As if by Magic

By: Juana Carrasco Martín


2013-12-18 | 16:32:49 EST

Somebody asked me: Does the word birlibirloque exist?
I have to admit that I had not heard that word for a long time; but it is so familiar to me that I consider it as a very natural, usual, daily word. My grandmother loved to use it, and since I was a child I assumed it with the flavour of rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon which made us run to the kitchen before the last vestiges of the pudding disappeared from the iron pan.
Now, I became aware that this word fell into disuse, that my grandmother Rosario, and my mother Angela took it from that linguistic treasure named popular wisdom, from those proverbs and sayings that they frequently used to enrich the family fortune.
I wanted to demonstrate the existence of this word; that this word was a synonymous of «as if by art of magic»; and that it conveys a very special sonority, full of pranks; but in the present edition (the 22nd edition published in 2001) of the Spanish Language Dictionary (DRAE) which is the referential work of the Academy of the Spanish Language, I found the following:
Warning: the word birlibirloque is not in the Dictionary.
This was like a paralyzing bucket of cold water. However, this word came from my memories of a past with a richer language, with animated phrases, and I do not want them to be lost. Fortunately, the use of computer at present offers me a lot of beautiful motivations to continue using this word.
Therefore, in this beautiful site I share with you some of the uses of the sponsors of the word birlibirloque:
«A word that dances to the beat of puppeteers. Even the word itself is an artist, the living image of the saying where it takes the main role. The mouth is small and suggestive when it starts to pronounce this word, and it becomes big and firm at the end, accompanied by the echo of claps, looking for the largest audience. » (From Spain)
«It’s a fun, beautiful word. It’s unbelievable it does not appear in the dictionary. » (From Spain)
«I like this word specially because of its musicality. It sounds nice and emphatic. It’s a magic word! » (From Spain)
«It’s a word whose meaning is related to magic, to the arts of conjuring, and these make it more attractive and mysterious.  The difficult pronunciation of this word, it is like a tongue twister, makes it difficult to the ordinary speaker and writer. Nevertheless, it is a word which has a magical charm and playful sonority, like the abracadabra which brings to our memory those far off childhood moments. » (From Peru)
«It describes quite well from its onomatopoeia and spelling, the magic of the conjurer, politicians, and other kinds of people who make things appear and disappear, like principles, truth, and of course, money.......» (From Chile)
«We should use more words like these which help to increase the sense of humor.» (From Spain)
 «This word talks about magic, enchantment, the inexplicable. It brings my father into my mind because he always used the term “as if by the art of birlibirloque”. I never heard this word again after his death, and this word should be rescued from the hat. » (From Spain)
«I hadn’t heard that word for many years, and I’m fan of terms that are falling into disuse. » (From Spain)
 «It remembers me of the stories from my childhood, and I’m quite sure that this word exists though I could not find it in the RAE dictionary, because in the Inexperienced Witch, the phrase “as if by art of birlibirloque”is frequently repeated. » (From Spain)
«It sounds so good! I like magic, and I don’t want this word to disappear as if by art of birlibirloque”. » (From Spain)
That’s all.... Here it is, it has a chocolate flavour for me now. I’d like to introduce you to birlibirloque.

 Translated by ESTI

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