My adopted language

Sara has been reading my mind lately and blogging about things that I’ve been thinking about too…like the weather and Chilean Spanish. She pretty much said everything I had to say about Chilean winters (yes, I’m from Vermont, but the Chilean winter is more miserable, trust me!) but I do have a few new thoughts about Chilean Spanish.

When I arrived here in 2007, I had just spent 3 months in El Salvador. I said things like “aguacate” and “ahorita” and “guineo” and everyone told me I spoke like a Mexican. They thought it was cute.

Chilean Spanish was a bit different to understand, but I wouldn’t say it was more difficult. I lived in the middle of the campo in El Salvador where everyone speaks incredibly fast and slurs their words together. El Salvador also has a lot of slang words too that I had to learn, but now I can only remember one. So for me, it was more a matter of adapting to the new slang, but it happened really quickly. I also think it helped that we took a Chilean Spanish class where they taught us how to conjugate the verbs into the Chilean vos form (like vos cachai? or vos tenĂ­?), where to correctly place the po and the many derivations of weon (which is really huevon).

I don’t use po or cachai very often, although sometimes it just slips out. The only time I ever conjugate verbs with an -ai or -i ending is with estar and tener and only very occasionally.

However, I use A TON of Chilean words on a daily basis. My favorite is altiro (right away), me da lata (I don’t feel like it, or I have negative feelings towards), fome (boring, but in a very negative way), filo (whatever), pescar (pay attention to), te pasaste (I really appreciate it), and about a million others. In fact, when I went back to the US the first time, I didn’t even realize some words were only Chilean, like regalonear (cuddle)and garabato (a swear word, not a sketch).

Chileans say they speak poorly, but I think it’s just different. I admit that it’s not as easy to understand as Peruvian or Bolivian Spanish, and it’s full of weons, cachais, and pos but it’s my adopted country and my adopted language so I fully embrace it, and maybe even love it.

To learn more chilenismos, check out this blog. It rocks.

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