A traditional custome of a tica woman

Origin of the word “tico(a)”: During the colonial period where the Central American countries formed a single province under the name of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which in turn was under the orders of the Viceroyalty of Mexico. To Costa Ricans it was (and still is) very possible to refer to objects and small or small things with the ending -tico; For example pequitico, chiquitico, solitico, etc.

In particular, the Costa Ricans referred to their compatriots talking about the hermaniticos, which was an affectionate form of the hermanitos. Although in standard Spanish, the suffix {-ic} exists for reduced reduplicates or as a diminutive suffix for roots ending in / -t / (like duck), in Costa Rican speech it is also used as a sweet, That is, as a morpheme denoting affective value.

Ticos couple dancing with a typical garment

The nickname became generalized and even gave rise to the place name Tiquicia, with which Costa Ricans colloquially designate their country. The use of the diminutive {-ic} is not exclusive to Costa Rica: it is also used in regions of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador, Cuba, Venezuela and in Spain itself, especially in Aragón, where it is the characteristic diminutive, and In Navarre, Murcia, and Andalusia. However, their phonological distribution may be slightly different.

This caused the rest of the Central American people to identify a Costa Rican by that peculiar way of speaking, hence they began to call us “ticos” of affection until today where most nations recognize us as ethical.

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