“Yo estoy tuanis, pero el brete está pelis”
Many people (including Spanish speakers) might hear this and have no idea what it means.
It is thought that in some Central American countries what is left of Malespín is still in use, a military code attributed to the Salvadoran General Francisco Malespín (1806-1846). Even though hardly anybody speaks the code, in some countries there are still words that apparently originate from Malespín, and still slip into everyday conversation.
The key to this argot is simple:
1) The letter “a” is exchanged for the letter “e” (and viceversa).
2) The letter “i” is exchanged for the letter “o” (and viceversa).
3) The letter “b” is exchanged for the letter “t” (and viceversa).
4) The letter “m” is exchanged for the letter “p” (and viceversa).
5) The letter “f” is exchanged for the letter “g” (and viceversa).
Currently only a few words are in use that were generated by the code. For example, in Costa Rica the word “tuanis” often comes into use, which theoretically comes from the word “buenos”, and means “bien” (well/good), “bueno” (good), “excelente” (excellent), etc.. It is also normal to hear the word “brete” (abbreviated from “breteji” or “work”). Or if something is “pelis” (which comes from the word “malos” and means “bad”, “ugly” or “horrible”).
Pelasmón (“Malespín” in Malespín) is a small Central American linguistic treasure. Even though it has been forgotten little by little, and there are not many people that remember it, there is still the hypothesis that some terms (or their variations) are still used in street slang in certain Central American countries.
What do you think? Have you heard a word that could come from this code in your own country? Do you have a similar slang in your own language?