Learn SOCIAL MEDIA SPANISH: This is how Latinos communicate online!

Learn SOCIAL MEDIA SPANISH: This is how Latinos communicate online!

¡Ayñ! ¡Sa mamiii! Eres una dura, bb. Escríbeme al privado, pls. 

Did you just understand that? If not, don’t worry, we’ll go over it at the end. This is how Spanish native speakers communicate online, and as you have seen, it does not resemble spoken Spanish at all.

It’s ok to be a bit lost, but you won’t be after watching this video! Because I, Spring Spanish teacher Maura, will show you the most important social media words and chunks that will let you communicate online just like a Spanish speaker! 

1. Amo y brutal (I love it and brutal)

So, this video is going to be interesting. El español de las redes sociales puede ser bastante divertido y complejo, ya que involucra a muchas culturas diferentes. (Spanish on social media can be pretty fun and complex, since there are many different cultures involved.) But, we got this. 

Let's start super positive with these two expressions of appreciation that your translator probably won't get.

Amo (I love it). It is quite common to see it spelled like this: amooooo (I loveeeee it) instead of just one “o” because, well, people like to be emphatic while declaring how much they like something on social media. That's what this means. 

You use it to say you love something without any need to add anything else. Ten en cuenta que no es la palabra “amor”, es la conjugación del verbo “amor” con el pronombre “yo”. (Notice that it is not the word “love”, it is the conjugation of the verb “love” with the pronoun “I”.) 

Brutal (brutal) is dangerous for English speakers because it means exactly the opposite of what it means in English. An accurate translation would actually be: asombroso, maravilloso o increíble. (amazing, wonderful or incredible.) 

So, you could see something like: 

ACTOR 1
¡Amoooo! No puedo con esta foto, ¡está brutal!
(Love it! I can’t handle this photo, it’s incredible!) 

Chunk alert!

No puedo (I can’t) is one of those chunks that will certainly make you sound like a native Spanish speaker because it truly depends on how you use it. The expression no puedo (I can’t) actually means the same as in English most of the time. But, if you use it to show awe, with a positive tone or vibe, it mostly means that something is too good for you to handle.  

Recuerda que en Spring Spanish amamos los chunks. Por esto, te hemos dejado un enlace para descargar gratuitamente nuestro Essential Spanish Chunking kit, con los chunks que te darán mayor naturalidad y libertad al hablar con nativos. (Remember that at Spring Spanish, we love chunks. For this reason, we have left you a link to download for free our Essential Spanish Chunking kit, with the chunks that will give you more naturality and freedom when speaking with native speakers.)

Número dos (Number 2)

2. Baia, baia; La cuerpa y Mami (Wow; That body and Hottie)

This is getting very funny very quickly. También seguimos con la nota súper positiva. (We’re also staying on the super positive note.) 

All of these are used on the same type of content. Keeping it real, it tends to be a very hot photo of a very hot person. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Let’s break them down, shall we? Baia, baia (wow) correct spelling and pronunciation is vaya (wow). This word expresses surprise, either positive or negative. But, if you spell it like baia (wow) the whole thing changes. 

Baia, baia (wow) has a Caribbean vibe and the tone gets 100% positive. Esencialmente, estás llamando a alguien atractivo sólo con decir esto. (Essentially, you’re calling someone attractive just by saying this.)  

La cuerpa (that body) also sometimes pronounced la cuelpa (that bod) with an L is… I don’t know if this is mostly a Venezuelan thing, it could be, but every Latin American understands what it means. Again, you’re very directly telling someone they have an amazing body. No sé si es porque estamos en traje de baño muy a menudo, pero esto es súper común. (I don’t know if it's because we’re in our bathing suits so often, but this is super common.) 

Lastly, mami (hottie), also known as mamasita (hottie). Again, mainly a Caribbean thing but used by everyone that wants to and can pull it off, because we definitely all understand it. 

