How do Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen Z speak Spanish?

How do Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen Z speak Spanish?

Not everybody from every generation speaks the same language. That’s true for Spanish and for other languages as well. Soy Paulísima de Spring Spanish and in this video you’ll learn chunks that will help you improve your Spanish across generations.

1. Baby boomers

También conocidos simplemente como “boomers”. (Also known simply as “boomers”.) An essential characteristic of the way the speak is that they use a lot of sayings and proverbs.

No pongas tu café encima del Nintendo see.
(Don’t put your coffee on top of that Nintendo thing.)

No es Nintendo má, es un XBox.
(It’s not a Nintendo mom, it’s an XBox.)

Como se llame…
(Whatever its name is…)

¡Ay, ma! ¡No pasa nada! Siempre lo pongo encima y nunca se me ha caído… ¡Ay no! ¡Se cayó!(Oh, mom! Nothing will happen! I always put it on top and it’s never spilled… Oh no! It spilled!)

¿Qué te dije? Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.
(What did I say? ____________.)

¡Ay, mamá!
(Oh mom!)

Pero bueno… Nadie experimenta en cabeza ajena.
(But oh well… ___________.)

  • Nadie experimenta en cabeza ajena. (One can’t experience through other people’s head.) This is a great chunk that includes a word that doesn’t exist in English: ajeno.

Sayings are a great example of chunks. Word combinations and phrases that native Spanish use all the time and that can do wonders for your fluency. You can download our Essential Spanish Chunking Kit in the link in the description.

  • Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.

Este refrán se traduce literalmente como: (This saying is translated literally as:) The Devil knows more because he’s old, not because he’s the devil.) But it means something like “there’s no substitute for experience”.

¡Ah sí! ¿Se dieron cuenta? Entre los boomers es muy común decirle “Nintendo” a cualquier consola de videojuegos. (Oh yeah! Did you notice? Among boomers it is common to call “Nintendo” any type of gaming console.)

Otra frase que también usan mucho los boomers y que los millennials y centennials odiamos es: (Another phrase that boomers also use a lot and that millennials and centennials hate is:) Mejor te llamo para más rápido. (Best to call you to make it faster.)

We much rather text, but if you must have a phone conversation in Spanish, check out this video.

2. Generación X (Generation X)

¿Qué hongo? ¿Qué haces?
(What’s up? What are you up to?)

Me estoy arreglando.
(I’m getting ready.)

¡Ingesu! ¡Qué bonito vestido! ¡Qué modern!
(______! What a beautiful dress! So modern!)

¿Sí, verdad? ¡Me encanta! Me lo voy a poner más trade.
(Yeah, right? I love it! I’m going to wear it later.)

¿Te vas a ir de reven?
(Are you going _____?)

Sí, voy a ir a la disco en la noche.
(Yes, I’m going to the club tonight.)

A convo loaded with words that the Mexican Generation X loves using. Vamos a verlas una por una. (Let’s see them one by one.)

  • ¿Qué hongo? (What’s up? (Lit.: What mushroom?)): It’s an informal way to greet people. The original phrase is “¿qué onda?” but instead we say “¿qué hongo?”) Por cierto, puedes aprender más formas de decir “¿Cómo estás?” en este video. (By the way, you can learn more ways to say “how are you?” in this video.)
  • Inguesu: A Mexican comedian named Adal Ramones coined this word in the 90’s.  Inguesú is a PG13 version of an explicit yet popular chunk “chingue su” a popular chunk to indicate surprise. También se usa antes de decir una frase que indique una acción para añadir énfasis. (It’s also used before saying a phrase to indicate an action to add emphasis.)
  • Pronunciar la palabra “moderna” o “moderno” como si fueras “gringo”. (Pronouncing the word “moderna” or “moderno” as if you were “gringo”.) Many Mexicans, especially women, do this.
  • Irse de reven: It comes from “irse de reventón”. Like to go on a rampage? It just means going out, to a party, or to a club.
  • La disco (The club): Los Millennials y los centennials no dicen “la disco”, dicen “el antro”.   (Millennials and centennials don’t say “the disco”, they say “the antro”.)

