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What do you know about Spanish spoken in Mexico?
When we think of Spanish speaking countries, Mexico is almost always the first to come up.
Many of us even started learning Spanish because of this country.
Even though Spanish is the common language of all Spanish speaking countries, have you ever realized that they have different words and phrases?
Now you are probably trying to remember all the phrases you’ve heard, right?
You’ve certainly heard of ‘Andale,’ ‘Orale,’ ‘Hijole’ etc.
They might sound familiar mainly because of Mexican soap operas or modern Mexican movies.
But do you know what they mean and when to use them?
There’s nothing to worry about.
Today, we’ll share the most useful Mexican words and phrases that can help you sound like a local.
You can also learn Mexican phrases and words once you go there, but we’re pretty sure that you want to be prepared in advance so that you can casually chat with the locals.
Like in every Spanish speaking country, there are different dialects for many historical and social reasons.
The Spanish language was brought to Mexico in the 16th century.
The influence of Spanish was so strong that even today, Spanish is used not only in Mexico but in almost every country in Latin America.
The differences between Spanish spoken in Spain and Mexico are minor. They are mainly reflected in some slang words and phrases.
So, if you want to learn Mexican dialect, you can learn Spanish, Castellano. You will not only have an advantage but also you’ll be able to speak with the locals in every Spanish speaking country you go to.
This book will teach you Mexican slang and give you tips on how to use them in practice.
Besides phrases, you can learn a little bit about slang history as well.
If you plan to travel to Mexico and spend some time there, this is the perfect book for you.
This one is ideal for Mexican Spanish students since it has explanations and programs in Spanish and Mayan, too.
This Institute made an outstanding blog where you can learn about history, culture, Mexican, and much more.
This institute offers an immersion program too. If you apply, you can live with a Mexican family for some time and learn the language with them.
There are more than 500 words and phrases in this book.
It is ideal because you can take it with you anywhere you go. It covers many sentences, definitions, online links, and other useful information about the language.
There are dozens of interjections that are used in many different situations. Depending on the situation, you have to know which one to use.
In the streets of Mexico, people use these phrases daily. So, if you plan to go to Mexico, we suggest you learn them because they’ll come in handy.
Let’s dive in.
This phrase is so widely used that it can express many different feelings.
It can show encouragement, surprise, affirmation, disappointment, frustration.
Andale is a typical Mexican word. Probably anyone who hears this phrase would immediately guess it belongs to Mexico.
‘¡Ándale! Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!’
This word became famous thanks to Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in the world.
If you watched this cartoon, you probably heard the mouse say ‘¡Ándale! Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!’
In this case, it shows encouragement and motivation to run very fast.
This word can have different meanings. You can use it as ‘Órale, ándale,’ which, depending on the tone of the speaker’s voice, can mean either encouragement, but disappointment and surprise too.
The ‘Ándale pues’ phrase is usually used to express concern.
You can also use it as a sign of some mutual understanding or to end some informal conversation.
You can also use ‘Orale pues’ since there is not much difference between these two.
It can also be used as ‘I told you so.’
For example, you haven’t listened to your parents when they told you to study for your exams. So if you fail, they could say: ‘Ándale! Te lo dije!’
‘Órale’ has many different meanings, and it can be used in many different situations.
Mexican linguists say that the word comes from ‘ahora,’ which means ‘now,’ but today, they have no similarity.
Here are some of the meanings of the phrase:
It is commonly used to urge the situation like ‘let’s go,’ ‘hurry up,’ or ‘come on.’
It can be used to express surprise or excitement like ‘wow,’ or ‘ oh my god.’
You can use it as a term of agreement ‘ok,’ ‘yes,’ or ‘fine.’
It can be used as a form of greeting like ‘What’s up.’ Mexican Americans often use the phrase ‘órale vato,’ which means ‘what’s up, man.’ The word ‘vato’ is northern Mexican slang words for man.
In the following lines, find some of the examples of using ‘órale’ in different contexts:
Órale pues.- Alright then
¡Órale que no tenemos todo el día!- Hurry up, we don’t have all day!
Órale, nos vemos a las ocho.- Fine, let’s meet at eight.
¡Órale, órale! Dejala en paz!- Whoa, whoa! Leave her alone!
One of the most popular interjections is ‘Híjole.’ It is similar to ‘damn,’ ‘wow,’ or ‘geez’ in English. It is mainly used to express surprise, shock, or, in some cases, desperation.
It’s not really vulgar, but it certainly isn’t polite, so you have to be careful when to use it.
Here are some of the examples when Mexicans use this word:
When you see some terrible car accidents, then you say, Híjole!
These shoes are 700$... Híjole!
The most suitable equivalent for this interjection in English is ‘wow,’ ‘whoa,’ or ‘damn.’
It can also be used in situations to forbid someone to do something, similar to English ‘Stop!’
If you still don’t quite understand when to use this word, we are giving you some examples:
Espera...Épale, ¿que estás haciendo?- Wait… whoa, what are you doing?
Épale, chamo ¿que mas?- Hey, buddy, what’s up?
This word comes from the well-known phrase ‘ ¿Qué hubo?’ which means ‘What’s up?’
As you can see, this is one of the forms to greet someone. Many consider it the most popular slang phrase Mexicans use. It’s an informal salutation that people use among close friends or family members. You can use it whether you saw that person yesterday, or you haven’t seen them for a while.
This phrase is the equivalent to the English word ‘exactly!’ It shows you strongly agree with someone. Depending on the context, it can be translated as ‘of course!’
Mexicans are friendly, cheerful people. However, they also have bad bays, and they can express sadness and disappointment. So, naturally, some phrases are used to express disappointment or dismay. One of them is ‘újule.’
It is usually an introduction to bad news.
Just like the previous one, this phrase is also used to express disappointment.
In the following lines, find some of the examples on how to use this slang word:
¡Úchale! Se me perdió mi celular de nuevo.Ugh! I lost my cell phone again.
¡Úchale, vato! No te quiero volver a ver por aquí.- Get lost, dude! I don't want to see you around here again.
This phrase can be translated as ‘good wave.’ It is mainly used as an expression to send positive, good vibes, and energy.
It’s an informal way to say that someone is good and positive by nature, as in the following example:
Él es buena onda. He’s a good guy.
Often, it can be modified with ‘bien’ to express something even better. For example:
Ese chavo es bien buena onda.- He’s a great boy.
Just like ‘Buena onda’ means something good and positive, there is the opposite phrase that expresses something bad; ‘Mala onda.’
For example, you’ve heard some bad news. In this situation, you can say ¡Qué mala onda!- That’s terrible!
This expression is among the most common ones to greet someone or to start a conversation. It literally means ‘What wave?’ However, in English, the best equivalent would be ‘What’s up?’
It’s a positive, casual question that you can use in informal conversations. It also sends good vibes and positive energy, just like ‘Buena onda.’
The ton of our voice can often say more than our words. So, if you say ‘¿Qué onda?’ with a hand gesture and not so polite and cheerful intonation, it can mean ‘Do you have a problem?’ meaning that you want to fight.
These expressions are just one piece of a puzzle that is the Mexican Spanish language.
Good news for you is that they are all similar, and they can be used in many different situations.
Of course, you should know which one is the most appropriate to use. To be sure, you can talk to the Spanish tutors on Justlearn. Among them, you can find native Mexicans that can teach you to speak like a local.
It's usually referred to as Mexican Spanish or Espanol mexicano.
Mexican slang are informal words and phrases usually used and created by younger population in Mexico.
Paisa is short for Paisana/Paisano. It means a fellow countryman.
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