It’s happened to the best of us. After putting so much effort into learning a language, building up vocabulary and trying to understand grammar rules, you finally start feeling confident about your skills. And then, you run into native speakers and their way of communicating in everyday life. Contractions, “weird” grammar structures and colloquial word repertoire: this is where the real language (and the key to fluency) actually lies.
So, today I decided to share a few colloquial words and expressions that will hopefully help you blend in with the locals (mostly Mexicans) and take your Spanish to the next level.
If at some point you don’t understand something that was said to you, use “¿Mande?” or “¿Perdón?” instead of “¿Qué?” Although using “What?” in English is quite acceptable in this context, its Spanish counterpart can sound a little harsh or even rude, especially to a Mexican ear. Using a standard “¿Mande?” or “¿Perdón?” will get the message across safely.
Do you want your Spanish to sound more natural? Take advantage of the occasional loss for words by throwing in a casual “este…” instead!
What do you think?
The next time you ask for someone’s opinion in Spanish, try using “¿Cómo ves?” instead of “¿Qué piensas?” Your Mexican friends will be impressed!
Just a sec!
Instead of saying “un momento”, try saying “ahorita”. Even if the literal translation means “right now”, the true sense of the word is actually quite vague and context-dependant. In other words, if someone gives you this reply, don’t expect them to take action right away!
Yes, I know each region has its own way of saying that something is cool, but most Mexicans will use “está padre” as a local expression.
When among friends, Mexicans often use “¿¡Qué onda!?” instead of (or sometimes as in introduction to) “¿¡Cómo estás!?”
What the hell!
“¿¡Qué onda!?” can also be used in this context. Leave it to us to give such different meanings to the same expression ^^
And I was like…
When telling a story to your friends, you can drop an occasional “Y yo así de…” here and there. It will give the conversation a familiar feel .
… might (even)…
As in “we might (even) meet tomorrow” or “it might (even) take longer.” How would Mexicans say this, you ask? “Igual y (hasta) nos vemos mañana” or “Igual y (hasta) tarda más”.