Pulling it off is the big thing here. You have to be really cool to come across nice and not pervy. I can sometimes do this, but I’m nowhere near fully owning it. I have a friend, though, who is the queen of mami (hottie). She has this on every post.

If you realized all of these seem to live in the feminine world, you’re right. América Latina no escapa a la sobreexualización del cuerpo femenino, pero ese es un gran tema que no estamos cubriendo hoy, así que sigamos. (Latin America doesn’t escape the oversexualization of women’s body, but that is a big topic we’re not covering today so, let’s move on.) 

Número tres (Number 3)

3. Onomatopeyas (Onomatopeias)

Ok, let’s talk about sound now. More accurately, onomatopoeias. None of these are words, and that’s why I’m not translating them. I’ll walk you through them, though. 

  • Fiu, fiu (whistle): this is supposed to be this sound that I can barely do. It needs no further explanation, right?
  • Jajaja (laugh): is how we spell hahaha. Not much to it.
  • Pfff (air sound): is that sound, pfff. You can express a lot of things with this, but they all mean that whatever the thing is, it’s over the top. Puede ser una foto de un lugar increíble, puede ser algo realmente estúpido, puede ser algo súper inteligente. (It could be a photo of an amazing place, it could be something really stupid, it could be something super smart.) But whatever it is, it is a lot of it.
  • Ay (interjection): Not to be confused with the verb hay (there is) or the adverb ahí (there) is mostly used in this tone: ay to express “oops”. And in this tone ay to express “awww”. You could also read it as ayñ because it helps to make it sound sweeter. 

Let’s find some random posts on social media and react to them together, ok? 

Add what you say on the posts.

Además, mira hasta el final si quieres conocer la terminología más importante de las redes sociales que los diccionarios no traducen correctamente. (Also, watch until the end if you want to know the most important social media terminology that dictionaries don’t translate properly!)

Número cuatro (Number 4)

4. Eres: dura, crack o grande (You’re: incredible)

Now, these are used with anyone and for any reason as long as what they want is for the other person to know they are the bomb! 

Eres una dura o un duro (You are incredible) actually translates to “you are hard”. Espero no tener que explicar porqué esto sería muy confuso para los angloparlantes porque no lo voy a hacer. (I hope I don’t have to explain why this would be very confusing for English speakers because I’m not going to.) 

Still, the point is, as mentioned, it means you are incredible. It tends to require a skill so, mostly, you’ll see this on posts where someone is showing off an accomplishment. Also, the articles un o una (a) go in front of it. Here’s an example:

Eres una o un crack (You are incredible): “You are a crack”. Again, this sounds so bad in English, and means something so good in Spanish, I can’t help myself. O sea, también podría traducirlo como “genio” en español. (I mean, I could also translate this one as “genius” in Spanish.) Therefore, it does mean you are incredible regarding intelligence. Also, skills, but the main one would be being smart. Here’s an example:

Eres grande (You are incredible): though grande means big in English, this has nothing to do with physical size whatsoever. It’s about being amazing overall. It’s the broadest of the three because we use this one for things outside skills as well. Generosity and kindness are often related. Humor is another possibility. For instance:

Número cinco (Number 5)

5. Ta, sa, pa, to’ (Is, that, for or to, everything) 

These are not abbreviations per se. After this, we’ll check some actual abbreviations. These ones are not meant to represent a full word, they are meant to be read exactly as they are written. 

La razón es que cuando se leen así, transmiten una vibra y un tono muy diferentes. (The reason being that when you read them like this, they do convey a different vibe and tone.) Usually a more relaxed, playful one.

