La Victoria

Today’s Zippy, on an odd custom of Dingburgers:

La Victoria products are old friends in my household(s). Here’s the products page from the company’s website:

Each image links to a line of products. For taco sauces, we get a line of red sauces (from mild to hot):

red taco sauce mild
red taco sauce medium
chipotle taco sauce medium
salsa brava hot sauce

and a line of green:

green taco sauce mild
green taco sauce medium
chunky jalapeño hot sauce

As it happens, in my kitchen at the moment I have no La Victoria sauces, but I do have three hot sauces:

Tabasco pepper sauce
Melinda’s extra hot sauce (habanero)
Brazos Legends habanero hot sauce

Two linguistic points on habaneros.

Background: OED3 (Sept. 2004) has four subentries for the noun:

1. A native or inhabitant of Havana or its environs. [cites from 1845 on]
2. A Cuban cigar. [from 1845]
3. A Latin American alcoholic drink, typically distilled from sugar cane. [from 1868]
4. = chile habanero. [from 1972]

All the senses are derived from Spanish Habana ‘Havana’, suffixed.

Now the Wikipedia entry:

The habanero chili (… Capsicum chinense) is one of the more intensely piquant species of chili peppers of the Capsicum genus. When used in English, it is sometimes spelled (and pronounced) habañero—the diacritical mark being added as a hyperforeignism.

Apparently, 18th century taxonomists mistook its place of origin and called it “the Chinese pepper”. That’s point one.

Point two is the n and not ñ in the spelling, just what you’d expect from the relationship of the word to Habana. The ñ seems to be an importation from Spanish demonyms with the suffix -eño — like chileño ‘s.o. or sth. from Chile’, and significantly in the hot-pepper context,  jalapeño ‘s.o. or sth. from (the Mexican city of) Jalapa; specifically a chile jalapeño, a Jalapa chile’.  So jalapeño gets an ñ, but habanero doesn’t.

6 Responses to “La Victoria”

  1. Greg Lee Says:

    Tha famous aria from Carmen is also sometimes spelled with a tilde: “Habañera”.

  2. Alon Says:

    -eño is indeed a frequent suffix for demonyms and other denominal adjectives (e.g., aguileño ‘aquiline, eagle-like’, marfileño ‘ivory-coloured’), but there is no such thing as *chileño; it’s chileno, with the -eno suffix of nazareno ‘Nazarene’, damasceno ‘Damascene’, tirreno ‘Tyrrhenian’.

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