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29 Aug 0 Comment

The not-so-Costa Rican origins of the Costa Rican phrase “Pura Vida”:


A story once claimed that the iconic Costa Rican slogan “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) is not so Tico after all. It indicates that a 1956 Mexican film with this same title is the origin of the popular language.

The film tells the adventures of an unfortunate man named Melquiades Ledezma, played by the famous comedian. Antonio Espino “Clavillazo” (1910-1993) who constantly repeated the phrase during the film.

Melquíades’ story begins when he is expelled from his village for causing bad luck. Then his misfortunes continued in his new neighborhood, where he ended up being labeled a thief and accused of having started a fire. His bad luck ends when he lands a winning lottery ticket worth one million pesos.

“In the case of Spanish in the country, the media, especially classic Mexican cinema, have contributed enormously to a transfer of languages: big ass (Bastardo), lana (money), May (boy), Mariachi, are some examples of the words of migrants who have settled in Costa Rican Spanish, ”Víctor Manuel Sánchez Corrales, a researcher at the University of Costa Rica, told La Nación.

“Melquíades, and he alone, uses the pluriverbal unit ‘Pura Vida’ 13 times as an attribute of the people (the mayor of the town, neighbors and other characters), of things (pending, food), of an action (someone buys him a meal), with the meanings of ‘good’ and ‘pleasant’, ”said Sánchez’s investigation.

“In the 1980s, the use of the phrase in popular sectors of the country and the climate of peace that characterized Costa Rica in the face of the wars and suffering that ravaged the rest of the Central American nations, were the reasons that promoted socialization of Pure Life ”he added.

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