas willys?"  That's the Spanish translation for "Whachu talkin' bout Willis?".  I thought those of you who remember "Different Strokes" might get a kick out of that.  Surprisingly, the show was titled Blanco y Negro in Spanish.  

Anyway, I digress.  Back to our tenis.

Tenis is the word you'll want to use for what we call, or at least used to call, sneakers.  Any type of "tennis shoe" is called tenis. Be sure to use the Spanish pronunciation.

Chafa means that something is of low quality, poorly made  (de muy mala calidad). I believe the word we would use is cheap.

Marca simply means brand, as in a brand name, like Nike.  When you say something is "Marca patito" , that means it's not a name brand product.  We might say it's a generic or off brand.

So now let's translate the entire phrase:

Mis tenis son chafas, son marca patito
My tennis shoes are cheap, they're an off-brand.

It should be pretty easy to incorporate these new words into your Spanish.  You'll sound "muy Méxicano", because these two words are very Mexican, and I doubt you'll hear them from anyone who isn't Mexican or spent a lot of time around Mexicans.

That's it for now,



  1. hi...a nice blog you have here..i am nurul from Malaysia. may i ask you a question?

    i am taking spanish as foreign language course.the other day we learnt about 'banarse'.i have read your post about how to use it. but i'm a bit confused how to use 'banarse' and 'banarme'. what's the difference? can u provide some examples for me?

    i hope you can help me because i will sit for an exam next week for this paper. hee

    i hope i'm not bothering you. thank you soo much!

  2. Sir or Madam Razak:
    The blogger "Rodney" has written in the header: "No grammar, no verb conjugations, no "book" Spanish"
    If I may be permitted to address your query, banarse is "reflexive" Reflexive verbs indicate that the subject of the sentence has performed an action on itself.
    Banarse, means: to bathe oneself, and banarme means to bathe myself.
    Hope you passed your exam.

  3. I have been living in Merida, Mexico for the last two years and I would agree with everything you have just said. I would add that it can be used to refer to "Knock-off" as in an item made to look like a certain brand (Prada, Gucci or even Nike) but is fake. "Her purse is a knock off" Su bolsa es chafa. Also as in general I think this may change when you are using the ver Ser vs. Estar with chafa. For example, "La bolsa es chafa" or "La bolsa está chafa." The first I would understand to be a knock-off and the second a comment on the quality of the purse... any thoughts?