Tag Archives: language

Slang, yo.

It is interesting how powerful slang can be. Just walking around, we hear slang words and phrases everywhere. It is quite common. However, we generally only hear it. When we read it in a newspaper or somewhere, it looks out-of-place.

When slang starts to appear in places and gets treated like a normal word, both written and spoken, then I may worry. Why is slang so powerful and influential to the spoken and written word?

But the more important question: Do we want to be known by our slang, by words that are only understood by other people within our country, or do we want to sound more professional and intelligent?

I do use slang, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the slang I don’t use, because it just sounds… ugly. Why change something beautiful like language? Why butcher it to something that is unrecognizable? I have heard slang in my different countries and even in different languages. Here is an example:

When I first started learning Spanish, I wanted to learn because I thought it one of the most beautiful languages spoken. I still believe that. It has a magic about it that makes the tongue move like a dance. Exquisite. When I started meeting people from Spanish-speaking countries and travelling to those countries, I found that I got lost in a lot of the language. I was hearing a completely different language. That was because I had never learned the slang. But this Spanish was not beautiful to my ear. It was messy and rough, not the poetry that I dreamed of. It disappointed me greatly.

My point is this: Why do we let slang rule our language? Why does it make us so comfortable? Since when does using beautiful words together in a sentence make you sound “old-fashioned” or a “know-it-al”? Since when did we compromise our knowledge?

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¿Cachaco o Rolo?

Here are some random expressions and slang words used by Colombians, more specifically from Bogotá:

qué chanda – how awful!

me están robandoen mi cara – (They are) cheating me to my face.

aye Dios mío – My God! (bad)

juemadre vida – crap! I can’t believe it!

juemadre – crap!

qué increíble – incredible! (good or bad)

¿En serio? En serio. – Really? Really. (“He took my car without my permission!” “Really?” “Really.”)

severo – cool

chévere – really cool

chimba – really really cool (but not used by older generations. This is kind of a derogatory word to describe something you really like, so be careful how you use it. Not usually used by women either, unless they are ‘rough’.)

gringo – foreigner, more specifically from the United States [“¿Tu eres una gringa?”] (“Are you a foreiner?”)

¿Qué más? – what’s up? [“¿Qué más, parce?”] (What’s up, buddy?)

Usted está igualito. – “You haven’t changed.”

thinner/aquadiente – strong, clear ligueur that smells and tastes like black licorice. sold in cartons or bottle

flaca – thin [“Ella es flaca.”] (“She is thin.”)

charlar – to chat [“Charlamos.”] (“Let’s chat.”)

chino – quite literally means ‘chinese’ but is used more commonly to refer to a small child

marica – means faggot, but is used among friends

nonas/nonos – no

sisas – yes (kind of street slang)

parce/parcero – friend

al pelo – cool, okay, perfect, very good (This is a confusing expression, because it doesn’t have an English translation and can change meaning depending on context.) [“¿Va a venir esta noche?” “Si.” “Al pelo.”] (“Are you coming over tonight?” “Yes.” “Perfect.”)

qué video – lie, overreaction, problem (again, depending on context)

borracho – drunk [“¿Estás barracho?” “Sisas.”]

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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Colombia, Español


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