Nicaragüense – the language of Nicaragua

When arriving toNicaragua, I thought I would get by easily with the Spanish language. I studied Spanish for four years before getting here, one year inCaliforniaand three years inDenmark, getting the best possible grade for my oral exam, so there didn’t seem to be any difficulties. Once the plane had landed, though, things proved differently. First of all, the Spanish you practice in school is the “theoretical” Spanish, meaning the Spanish that they in theory should be speaking in the Spanish-speaking countries. But, of course, the Spanish of everyday life is filled with slang, local expressions and other funny linguistic inventions, creating lots of possibilities for extranjeros, strangers, to be completely misunderstood and understand nothing.

Second of all, the Spanish you learn in school inDenmarkis Spanish of Spain – Castillan Spanish. Many of the words I had learned have another meaning here or don’t even exist, and the little slang I had picked up in class, through the movies we saw and the trip the class made to Spain in our second year in college, but that proved to be more or less useless. The expressions I knew are not used here, and if they are, they mean something completely different. I had to start from scratch.

Thankfully, the program of the brigade dictated that we took a week of Spanish lessons in the beginning of our Nicaraguan adventure. After a week of studies, having refreshed grammar and vocabulary, having learned some more, and most important of all having learned some great slang-expressions, I left the Spanish school in Matagalpa with confidence. We left Matagalpa, we left city life, and we went to the pueblo in the mountains. There is a difference between the Spanish of Spain and the Spanish of Nicaragua, but there certainly also are differences in how the language is spoken inside the country itself. In the pueblo the letter “S” seems to be non-existent, the final syllable of the words is often swallowed, the inhabitants tend to mumble, and once again we were met with new expressions and new words.

The country ofNicaraguahas proven to be an adventure, and, as you can hear, the language has as well.

After more than two months inNicaraguaI have collected quite a lot of words and expressions, some more useful than others. Here is a little homemade dictionary with Nicaraguan slang and expressions – to consult before visitingNicaraguaand to understand the nica-slang that might pop up in my blog. More words to be added throughout the rest of the trip! J

Words and expressions only used in the pueblo are marked with (P) and those only used in the city are marked with (C)

Chele                            white person – Gringo or European

→ is also used as a nickname for light-skinned Nicaraguans

Chela                               feminine version of chele – shouted on the streets at white

girls by Nicaraguan men, along with words like

“bonita/linda” (beautiful), “I love you”…

(They surely have misunderstood something, ‘caus that really isn’t the way of getting to talk to us!!)

Chavalo(-a) (C)           lad and lass

Hembra                          the animal female – used as a synonym of girls (P)

Varón                               boy/lad

Charrangachanga    thingy/stuff

Chereque                       thingy/stuff

Chunche/chuncha                         thingy/stuff   (–> be careful! Can also be used as a man’s “thing” (chunche) or a woman’s “thing” (chuncha))

¡Tuani!                             Cool!

¡Deacachimba!           Cool! – mostly used by young people, (slight annotation to

women’s private parts…)

¡Deaca!                              Cool! (short version of “deacachimba”)

¡Púchica!                         neutral expression – used as “damn it!””Ouch” “Whoops..”

and the like

Bastante                           lots of/many

Dale                                     okay (same as Castillan expression “Vale”)

Dale pues                         different meanings, according to the context… You’ll have

to  figure  that one out yourself

Entonces                         then…, so… – used a lot!

¡No hombre!                  No man! Hell no!

¡Como no!                       As if! Of course yes!

Chiclar                              funny buisiness of men and women

Tronar                              funny buisiness of men and women

Fornicar                           funny buisiness of men and women

Moler                                  funny buisiness of men and women

¡Ideay!                               What happened?! What the heck?!

¿Qué honda?                  What’s up?

¿Qué tal?                           What’s up?

Buena onda                     good wave

Buen coco/cabeza de coco

Good head, smart one

Finca                                    farm/ranch

Palo (P)                                 tree

Carro                                     car

Chinela                                sandal

Chapa                                    earring

Palmear tortillas          to clap tortillas

Acá                                          here (same as aquí)

Allá                                         over there (further away than “allí”)

Huerto                                  vegetable garden

Cedula                                   ID

Joder                                      to bug

Basura                                   garbage/litter

Guaro     – liquor

Bolo     – drunk man / to be drunk

Borracho     – drunk man / to be drunk

Piruca     – drunk man / to be drunk

Guarosqui     – drunk man / to be drunk

Tapirul     – drunk man / to be drunk

Chiguina     – girl

Chiguin     – boy

Moizo     – boyfriend

Jaño     – boyfriend

Chivo     – boyfriend

Tombo     – police

Jurra     – police

¡Hijo de puta!      – well, best if you don’t use that too much…. And if you really want to know: Son of a bitch!

