Venezuelan Spanish

Venezuelan Spanish

Venezuelan Spanish is a dialect of the Spanish language spoken in Venezuela.

Spanish was introduced in Venezuela by the conquistadors. Most of them were from Andalusia, Galicia, Basque Country and from the Canary Islands. Perhaps the latter, has been the most fundamental influence on modern Venezuelan Spanish, to the point that Canarian and Venezuelan accents may seem indistinguishable to other Spanish speakers.
Italian and Portuguese immigrants came later in the late 19th and early 20th century, their linguistic contributions, Italy by the most part, defined this dialect.

The Spaniards additionally brought African slaves. This is the origin of expressions such as "chévere" ("excellent"), which comes from Yoruba "ché egberi". Other non-Romance words came from Native languages, such as "guayoyo" (a type of coffee) and "caraota" (common bean).

The Venezuelan (sometime) upper-class and middle class "snob" (or "sifrino" in colloquial Venezuelan Spanish) accent is often thought of as the "pretty-boy" or "boy band" accent of Spanish. This is hardly the case for the majority of spoken Venezuelan Spanish, widely ranging from its occasional formal form, to the more common -highly slang spiced- every day form, to the heavily "thug or thuggish" ("malandro" in Venezuelan Spanish) inflected manner, often found in the slums or "barrios" of the country.

Dialectal features

* Venezuelan Spanish often shortens words, for example, changing "para" "for" into "pa". In addition, IPA|/d/ between vowels is often dropped (elision): "helado" "ice cream" becomes IPA|/ela'o/. Originally from southern Spain and the Canary Islands, but these traits are common to many other Spanish variations.
* Another common feature is the aspiration of syllable-final "-s", whereby "adiós" "goodbye" becomes IPA| [aˈðjɔh] . Common to most coastal areas in America, the Canary Islands, and the southern half of Spain.
* As in most American dialects, also, Venezuelan Spanish has yeísmo (a merger of IPA|/ʎ/ and IPA|/ʝ/), and seseo (traditional IPA|/θ/ merges with IPA|/s/). That is, "calló" "s/he became silent" and "cayó" "s/he fell" are homophones, and "casa" "house" is homophonous with "caza" "hunt". "Seseo" is common to all of America, the Canary Islands, and southern Spain, and "yeísmo" is prevalent in most Spanish variations.
*A characteristic common to the Venezuelan, Dominican, Cuban and Costa Rican dialects is the use of the diminutive -ico and -ica instead of the standard -ito and -ita, restricted to words with -t in the last syllable; for example, "rata" "rat" becomes "ratica" "little rat".
* The second-person singular informal pronoun is usually "tú", as in most of Latin America and also in Spain. This practice is referred to as tuteo. However, in Zulia and some parts of Falcón and Trujillo, it is common to find voseo, that is, the use of "vos" instead of "tú". This phenomenon is present in many other Latin American dialects (notably Rioplatense), but Zulian voseo is "diptongado", that is, the conjugation preserves the diphthongs of the historical "vos" conjugation that have been monophthongized in Rioplatense (which means the Zulian forms are the same as those used in Spanish from Spain for the second person plural "vosotros"): instead of "tú eres, tú estás", Zulian says "vos sois, vos estáis" (compare with plural forms in Spanish from Spain "vosotros sois", "vosotros estáis"; and with Rioplatense forms "vos sos", "vos estás"). Another exception to the tuteo of Venezuelan Spanish is the use of the second-person singular formal pronoun "usted" interchangeably with "tú", a practice that is unique to the states of Mérida and Tachira. [Alexandra Alvarez & Ximena Barros, [ "Sistemas en conflicto: las formas de tratamiento en la ciudad de Mérida, Venezuela"] , Lengua y Habla (2000), Mérida, Universidad de Los Andes.]
* The word "vaina" is used with a variety of meanings (such as "shame", "thing or topic", "pity" and many others) and often as an interjection or a nonsensical filler.
* Venezuelan Spanish has a lot of Italianisms and Anglicisms.
* Venezuelan Spanish has a lot influense from Puerto Rico & Trinidad & Tobago

Regional variations

There are several sub-dialects within Venezuelan Spanish.
*The Caracas dialect, spoken in the capital.
*The Zulian dialect in the north-west of the country, also called "maracucho" or "marabino", which uses voseo, like in the in part of the Lara area.
*The Lara dialect, where voseo is also used, but where the verbal declension of Old Spanish is kept (vos coméis).
*The Andean dialect, in particular the state of Táchira near the Colombian border. It is characterized by a non-aspirated pronunciation of s and use of Usted instead of tú, even within informal contexts. Another variant, in the states of Mérida and Trujillo still uses Usted instead of tu, but lacks the non-aspirated pronunciation of the s.
*The Margaritan dialect, spoken in Isla Margarita and in the north-east of continental Venezuela. The Margaritan dialect presents sometimes an interdental when pronouncing pre-vowel 's' and use of a strong 'r' instead of 'l' in most of the words.

