Monday, May 9, 2011

¿Cómo va la chamba?

I remember the first time I heard the word chamba.  I also have very vivid memories of the first I used it, because I got laughed at.   Don't worry, the laughter turned out to be a good thing.  My amigo was impressed with my knowledge of Mexican slang. 

Enough patting myself on the back.  Let's get to the task at hand.

¿Cómo va la chamba?

If you don't know what this means, let me rephrase it.

¿Cómo va el trabajo?

I'll be you know what it means now.  That's right, chamba is simply a colloquial way of saying 'job'.

Tengo demasiada chamba
I have too much work

Busco chamba
I'm looking for work

¿Cómo va la chamba?
How's the job going?

Jale is another word for work.

¿Cómo va el jale?

Jale also means "pull", and it's common to see this on doors in Mexico. 

There's also the verb chambear. Wanna guess what it means? If you're thinking it means to work, then you're 100% correct.

Estoy chambeando, te llamo luego
I'm working, I'll call you later

¿Tienes que chambear hoy día?
Do you have to work today?

¿Chambeaste ayer?
Did you work yesterday?

There's also chambeador and chambeadora.  Or trabajador and trabajadora.  Both of which mean a hard working person.

Se solicita mecanico chambeador y responsable
Looking for a hard working and responsible mechanic

Remember, these terms are colloquial.  If you actual find yourself looking for work in Spanish, the word you want is empleo,  and stick with the more formal term trabajar.  

These words are pretty straight forward and easy to use.  If you never noticed them before, I'll bet you start noticing them all the time now.  At least that's what usually happens to me when I learn something new.

¡Hasta la próxima!


  1. I was told in the Guadalajara area that "mucha chamba" was a way to say you had lots of stuff you had to do, in a sort of overly busy way. The usual reaction when I'd try it was, 'ah si, si,' with a smile and shaking head in agreement.

  2. I was searching for the meaning of Chamba because that form exists in Tagalog, a native language in the Philippines. I was surprised to find out that it means 'job' in Mexican Spanish. In Tagalog, it means 'lucky'. For example, if I'm playing darts and hit the bulls eye, somebody who saw that would say, that's 'chamba' and would ask to do it once more to see if it's being lucky or real skill.

    Philippines was colonized by Spain through Mexico.

  3. Wouldn't it be "Tengo demasiada chamba" or is this a special case?

    1. Nope, you are correct. Thanks for pointing out my typo.

  4. I've heard the word's origin is Africa.. Several words used in Mexico have African origin ie "Bamba" from the song La Bamba is derived from M'bamba which is the name of a people from Angola, Chuchumbe from a Son Jarocho song of Veracruz called "Chuchumbe" which is a word from Senegal meaning belly button.. The Catholic church banned this song saying it was vulgar.. "Chinga" in Mex. is pronounced "Singa" in Cuba, and has a sexual tone, and probably derived from the Yoruba of Africa. "Chango" derived from the Yoruba "Shango" which is an African God of thunder... The spanish would hear African slaves praying to "Shango" and eventually applied the word to the slaves saying something like, "Los Shangos or "Changos as pronounced in Mex.) estan cantando otra vez" or the Africans are singing again.. The pronunciation changed from Shango to Chango, and the meaning changed from African slave to Monkey.. The ever racist spanish have always said Africans look like monkeys... Since the spanish imported slaves from several different African countries, 500 years later the different languages of African origin have become meshed within the colonial spanish of latin America... Of course Mexico never acknowledges it's African slave history but everyone knows that one year after the spanish arrival the Indigenous/ Native slave population began DYING off by the hundreds of thousands into millions from small pox, and since the spanish were too delicate to perform heavy labor they legally imported more than 300,000 African slaves, and once slavery on the high seas became illegal they then illegally imported another 250,000 African slaves according to Mexican Anthropologist Dr. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran Author of "La Poblacion Negra de Mexico" aka "The Black Population of Mexico" [1944].. Dr. Beltran researched historical spaniard ship's manifests, and found between 500,000-600,000 African slaves were imported to Mexico via port of Veracruz... Approx 450,000 African slaves were imported to the U.S. or 150,000 less African slaves than Mexico. In modern day Mexico only 1.4 million Mexicans still have African features, and they are concentrated in Costa Chica Oaxaca, Acapulco, and Veracruz, Interracial marriage has always been legal, and accepted in Mexico, and children born from an African slave father, and a free Native or spanish mother were born free.. This is why the African phenotype is less visible in Mex. than other latin countries however, all Mexicans who can trace his or her bloodline to colonial Mexico most definitely has African dNA.. only the post colonial european immigrants who have not yet mixed with colonial BLOODED Mexicans more than likely have zero African dNA...