What is Chilango?
Chilango is a very common expression in the speech of Mexico to refer to that native or native of Mexico City . Likewise, it is used to designate what is owned or related to the Mexican capital or the Federal District. In this way, chilango can be a gentilicio, a dialect, a way of speaking (chilango accent), etc. As such, it is an adjective that can be used in both masculine and feminine.
A chilango or a chilanga will be, then, an inhabitant, natural or native of Mexico City, also known as defeño , mexiqueño or capital . However, these latter denominations of gentilicio do not end up fully permeating the population, and chilango continues to be more entrenched.
In Mexico, chilango can also have derogatory or humorous connotations , as the case may be. It can be a pejorative way of referring to the inhabitants of the Mexican DF or those inhabitants of other states of Mexico who have taken root in Mexico City. The people of the interior, especially, use the word chilango in a derogatory way.
An interesting example of the Chilango dialect is found in the song “Chilanga banda”, by the Mexican group Café Tacuba.
Etymology of chilango
The etymological origin of the word chilango has always been highly disputed. As such, there is a record that it began to be used during the first half of the 20th century to refer to the inhabitants of Mexico City.
There are those who point out that the word chilango or shilango comes from the Mayan word xilaan , which means ‘with wild hair’, ‘disheveled’ or ‘frizzy’. According to this theory, the word was usual among Veracruz people to refer to the natives of Mexico City.
Another theory is a possible origin in the voice náhuatl chilan-co , which translate ‘skin red’, in reference to the skin color of the Aztec Indians, red due to the cold of the plateau.
In addition, there is also a popular belief that the word chilango is related to words like guachinango or chile.
However, despite the great variety of origins attributed to it, the etymological root of the word chilango remains uncertain.
The Mexican linguist José G. Moreno de Alba discarded all the hypotheses referred to above, since he considered that the word did not have any clear root or lexical base, and that, in addition, its morphology did not correspond to the usual Spanish names (-ano, -ense, -eño, -eco). However, he pointed out that precisely given the difficulty of finding a name for the natives or natives of Mexico City that take root in the population, Chilango had become, in effect, the most popular and accepted way among the inhabitants to designate themselves.