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Albuquerque Innsights

A local innkeeper knows New Mexico secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Correct Spelling of Chili or Chile

With the Annual National Fiery Foods and BBQ Show coming up this weekend, (March 1, 2 & 3, 2013), in its hometown here in Albuquerque, New Mexico I thought I would bring up an interesting discussion. Interesting to me, anyway. Chile or chili?

One of my most popular posts is New Mexico Style Calabacitas and I get lots of comments, mostly that it is a great recipe, but quite a few people like to debate the spelling of chili in this post. Is it Chile? or Chili? I like the use of two i, and it IS a personal thing.

The Calabacitas recipe isn’t my only blog post that gets the chili/chile comment. In fact whenever I use the “chili” spelling in any post I get a comment about the spelling. Everyone is an expert, it seems. But after looking up the word in several dictionaries, both spellings appear to be universally accepted as…you guessed it…either way.

Chili Festival PosterThere are many arguments about why one way is correct and visa versa, but to me it really matters not. It is a personal pref. However, it is just amazing to me how many people out there just have to be right. In the Festival Poster shown it is obvious that the people in Colorado were trying to skirt the controversy. I bet it didn’t work.

One of the most compelling arguments lately was that Spanish speaking people would not pronounce the word correctly unless it had an E on the end. This made me think a bit. I have concluded in my own mind that the pronunciation is as varied as the spelling, and unless you are talking about the country, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Again, my personal opinion.

Chili, Chile PosterHere in New Mexico people say it different ways…
chill lee
chill lay
chee lee
chee lay

and no one really cares. We all know what it is. What is your argument for or against one spelling or another?

Here are some links to the same controversy. Apparently this IS a hotly contested issue. Pun intended.
LA Times
American Copy Editors Society (ACE)
Wikipedia
and my personal favorite…
Chili in Chile is Ají

What do you have to say about the subject? Bear in mind I won’t be swayed. I like the way I spell chili.

Fiery Food Show 2013No matter how you want to spell it, if you are in Albuquerque this weekend please check out the Fiery Foods Show at the Sandia Resort and Casino Event Center. Then report back with all the variations of the spelling and pronunciation of our beloved capsicums.

I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

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