I love bananas. They're probably my favorite fruit. Naturally I would want to know how to ask for them in Spanish. And until recently, I thought I did.
It turns out that things are a little trickier than you might think. I remember reading in my Spanish dictionary (or somewhere) a long time ago, and saw that the word for banana is plátano. I thought "Hey, that's pan comido", and I never gave it a second thought. Until today.
I was talking with Jorge, my Colombian amigo, asking him if he had eaten lunch already. He said "No, I'm going to need about 30 minutes to finish up a few things". So I said "Voy a comer mi plátano hasta entonces". And he says "you mean your banano". I immediately gave him the deer in headlights look. At this point he must think I was born with that expression.
So, the next question I asked was "is that Colombian slang?" Well, long story short, we looked in his encyclopedia and browsed around in WordReference, and we both learned that the word for banana depends on where you are.
In Colombia a banana is a banano, and banana (or bananita) is a piece of hard candy. A plátano is a plantain. To find out what what a banana is called in other countries, look at this thread in WordReference.
And just as an FYI, banano can also be a banana tree, and banana the fruit of the tree. Quite honestly, I was surprised to hear about the number of variations Spanish has for banana. Nonetheless, there's no sense in letting this stuff drive me bananas.
Finally, here's another post you might enjoy:
¿Tostones o los amarillos?