Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I find it interesting that some of my brother's clients refer to him as Doctor (in spanish). They are mainly from Honduras and El Salvador. The Mexicans usually simply call him el abogado or licensiado. What's in a title and does it matter how we refer to someone?

I bring this up because I usually am pretty proper when it comes to people with certain titles - (e)specifically academics and politicians. I think it's because as a child I always admired people in these positions.

I am good friends with several professors and a couple of politicos in state/federal office. We talk as if we were camaradas hanging out at the corner, but whenever I refer to them or address them, I always use their titles: Representative (so and so), Dr. (so and so). To tell you the truth, it kind of irks me when people don't use their titles. I figure they did SOMETHING to get there. I reckon' I respect the position or the office.

For instance, although I don't relieve like President Bush, I would always call him Presidnet Bush. In college, even if a professor will ask us to call him/her by their first name, I would still call them Dr. or Professor (if they weren't doctors yet).

Again, I'm not sure why I do this, but when I heard people calling my brother that, I immediately thought of how I refer to people.


Blogger Mayra said...

Yeah...It's definitely something to think about. Like old high school teachers...I'll see them but I don't know if I should call them by their first name if I should see them more often. It's just weird. Or when you see someone from church and you want to call them hermana or hermana but you are not longer in a church setting. You don't want to be disrespectful but you can't help but feel weird about it either.

9:59 PM

Blogger cindylu said...

Sometime in the not-so-near future, you better call me Dr. Cindylu. Hehe. The thing I like about grad school is that I can call tenured professors by their first names since we're supposed to be colleagues in training rather than lowly students.

10:21 PM

Blogger La Brown Girl said...

Doesn't Licensiado mean you're titled. Like the dudes they have on the game shows, they always call them licensiados. Hmmm, now I have something to research.

6:58 AM

Blogger E said...

I agree with the idea of titles. I had some professors in college that I would never call by their first name, and some that I couldn't imagine calling Dr so and so b/c I was closer to them.

As far as Bush goes, I never referred to him as President during his first term b/c I was a hold-out. And now that he really did win the popular election, I still don't call him President. B/c I am stubborn!!

2:51 PM

Blogger Diana said...

Nice to know that i am not alone in addressing plp by their title. My friends look at me weird cuz i always address plp by their title after theyve told me to call them by their first name.

I had a college proffessor who told us that we could call her by her first name, i never did, i think its cuz i felt awkward... like you said they did something to get there and they deserve the respect, so i guess thats why i do it too.

7:15 PM

Blogger Aleksu said...

I think that if you address someone by the title they earned you are acknowledging their effort.

I always address people either older or at a higher level at work with the respect they deserve. In Spanish is a lot easier though.

8:30 PM

Blogger oso said...

Hmm, I'm definitely the lone dissident on this one.

Usually I'm pretty good with cultural adaptation ... especially here in Mexico. But one thing I refuse to do is use the word licensiado/a. At my work, everyone else calls the director "licensiado," but I call him by his first name. Maybe that's me forcing my gringoness on the situation, but I convey respect in other ways than non-sense titles.

And from what I understand, licensiado/a means nothing more than that you have graduated from college with a bachelor's degree.

Here's something I wrote last year:

Mexico is full of preposterous titles for a full spectrum of respect and self-subordination, each with hidden significances. "Licenciado," for example is a title to show respect to someone with a bachelor's degree in political science, but the notion that it carries (someone with the power to fuck you over) stretches much further. When you speak to someone who is a licenciado you are expected to say the title at the beginning of every single sentence, not just once, like approaching European aristocracy in the 18th century. The word for teacher is also the word for master. And when you fail to hear what someone has said you do not say 'excuse me' or 'pardon,' but rather "mande,"which literally means, "at your command." No other Spanish speaking country says this and the level of self-inflicted subordination in Mexico never ceased to amaze me. Furthermore, I fail to understand how it persists in a country so rooted in the propoganda of its supposed egalitarian fights for independence from Spain, France, and the aristocratic Porfiriato. (Some would add the U.S. to that list)

12:46 PM

Blogger Lucio said...

I'm definitely not feeling the whole 'title' thing... dabs to those that pay their dues and become licensed so and so's and doctors, but for me to call someone by a title other than their first or last name? sorry brotha, i don't play that disparity recognition name calling game... at least not in my neck of the woods. titles are what separate us... you might as well add daily texican as your middle name if you want to go that route... i hate to come down on you bro, but i'm surprised that a 27 year old guy from texas writes about the chicano experience and still fails to realize what the chicano experience is really about - it's a polical term you know - you write as spectator, not a participant.
- Lucio

2:01 PM

Blogger Gustavo said...

Licensiado is the title that is given to Mexicans that have graduated from a university...so I guess I am a licensiado...ah yes licensiado Rojo.

From Chespirito

Oye Lucas

Digame Licensiado


Gracias, muchas gracias

No hay de queso nomas de papa

12:09 PM

Blogger AnalisaGuzman said...

I expect my students to address me as Doctor or Professor. I believe that gringo students, especially, are too familiar in their attitudes which oftentimes translates into disrespect in the classroom. There are issues of gender as well, so it is very important to me that students recognize that a LATINA FEMALE has obtained a degree they oftentimes believe we are incapable of. That has been my experience. Perhaps when I get older, tenured, and pay off my loans, then I won't be as adamant.

11:14 AM

Blogger Tony Destroni said...

Thank you for sharing your experience and success. I hope that everyone who will read your entry will pursue their work also. Likewise to the Latino Business they have to be included on the ranking of paginas amarilla so that their business will be successful and more services they need to provide.

7:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funniest of all this is that none of those so called lisenciados by the University of Frijolandia can spell the word "licenciado" properly. Btw, Cicero was Latin, Sitting Bull's southern mates aren't.

11:37 AM


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