Monday, November 23, 2009


lumami - one of my fave Chilean? words. It's a masculine noun, meaning "leftovers". O sea, la comida que sobró de LUnes, MArtes, y MIercoles. In English this would be the food left over from MOnday, TUesday, and WEdnesday. motuwe. Or perhaps, more likely it would just be referred to by its initials MTW.

If you want to give the word a little more sofistication, you can French-ize it and call it "Le lumami" with an aristocratic tone. hehehe.

I've taught many Chileans this word, as it's not common knowledge here. But it's a very useful word, in my world.

hijo: "Mamá, ¿qué hay para almorzar?"
mamá: "Tu plato favorito, hijo querido. Le lumami."

son: "Mom, what's for dinner?"
mom: "Your favorite dish, cherished son. Leftovers."

It's masculine due to it's aspecto refeo y a veces bien grande (en cantidad). - my conscious intent to remember the gender of words by assigning them stereotypical male or female attributes.


qñerty said...

I like mnemonic tricks (and yours may actually work), but grammatical gender of inanimate things has nothing to do with sex. How does your trick work with el vestido, el útero or el feminismo? Feminine words wich are masculine in meaning are la corbata, la próstata and la caballerosidad.

Lumima (I've never heard it myself, but have read about this word) is masculine because most new words in Spanish are masculine: el bit, el píxel, el mouse.

Maeskizzle said...

Yeah, I hope my mnemonic device does work, gender is so difficult for non-natives to remember.

I agree that words related to women should be feminine, but at least these word mostly follow a rule.

Your examples follow the "ending in -o or -a" masculine/feminine rule. That's an easy rule to memorize for a non-native. And I think the "-dad" ending is usually femenine, as in "la libertad", "la felicidad". But its cases like "lumami", that don't end in "-o", "-a", "-dad" "-ción", etc., that are confusing like "puente". I always think this is feminine because "fuente" is.

So in these cases, I think I'm just going to visualize the masculine words being "black" and the feminine words being "pink". So a black bridge and a pink fountain. Association is a good memory trick.

Oh, and thanks for the "dato". I'd never noticed or been told that new words are usually masculine. That will be useful for improving my Spanish.

Thanks a lot for your comments.

qñerty said...

I liked a lot your black-pink association. Since I realized that masculine grammatical gender not always refers to males and feminine grammatical gender not always refers to females I've thought that the names "masculine" and "feminine" should be changed. Grammarians say that "el píxel" belongs to the unmarked gender and "la URL" belongs to the marked gender. I've thought they could be called "o gender" and "a gender". But two (almost) arbitrary colors would be much better. Now we must convince the Royal Academy to stop using that misleading nomenclature.

Real Chile said...

I have never heard this word but like you said most chileans don't know what it is. However everyone in Chile does know that "sobras" are leftovers so even if your Spanish is really good you might just get a confused receptor on this one

qñerty said...

Hi Real Chile,

Note that this blog is for people to find the meaning of uncommon Spanish words, and not for finding a Spanish translation of an English word. Coa actually means the secret language of thieves, and here is used jokingly as a synonym of Chilean slang.