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Zócalo or Plaza?

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Post by CheenaGringo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:44 am

I am confused by the use of the word, "zócalo" as opposed to the word, "plaza" in some cities, towns and villages in Mexico. It seems to me that these two words are somewhat interchangeable but maps seem to be quite specific as to when and where they use these two terms.

Can anyone explain?

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Post by Rosa Venus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:47 am

A friend of mine from Guadalajara says there is really only one Zócalo in the entire country: Mexico City.
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Post by MexicoPete on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:36 pm

Rosa Venus wrote:A friend of mine from Guadalajara says there is really only one Zócalo in the entire country: Mexico City.

Your friend could well be right. I like plaza better than Zócalo, anyway. I just went to the dictionary and looked up Zócalo and it said that the word means baseboard. I tried an on line service and it showed

Traducción = Socket
Diccionario=
masculine socle, base of a pedestal;
Mexican = public square, center square.

I sure don't know which is correct. But everyone seems to understand me when I use either
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Post by hound dog on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:55 pm

[i]
Rosa Venus wrote:A friend of mine from Guadalajara says there is really only one Zócalo in the entire country: Mexico City.

Often repeated BS. Zocalo and central plaza mean the same thing in any town. In som towns, such as Puebla and Queretaro, there are several noted plazas in the city centers. At times, locals in various places refer to the central and most prominent plaza as "El Jardin" or "Plaza Principal" or "el centro" and zocalo, thus becomes, at times, a pedantic affectation. In Dawg´s hometown, the plaza was referred to as "Confederate Square".In my adopted hometowns of Los Angeles and San Francisco the principal plazas were known respectively as Pershing and Union Squares. In Paris, my favorite "plaza" is the Luxembourg Gardens" but there are so many plazas, take your pick.
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Post by Flamingo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:37 pm

Don't tell people in Oaxaca that the only 'real' zocalo is in D.F. They think Plaza de la Constitucion de Oaxaca is called The Zocalo. I think it is more a regionalism.
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Post by Chico on Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:47 pm

My understanding is that if there is more than one plaza, the largest and most used one is the zocalo and the minor ones are plazas. In lakeside with only one plaza in each of our towns, they are plazas, not zocalos, as their must be multiple plazas to have one that is denoted as the zocalo. Not sure if I am correct, but that is my understanding. chico

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Post by Parker on Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:52 pm

Now I’m probably off base here, but my impression is that if you live in a very large city there are many plazas and the most important of these entire plazas would be called the Z’ocalo, just an assumption, so no crappy-ass attitudes please. Very Happy

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Post by Parker on Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:56 pm

Chico wrote:My understanding is that if there is more than one plaza, the largest and most used one is the zocalo and the minor ones are plazas. In lakeside with only one plaza in each of our towns, they are plazas, not zocalos, as their must be multiple plazas to have one that is denoted as the zocalo. Not sure if I am correct, but that is my understanding. chico

I see, I was typing while you were posting and we had similar thoughts.

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Post by Chico on Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:52 pm

I know. Are you as surprised as I am? chico

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Post by CheenaGringo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:59 pm

This dawned on me when doing research on Oaxaca and Puebla and most of the info sites make a really big deal out of the Zócalo located in the centro historic districts in each. Now for an opposing point of view, much of the literature published by the State of Michoacán discusses the two plazas in Patzcuaro (Plaza Grande and Plaza Chica) and how supposedly it is such a unique thing for a city or town to have two plazas.

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Post by hound dog on Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:35 pm

CheenaGringo wrote:This dawned on me when doing research on Oaxaca and Puebla and most of the info sites make a really big deal out of the Zócalo located in the centro historic districts in each. Now for an opposing point of view, much of the literature published by the State of Michoacán discusses the two plazas in Patzcuaro (Plaza Grande and Plaza Chica) and how supposedly it is such a unique thing for a city or town to have two plazas.


The opposing pont view reagrding the Plaza Grande an Plaza Chica is tourist nonsense bathed in bullshit. You have been conned by the Pátzcuaro chamber of commerce. San Cristóbal de Las Casas has twelve barrios each of which has a central plaza. Queretaro has several beautiful central plazas and Puebla has numerous plazas. I could continue for pages of exceptions to what the toutrist brochures told you about the hick town Pátzcuaro but to what avail. Michoacan is a dunghole in search of a dog. Otherwise, I have no opnion.
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Post by CheenaGringo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:50 pm

Dawg:

Please review my post and find where I stated that I believed it.

Now as far as Patzcuaro goes, we certainly have no investment there but for whatever reason, we really enjoy this small city and the surrounding area. No reason for us to defend our opinion because it is what it is and happens to be diametrically opposed to your opinion of not only Patzcuaro but also of Michoacán as a whole. And I will be willing to admit that neither of us is right!

