1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Question for spanish speakers

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Steerpike, Nov 26, 2014.

    My protagonist is a girl of Mayan descent. I have a few questions as it pertains to language used to refer to her, as well as to the Spanish language.

    From some definitions I've seen, it would be incorrect to refer to the protagonist as Hispanic, because she is descended from indigenous people of Mexico. Is that correct? Along the same lines, is the word Latina appropriate? I'm not sure I'll use either, but if I do I want to be correct.

    Also, her Mayan descent is along her mother's side, and her mother is a Spanish speaker. I know that in Spanish she might refer to her daughter as "miha." Am I right in assuming that is a conjunction for "mi hija?" Sort of an affectionate form? And if so, would you write it as miha or mi'ha?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The first part of your question enters into political realms. She is neither Hispanic nor Latina to me. She is Maya. There is a growing movement amongst the indigenous peoples of Central and South America (mostly Central) to resist this "latinofication" and assimilation, giving rise to even internet memes:
    [​IMG]

    Her mother would call her mija or miha. The second spelling is easier on anglophone eyes.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks @Wreybies. So far, any mention of her ethnicity and that of her family has been via the word "Maya." That has been consistent through my first draft, but the words Hispanic and Latina did occur to me, and I wanted to make sure I used them correctly if at all. I think I'll just stick with Maya, as you suggest, and stay away from the others.

    Funny thing, when I was first writing mija, I spelled it with the "j" because I assumed it was short for "mi hija." Then, I saw it a couple of places online written as miha, so I switched to that. I'm more inclined to go with mija if most readers would understand the pronunciation from that spelling. Growing up in southern California, I know exactly how to pronounce that, but I wonder if it would be an issue for other readers.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    While I'm sure @Wreybies is more current and more knowledgable, Mestizo is the common name (and often derogatory) for Spanish-Indigenous mixed race in much of Latin America.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Note also that not all Mayans do speak Spanish -- there are quite a few who speak only Mayan languages. (It would depend on how involved they are in a greater community.)
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, her mom knows Qui'che Mayan, and a bit of Nahuatl, but the protagonist doesn't.
     

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