  • Ta = Esta (Is): this is supposed to be esta (is) but if you just write ta, it’ll sound with more flow, if you know what I mean. Instead of reading something like: está bonito (it’s pretty) you could run into ta bonito (is pretty), and it’ll tell you that the person is trying to be chill about it.
  • Sa = Esa (That): this one stands for esa (that). Remember mami (hottie)? Let’s look at those examples once more. See? With sa in front of the message, sa mami (that hottie), it’s emphasized, and the vibe continues to be even more Caribbean cool.
  • Pa = Para (For or to): nothing to do with papá (father). This is para (for or to) when written like this. Or it could be para el (to the) when spelled pal.  Again, street talk, or social media talk. I actually do this when I talk, and I’m a bit tired and/or acting a little goofy. Like: vamos pal cine (let’s go to the cinema) instead of para el cine (to the cinema) when I’m, say, trying to convince my friends to take me.
  • To’ = Todo (Everything): the full word is todo (everything) but to’ is definitely more humorous and lighter. It’s a decision to do this, though. Meaning, it won't sound unhumorous or heavy if you don’t. There’s a hilarious song in Spain called “En el chino hay de to’ ” (There’s everything at the supply store) which talks about a type of store that sells pretty much everything. The humor in the song has got a lot to do with the fact that it says to’ instead of todo (everything) .

Otra forma de ver estas palabras sería como “lengua de pueblo” pero sin ninguna connotación peyorativa en lo absoluto. (Another way to look at these words would be like “country talk”, but with no pejorative connotation at all.) 

Número seis (Number 6)

6. Uds, tb, tqm, bb, pls, q (You, also, I love you very much, baby, please, what)

Ok, these are actual abbreviations. Here you are supposed to read the full word, we just don’t always write it. For more about abbreviations, you can check my video about “How to shorten Spanish words like a pro”. Coming back to these though, acronyms would be another way to see it, but there’s nothing official about this. Es decir, los diccionarios no los incluyen todavía. (Meaning, dictionaries don’t include these just yet.) 

  • Uds (You): ok, I lied. One of these is official. Uds (You) stands for ustedes (you all) even in dictionaries, but this is the only one.
  • Tb (Also): full word would be también (also) .
  • Tqm (I love you very much): this is te quiero mucho (I love you very much) so it’s not exactly love. Cory has a video you can watch where, amongst other things, she explains this better. Tqm is also a bit outdated in most countries. It was huge when I was a teenager, and you can still see it, though. If you change the “T” for any other letter that stands for other pronouns, like “L”, it would change to lqm = los quiero mucho (I love you all very much).
  • Bb (Baby): full word bebé (baby). We use this exactly as in English, it’s a pet name. 
  • Pls (Please): as you may have seen in some of our other videos, we borrow from English quite often. “Please” is so much part of that, we even use this little acronym. Sí que lo tenemos en español, por supuesto, y estoy segura de que lo sabes. (We do have this in Spanish, of course, and I’m sure you know it.) Let me know in the comments what the translation of “please” would be in Spanish.
  • Q (What): full word que (what). I remember this starting with my generation and text messages. Our parents and teachers were going crazy because we were butchering the language. We do have more options, as Paulisima explains in her video “Stop saying que”. Pero, ¿adivina qué? He oído a lingüistas decir que no sólo no estábamos asesinando al idioma, sino que decir más con menos es una señal de evolución. (But, guess what? I’ve heard linguists say it’s not just that we weren’t killing the language, but saying more with less is a sign of evolution.)

Let’s see how a full sentence looks like with all of them at once:

¡Bb! Uds saben que tb lqm así q pls cuídense un montón. Let me know in the comments how you’d translate this to “real” Spanish, so you can practice for the little quiz we’ll have at the end. 

Número siete (Number 7)

7. Mash y gashias (More and thank you) 

This “sh” sound is added in Spanish to some words to sound like baby talk. In this case: gracias (thank you) becomes gashias and más (more) becomes mash

It resembles the cuteness of babies learning to talk, and so it’s used to be super, duper cute every now and then. Esto lo veo un montón en las redes sociales de mis amigos mexicanos. (I see this a lot on the social media of my Mexican friends.)

Like here.

