Study Aids Slang Explained Understand Colombia

Why Your Spanish Textbook is Failing You

Most language books teach you only a very formal – and overly correct – version of Spanish. Problem is that, in real life, nobody actually talks like that.

Stick with this “textbook Spanish” and you’ll always sound like a beginner. But you don't have to. After years of studying and speaking Spanish in Colombia, I’ve discovered hundreds of little language tricks that'll get you speaking much more naturally.

Find out what you’ve been missing
Slang explained

Colombian Slang Basics #4: Parche

Colombian Slang Basics #4: Parche

Today’s slang word is “parche”; a term the dictionary would have you believe just means “patch”. In Colombia, it has an altogether more useful meaning too.

While no exact English translation exists for Colombians slang use of “parche”, it roughly means: “a group of friends getting together to do something”.

So, talking about a fun night you had the previous day, you could comment to a buddy:

¡Qué buen parche el de anoche!

Later, another Colombian friend asks you about the plans for the weekend by saying:

Entonces, ¿vamos para la playa...
Where to study

Moving to Medellin? Here's How to Do It

Moving to Medellin? Here's How to Do It

Medellin was long excluded from the list of popular tourist and expat destinations, but the city has today become something of a mecca for Spanish-language students, retirees, remote workers and digital nomads alike.

The main reason for this is that Medellin is an attractive place to call home. The weather is great, locals friendly, nightlife lively and the prices still fairly competitive. The availability of decent internet,...

Integrating Understand Colombia

The Perplexing Mystery of Colombian Culture

The Perplexing Mystery of Colombian Culture

As you settle into your time in Colombia, you'll most likely find local cultural values and social customs to be at once familiar, and refreshingly different, from what you're used to back home.

Colombian culture contains plenty of contradictions, which means it’s difficult at first to get a coherent picture of what life in the country is really like. But then figuring all this out is part of what makes the place so...

Slang explained Bogotá

¡Qué oso! – Slang from Bogota

¡Qué oso! – Slang from Bogota

As far as possible, on this blog I try to examine slang phrases which are used in the whole of Colombia. However, some expressions are so essential for anyone staying in a given city or area, that it'd be remiss of me not to explain these too.

This...

Slang explained Understand Colombia

19 Funny Sayings from Colombia

19 Funny Sayings from Colombia

Colombians do enjoy a good bit of exaggeration. Not seen a friend for a week or two? “I've not seen you in like a thousand years!” (“hace como mil años que no te veo”), a local will most probably decry.

Pick up a bargain in the sales, meanwhile, and...

Slang explained Speak Naturally

How to Speak Colombian Spanish

How to Speak Colombian Spanish

Latin America's friendliest inhabitants – the Colombians – have long claimed that theirs is the most 'neutral' Spanish on the planet. Ah, if only that were so.

Chat to the locals during your stay and you'll quick find that this beautiful sounding...

Understand Colombia

What Does A 'Colombian Accent' Sound Like?

What Does A 'Colombian Accent' Sound Like?

In many ways, my choice of the name 'Colombian Spanish' for this blog was a bit silly. It’s difficult to talk about an entirely uniform sort of speech across the country when there are so many differences in language use between regions.

Nowhere is...

Slang explained

Describing Colombians: The “-ón” Crowd

Describing Colombians: The “-ón” Crowd

A classic area to study in Spanish class is how to describe people. The sad thing is that often the focus is very narrow. Rather than looking at interesting ways to talk of different character and personality traits, more often than not, tuition looks just...

Slang explained

The Many Meanings of “Berraco”

The Many Meanings of “Berraco”

Of all the many Colombian slang terms explained on this blog, one of the trickier terms to get your head round is “berraco” (sometimes also spelt “verraco”). It is extremely easy to get confused with this one.

Technically, a “berraco” is a sort of...

Speak Naturally

English Words That Colombians Love

English Words That Colombians Love

Speaking natural-sounding Spanish is all about learning how to use the exact same words that locals do, in the exact same contexts. Your teacher or textbook might tell you the correct way to speak, but on the streets of Bogota or Cali, many of these...

Slang explained

How Do Colombians Rate Your Spanish?

How Do Colombians Rate Your Spanish?

The whole time you’re in Colombia -- studying, attending classes and practicing your Spanish out in the big wide world -- you should be constantly improving. At least, that's the hope.

I've always found Colombians to be very tolerant of those...

Where to study

Is Colombian Spanish Really the World’s Best?

Is Colombian Spanish Really the World’s Best?

During my time in Colombia, I was frequently told by local friends and acquaintances that Colombian Spanish was the “best in the world”.

The way these statements were phrased – invariably expressed as: “yo no sé, pero dicen que el español...