ome examples of native Venezuelanisms (slang)

* Achanta'o/Achantá = A person of slow thought or slow reasoning. Someone passive, or lacking seduction skills.
* Amapuche = A passionate demonstration of affection. A warm hug.
* Agarrado(a) = See "pichirre". Selfish.
* Alborotado = To be excited or revolted. (Used in Spain too)
* Arrapado = Excited (profane).
* Arrecharse = To get angry. Usually profane amongst Venezuelans.
* Arrecho = Superlative to indicate that an object or situation is considered to be very good (profane); very angry
* Arrecochinar = To gather people disorderly in a small space.
* Arrocear = To turn up at a party without being invited. "Arrocero": Party Crasher.
* Bachaco = Leafcutter ant. (Alt.) A mulatto with red hair.
* Bajarse de la mula = To pay for something. To be demanded for money. To be robbed (Lit.: "to get off the mule").
* Bala fría = Junk food. A quick snack (Lit.: "cold bullet").
* Balurdo = (from French "balourd") An awkward or ridiculous person. A low-class person or behavior. See also "Chimbo"
* Barrio = Poor neighbourhoods in the cities of Venezuela. Often built upwards on hillsides, they're a disctinct and noticeable feature of the landscape in cities like Caracas and Valencia.
* Birra = Beer.
* Bochinche = A gathering or noisy reunion. Disorder, chaos.
* Bolo(s) = A single unit of Venezuelan currency, a Venezuelan bolívar, before the redenomination in 2008. As single units are no longer in circulation, this term is mostly used in the plural.
* Bucear = To skin dive. (Alt.) To ogle discreetly. To peep furtively.
* Bululú = A fuss. See "bochinche"
* Burda = (superlative) Very much.
* Cambur = Banana. (Alt. A well remunerated public position).
* Cachapa = A sweet corn pancake.
* Cachapera = A lesbian (pejorative).
* Cacharro = Old, worn out vehicle. A piece of junk. (Used in Spain too)
* Cachúo = Something difficult to do. Something hard. See "Quesúo" also.
* Caerse a palos = To engage in heavy drinking. To get drunk (Lit.: "to fall with sticks")
* Calarse = To stand something bad.
* Carajo(a) = A spit. A dude (profane).
* Carajazo = See "coñazo" (profane).
* Caraotas = Black beans.
* Catire(a) = Blond. (Alt. A beer). Nickname for the sun.
* Chamo(a) = Boy/girl. With suffix -ito : a kid; also means son or daughter. Venezuelans are well known among Spanish speakers for their love and constant use of this word, which is used repeatedly in the same fashion as the American slang dude.
* Chévere = Fine, cool.
* Chimbo(a) = Of low quality. Ill made. Fake. Uncool.
* Chivo = (Lit.) Goat. (Alt. The Boss, someone at a high position in an organization).
* Choro = Thief, robber (pejorative).
* Coñazo = To violently hit or strike (profane).
* Coño'e madre = (Lit. "his mother's cunt") A rotten bastard. (profane)
* Compinche = Partner, friend. (Used in Spain too)
* Corotos/Macundales = Stuff, belongings. Trash.
* Criollo = Local, native of Venezuela.
* Culo = (Lit. "ass") young woman. (profane)
* Curda = Beer.
* Curdo = Drunk.
* De pinga = Cool, superb, excellent (see "pepiado") (profane)
* Epa/Épale = "Hi" or Hello (informal greeting; "What's up").
* Filo = (Lit. Edge) Hunger.
* Franela = T-shirt.
* Fumao = (Lit. smoked a joint) Stoned. Crazy, disheveled, difficult.
* Gafo = Dumb or stupid, comes for the Italian word "cafone" or "gavone" which means dumb peasant.
* Gringo = American. (also: Estadounidense)
* Guáramo = Iron will. Courage.
* Guasa = To make fun of something or someone. (Used in Spain too)
* Guayabo = To be romantically disillusioned. To have the Blues. Tree of the 'guayaba' fruit.
* Guayoyo = Black coffee prepared in such fashion that is not very strong. It is commonly served after meals.
* Huevón (or Güebón) = Sucker, asshole, stupid. (profane)
* Huele Verga = See Huevón
* Hablame el mío/Hablame la mía = Talk to me dude/Talk to me girl. Similar to "What's up?" or "What's going on?"
* Jalar Bola = (verb) To abuse flattering. Sweet talking, intended to get benefit from someone with selfish purposes.
* Jamón = (Lit. Ham) A nice girl. A French kiss.
* Jeva = Woman.
* Lambucio = Someone who likes to eat a lot.
* Macundales = See "Corotos".
* Malandro = Thug, thief, burglar, robber.
* Mamar = (lit. To Suck) to get as much benefit of a persons skills or knowledge in a context. "Estar Mamando": to be penniless or very tired.
* Mamahuevo = A person who performs fellatio. A person who behaves badly toward others.
* Marico = A homosexual man (profane). Also used by young people as a pronoun Example: ¡Hola marico! (Lit.: Hello Dude!)