Número ocho (Number 8)

8. Todes (Everyone) 

Ok, so not too different from the original word todos (everyone) and not used by everyone. I wanted to show you this word as an example of how this language representation thing is more complex in Spanish sometimes. Tenemos una diferencia de género binaria para casi todo. (We have a binary gender difference for almost everything.)

So, politically todes (everyone) is used with a neutral “e” instead of a femenine “a” or a masculine “o” to make an inclusion statement. Te animo a que lo veas como tal. (I encourage you to read it as such.) Nobody knows if and how the language will change. Personalmente no lo hago a menudo, pero en definitiva lo que quiere decir “quiero ser inclusivo” y eso es ante todo algo amable. (I personally don’t do this often, but it definitely means “I want to be inclusive”, and that is first and foremost a nice thing to do.)

Número nueve (Number 9)

9. Terminología de redes sociales (Social media terminology)

This is the last section for this lesson. Right after, I will quiz you by showing you some posts with comments you’ll have to “translate”. So make sure to stick around! 

But first, let’s talk about that terminology. Words that describe actions or features in social media platforms. In some cases, we use the same word as in English. In other cases, we use the exact translation to Spanish. Like “follow” or “download” would be seguir y descargar en español (follow and download in Spanish). 

But, in other cases, the translation won’t help you. Either because it’s an entirely different word in Spanish or because we have more ways to refer to it, and those cases are what this section is about.

Take these English words for example. We have a very “non dictionary” way to translate them to Spanish:

  • Wall: You know? As in Facebook wall. Nosotros decimos muro (We say “muro”), no pared (not wall) which is what “wall” would translate to.
  • Post: Postear, publicar o subir. (Post.) Postear en, publicar en Instagram. Subir al Instagram, por ejemplo. (Post in, publish or upload. Publish on Instagram. Upload to Instagram, for example.)
  • Tag: Etiquetar, taggear o mencionar. (Tag.) Generalmente, usamos etiquetar y taggear para contenido en el que apareces y mencionar para comentarios. (Generally, we use tag for content in which you appear and mention for comments.) 
  • Like: Darle like o darle me gusta. (Like.) Por si acaso, pronunciamos “like” tal cual como en inglés. (Just in case, we pronounce “like” just as in English.)
  • Direct message: Por privado o al privado. (Direct message) Suelen estar acompañados de verbos como escríbeme o háblame al privado. (They are usually accompanied by verbs such as write or talk to me by direct message.)
  • Meme: Meme (Meme) Pronunciamos meme en español, no en inglés. (We pronounce meme in Spanish, not in English). Nos encantan los memes, por cierto, como a todos. Puedes mirar el video de Juan sobre memes en español si quieres saber exactamente cuanto. (We love memes, by the way, as we all do. You can watch Juan's video about memes in Spanish if you want to know just how much.)
  • Emoji: Emoyi, emoticón, emoticono, caritas. (Emoji) Yo siempre digo ”emoyi”, pero las demás también existen. (I always say “emoyi” but the other ones also exist.)
  • Text: Textear, escribir o  enviar mensaje. (Text) Aunque es posible que escuches “textear”, es mucho menos común que escribir o enviar mensaje. (Although you may hear “texting”, it is much less common than writing or sending a message.)

Quiz

Ok, here’s that quiz. I'll show you four different hypothetical situations. Then, I'll leave a comment on each using what we've learned, so you can decipher what it is I’m trying to say. Leave your answers in the comments, and I'll make sure to check them!

  • Situation 1: Remember the first phrase? Now you know what to do with it! ¡Ayñ! ¡Sa mamiii! Eres una dura, bb. Escríbeme al privado, pls. 
  • Situation 2: ¡¡Pfff!! ¡¡Amooo!! ¡¡Q crack!!
  • Situation 3: ¡Ayyy, uds todes lo son to’! ¡Gashias!
  • Situation 4: This is something I could say to my assistant, if I had one, but I don’t. Pls, postea la foto de la playa en el muro de Facebook a ver si le dan like. Ponle un emoyi de ola y taggea a mi hermana. 

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