Lexi-tico: ¿Me regala?

¿ME REGALA? (me ɾe-ga-la):

According to the Diccionario de la Lengua Española (Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), the verb regala” means “to give someone something without receiving anything in return.” The verb regalar is closely linked in meaning to the word regalo which means “present” or “gift.”

If you own a convenience store in Costa Rica or are a regular customer at your local pulperia you have probably heard a Tico/Tica say, “Me regala (insert product here) por favor?

Does that sound familiar? If so, and you happened to learn Spanish somewhere else and knew the definition above, you may have wondered why a Costa Rican customer would expect someone else to give them something for free, right?

The explanation is rather simple: Many Costa Ricans use the expression me regala to request something they want to purchase. It is certainly not a case where they actually expect to get the item for free. In short, it’s a colloquial way of asking to buy something.

So, next time you hear a Tico/Tica utter these words, things will make more sense to you.

Example of usage:

Me regala, por favor, una caja de leche?

Translation: Can I please have a carton of milk?



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The Author


Eduardo "King George" Zamora

Certified English/Spanish Translator with extensive experience in technical, business, IT, legal and medical translation, editing and proofreading. Spanish/Portuguese/English translator/proofreader with 5+ years experience in technical, business, legal and medical fields.

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