Category Archives: Folk speech



When the informant’s family gathers together for a meal at his grandparents’ house, they all hold up their glasses and say “skol!” at the same time, as a cheers-ing tradition. When they say “skol”, they look into everyone’s eyes before taking a sip of their drinks. When they raise their glasses up before saying “skol”, they are supposed to hold it chest level, as high as their third button. 


The informant has grown up with this tradition at every one of his family dinners with his grandparents, and is very accustomed to it, although he doesn’t know what the word “skol” itself means. The informant’s grandfather learned it from his parents who are Norwegian. The informant says that the “skol!” tradition is a Scandinavian tradition, and so his grandfather knows it from when he and his parents lived in Norway. 


This folk tradition within the informant’s family exemplifies the draw that many people feel towards tradition, even if they don’t necessarily know what it means. Most of all, it exemplifies the power that tradition has to bring groups of people together, especially when the traditions feel specific to a certain group.

In this way, traditions operate so much as markers of identity. In fact, perhaps the identity that traditions like the informant’s “skol” tradition gives to those who practice it carries just as much weight to them as the actual purpose/intention of the tradition itself. Additionally, practicing a tradition specific to a certain region/group after leaving said region keeps a sense of identity alive for its practitioners. 





This friend explains that “ICUP” is a “word” that children would ask each other. And she has heard her classmates from elementary school ask each other this question, she has been asked this as well. The joke of asking someone to “spell ICUP” is that it phonetically sounds like “I see you pee”. She interprets this as a joke that mainly boys try to trick each other with or to trick girls. She believes it does not have much meaning other than to be cheeky and to potentially embarrass someone.


The phrase above is a prank and a joke and I also interpret it as children’s folklore with “potty humor”, which is quite common in children’s folklore and humor with obscenity. Jay Mechling states that children’s play can be cruel and this prank overall seems harmless. Although I see it possibly turning into teasing if the joke is not understood by the one being pranked. But as a verbal prank, someone may find it funny and tell the joke themselves and it continues to spread. The phrase is childish, but creative which is most likely why it continues to be told.

Is that a __ in your pants or are you happy to see me?


“Is that a __ in your pants or are you happy to see me?”


My information is from a childhood friend of mine. 

My informant describes this as a silly question to point out a bulge in someone’s pants and compare it to an object (sometimes this object may be a pistol or even a banana). They’ve heard it on television, YouTube videos, and it is often said in a joking and flirtatious manner. They interpret this phrase as mostly just for humor, despite having the potential to be flirtatious. They also think that this phrase carries on because people think penis jokes are simple and funny. 


The text is often a joke or a pick-up line to tell someone in a humorous way. In my interpretation this phrase is typically meant for women, although men use this phrase a lot towards other men. Although I interpret its flirtatious perspective as a play on the expected gender norms because it is quite bold for a woman to say. Which may explain why it does not seem to come up as a way to flirt for women but instead as a joke. This phrase does have an inappropriate implication but its tone may outweigh it.

The Pineapple Story

Text: The Pineapple Story (Filipino Myth)

Context: My informant told me that the story is of a mother and daughter living together. The daughter Pina was very lazy. One day, the mom was busy doing work outside their house. She asked Pina to cook lunch for both of them. When Pina went to do so, she had to ask her mother where things were. every time she needed something, she didn’t know where it was in their own kitchen. After that, the mother became annoyed and wished her daughter had a lot of eyes like a pineapple. That way, her daughter would at least know where everything is. The next day, the mother noticed a pineapple had grown outside their house. She also noticed her daughter was missing. Then she remembered what she said and realized the pineapple was her daughter.

She interprets this story as a lesson to be more hardworking, and to be less lazy because it is important to contribute to helping your family. This story is something that she’s told to her own children and has heard it from her own family. 


This Filipino folklore is a tale and myth. As it is a story that does not really get questioned, because a girl did not really turn into a pineapple. But it is also a myth because it gives an easier reason to understand that children should respect their parents and their elders. 

It is a family story with a lesson and a punishment. With the context provided by my informant, it does not seem to be something to believe that pineapples really come from a mother wishing that her daughter would become a fruit. But rather as a tale to respect your elders and to work harder. The daughter was very lazy and disrespectful to her mother. And as a result she was cursed, or in other words it was her punishment. Filipino culture and Asian cultures in general tend to have a heavy focus on respecting their elders. There are a lot of customs and polite actions and mannerisms in place for the young to pay respects to the previous generations.

El Cipitio

This Legends is commonly known in the Central American Country of El Salvador. It is a bit of an urban legend, or horror story, especially popular among the lower class, in the “cantones” or slums. These are usually told to kids, and are passed down orally.

Context: This story was told to me by R, a family member of mine/ He grew up in El Salvador, and spend the majority of his life there. I am hearing his variation of the story, and although there are slight regional variations, they usually are very similar. This specific version is from the Sonsonate region.


“El Cipitio se te aprecia como un niño de aspecto infantil, de unos 10 años de edad. Era bajito con una gran panza, y que lleva un gran sombrero. Solo los niños pueden verlo. El tiene la habilidad de viajar de un lugar a otro, teleportando, porque tiene poderes mágicos y se dice que disfruta comer ceniza o guineos majonchos.El Cipitío es bien travieso y juguetón. A el le gusta aparecerse en casas con hornillas de leña para comer ceniza, o lanzar piropos a las mujeres que se bañan en los ríos. Se cree que el papa del Ciptio es Dios Sol”


“Cipitio appears to you as a childish-looking boy, about 10 years old. He was short with a big belly, and he wore a big hat. Only children can see him. He has the ability to travel from one place to another, teleporting, because he has magical powers and it is said that he enjoys eating ash or big bananas. Cipitío is very naughty and playful. He likes to appear in houses with wood stoves to eat ash, or compliment the women he meets. They bathe in the rivers. It is believed that the Pope of Cyptio is the Sun God.”

Analysis/YOUR interpretation: El Cipitio is an urban legend about a boyish looking humanoid, that appears only to children. He is very popular throughout EL Salvador, and is tale told by many in the country. He typically is seen doing various devious acts and overall mcsihhvious behavior.

This is a form of regional legend, that circulated among primary impoverished regions of the country. While a very normal topic in El Salvador, the tales usually simulate throughout the slums that border forests and the wooded areas. According to R, there are some theories as to its origin. Perhaps the largest and most believed one is that el Cipitio is some result of hybridization. That is he is actually the colonial interpretation of pre hispanic indigenous deity. His connection to the Nahuatl sun god, and the colonial attire he is depicted as wearing in his artistic depictions point to this, and make it clear that el Cipitio has some sort of connection to the colonial period. There have been many adaptations of this tale that have been dispersed in authors literature, movies and art, but they all stem from this narrative oral tradition.