The ways Mexicans tell time
Understanding this takes not a fluency in the language but rather a fluency in Mexican culture.
Mexicans are famous in the Spanish-speaking world for their extensive use of the diminutive. While in most Spanish-speaking countries the addition of the diminutive ‘ita’ to an adverb like ahora (meaning ‘now’) would strengthen it to indicate immediacy (i.e. ‘right now’), this is not the case in Mexico. Dr Company explained that Mexicans instead use the diminutive form to break down the space between the speaker and the listener and lessen formality. In this case of ‘ahorita’, the addition of the diminutive reduces urgency rather than increasing it – a difference that can be extremely confusing for foreigners.
Consider the following affirmatives:
1. The use of the diminutive in Mexico does not follow the same rules for other Spanish speaking countries.
2. Dr Company says that Mexicans use ‘ahorita’ to indicate immediacy.
3. The use of the diminutive in Mexico indicates more proximity between speaker and listener.
4. The ‘ahorita’ example indicates the particular way Mexicans have adapted language to their cultural patterns.
Choose the correct alternative.