Questão 74 do Concurso Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR) (2017)

The ways Mexicans tell time

Understanding this takes not a fluency in the language but rather a fluency in Mexican culture.

Mexicans are famous in the Spanish-speaking world for their extensive use of the diminutive. While in most Spanish-speaking countries the addition of the diminutive ‘ita’ to an adverb like ahora (meaning ‘now’) would strengthen it to indicate immediacy (i.e. ‘right now’), this is not the case in Mexico. Dr Company explained that Mexicans instead use the diminutive form to break down the space between the speaker and the listener and lessen formality. In this case of ‘ahorita’, the addition of the diminutive reduces urgency rather than increasing it – a difference that can be extremely confusing for foreigners.


Adaptado. Acesso: 26 de julho de 2017.)

The text illustrates:

  • A a variety of ways of expressing immediacy in Spanish.
  • B the non-interference of the diminutive in communication among Spanish speakers.
  • C different forms of expressing periods of time in Spanish.
  • D the importance of language accuracy in communicating in Spanish
  • E the variations of the use of the diminutive in different Spanish speaking countries.