Tuesday, 22 September 2015

How to speak Colombian Costeño (Coastal) Slang!


When I arrived in Barranquilla with what a fairly decent grasp on the Spanish language - a degree in Modern Languages does normally help a bit - I was expecting to be generally OK. I might have to learn a bit of the local lingo, perhaps. and get used to the accent, but these things are easily overcome. Also, in Colombia they speak the clearest Spanish in the world, right? Not quite. This may be apparently true of Bogota, but on the coast - as I was soon to discover - there is a strong local dialect, a very heavy accent and a heck of a lot of words that they don't even use in other parts of the country, let alone on the other side of the world! Since the moment I realised this, I have been compiling a list of my favourite terms: some because they are in common use, some are helpful to know, and some because they are just quite funny. I don't claim to have a list of every word, or the proper definition, I've just done the best I can with the 10 months experience I had and asking a few friends. Please add any suggestions for extra words/changes in the comments below :)

 COSTEÑOL
 LITERAL  TRANSLATION
 MEANING
Ajá
Aha
Aha/oh really/I don’t believe you/I understand/you’re totally right/That’s utter rubbish (it’s quite multi-functional)
A la orden
At your command
At your service
Bacano
Cool
Brother/Cuadro/Pana
Brother/Square/corduroy 
Mate/Dude
Cachaco
Anyone from the interior of Colombia
What people from the coast call people from Bogotá
Caribe
Caribbean
Expensive
Camello
Camel
Work
Cancelar
To cancel
To pay (rather confusingly)
Chévere
Cool
Chincharrón
Pork rind
Problem
Chino
Chinese person
Asian person
Cógela suave
Take it easy
Corroncho
Chav/Redneck
What people from Bogotá call people from the coast
Cule
Loads
Curramba
Barranquilla
Dale
OK
Dar papaya
To give papaya
To give a thief an opportunity to rob you, similar to ‘opportunity makes the thief’
Eche
What?!
Espantajopo
Arse Scarer
Hipster
Firme
Firm
OK
Firme como la gelatina
Firm like jelly
Whatever you want it to mean
Flaca/gorda/negra
Skinny girl/fat girl/ black girl
Dear/honey/baby – all terms of endearment, believe it or not!
Frías
Cold ones
Beers
Fuera como la guayabera
Out like the Hawaiian shirt
Left out
Full
Full
Very
Gringo
U.S. citizen
White person
Guaro
Colombians’ spirit of choice, aguardiente.
Guayabo
Hangover
Hacerse bolas
To make balls for yourself 
To be confused
 -ico/-ica eg. galleta/galletica
Diminutive form, used on everything! eg. biscuit/little biscuit
Mamando gallo
Breastfeeding from a chicken
Messing around/making fun of someone
Mami/Papi
Mummy/Daddy
Any female/male person (including your children/partner)
Man
Man
Man
Marica
Gay man
Mate/Dude
Me vale huevo
It is worth egg to me
I don’t care
Mi alma/corazón/vida/reina
My soul/heart/life/queen
My love (also used for strangers)
Mover el bote
To move the tin can
To dance
Muñeca
Doll
Babe/honey
La ñapa
The extra bit you ask for when you buy things in the street e.g. a top up on your juice cup
Naranjas
Oranges
Nothing
¡¡Nojoda!!
Don’t fuck with me!
You’re kidding!
Pagó
Paid
OK/Let’s do it
Pava
Female turkey
Boring
Pelá/Pelao
Child
Picó
Pickup
MASSIVE speaker system!
Pillar eg. ‘¡Nos  pillamos allí!’
To catch
To see eg. ‘See you there!’
Pupy
Puppy
Posh/snobby
¿Qué más?
What else?
What’s up?
Relájate como la carne
Relax like meat
Chill!
Translento
Translow
Referring to the (not very speedy) Transmetro bus system
Tres quince
Three fifteen
Happily tipsy
Tronco
Trunk
Loads
Vaina
Thing (VERY useful word!)
Verga/mondá
Penis
Pretty much anything
Vieja/viejo
Old one
Affectionate term for Mum/Dad/Grandparent/Partner 
Zanahoria
Carrot
A boring person
Zapatear a alguien
To shoe someone
To stand someone up

1 comment:

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