Its time to learn how to speak Venezuelan Spanish!
Venezuelan Spanish basic expressions are very similar to common Spanish that you may have heard.
The dialect and slang spoken in Venezuela is among one of the best.
Similar to Colombian Spanish there are many different dialects throughout the country.
Since there are many different ethnic groups the language has developed overtime.
Being just larger than twice the size of California or about 1.5 times larger than the country of France.
One the coast there is more African descent while in many interior parts of the country there is more European heritage.
I received a lot of push back on my top things to do in Venezuela post because I stated that the country was quite dangerous. I was kidnapped in the capital, Caracas, but managed to negotiate my escape in addition to the return of my credit cards and cash to pay the airport taxes. There are many violent protests (and deaths) occurring all over the country.
I hope many people realize now that it is very dangerous in Venezuela at the moment.
If you are stubborn like me and still insist on visiting the country then your best bet would either be Margarita Island or the small city of Merida. There are quite a bit of protests in Merida as it is a university town so it would be best to ensure that the protests and riots are over before visiting.
I was actually born in Merida which is located in the Western part of the country. Any time that I visit Venezuela I always go via land through the Colombian border town called Cucuta. I always prefer to visit via land because there are egregious 8-10 hour delays at the Caracas international airport.
The reason why I mention Merida is because even with all the turmoil that the country has seen it is still one of the most visited cities in Venezuela. The people from Merida and the region are called Gochos (Gou-Chous).
Gocho literally means idiot.
Merida to Venezuela is very similar to what Medellin is to Colombia. People from Merida and the region are different from most other parts of the country. People are known to be much nicer, have better manners, and overall be much more open than many other places in the country. This is why many people consider them to be stupid.
Even though this post is about learning how to speak Venezuelan Spanish I still had to give a special shout out to Merida. It is a very beautiful city with great people, almost perfect weather year round, and great cuisine.
The beautiful city of Merida
Variations in Dialects
The official Spanish dialect is stated to be from the Spanish spoken in the capital, Caracas. Because of the immigration from Europe during World War II there is a great number of European descendants. This is one of the reasons that Venezuela has one of the best spoken dialects of Spanish in South America along with Colombia and Argentina.
There were many African Americans that were brought to the coastal lowlands so there is a fair amount of slang in various parts of the coast as well. This is also magnified with the Caribbean influence although that is where it generally stops. The capital city of Caracas has a high number of European influence and that is why the Spanish spoken in Venezuela is normally more clear, easier to understand, and considered more proper.
One may be surprised to know that there are many local European colonies in the mountains in Venezuela. There is even a German colony that has mostly been cut off from the rest of the country.
Venezuelan Basic Expressions
There are many sayings in Venezuelan Spanish that are defined as “Venezuelan.” In other words, no one would say these words unless they were actually from the country of Venezuela.
- “pana” – Defined as bro or dude
- Que pasa pana? – What’s up bro?
- Como estas pana? – How are you bro?
- “chamo” (chama for referring to female) – Similar to above means bro or man
- Que pasa chamo? – What’s up bro?
- Como estas chamo? – How are you bro?
- Como te llamas chama? – What is your name girl?
- “chevere – That’s great/awesome
- Esta chevere! – That’s awesome!
- “tal qual” – Yes, Exactly, or I agree
- Ese jacuzzi es lindo, si tal qual. – The acuzzi is very nice, yes I agree
- “en ratonado” – Hungover
- Estoy en ratonado – I feel like a rat (but actually means hungover)
- “toche” – Stupid/Idiot
- Que toche este tipo – This guy is stupid
Peruse our other Spanish language lessons:
This year has been very controversial in Venezuelan politics with the elections after the death of President Hugo Chavez. When all this was happening, I was reviewing the books Quick Guide to Venezuelan Spanish and Quick Guide to More Venezuelan Spanish. Among the words that caught my attention were several colloquialisms related to politics, government or power.
Political issues are complicated, that’s the rule. Knowing the local words related to politics and government will help you understand how the incidents develop when they are reported in the press or discussed on the streets. Here are some examples:
16 Venezuela Spanish Slang Terms About Politics: Colloquialisms
A follower of the Venezuelan political party Acción Democrática.
Example: Carlos es adeco hasta la muerte, siempre le ha sido fiel al partido.
A beneficiary of president Chavez’s government.
Example: Ese general es un boliburgués, que antes vivía en un humilde apartamento y hoy es dueño de varias propiedades en Venezuela y en el extranjero.
The new Venezuelan wealthy class, created from beneficiaries of president Chávez’s government.
4. bozal de arepa:
Buying one’s consciousness by getting political or economic privileges.
Example: Los militares tienen bozal de arepa, por eso es que no hacen nada en contra del gobierno.
The plane of the president of Venezuela.
Example: Todos los ministros se fueron de viaje con el Presidente en el camastrón.
A follower of president Hugo Chávez.
Example: Mi prima es chavista y no soporta que hablen mal de Chávez.
A powerful person, a person with a high position, influence or authority.
Example: Alfredo es tremendo chivo en la empresa, él es de los que mandan ahí.
A follower of the political party COPEY
Example: Los adecos y los copeyanos han unido fuerzas para contrarrestar al gobierno.
Example: A los políticos lo que les interesa es quedarse con el coroto.
To get benefits from political or economic power.
Example: Mario se enchufó porque es amigo del nuevo General.
11. gran cacao:
An important or powerful person.
Example: Eugenio Mendoza es un gran cacao por su riqueza y poder.
Public disturbance, lately (since the Chávez government began) it has been used to describe any protest from the opposition to bring the government down.
Example: Los opositores tienen una guarimba planificada.
Example: El policía me matraqueó para no ponerme la multa.
Left leaning in politics.
Example: Guillermo es ñángara y gran admirador del Ché Guevara.
Pull, influence or authority to make another person to get accepted as a member of an institution through irregular procedures.
Example: Ella consiguió ese trabajo por palanca, porque su tío es uno de los altos ejecutivos de la compañía.
16. vende patria:
Someone who doesn’t care about his country, or about any cause that they share with others.
Example: Te pasaste al otro equipo porque estábamos perdiendo ¡Si eres vende patria!
Do you think the Chavez related words will disappear or will his replacement simply inherit their usages? Can you tell me other political colloquialisms from Venezuela?
Check out these other articles on Venezuela Spanish Slang Expressions.
Featured photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Venezuela.jpg#file