Mexican slang: What does it mean to be a “fresa”?

Silvia Nunez

During the last weeks, I have been reading, studying and learning how our environment shapes and reshapes our language everyday. Every encounter that we have with another person, the place where we live, our cultural background and even the media we are exposed to, influence the way we speak, think and communicate. Therefore, it is common to find different variations of the same language in diverse contexts. As Van Herk (2018) describes, the most studied so far, analyze the different types of Englishes around the world. But, not only the English language has varieties, there are also other languages changing in subtle ways that only people from their local communities could identify. That is the case of the fresa style in Mexico, where the Spanish language varies not only at the lexical level, but also in relation to the status a person has in society.

https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/set-4-kawaii-strawberry-with-different-happy-expressions_5685676.htm

Being a fresa (which translates to the word strawberry) means that you belong to the “privileged Mexican youth, who have an expensive lifestyle, behave pretentiously and who speak Mexican Spanish very distinctively”. (Gómez, 2014 p. 86). It is someone who is active in social media apps and loves to communicate with his friends. (In this video you can find a brief explanation about it).

One of the special tendencies of this group is to closely follow the American culture, and consequently, they can also include some English words in their everyday conversations. This feature makes it become one of the most controversy slangs in Mexico, because it has been criticized by people who think it devaluates the Spanish language. 

Here I describe 5 of the most representative linguistic features of a fresa:

  1. Mixing English and Spanish: “¡Te ves super cute!”  (‘You look super cute’): meaning that you look so good that there are not spanish words to describe it. “O sea, hello?” (‘I mean, hello?’): meaning seriously?
  2. Tendency to shortening some words: obviamente (‘obviously’) as obvi or literal (‘literal’) as lit or Whatsapp as wa
  3. Intonation: every phrase is emitted as a question
  4. Vowels are lengthened more than usual: ¿Eso es todooooooo? (‘Is that aaaaall?’)
  5. Frequent use of the words: use of güey (‘dude’) at the end of the phrases: Fui a mi casa güey, y no lo encontré güey. (‘I went to my home dude, and I couldn’t find it dude’).

So, if you ever visit Mexico and you are lucky, maybe you could recognize a fresa. Now you know that in my country, people not only speak the proper forms of the Spanish language, but there are also other types of slangs that you could find. Today we reviewed in a glance just the fresa style, but there are many other variations such as: chilango, naco or norteño that we could talk about any other day.

References:

Gomez, R. M. (2014). Language ideology in Mexico: The case of fresa style in Mexican Spanish. Texas Linguistics Forum (57) p. 86-95.

Van Herk, Gerard. (2018). What is sociolinguistics? 2e Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.


3 thoughts on “Mexican slang: What does it mean to be a “fresa”?”

  1. Hola Silvia, ¡que informativa tu publicación! Aunque yo tenga familia en México que seguramente estarán considerados “fresas”, ni sabía que existía esta expresión, I learned a lot while reading this post and watching the video that you linked to. I actually have family living in Mexico – my Italian-Canadian aunt met a Mexican on vacation in Cancun once and they fell in love, got married and moved to Cancun together. Now, they have a family and my aunt is an executive at a large hotel chain. They live in a gated community and the kids even attended private school. Naturally, my cousins are perfectly bilingual (English-Spanish), as they learned English at home with their mom. I never really looked out for their use of “fresa” style Spanish, but it is certainly something that I’ll look out for going forward to see if it is applicable to them.

    Actually, I was wondering, is this “fresa” way of speaking found all over Mexico, or only in certain parts of the country?

    ¡Gracias por la información súper interesante!
    -Daniele Iannarone

    1. Hi Silvia,

      After reading the assigned chapter that focused on social status this week, I especially enjoyed learning about the term “fresa” in your post and the associated social implications!

      For three summers I was a tour guide in Montreal for a group of Mexican high school students from a private school, with campuses located in various regions of Mexico. Your post reminded me of moments when members of the group posed for pictures and videos around the city and instead of saying “cheese” for pictures, the group replied “fresa”. As they explored new cafes and shops I also remember the students holding their drinks and purchases, one member of the group again stating, “we’re so fresa!” It was not until I read your post and watched the video link that I fully understood the implications of the term. The group was aware of their societal positioning and status as they consciously continued capturing a “fresa” lifestyle on their trip.

      The video mentioned a specific image that is associated to an individual labelled a “fresa”, I am curious, are there any particular careers that are associated with “fresa” individuals or the “fresa” lifestyle? Another question I had was, do you think social mobility is practiced in “fresa” lifestyle, do individuals pose/present themselves as “fresa” possibly making changes to their appearance and actions that reflect how they would like to be seen as higher status?

      Thank you again for sharing!

      Tia Goodhand

  2. Hi Silvia,

    After reading the assigned chapter about social status this week, I really enjoyed learning about the term “fresa” in your post and the associated social implications.

    For three summers I was a tour guide in Montreal for a group of high school students from a private school with campuses, located in various regions of Mexico. Your post reminded me of members of the group posing for pictures and videos around the city and instead of saying “cheese” for pictures, the group often said “fresa”. As they explored new cafes and shops I also remember the students holding their drinks and purchases, one member of the group again stating “we’re so fresa!” It was not until I read your post and watched the video link that I fully understood the implications of the term. The group was aware of their societal positioning and status as they consciously continued capturing a “fresa” lifestyle on their trip.

    The video mentioned a specific image that is associated to an individual labelled a “fresa”, I am curious, are there any particular careers that are associated with “fresa” individuals or the “fresa” lifestyle? Another question I had was, do you think social mobility is practiced in “fresa” lifestyle, do individuals pose/present themselves as “fresa” possibly making changes to their appearance and actions that reflect how they would like to be seen as higher status?

    Thank you again for sharing!

    Tia Goodhand

Leave a Reply

css.php
%d bloggers like this: