Today you’re getting a crash course in the mezcla maravillosa de (wonderful mix of) English and Spanish that’s mainly spoken by the millions and millions of Latinos living in the United States… and that you might also know from popular reguetón songs.
In short, if you don’t know any Spanglish, you’re running behind, bróder. Time to fix that! In this article, I’ll teach you 10 funny Spanglish phrases and words you’ll inevitably hear in Spanish-speaking communities in the US, and that you can use yourself to impress your Latino friends!
1. Tómalo con teikirisi
Used when suggesting someone to calm down or what you probably figured: to take it easy. The Spanish sentence would be: Tómalo con calma (Take it easy).
With this course, voy a aprender español en two weeks.
(With this course I’m going to learn Spanish in two weeks.)
¿En dos semanas? Tómalo con teikirisi.
(In two weeks? Take it easy!)
2. Vamos a janguear
“Janguear” comes from “hanging out”, so you can use this one when inviting your friends to go out or in Spanish, vamos a salir (let’s hang out).
Estoy aburridísimo, bro. Ya es el weekend y no tengo nada que hacer.
(I’m so bored, dude. It’s the weekend already and I have nothing to do.)
Bueno, pero let’s fix that. ¡Vamos a janguear! I’ll pick you up a las 8!
(Well, but let’s fix that. Let’s hang out! I’ll pick you up at 8!)
3. ¿Estás ready?
Pretty obvious combination… The Spanish expression would be ¿Estás listo?
Mira, I’m almost leaving. ¿Estás ready?
(Look, I’m almost leaving. Are you ready?)
Sure, bro. Me estoy terminando de vestir.
(Sure, bro! I’m almost done getting dressed.)
4. Cambiar el look
The English word “look” as in “appearance” has become very popular in different languages, so it almost has its own meaning in Spanish.
So, when you say ¿Te cambiaste el look? to your Latino friend who used to be blonde and now is a brunette, the Spanish equivalent would be ¿Cambiaste de apariencia? (Did you change your look?)
(What’s up, bro?)
Sup, bro?! Nos vam… ¡Epa! ¿Te cambiaste el look?
(Are we… Wait! Did you change your look?)
5. Mandar un inbox
Another mixture thanks to the internet…. The Spanish sentence would be “mandar un mensaje al buzón de entrada” (to send a message to an inbox), but I guess “inbox” is much shorter.
Estuve llamando a Mariana to see if she wanted to come, pero no me respondió.
(I called Mariana to see if she wanted to come, but she didn’t pick up.)
Bueno, le voy a mandar un inbox a ver si se anima.
(Alright, I’ll send her an inbox to see if she wants to come.)
By the way, if you don’t only want to work on your Spanglish, but also 100% Spanish, why don’t you grab our Essential Spanish Chunking Kit? It contains a cheat sheet with the most important Spanish chunks we teach in our videos and that you’ll need in every Spanish conversation!
Chequea el link and… whoops! (Another Spanglish phrase right there.) The Spanish phrase would be revisa el vínculo, but let that one slide, okay?
Common Spanglish Words
So, Spanglish is not only about mixing words in both Spanish and English, it’s also “Spanishizing” words in English and vice versa.
Since this is a process bound to culture and to how people talk on the streets, no hay reglas (there are no rules). The results are both very interesting and often hilarious! Wait until you get to number 3, you’re gonna break de la risa (of laughing), bro.
This mutant word comes from the English word “insurance” and the Spanish word “seguro”. I’ve heard a lot of Latino friends from the United States use this one often when talking about el seguro de su auto (their car insurance).
- Tengo que pagar la aseguranza de mi casa (I have to pay my house insurance)
2. El lonche
There’s something about how this word sounds that just makes it funny, but there’s nothing funny about nutrition kids!
It means almuerzo and it comes from the English word “lunch”.
- Traje un sándwich de queso para el lonche. (I brought a cheese sandwich for lunch.)
And yes, Spanglish is a thing in Latin America too, so much so that we use the word “brother” to refer to friends, but we give it a Spanish touch and it sounds like Bróder.
Remember I told you were going to laugh? Well, check this out: I’ve even heard brodercito (little brother) as a way to refer to really close friends… AND BRODERCITA (lit., little female brother) TO REFER TO FEMALE FRIENDS! Can you believe that?
As the internet became a worldwide necessity, a lot of words in English became part of Spanish language as well. And instead of saying Buscar en google (search using Google), we started saying googlear (to google), since it was easier, as in: Tengo que googlearlo (I have to google that).
Fun tip: Argentinians and Uruguayans went even further, and you can hear stuff like guatsapeá (from usar WhatsApp / WhatsAppear, which means using WhatApp) or feisbuqueá (from usar Facebook / Facebookear, which means using Facebook).
This one is hard to explain, since aplicar is actually a word in Spanish that means to “apply something”, such as paint, or to adhere a substance to another:
- Aplicar una crema en la cara (To apply a cream on your face)
- Aplicar un tratamiento (To apply a treatment)
The thing is that “apply” is also a verb used in English as a synonym of “to enroll or apply to a job or a position”, so in Spanish we started saying stuff like voy a aplicar a un trabajo (I’m going to apply for a job) or aplicar a la visa (to apply for a visa).
The Spanish word you’re looking for is postularse, but that might change in the near future due to how frequently this (aplicar) is used.
So, yeah, Spanglish can be a lot of fun around friends and family, and it can be interesting to discover what other combinations of Spanish and English words are out there. Just remember that using Spanglish is different from making mistakes as a Spanish learner!
So, I suggest you read my piece about 9 most common mistakes Spanish learners make, so you can identify them and correct them yourself.