The confusing way Mexicans tell time (www.bbc.com)

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Summaries


In Mexico, when someone says 'ahorita’, which directly translates to ‘right now’, they almost never mean it. Its meaning depends on the context in which it is said.

According to Dr Concepción Company, linguist and emeritus researcher at the Autonomous University of Mexico: "When a Mexican says ‘ahorita’, it could mean tomorrow, in an hour, within five years or never.

The phrase Ahorita llego, which directly translates to ‘I am arriving right now’, in Mexico culture means ‘I will be there in an indeterminate amount of time’, while ahorita regreso (‘I will be right back’) means ‘I will be back at some point but who knows exactly when’. ‘Ahorita’ is even used as a polite way of saying ‘no, thank you’ when refusing an offer.

The longer the 'i' sound in the word ‘ahorita’, is stretched one can expect to wait. On the other hand if one really means to communicate right now, they would say, ‘ahorititita’,” Dr Company explained, noting the short, sharp sounds represent the idea that something needs to happen at once.

 
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