J in Catalan Spanish

Immortalised in the “disastrous cowboy” genre of jokes.

From a Catalanised Manchega:

¿Cómo se llama a un cowboy mugriento?
Johnny Melavo.
¿Cómo se llama a un cowboy amnésico?
Johnny Macuerdo.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you whether it was a [Ê‘] or a [Ê’] on the one hand or [ʝ] on the other–I do melody, harmony, rhythm, but not articulation, and I’m an English native speaker, so I might not hear the difference anyway, even if the subject hadn’t buggered off down the beach, leaving me with the washing. But I assume that in this case we’re talking the former, Catalanised Spanish, which, like its comparatively well-documented counterpart, Hispanicised Catalan or Xava, is often used humorously.

That the pun also works in some varieties of Spanish can be seen from this commercial for a new Chilean personal grooming product:

I think Johnny Melavo Nunca and Jonny Melabo Lapolla are both Barcelona banlieue pseudonyms, so given the dread spread of the Latino yeísmo in the region, I guess they could hang either way.

Why are furrin coyboys always Johnny? Take Koos Konijn:


John Wayne, Johnny? Surely not. So why not Koiboi Tom, Dick, or even Fred van de Ven:


Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *