I love it when my readers can shed some light on the meaning of some of the things I see and hear in a foreign place.
My mystery word has been demystified! It is ahorita.
Now that I see the root word ahora (now) it makes perfect sense. Since “ita” means little, ahorita actually means in a little while.
As my lovely and very gifted daughter, who lived in Peru for a time, explained, it could mean, now, in a moment, etc. or in the case of an impatient patient at the doctor’s office, in a little while, which may stretch to 10 or 20 minutes or more. It is used in a similar manner as our saying right now (which also makes no sense taken literally.)
I have gathered from friends here that it could also be used as a blow off statement, with a meaning similar to “I’ll get around to it,” which is where the “perhaps, sometime” comes in.
English words and expressions can also create confusion in non-native speakers. She told me about a Peruvian friend who was a hostess in a restaurant and couldn’t figure out why people reacted strangely when she greeted incoming patrons with “Good night.” Afterall, night and evening mean the same thing, no?
Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back to the time before the Tower of Babel, when everyone spoke just one language. But then again, I’m not too fond of sackcloth and I would really miss my computer. Better to look forward to the whole world having one language in the future. In the meantime, I will keep studying my Spanish.
Do you think the builders of the ancient temples of the Aztecs and Mayans, like this Temple of the Sun at Teotihuacan, outside Mexico City, are related to those in Mesopotamia who built the Tower of Babel and other ziggurats?