If something caught my attention, for good, in Costa Rica, it is the enormous richness of its vocabulary. What you just read is a brief dialogue written only using words from the country’s daily dictionary.
Although their formal language is very similar to Spanish in Spain, when Ticos speak colloquially they use a lot of their own words.
Obviously, a Spanish-speaker can communicate perfectly with anyone in Costa Rica even if they don’t know a single one of their “Costa Ricans,” but knowing something more about their language is a nice way to get closer to their reality.
The Tico Times does a “Tico Talk” series for expats and tourists. Visit their site for more words and phrases.
|Ahuevado:||To be sad or down.|
|Balazo:||Ridicule, shame.What balazo, have failed the test!|
|Bateador:||Person that is usually guessing (no certainty of the truth).|
|Bicho:||All kinds of bugs or insects.|
|Birra:||Beer, beers in plural means “birras”|
|Bocas:||Appetizers served to eat liquor makers.|
|Brete:||Work. bretear (v.): to work. July bretea much, I see very tired.|
|Chancecito:||Time. Give me just a chancecito to help you fix dinner.|
|Chavalo:||(Noun) Boy, child. There are a chavalos who ignore and continue to play into the street.|
|Chichi:||(m.) Child (a)|
|Chinear:||Give love, pamper, treat well.|
|Chiva, Chivisima:||Expression among young denoting pleasure, something cool.|
|Chunche:||Thing, object. chunchero: lots of things.|
|L.j. :||Let’s go,”los juimos” (nos fuimos).|
|Macho, Machito:||Person of hair and clear skin.|
|Pa’l tigre:||The opposite of pure life, be wrong for some reason.|
|Pacho:||Comic, funy situation, embarased situation|
|Pele el ojo!:||Expression of warning, such as ” Beware”|
|Porfa:||Please, abreviation of por favor|
|Soque!:||Expression to hurry.|
|Suave!:||Expression to ask them to wait or stop.|
|Upe!:||Flavourful used to knock on the door.|
|Wachin pupilas:||Be alert, “look to Christ,” pay attention.|
|Zarpe:||Last drink the Ticos are taken, the zarpe is not always the last one|
Photo courtesy of the Tico Times.