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Concho vs. Concha Controversy

Concho vs. Concha Controversy


Last week, we debated how to say “chaps” and now here we are, once again, trying to solve the age-old argument of concha vs. concho. We put them on everything from belts to boots to buttons to bracelets, and we’re still not even sure we’re saying it right!

Full disclaimer: we say “concho”, we just always have. But we did a little digging for the sake of the debate, to determine which is correct.

Neither. Both. Turns out, it doesn’t matter.

Here’s how it came to be:

“Concha” is the Spanish word for “shell”, which makes sense. You can imagine how the visual of a seashell could be comparative to the flat, round, disc-shaped silver adornments that adopted the name. It’s not really clear when the transition from “a” to “o” happened, but it was likely not a conscious decision to make the change, more likely simply the result of differing accents as the decorative style crossed cultures.

Vintage conchos from DDR archive.

In our research, it appears the “o” adaptation is more prevalent in the United States. There are cities in Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia with towns named “Concho”, and Texas has the Concho River, Concho County, and the Concho Valley.

And what did we learn about concha with an “a”? Well, fun fact: there’s a bone in your nose called your nasal concha, again named for its seashell-like shape, which helps you inhale. And we also learned that there is a traditional Mexican sweet baked bread they call “Concha Bread”, which sounds delicious, so if any of you know how to make it, please send some to the Mother Ship!

Concha shell.

Concha bread.

So, our conclusion? Basically our same solution to all not-that-significant controversies: You do you. Say it however feels right to you, because while one may be more common, neither is wrong. And as long as you’re decked out in gorgeous silver accessories, who cares?!

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Karen Sparks - November 3, 2019

In Oklahoma we say concho, but I believe it depends if you use native pronunciation vs. Spanish. In Oklahoma we have a town named Miami and it is pronounced Mi-am-ma (after the Miami tribe) vs in Florida it is Miami pronounced Mi-am-me. On the other note I say chaps as with the ch as a sh and cringe when I hear the other more common pronunciation which sounds so New York! 😂

Beth Meek - November 3, 2019

Next time you are in San Antonio stop by Mi Tierra they make wonderful Concha Bread.

Debby Moeller - November 3, 2019

I have another question. Why is it on your clothing line Les Guachos. Instead of Los Gauchos. I passed up buying a shirt because of spelling. I work with a Charro family doing exhibitions and that debate was on. Help me to understand

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