I’ve talked before about how I love how Spanish does a great job of having consistent suffixes (yeah, suffices) to change one word into another. I believe I’ve talked about –azo, which means to hit something with the aforementioned item. A cabezazo is a header in soccer (from cabeza, head), a botellazo is getting hit with a bottle, and I’ve even coined (I think) portazo, which is the dreaded dooring to an unfortunate cyclist (from puerta, door).
Another one that I love, because let’s face it, I am a word collector, is how you can name a fruit tree (for the most part) by changing the last a in a fruit’s name to an -o. For example, an orange tree is a naranjo (from naranja, orange), a cherry tree is a cerezo (from cereza, cherry), or a guindo (from guinda, another type of cherry, who knows what the difference is). An apple tree is a… class? what would it be? apple is manzana. Right, manzano.
Of course, there are exceptions. For some reason a plum tree is a ciruelillo, not a ciruelo (ciruela, plum), and a canelo tree is not where cinnamon bark comes from (canela, cinnamon). But I took my chances this the other day when a lúcuma fell out of tree in the yard of the hostel I stayed at in Viña del Mar this weekend, whereupon I very narrowly missed getting a lucumazo.I looked up and said, oh! it’s a… lúcumo? And so it was.
And while the English convention of saying apple tree, orange tree, cherry tree is probably easier, I just love it how you can go around cutting off letters and adding suffixes to words in Spanish and making, for example, trees out of fruit. And I also love very much eating one of my purloined lúcumas with vanilla icecream. It makes everything mapley. And now I’ve gone and done it, what Frank McCourt exhorted my sister’s creative writing class in high school to do. Create a phrase that’s never before been uttered. His example was dragon placenta. Mine is purloined lúcuma. His might have more staying power, but mine, I believe, is tastier.