After traveling through Spanish speaking countries for about two months, we encountered the Chilean Spanish. (Dom dom dom dom. Lol). We were surprised to see how different it was from the rest, which added a layer of difficulty when communicating with the locals.
Uruguayans and Argentinians have a distinctive accent, much like the Cariocas (from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), where a “sh” sound is often heard, or like the “th” sound from the European Spanish, both of which make it a bit more difficult to understand.
Every country has its own slang and accent, and we didn’t expect Chile to be any different, but unlike other South American countries, Chileans use 50-80% slang in their daily interactions. *this was the explanation received from a local.
A few examples of Chilean slang include:
Cuico (adj.): stuck up
Pololo/polola (s.): boyfriend/girlfriend
Manyar (v.): to eat
Al toque/al tiro (adv.): immediately
Azorrao (adj.): fearful
Avisparse (v.): to become alert, to awaken
Azopado/azopada (adj.): stupid
Alaraco/alaraca (adj.): person who exaggerates or is loud
Last, but not least, my favorite:
Cachai(v.): from the English verb to catch. It means to understand. It is used both as a question and as an answer.
There is also something they call Chilenismo, which includes conjugating verbs differently than the way it is taught in school. For example:
English: Are you going to drink everything?
Spanish: Vas a tomar todo?
Chilean: Vai a tomar to-o?
English: How are you?
Spanish: Como estas?
Chilean: Como tai?
English: You want to go
Spanish: Tu quieres ir
Chilean: Voh querei ir
We very much enjoyed Chile, its kind people and its delicious food… Ohh seafood . My only recommendation if you plan to spend an extended period there is to connect with a local who is able and willing to help you translate or obtain a Chilean idioms dictionary. *a friend of ours living in Chile received one as a gift, and it was as big as an English Oxford dictionary. Lol