How to speak Colombian coastal slang!
When I arrived in Barranquilla, in Colombia, with a fairly decent understanding of the Spanish language (a degree in modern languages does normally help a bit) I was expecting to be generally OK. I might have to learn a bit of the local lingo perhaps, and get used to the accent, but these things are easily overcome. Also, in Colombia they speak the clearest Spanish in the world, right? Well, not quite! This may be apparently true of Bogotá, but on the coast, as I was soon to discover, there is a strong local dialect, a very heavy accent and an awful lot of words that they don't even use in other parts of the country, let alone on the other side of the world! Since the moment I realised this, I have been compiling a list of my favourite terms: some because they are in common use, some are useful, and some because they are just quite funny. Here is a list of my favourites, feel free to add some suggestions below!
Here I have the word (in Spanish), its literal translation in English and then what it really means:
Caribe - Caribbean - expensive
Camello - a camel - work
Chincharrón - pork rind - a problem
Fuera como la guayabera - out like the Hawaiian shirt - to be left out
Me vale huevo - it is worth egg to me - I don’t care
Naranjas - oranges - nothing
Pava - female turkey - boring
Pupy - puppy - posh/snobby
Relájate como la carne - relax like meat - chill!
Zanahoria - carrot - a boring person