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.
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:
- 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?
- Tendency to shortening some words: obviamente (‘obviously’) as obvi or literal (‘literal’) as lit or Whatsapp as wa
- Intonation: every phrase is emitted as a question
- Vowels are lengthened more than usual: ¿Eso es todooooooo? (‘Is that aaaaall?’)
- 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.
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.