Chileans are incredibly connected. I don’t have any stats on hand, but believe me when I tell you that there are more cellphones than people, that internet cafés dot the landscape, that people are online all the time, and that they tweet to beat the band.
They also love facebook. And maybe so do you. I have a relationship with it, sure, but maybe it’s more of an amigo con ventajas (friends with benefit) situation, or perhaps we’re just seeing each other. I’m not sure I’d say I love it. Though I do see more of it than I should at times.
What’s funny about Chileans and facebook is the following: When a Chilean asks someone if they’re on facebook, they use the expression “tienes” (or in Chileno, “tení” meaning “do you have.” Okay, I’m fine with that, do you have instead of are you on. But here’s where it gets creepy. And now it’s time for a small grammatical diversion.
The noun comes before the adjective in Spanish. Casa roja (red house), ají picante (spicy salsa-type-thing). In English it’s the opposite. So in English, when we shorten a phrase, we usually take the second word to be the more important one, where personal trainer becomes “trainer.” In Spanish, this same English expression “personal trainer” becomes “personal.” I talked about this in some detail here.
And take that together with the fact that Chileans love to shorten and lengthen and otherwise add extra syllables to or cut syllables off of words and expressions, and they think that the appropriate abbreviation of Facebook is “face.” (I believe there is no appropriate abbreviation of the word facebook, though someone I know and love dearly used to refer to it as “my face.”
And getting back to the Chilean abbreviation of facebook as face, thus, you may be asked “tení face?” Which to an English speaker means “do you have a face?”
And generally speaking the answer is yes. First of all, because barring horrific news-worthy accidents, we all do. And because nine times out of ten, in Chile, they ae on facebook, too.
(oh, and bearshapedsphere has a facebook page!) See that little honeybear with the sun shining there? Click it and like it if you like. But then I’ll know you have a face!