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)
Chunche/chuncha thingy/stuff (–> be careful! Can also be used as a man’s “thing” (chunche) or a woman’s “thing” (chuncha))
¡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
Palo (P) tree
Palmear tortillas to clap tortillas
Acá here (same as aquí)
Allá over there (further away than “allí”)
Huerto vegetable garden
Joder to bug
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)