Otra cosa que tienen que saber es que los de la generación X suelen llamarle “generación de cristal” a las dos siguientes generaciones que vamos a ver. (Another thing you need to know is that Generation X people often call the next two generations we’re going to see “crystal generation”.) Apparently we’re too weak and complain too much for their taste.

3. Millennials

Hice match con un chico que me encantó, pero qué hueva, vive en Mordor.
(I matched with a guy that I liked, but what a drag, he lives in Mordor.)

A ver, ¿cómo se llama? Lo voy a estolkear. Amiga, se ve que es muy cool.
(Let see, what is his name? I’m going to ________.(Girlfriend, one can tell he’s very cool.)

¿Sí, verdad? Pero está cañón lo de la distancia.
(Yeah, right? But the distance thing _______.)

Puros fails contigo, amiga.
(Only “fails” with you, girlfriend.)

Analicemos cada expresión. (Let’s analyze each expression.)

  • Hacer match: We’ve taken the English word “match” and made it into a modal verb in Spanish.

Muchas expresiones de los millennials y de los centennials son anglicismos. Como ambas generaciones son nativas del internet, espacio donde reina el inglés, es normal que en su forma de hablar incorporen muchas expresiones y palabras en ese idioma.  (Many expressions of millennials and centennials are anglicisms. As both generations are native to the Internet, a space where English reigns, it is normal that the way they speak incorporate many expressions and words in that language.)

  • Mordor: As the place in Lord of The Rings. We use this word to talk about a place that is far from us.
  • Estolkear: Another hispanized version of an English word. But it’s important to know that we don’t mean actual stalking, we just mean we’re going to use every single -legal and public- way to find information about someone.
  • Ser cool: Millennials are the first generation in Mexico to have adapted the word “cool”. Fun fact: When we want to simply say “cool” we say “qué cool”.
  • Estar cañón: If something “está cañón” it means it’s quite hard to be done, or that it’s a bad situation. It is a softer version of the expression “está cabrón” that is more used by Gen X.
  • Fails: Remember when YouTube was pretty much videos of fails? Well, millennials do! Pero usamos la palabra no solo para accidentes aparatosos, sino también para describir o señalar un error. (But we use the word not only for lousy accidents, but to describe or point out a mistake.)

I’m a millennial, but I also use a lot of words from the next generation. ¿Por qué? Porque tengo muchos sobrinos y sobrinas que mantienen mi vocabulario actualizado. (Why? Because I have tons of nephews and nieces that keep my vocabulary updated.)

4. Gen Z o Centennials

Amiga, mi crush va a ir a la fiesta de Paty. ¡Quiero ir! ¿Jalas?
(Friend, my crush is going to go to Paty’s party. I want to go! _______?)

¿Dónde va a ser la fiesta?
(Where is the party going to be?)

En la casa de Paty. Oye, pero pensé que Paty ya estaba cancelada. Por lo que te hizo en el jale.
(At Paty’s place. Hey, but I thought Paty ______. For what she did to you at _____.)

No, ya la perdoné porque me di cuenta de que no fue con mala intención. Paty es muy random.(No, I forgave her already because I realized she didn’t do it with a bad intention. Paty is so random.)


¡Ay no! Me cae mal Francisco, es un alucín!
(¡Oh no! I don’t like Francisco, he is a  ______!)

Esta generación, al contrario de la mía, no conoce un mundo sin internet. (This generation, unlike mine, doesn’t know a world without internet.)

  • Crush: Like the English word but we use it to talk about the person on whom we have a crush.
  • Estar cancelado: To be canceled Just like in English, except we not only use it for celebrities who fall from grace, but for regular people who we stopped talking to because they did something we don’t approve of.
  • El jale: This is a young and informal way to talk about someone’s work.
  • Alucín: Is a guy who pretends to lead a high-end lifestyle when he really doesn’t have the means to do it. It’s also the kind of person that if you mention something good that happened to you, they’re going to talk about the same thing BUT BETTER happened to them. La palabra “alucín” viene del verbo alucinar. (The word “alucín” comes from the verb “alucinar” (to hallucinate).)

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