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'chav' in Spanish

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by jestar, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. The students keep asking, so I'll put it out there...what is a good equivalent of a chav in Spanish ?
  2. The students keep asking, so I'll put it out there...what is a good equivalent of a chav in Spanish ?
  3. Un chorizo
  4. More to the point, what does "chav" mean in English? My daughters use it and I occasionally use it, but when pushed for a definition or origin, we come up with differentr definitions and origins.

    Entering ?define: chav? in Google gave this definition:
    ?Chav is a derogatory slang term in popular usage throughout the UK. It refers to a subculture stereotype of a person who is uneducated, uncultured and prone to antisocial or immoral behaviour. The label is typically, though not exclusively, applied to teenagers and young adults of white working-class or lower-middle class origin."

    See also:

    Possible origins:

    1. From Chatham in Kent. I was born in Maidstone, Kent, and in my youth Chatham never had a reputation for gentility. (Apologies to natives of Chatham.) It is claimed that ?chav? was originally used to describe the many gypsies who used to live in the area ? and, to a lesser extent, in Maidstone too. It is possible that ?chav? actually goes back to an old Romany word, ?chavi? = ?kid?, which later became an insult for an older man. See:

    2. An acronym: ?Council House And Violent?. Unlikely, I think.

    3. ?Cheltenham Average? - apparently the name given by the young ladies of the famous college to the less-eligible young men of the town. Sounds feasible.

    It has also been suggested that the word comes from the Spanish ?chaval? meaning ?bloke?, but maybe this doesn?t have sufficient negative connotations. I suppose it could have been picked up by Brits frequenting the Ibiza club scene who didn?t understand fully the meaning of ?chaval?.

    Does ?ordinario/ordinaria? in Spanish convey part of the sense of "chav"?

  5. 'chorizo' sounds interesting, is it widely used ?.....as does info on the background of the word itself...as someone from Kent I have heard local older men around here describe kids as 'chavis'.
    In Mexico they say 'chavo /chava (fem)' to mean 'mate'.
    On balance a 'chav' appears,no,is a negative thing, and often defined by a 'look' (cheaper looking hooded sportswear-often white or pale blue,and 'gold' jewellery - maybe a short,stocky dog alongside).
  6. I have it on good authority that it's 'killo' though i don't know how it's spelt. Guess it should be ' quillo' but it's pronounced keeyoh- (obvious to Spanish speakers!)
  7. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Make sure you tell them about Pijos as well !

    Pijo = Persona sibarita que pertenece a la tribu urbana de los pijos, a la cual además le gusta hacer ostentación. En este caso, también se usa en femenino si procede, "pija". En este caso también se usa como término despectivo para hacer referencia a personas de clase alta (de familia de empresarios, médicos, abogados, ...) para hacer alusión a individuos que hacen ostentación de su riqueza a través de su coche (Audi, Mercedes, BMW, etc.) o su ropa (Levis, Lacoste, ...), comprados, por lo general, con el dinero de sus padres.
  8. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Good article in Spanish Wikipedia http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribu_urbana about all the different groups. So if your pupils want to know the Spanish for "geek" etc, it's all here. Killo is on the list but has no entry yet.
  9. spanishsam

    spanishsam New commenter

    Isn't 'killo' spelt quillo? Thats what my sister (near native) uses anyway....but not to mean chav, to mean 'dude'.

    She also says that pijo or deportivo would be a chav in Spanish but I think that deprotivo is too literal.

  10. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Being able to identify the exact word for chav would, I suppose, depend on there being an exact cultural equivalent.
  11. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    That's what I was going to say, smoothnewt - I don't think there is one.

  12. smoothnewt writes:
    ?Being able to identify the exact word for chav would, I suppose, depend on there being an exact cultural equivalent.?

    As janemk says, there may not be one. In addition to the definition that I found using Google, i.e. the association with lack of education and culture and a tendency towards antisocial or immoral behaviour, there is the association with a certain kind of clothing, ?bling? jewellery, taste in music (rap, hip-hop, dance) etc. Originally a negative term, ?chav?, like ASBO, appears to be acquiring more of a positive sense. It?s becoming cool to be ?chav?.

    The term appears to be spreading to Ireland too. My Irish sister-in-law referred to the ?chavs? in Knock who run the stalls that sell tacky religious souvenirs.
  13. I found an article in Spanish that explains what a chav is to a Spanish audience. There appears to be no precise cultural equivalent. See:
    It could be a useful text for your students of Spanish.

    I found ?los chavs? in El Pais in the context:
    ?los chavs, una tribu urbana de notable mala reputación?

    You?ll find ?los chavs? elsewhere in the Spanish press online, almost always associated with ?Gran Bretaña?.

    BTW, you can check your own chav rating here in this handy quiz:

    My score: I?m only 28% chav.

    I suppose it could be fun devising a Spanish version of this quiz with different cultural associations.
  14. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    The thing is that in the Mediterranean countries with a strong tradition of family, social respect and no concept of council houses or binge drinking, you don't get that many youths with the same attitudes that many in Britain have.
  15. Brillantina

    Brillantina New commenter

    I agree, the word for 'chav' in spanish is 'pijo/a'!
  16. Lots of slang floats between the two languages but I reckon its kinda kool to be seen as a chav in a teenage tribu it would have that 'London' image -you know a con, something like sargent walker from dads army. As for 'Chaval' -thats what spanish kids call each other and it means mate pal buddy etc theres a wonderful solo artist who calls himself 'el chaval de la peca' a slick show-off who sings fast moving numbers like 'black is black'. very glitzy.
  17. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    unfortunately I'm only 23% chav - I'm very disappointed

    as a ps, at school we think the French for chav is "beauf" as in beau-frère

    any other offers?
  18. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    No ! A pijo isn't a chav ! See Post 6. A pijo is from a well-off family. Sloan-ranger, preppy.... Certainly not a chav (or charver as they're known in the NE)
  19. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    What constitutes a "chav" in your part of the world?

    My daughter tells me that the (girl) chavs at her school all wear a side ponytail, lots of hair gel and make up, and carry a Nike "Just do it" bag and wear Kickers shoes. Until recently they were all wearing fake Barbour jackets, but they seem to have fallen from favour of late. They all like RnB chart type music. They have no interest in anything vaguely academic. They all follow the crowd and would be terrified of standing apart from the crowd in any way. This is in the London suburbs. She is in year 8.

    Anyone slightly alternative (like she is) is deemed to be a "grunger".

  20. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Stacks of vulgar gold Argos bling, tracksuits and/or other sportswear, prison-white trainers, tops exposing rolls of belly fat, track-suit bottoms ditto. Hair straightened to within an inch of its life and scraped back in a ponytail, often with the prerequisite "hairspray fringe". And don't forget make-up applied with a trowel.

    The enemy of the charver is the goth.

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