Expand your vocabulary

After reading this article I was inspired to write a post about words without direct translation -as if learning another language wasn’t hard enough. Spanish has thousands of these words, mostly regional slang, but some official words. (English has some as well, such as overhear.) These are a few that I could think of:

  • Pajarear (pa-ha-reh-ar) v. To drift around, most of the time in the streets, “wasting” time.
    I love this word. There seems to be no English equivalent other than procrastinate. The word itself might have something to do with the word for bird or pájaro, but that could be wishful thinking.
  • jartar (har-tar) v. To drink alcohol, usually a lot of it.
  • chafa adj. Of dubious quality, i.e., pirated. My mom used to say marca gato or cat brand. This is really common here due to the incredible obsession with brands and consumerism. Most people do not have the money to buy the original so they buy the chafa version. This is actually Mexican slang, but I like the way it sounds.
  • friolenta (free-oh-lent-ah) adj. To be sensitive to the cold. Since Bogotá is up in the Andes, it’s usually rather chilly. When I go to someone’s house and stay over they will ask me if I’m friolenta so they know how many blankets to pile on the bed.
  • pena (pen-ah) n. Shame, pity, embarrassment, sorrow. A lot of people here seem to live their life based on this one, making choices depending on the amount of pena they would feel.

 It’s not a very exhaustive list, but maybe as I keep encountering these words I’ll post them up. If you have any that you’d like to share feel free. 

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2 Responses to Expand your vocabulary

  1. diyeibroquen says:

    Podríamos catalogar este post de muy, muy, muy chafa pero démosle una oportunidad e imaginemos que se convertirá en algo así como la entrega periódica de la fruta semanal y que paulatinamente incluirás las nuevas palabras que vas aprendiendo por ahí en tu paso por las calles capitalinas. Aunque mi slang se ha mexico-chilenizado por completo sugiero los siguientes términos: chimba, aguafiestas, chévere (aunque ahora no recuerdo si ya estaba explicada en el post Carrefour), chambón, chino y mono. Vamos a ver si cuando empiecen las clases sigue pajareando igual “mija”

    • Manu says:

      Sí, he de confesar que este post es muy chafa, pero mi esperanza es que se vuelva algo periódico así como lo describiste. Hasta tenía pensado unos de ñero speak, pero no hablo ñero entonces necesitaría la asesoría de un experto ;)

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