Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Word of the Day: "hoy en ocho"

This put me through a loop during my first few months in Costa Rica. Whenever I wanted to schedule a meeting for a week from whatever day it was, I'd say "reunámosnos el próximo lunes ". Essentially, when it was Monday I would say "let's meet next Monday". To further clarify I would sometimes say "de hoy en siete días".

Then I watched the earth burst into flames right before me.

Costa Ricans will almost always project a week into the future by saying "de hoy en ocho". When I said "from today in seven days" they thought I was confused because I should have in fact said 'eight'. Apparently I was confused, because to me counting a full week into the future is counting the lapse of seven full days--not eight.

However, Costa Ricans will count the current day in their tally. If it's Tuesday and you want to meet the following Tuesday, you need to tell a Costa Rican "de hoy en ocho". Then, if you want to meet not the following Tuesday but the one after that, you have to say (hold on to your hat) "de hoy en quince".

Yeah, I know, fifteen is neither a multiple of seven nor eight. What Costa Ricans do is count the current day in their calculation for the first week. Then, the last day in that first week is counted, but it won't be counted a second time for the second week tally.

For example, if it's the first of the month your first full week ends on the eighth. That's eight full days, counting the first. Then, your second full week ends on the fifteenth, but for that week you're only counting days 9-15--seven days in total--because you have already counted the eighth day in your first week.

So, when projecting future engagements the first week is always eight days, and then each subseqeuent week adds another seven days. This might seem kind of counter-intuitive to you, but the system works quite well once you get it down.

5 comments:

javanow1 said...

Hi,

I posted a link to your blog on mine. http://spanishcostarica.wordpress.com to your blog.

I own a language school in CR and share your interest in internet marketing and Spanish.

Although my blog has commercial intent, I try to make it informative as well, including info about cool travel places, etc. Of course, I would be pleased if you wanted to link to me. Hamid Kaber

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