Why are Costa Ricans called the Ticos

Why are Costa Ricans called “the Ticos”?

(CNN Spanish) — This is the sixth time that Costa Rica has qualified for a World Cup. The euphoria that was experienced in the locker room after a solitary goal by Joel Campbell gave them victory against New Zealand in the playoffs moved to the streets of San José, where the Costa Ricans celebrated in style when their team went to Qatar .

Now the Ticos, as the natives of this Central American country and their soccer team are colloquially known, will again face the big favorites in what is perhaps the group of death in the World Cup. Spain, Germany and Japan will be their first rivals in the group stage of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

But this is not the first time that Costa Rica has had to play against the best in the world. In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Ticos surprised and their nickname was heard in such a loud way that they even won the title of “giant killer”: they beat Uruguay, Italy and Greece, tied with England and took the Netherlands to penalties, getting thus reaching the quarterfinals.

But where does his pseudonym come from and what does the “pura vida” of La Sele mean, as the Costa Rican team is also called?

The time Costa Rica surprised the soccer world 2:24

All or almost all of the soccer teams in the world have nicknames other than their official name that identify them among the fans. There are some more original than others and they usually have to do with the colors that give their uniform identity. In the case of Costa Rica, it has more to do with the use of language in the Central American country.

Costa Ricans are known throughout the world colloquially as ticos, which comes from using the suffix -ico/ica as a diminutive when speaking. And it is that if you go to this country you will notice that one of its hallmarks when expressing itself is the use of diminutives that end in -ico instead of -ito as in other Spanish-speaking countries. Little, little brothers either shoes instead of little, little brothers either little shoes.

As explained in the virtual forum of the Instituto Cervantes, the suffix -ico it is used by the speakers of the Andean, Caribbean and Central American areas or, in the Spanish of Spain, those of the eastern zone (Aragón, La Mancha and the eastern Andalusian zone).

The tico “pura vida”

(Credit: Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Few phrases are as typical of Costa Rica as “pura vida”. The popular expression that is always on the lips of Costa Ricans. It has to do with the ethical way of seeing the world: kindness, simplicity, all good.

We saw the phrase on the players’ shirts when they qualified.

What is behind these two words? In 2019 we asked the then president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, and this was his answer.

With information from CNN’s Raúl Sáenz