Did You Know . . .?

DRAGON FRUIT is the third in Karen Keskinen’s Jaymie Zarlin series set in California.  Here, she tells us the background to Chicano Caló.

9780727886248Chicano slang, popular in the American West and Southwest, is perhaps better called Chicano Caló. While influenced by a number of factors, its roots lie in Spanish Caló, an argot developed by Spanish gypsies. Caló was brought to the new world by the conquistadores in the 15th century, and survived for hundreds of years in remote villages in what is now the state of New Mexico. Words like bomba (a lowrider car) or borlo (party) are examples of Chicano Caló.

Characters in my novel DRAGON FRUIT use Chicano Caló words from time to time. Gabi Gutierrez, office manager for P.I. Jaymie Zarlin, might dismiss a new blouse as chafa (low-quality) or a man as a borracho – a drunk. That’s because the Jaymie Zarlin mysteries are set in the city of Santa Bruta – Santa Barbara – in the great state of Califas!

Karen Keskinen was born in Salinas, California. She has also lived in California’s San Joaquin Valley and in Wellington, New Zealand. She now resides in Santa Barbara where she is a full-time writer. She is the author of BLOOD ORANGE and BLACK CURRENT.

For more information on Dragon Fruit, please visit our website!


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