Monday, April 03, 2006

Is that really what you wanted to say?

Over in Vodkapundit's sidebar this evening, an ad for a brand of bra made by Lane Bryant caught my attention.* It was a Pajamas Media ad, so likely it can be spotted in many places. I clicked on the ad, not because I was looking to buy anything, but rather because I was thinking That, uh, name doesn't seem quite suitable for a bra... not to the Spanish speaker in me, anyway.

I sincerely doubted that one would name a woman's brassiere line after a word whose first definition is a male Caribbean tribal chieftain, a word that can also mean an autoritarian person or despot.** Yet, evidence from the ad was suggesting otherwise.

Fortunately, the pronunciation that Lane Bryant has listed alongside the name of the undergarment line, Cacique, isn't remotely Spanish. Knowing that the Spanish meaning isn't intended is sort of a relief, but not totally. One might assume that with so many Spanish speakers in the U.S., a company's marketing people might want to check a good thick dictionary to see if a word with the exact same spelling existed in that language...

Anyway, to add to my feeling of equal parts amusement and chagrin, I discovered after clicking the ad that the Cacique line of undergarments, sleepwear, and related products is being marketed with the slogan "What language does your body speak?"

[Insert groan here.]

My body speaks Spanish, so, hypothetically speaking, what could wearing a brand like Cacique be taken to mean about me?

*On the off chance you want to see the item I of which I speak, here's a link for you.
**Etymology talk: the word came into Spanish from a language indigenous to the Caribbean (I believe it's still debated as to which one, and not being someone who does historical linguistics for a living, I'll leave it at that) back in the time Columbus was sailing 'round the islands, so it's not like this word is a new addition to Spanish.