* Matar un tigre = To moonlight. (Lit.: "to kill a tiger").
* Matraquear = to blackmail, to get cash for forgiving a traffic offense.
* Musiú = A foreigner. A white native from a non-Hispanic country (it's believed to come from a bastardization of the French word "Monsieur").
* Negrear = to treat someone badly, to forget somebody, as in allusion to when black people where victims of racism. "Me negrearon" = they treated me badly, they forgot me.
* Nota = (Lit. Note) Something nice, pleasant. A drug trip, to be "high". Verbal form: "ennotar(se)"
* O sea = (Lit. It's Like.) A form to say whatever. ¿O sea, cómo lo hicíste!? (Like, how you'd do it!?)
* Paja = (Lit. Hay) Masturbation or Bullsh*t (profane in both cases).
* Pajúo = From "Paja", Someone who masturbates a lot (Lit. Wanker) (Profane) also a loose synonym for "Pendejo".
* Paisano = from the Italian "paesano", meaning an Venezuelan or Italian (or southern European). Abbreviated as "Paisa" usually refers to a native of Colombia.
* Palo = (Lit. Stick) Alcoholic beverage. Example: "¡Tómate un palito, pues!" ( "have a little drink (then)!" ).
* Palo de agua = (Lit. Stick of water) Torrential rain.
* Pato = (Lit. Duck) Homosexual man.
* Rumba de Palos = To be beaten up. In a sports context, whenever a team wins over another with a large score.
* Pantallero: to show off, to slavishly flash oneself or anything of value
* Papear = To eat. (Used in Spain too)
* Parcha/Parchita= (passion fruit) a homosexual man.
* Pargo= Kind of sea fish (Red Snapper). A homosexual man.
* Pasapalos = Snacks. Hors d'oeuvres.
* Pavo, pava = adolescent, kid, youngster (Lit: turkey).
* Peaje = Toll. See "bajarse de la mula".
* Perico = Parakeet. Venezuelan-style scrambled eggs. Also used to decribe many drugs, but most ofen used to refer to Marihuana, due to its green colour which is comparable to the green plumage of certain types of native parrots.
* Peroles = See "corotos".
* Pendejo = See "güevón".
* Peorro = mediocre, inferior (profane)
* Pepiado (or Pepeado) = Cool, superb, excellent.
* Pichirre = (adj) Tightfisted, stingy, miser, cheap.
* Pipi Frío = (Lit. "Cold Penis") Someone that has been single for a long time. Someone lacking social skills or uninteresting.
* Pollo/Polla = Chicken (Alt.) A childish, naive or immature person.
* Polvo = (Lit. "Dust") Sexual act.
* Queso = Cheese (Alt.) Sexual drive, Lust. Mostly applied to men.
* Quesúo = To be horny, lustful.
* Rata = (Lit. "a rat") An evil or treacherous person.
* Ratón = Mouse. Hung over "Tengo ratón.": "I'm hung over"
* Rico(a) = Rich. An attractive person ( See "bueno(a)" ). Delicious, pleasurable.
* Rumba = A party.
* Rancho = A precarious makeshift home found in barrios made out of whatever the builder may find, including cardboard, wood, metal rods, zinc sheets. These have a tendency to evolve into brick houses and often 3-story buildings as the owner acquires materials.
* Santamaría = Rollup metal fence that covers the front part of a store when closed.
* Sifrino = (Noun) Yuppie. A wealthy, arrogant person. (Adjective) Posh, applied to people and things, such as an accent or clothes.
* Tequeño = A deep-fried flour roll filled with cheese. Very popular hors d'oeuvres. A native from Los Teques
* Tigre = second job or night job. See "matar tigre"
* Vaina = (Lit. pod, sheath) Thing, annoyance, problem, predicament, situation, endeavor, liaison. "Vaina" is one of the most versatile of Venezuelan words, not necessarily having a negative connotation. (mildly profane)
* Verga = Male sexual organ. An exclamation to convey a feeling shock, disgust or alert. In the Western part of the country, especially in Zulia State, it is a nonsensical filler as an alternative to "vaina".
* Yesquero = A lighter.
* Zanahoria = Carrot (Alt.) Someone who zealously takes care of his/her own health. A vegetarian. A person that behaves well. Straight, clean.
* Zancudo = Mosquito. Lit.: "The one that walks on stilts" as a metaphor for the insect's long legs.
* Zumba'o = Forward, crazy, nutty, careless person.



* "Español venezolano", "Español maracucho" and "Voseo" in the Spanish Wikipedia.

External links

* [ Diccionario de Venezolanadas] (Forums and dictionary, great resource on the topic!)
* [ Jergas de Habla Hispana] (Includes Venezuelan Slang)
* es icon [ Venezuelan Colloquial Spanish For English Speakers] (English translations of Venezuelan slang)

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