Andaluzzz 101

What is Andaluz?  It is the Spanish dialect of the southern region Andalucia, where I live.  Although it’s apart of Spain (yes they do speak Spanish), they speak a completely different version. Some of my best friends coming to visit in the end of April, so I want to give them some key phrases to practice before they get here.


People here in Andalucia live by the motto “No pasa nada,” which essentially means that there is no worries, no hurry, no rush for anything.  BUT, they are always in a rush with what they have to say.  What I am trying to say is that they speak the fastest Spanish I have EVER heard.  They will drop endings off of words, drop syllables out of words, merge words together to create a whole new dialect.  When I talk with people from my pueblo, my go to phrase is “Como?” (what?) or “otra vez?” (Once again?). Many times I just nod and smile…

ANYWAYS, Spaniards here speak a mile a minute, en serio.  Here are some key phrases/words I have learned during my time here.  Also, thanks to mi amiga buena, Christine, for writing this first so I can just add to it.

“A ver”: translated this means “to see” but is used as a way of saying “for example” or “look.”  Useful in everyday conversation.  Another key word that is related to this is mira which translated means “to watch” as in “mira una pelicula” (watch a film), but it can also mean “Look” as an exclamation or just a statement.

Olé”: All Americans think that ole means “yes” or “hooray” which is correct.  Here the emphasis is on the O or the first syllable of the word and the longer you drag out the O the more intense or emphasized the word becomes.  Ole if something is good, Ooole if something is great, and Oooooole if something is fantastic.  Many of my students will yell “Olé!” if someone drops a book on the floor or I mess something up on the board (usually a spelling mistake…).

“Estoy muerto de…”: whatever word you choose to end this phrase with means that you are experiencing a very intense emotion as you are saying “I am dead from…”  Most commonly people say that they are dying from hunger or weariness (“Estoy muerto de hambre,” my personal favorite).  So dramatic.

“Cerca de muerte!”:  Translated that means “close to death.”  It’s a dramatic expression that many Spaniards will yell out when they are tired, hungry, full, sick, literally any emotion is sufficient for this phrase.

‘Ta lu’o”: This is an Andaluz expression, shortened from hasta luego or “see you later.”  In Andalucía all conversations are rapid-fire and as quick as possible so many times the beginnings and ends of words are dropped in order to save time.  This phrase can also be used when you are walking down the street and you see someone you know, but you don’t have time to stop and chat (WHAT?  You are in a RUSH?  Imposible en España!), you can just say “hasta luego!

“Adió!”:  this is another Andaluz expression that is a shortened version of “Adios!” which means “good bye.”  Just like hasta luego, this can be used as a quick hello/goodbye on the street too.

“Buenas”: This is the shortened version of “Buenos dias,” “Buenas tardes,” or “Buenas noches,” (Good morning, good afternoon, good evening).

 Tio/tia: these translate to casual names for males and females such as “man,” “dude,” “girl,” or “brother.”  A greeting between friends or a way to refer to your close friends.  However, a girl can’t walk into a group of guys and yell “Mis tios!  Que pasa?!,” they can only do that with their gal pals.

“Vale”: this is the Spanish “okay.”  You use it to agree or show your comprehension of the other person.  I have heard conversations that one person has literally just said “vale” or “” the whole time.

“Venga!”: This word literally means “come” but can be used in couple different ways.  It can mean “come” if you want someone or something to come to you, such as a dog or if you want your friend to hurry up.  This word can also mean “tell me more” if used in conversation with vale.  For example you could say venga, vale if you agree with someone and want you to tell more, or just to agree with what they are saying.

“Venga, vamos!”: This translates to “Come, let’s go!”  My friends and I love saying it when we are in groups.  We hear all of the señoras in our cities say it to their families, or to their tias for a coffee or a tinto de verano (literally wine of the summer, red wine mixed with lemon fanta).  They say it in a special way where they drag out the “veeeennnnga, VAMO!” (notice they take off the “s” on vamos, sooooo Andaluzzzz).

“Joder!”: this word has a couple of different meanings, but they are both used as cuss words.  It can mean “to piss off,” to “eff off,” of just as an interjection such as “Jesus Christ!” Also, it is very important how you use your hands when you say this phase.  It you put your hands in the air, it’s more of a “Jesus Christ!”  When you shake your fist, it’s more of “piss off!”  It is not uncommon to hear this 5 times in a conversation or to hear on any given Spanish TV show.  I personally learned this one from the Spanish version of “Jersey Shore” called “Gandía Shore.”  It’s just as classy as it sounds.

“Madre mía!” or “Dios mio!”: literally translated this means “my mother” and “my God!” but is used more as an interjection to mean “oh man,” “oh my God,” or “geez.”  This is most dramatic when used in conjunction with hand gestures and the proper tone of voice.  The more dramatic, the better, and the more Andaluz you become.

“Ay!”: This is used as a dramatic filler, and you must dramatically wave your hands.  It is most commonly used when someone makes a mistake or accidentally bumps into you, “Ay perdón!

“Esta una cabra.”: Translated it means “mad as a hatter!”  A few of my students have said this to me when they don’t understand what I am saying…or they say “no intiendo ni papa maestra!”  Which means “I don’t understand ANYTHING!”

Lastly, my favorite:  “Que fuerte!” or “Que…[insert an adjective]” : In this phrase, “que” means “how,” like “How strong!” (Que fuerte!) or “How good!” (Que bien!).  I am guilty of using these phrases all the time (with dramatic hand gestures and tone of voice, claro).  Any little adjective can be used here…except for weather like it’s hot or it’s cold.  You say “Hace calor” (It’s hot!) or “hace fría!” (It’s cold!).

Now that you have a little introduction to Andaluz…you can maybe not look so much like a tourist?  I would like to say that you would understand the people here, but let’s be real that is a whole other lesson (heck, I can’t even understand them!).

Now imagine yourselves living the dream here in Andalucia!  Tapas, cervezas, religious processions, fiestas galore!

Now imagine yourselves living the dream here in Andalucia! Tapas, cervezas, religious processions, fiestas galore!

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