Sunday, December 2, 2012

El Uñón

Tonight, after the election of Enrique Peña Nieto, I have seen too many headlines in English language news sources that read Enrique Pena Nietowhich sounds very unfortunate when pronounced out loud. Pondering the sound of ñI was eventually led to search for minimal pairs in Spanish that illustrate the contrast of /ɲ/ and /nj/. Wikipedia provided the following: uñón /uɲon/ "large nail" (of the finger or toe) and unión /unjon/ "union". But how real a word is uñón?  Well, mis uñones and sus uñones get a paltry few hits, but there is also this:  
EL UÑON  Un ser mitico, hombre con uñas muy largas, que utiliza para atacar a las gentes como un animal salvaje.
found in Mitos y leyendas de Antioquia la Grande by Javier Ocampo López, a collection of Colombian folklore available on Google Books.