A guide to Chilean Spanish

To native Spanish speakers and non-native speakers alike, Chilean Spanish can sometimes leave you scratching your head wandering what all this ‘weón/wea’ nonsense is about, but don’t worry! Have a read of this guide to Chilean and the next time a Chilean asks you ‘cachai?’, you can respond with an emphatic ‘si po weón!’.

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Huevón

Chatting with a Chilean, going to a restaurant or just walking down any street in any town, you’re almost guaranteed to hear a variation of this wonderful little word which can mean so many things. A particular favourite of Chileans, is certain to leave a gringo’s head spinning, is the phrase ‘puta la wea aweonado weón’. Confusing right? Put politely this saying can mean ‘oh my goodness how ridiculous’ or ‘oh mate how stupid you are’ to give two meanings.

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Cachaste esta wea? Si po, la raja!

A particularly charming lexical feature of Chilean Spanish is ‘Si po’, an often enthusiastic affirmation which foreigners tend to find rather ‘encantador’. What does it mean I hear you ask. Well the answer is not much! The ‘po’ is purely a figure of speech, a derivative of the word ‘pues’ which no longer means anything and is often just a rather stylish way of speaking. To any gringos out there throw a ‘Si po’ into a conversation with a Chilean to give them a chuckle while they will also appreciate you speaking the Chilean dialect.

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If you’re in Chile and you’ve been enjoying trying out some of these quirky little phrases, check out this excellent range of tours and activities for a great time in this wonderful country here!

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Pronunciation

Once you’ve made it to Chile and you’ve noticed that everyone is chatting ‘weones’ and ‘weas’, you might have noticed in the midst of all this lexical confusion that all pronunciation seems to go out the window on the other side of the Andes. Well Yes you’re right, it does! Chileans are famed for how quickly they speak, with simple phrases sounding like a gobbledygook of vowels and mumbles to some! Don’t worry, you will become accustomed to the speed they speak at very quickly, however make sure to remember that often Chileans will not pronounce the letters ‘S’ and ‘D’, particularly common examples of this being ‘má’ o meno”, and ‘pesa’o’ .

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What is it with Chileans and all the animal expressions?

After a little while, you may have begun to notice that numerous curious Chilean expression seem to be in some way related to animals, even including huevón, which is derived from ‘huevo’, meaning egg in English. There is an unquantifiable number of expressions, many of which would leave me looking confused and blurting out ‘¿Que wea?’, but to give you a few examples, in Chile one does not have a whip round, you do a cow! Yes, in Chile ‘hacer una vaca’ means to have a whip round, while ‘pasarlo chancho’, ‘chancho’ referring to a  pig, means to have a good time, and gallo(a), meaning chicken, can be used to refer to a man or woman.

If you’re travelling in Chile or South America, make sure to download TheBesty application, where you can chat with a local expert about anything concerning your stay, and you can also find a comprehensive guide to local dialects, including in Chile! Download TheBesty here today weón!

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