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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