Folk speech
general

Bacano

The informant, S, is 18 years old and from Miami, Florida, but he grew up in Cartagena, Colombia (Northern, Columbia). His mom is from Barranquilla, Columbia (Northern Columbia), while his dad is from Cartagena, Columbia. He considers himself a Latino Columbian and is majoring in Civil Engineering Building Science.

 

S-“The folklore that I was raised with was this specific word from the coastal area of Columbia. The word is Bacano. Pretty much this word has no I guess direct translation in English but I guess the closest is like saying awesome, cool or something like that. “

Is it only used in the coastal area?

S-“Um its predominately used in the coast but it’s also used not as much towards the center of the country but yes mainly the coast.”

Do you know how it originated?

S-“I have no idea, I just know that uh it originated in the coast and made its way into the center”

Can you give an example of when it would be used?

S-“For example like if you come up to me and you’re like ‘oh I got this really cool video game’ or if you got, I don’t know. It’s used in very different contexts. So whether you’re coming at me with really good news and I could be oh ok Bacano, or I could be like for example, my plans this weekend were bien Bacano. Like my weekend was bien bacano. It’s also used to like fill you sentences when you have nothing to say, for example like if you come up to me telling me how was your day, ok Bacano. Good. Or it could be like ok Bacano. Awesome. It’s just in very very different context”

Is there a specific group of people that use the word?

S-“No, it’s just everyone”

When did you first learn the word?

S-“Since day one people were saying bacano.”

Analysis- It is interesting that a word that is used by many people and is known by everyone is mainly used in the coastal area of the country. One can clearly see that the word has become part of the national dialect even though people are not completely sure where it originated from or what is fully means. It is used both as a word and as an expression, which is something that modern society has been doing more often even in the United States. Some possible origins include Italian word Baccan or the English word back of the hand

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