Chimoso     – gossip

Lengua larga     – big tongue –> gossiper

“Tengo la cabeza saber como…”     – I’m forgetful, I forgot

Hay nos vidrios     – see you soon

Aqui no mas     – right over there (talking about directions)

Va pues     – go ahead (-ish…)

“Que le vaya bien”     – that you will travel well (used when saying goodbye to a person, even when that person is just going to work or the like)

“A saber…”     – who knows…

Simon     – yes

Nelson     – no

Roco / roca     – dad/mom

Cumiche     – youngest sister/brother

Chicle     – chewing gum

Prensar     – to hurry

¡Que barbaridad!     – how stupid! –> how barbaric!

Lluvia en la cabeza     – SOOO many thoughts/ideas just raining down on you

¡Tronco!     – the top! Great!

Trolear     – to walk

“Hacer ____ al trol”     – to do ____ fast

-isimo/a     – strengthens a word, ex: ¡Tuanisimo! = Really great! Aburridisimo = soooo boring

Mofa     – a joke

Timar     – to cheat

Bella     – beautiful

Nicañol     – Nicaraguan Spanish (Nicaragüense + Español)

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León!

Last sunday we left El Tigre and went for León – the first capitol of Nicaragua. A guide said on the first day: “In León we are very close to God because of all the churches (one church every block!!), but at the same time the heat makes us feel we re in Hell!” And sure, here is so. Extrordinarily. HOT!!! Taking a shower three times a day is far from enough to keep you cooled. We are almost spending more money on cold water than on food because the water heats up so fast! But well, except for that León is a nice and very interesting town.

The beginning was very tough, though. We left El Tigre at 7 o’clock in the morning with the bus down to Pradera. My mother was crying. Chumbo was crying. Yarelis was crying. My dad had been drinking the whole day before because he was so sad of letting me go. I was crying. My mother went with me in the bus to Pradera, along with family members of all the other families in order to give us a decent farewell. The usual bus had broken down the day before, so we overloaded a smaller truck instead with family members, huge bagpacks and crying Danes. Half way down we heard a “Pfoouitt!! Pfoouiii__pfooouiiiiiiiii__pfoooouiiiiiiiiii__pssht..” and realised that one of the right tires had broken. We got out of the bus, Anne slightly paniking realising that we wouldn´t make the bus from Pradera to Jinotega, and all of us waiting for the problem to get solved somehow. Rescue came, and 20 minutes later we climbed aboard another even more truck-like bus, no seats this time and the bottom filled with saw-dust, and went all the way to the next stop on the journey. In Pradera we sat down and waited for the next bus to come, having missed the first one. The bus came, and once again tears were flooding. After 10 hours of sighing, sweating and sleeping we finally made it to León.

And wow…! Try to imagine the pìcture: we hadm just left the village in the mountains were we had been almost non-stop the past six weeks, seeing no other cheles than ourselves, living a life back to basics and ¡¡BOOOM!! there we are, sitting foot in a hostal filled with only white mojito-drunk people, to the sound of heavy music, white skin flashing from every side.
Just imagine…………

Guys in Nicaragua!

My friend Mikkel asked me the other day on facebook: ”How are you doing over there?” “Great!!” I answered. “Kind people everywhere, splendid nature, good beers… And nice guys!” “Uh oh, nice guys, huh? That sounds interesting 😉 “ Really, the guys I’ve met here are nice. Really nice! Funny, humoristic, curious, kind. Some are into nature, some are into religion, some are into theater and dancing. And the Nicaraguan guys are really good looking, too! 😉 It made me think a little. What about the Nicaraguan girls? Well, when it comes down to it, I haven’t really met any. In Matagalpa there were the Spanish teachers of course. Really nice girls (women!), so cool, but they don’t really count. We had a professional relationship, friendly and all, but not as friends. In El Tigre there weren’t any girls in my family. My sister is two years old, and even though my mother is 22 we didn’t really develop a friend-like relationship. I guess we just are at two quite different stages in our lives. The other girls, ladies, I met in the village were friendly, sure, but we didn’t really have any occasion to chat, in opposition to the boys, with whom I got to talk building the office and playing soccer. And besides, if I did have a sister my age in my family I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed painting my fingernails in their company as much as the other girls in the group did. Here in Leon I simply haven’t met any. The theater group with, whom we are working, consists of ten boys and only three girls. Having a conversation with one of the girls I asked her why so few girls are in the group. “Well” she said, “knowing there are mainly boys in the theater groups many mothers don’t feel secure sending their girls over there. And since a lot of the pieces are presented in the night time, it’s basically a no-go. You know, girls in Nicaragua in the age of 17 to 22 years old, living at home, simply don’t have as many possibilities, as many rights, as boys do.”
I guess her answer applies to every layer of the Nicaraguan society. Girls simply don’t have as much freedom, as much spare time as the boys do. Sure, girls do go out and have fun, but not as much, not in the same way. And less when living in the countryside than in town. Religion plays a big part too, deciding of the dos and don’ts.

So yeah, conclusion is that I have gotten a bunch of new friends, guys all of them. Sure my appealing and rather charming appearence and mentality has played a role, but clearly culture has as well.
And I guess this simply is one of many differences between DK and Nicaragua.