Of maes and men: intercultural marriage in Costa Rica

At the heart of Costa Rican language and, in many ways, the heart of the way my husband talks, is the word mae. A little like “man” (as in “hey, man”), a little like “dude,” with complex origins and rules of use I won’t get into here, it is the way many Costa Rican men – and some women in specific contexts and age groups – address each other.
I sometimes refer to my husband El

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