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Post by hound dog on Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:33 pm

CheenaGringo wrote:Dawg:

Please review my post and find where I stated that I believed it.

Now as far as Patzcuaro goes, we certainly have no investment there but for whatever reason, we really enjoy this small city and the surrounding area. No reason for us to defend our opinion because it is what it is and happens to be diametrically opposed to your opinion of not only Patzcuaro but also of Michoacán as a whole. And I will be willing to admit that neither of us is right!


Agreed amigo. Neither of us is right and even if we were , it wouldn´t matter anyway.

We thought of living in Pátzcuaro and Tapalpa and ended up in San Crsitóbal de Las Casas. Brain cramp.
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Post by gringomojado on Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:56 pm

CheenaGringo wrote:I am confused by the use of the word, "zócalo" as opposed to the word, "plaza" in some cities, towns and villages in Mexico. It seems to me that these two words are somewhat interchangeable but maps seem to be quite specific as to when and where they use these two terms.

Can anyone explain?

Zócalo is of indigenous origin, and plaza is Castillian (Spanish) origin.
gm
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Post by gringomojado on Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:03 pm

Others say that it has its origin in an Italian language. Etymology can be fun!
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Post by bobnliz on Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:22 pm

Great fun, I agree...
Love that etymology! Whee!

Aren't words a gas? Lizzy
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Post by mattoleriver on Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:36 pm

Is it cheating to go to Wikipedia? The first paragraph pretty well explains things---if Wikipedia can be believed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plinth

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Post by mattoleriver on Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:56 am

OOPS! I got a strange link, maybe this will be better.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zocalo

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Post by brigitte on Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:42 am

Various cities have various nicknames for their main plaza and some have none. El jardin is also used in some cities.

Meanwhile, I thought Zócalo was an Nahuatl word, but I cannot find any good link for that origin. It seems that it means the " base " or the pedestal in Spanish, interesting as the base in France is le "socle" pretty close, maybe the word comes from Latin rather than Nahuatl. Anyone knows for sure?

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Post by bobnliz on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:54 am

I cannot find a reference either, so can't be sure, but it seems a logical conclusion, as 'socle' does resemble 'zocalo' and both the French and Spanish languages are derived from Latin. Lizzy
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Post by seisdedos on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:58 am

brigitte wrote:Various cities have various nicknames for their main plaza and some have none. El jardin is also used in some cities.

Meanwhile, I thought Zócalo was an Nahuatl word, but I cannot find any good link for that origin. It seems that it means the " base " or the pedestal in Spanish, interesting as the base in France is le "socle" pretty close, maybe the word comes from Latin rather than Nahuatl. Anyone knows for sure?

Check out what it says at this link:

http://www.elsiglodetorreon.com.mx/noticia/230872.las-palabras-tienen-la-palabra-sabotajes-choc.html

And what is called baseboard trim in English is called zoclo in Spanish although it may be tile stone etc.
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Post by CheenaGringo on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:03 am

So if these two words are somewhat interchangeable, is it offensive to locals to call what is normally referred to as the plaza a zócalo or vice versa?

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Post by Parker on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:49 am

"Zócalo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Zócalo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsokalo], plinth) is the main plaza or square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City. The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square).

This name does not come from any of the Mexican constitutions that have governed the country but rather from the Cádiz Constitution which was signed in Spain in 1812. However, it is almost always called the Zócalo today. Plans were made to erect a column as a monument to Independence, but only the base, or zócalo, was ever built. The plinth was destroyed long ago but the name has lived on. Many other Mexican towns and cities, such as Oaxaca and Guadalajara, have adopted the word zócalo to refer to their main plazas, but not all.

It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times, having been the site of Mexica ceremonies, the swearing in of viceroys, royal proclamations, military parades, Independence ceremonies and modern religious events such as the festivals of Holy Week and Corpus Christi. It has received foreign heads of state and is the main venue for both national celebration and national protest."

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Post by brigitte on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:56 am

Thanks Seisdedos, I had forgotten about the zoclo, I heard the workers say it but never connected the spelling or the meaning to Zócalo, it makes sense.
I never checked the spelling so I was thinking soclo. Funny how the brain works or doesn´t.

Cheenagringo,
I never heard of the locals being offended if you call their main plaza by the wrong name, at worst they do not get it or correct you. I am speaking of cab drivers. I rarely call th plaza in San Cristobal el jardin and when I call it the plaza the cab drivers will always say, you mean el jardin. We have 3 plaza next to each other and they want a clarification nothing more.

My French dictionary says the origin of the word is from the Italian Zoccolo now does it come from Latin or Arabic? Never mind the z it comes from the Latin socculus..

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Post by hound dog on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:19 am

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