Throughout the web and in guidebooks, you'll continually see the term Tico used when speaking of Costa Ricans. as well as this web site name and domain : CupoTico. This is a nickname for a Costa Rica citizen, much as Gringo Is used for North Americans in general, and Yankee for a citizen of the United States. It's an affectionate nickname, and no one gets upset by it. They call themselves Ticos when distinguishing themselves from foreigners, instead of the more cumbersome Costariquense The name Tico comes from an archaic practice of using the sound- tico on the end of a word as a diminutive instead of the normal tito. For example: whereas a Mexican would say momentito for just a tiny moment," some Costa Ricans (not all) might say momentico. Thus a kitten would be a gatico in Costa Rica, but a gatito in Mexico.
Although guidebooks and tourist literature suggest that -Costa Ricans always use the "tico"ending, my personal observation is that many, if not most, do not say "tico." I have a feeling hat this may be a speech pattern which is falling out of favor.
One uniquely Costa Rican term, solidly ingrained into the language, is pura vida. I suppose this would translate as "that's life or "great life," but in effect it means "okay," "cool," "all right," sometimes as an emphatic as -right A clerk in a store, instead of asking, "Would you like anything else? " might ask instead, "Pura vida?" A gas station attendant may ask, "Is your oil pura vida or should I check it for you?"
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