World Travelblog

Travel info, diary, and travel links from all over the world..

We were looking around in Isla Mujeres, and stumbled upon a little cute Italian Icecream store, and inside they sold these funky books called "Cabo Bob's definitive Mexican Slang 101" and as it says on the first page, "This book is pirated, ripped off, printed and distributed in Mexico. Illegal and possibly even immoral in your more normal type of country." So I thought I could use it for your entertainment. I found a website promoting this book at Slang 101 if you are interested in more of the same..

Well.. to start off:

1. Hasta la bye-bye
(Hi/bye and basic boogy-woogy)
Just as nobody actually says , "How do you do?" anymore, nobody uses phraseboook greetings like Como està Usted? At least say Como Estamos (COE moe aist AH mose) -- "How are we?" or simply Buenas (BWAY nahs) to be a little folksier (and avoid confusion about tense). But since you bought this book you'll want to say Què Onda? (kay OHN dah), the standard greeting for the youthful, with-it, and disaffected.
The expression means something like, "Whats the vibes?" and has survived the sixties to become a close equivalent to "What up?" in the States. Tack on buey and you`ve got Mexico's answer to "Happening homeboy?"
Que transas? (kay TRAHN sahs) is an even hipper, streetwise way to ask what`s up or to imply "What`s the deal?" Bien transa, on the other hand, means a cheat.

There are also parting words more with it than just adios. The popular way to say "See you around" is nos vemos (noce VAY moce) -- literally, "We`ll see each other"
"Later" is simply luego (loo EY goe) and Al rato (ahl RAH toe) means "back in a minute"
More formally, one hears Que te vaya bien (kay tay VIE yah byain), which means "Fare you well". Plain old "bye bye" works too -- it`s considered fairly hip in Mexico, just as we (and they) use "Ciao"

In the street people say Simòn (see MONE) instead of Si, especially to emphasize the affirmative, like if you`re really hot and somebody asks you if you want a beer.
Come down hard on the last syllable.
Hipsters also use other owrds instead of si, usually those that start with the syllable, like cilindros (cylinders) or cigarros (cigarettes).
The coolest is simply "ìs"
Claro means "of course", but slangster often express "sure", "you bet", etc. as clarìn or even clarìnete (clar een AYT ay)

No Way, Jose
Nel (nayl) is a popular word for "no" especially sassy street responses like "nope" or "nah", you also hear Nel pastel, and nones cantones.
(nothing) and No hay (noe EYE)-- there isn`t any are big concepts in Mexico -- No hay, no hay is a tv catch phrase seen on bumper stickers and decals (calcomanias in Spanish) and often good for a laugh.
A response of ni marta means "not a bit", "not a word", etc. And ni sueños (nee SWAIN yoes) is a comeback to remember-- it mean "not in your wildest dreams".

You and me
Even simple words like Yo for "I" and mi for "me" get slanged. Frequently heard are:
Yolanda, melin, menta, me manta.
Instead of or ti, slangsters often use words like tunas, tiburcio for "you"
A lot of Mexican slang is based on improvising synonyms by using words that start with the same syllable -- it can be fun to try rolling your own.

More to come later! I have lots more of this later!
Like it?