Adjectival 'cuco / cuqui' as "cute" and "astute"

José Antonio Jódar Sánchez

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cuco; adjective; appreciative; metonymy; blending theory; semantic change


In this squib, we present an analysis of the nowadays commonly used adjective cuco/cuqui in Spanish. We hypothesize that its two adjectival meanings, as “cute” and as “astute”, are metonymically derived  from the meanings of cuco as “carrycot” and “bird/card game”, respectively. Blending theory accounts for how these emergent meanings are combined with new referents in speech. This analysis can be extended to other frequently used colloquial adjectives in Spanish like panoli and choni.


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Copyright (c) 2015 José Antonio Jódar Sánchez

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