Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Boriquas language - or better said special expressions in Spanish from Puerto Rico

When you come to Puerto Rico,the first things which hits you,if you are as well spanish speaker, the sweetness how the people speak spanish and how many slang or too different expressions from the orinal castellano they are using  (as I always get impressed by this when I come to some other spanish speaking country or portuguese speaking country,how the language differs and how people doesn't understeand the original castellano - comming from spain).

Here I picked up some words which stayed in my mind and you can hear it every day being here in Puerto Rico,it's very probable that I forgot a lot of them or I just take them as natural as one can do after being here almost 2 months ;)

Boriqua SpanishCastellano SpanishEnglishNotes
ChamacoChico, MuchachoThe boyViste ese chamaco ai el la calle?
Siempre consigo alguna jeva.
I always get laid somehow. 
(I heard it actually a lot in 
the island of Vieques,where
 is used for any woman)
Conseguir una JebaLiarseGet LaidExplained on a frase above
PonViajar a dedoRideConseguir un pon -
Find someone who will give you a ride.
Pedir el ponViajar a dedoHitchhikeMe da un pon? - Can I go with you?
HabichuelasAluvias/frijolesBeansAroz con habichuelas -
tipical supplement of puertorican food
Chancho/Cerdo asado
Roasted pig
One of tipical foods in Puerto Rico
Cojo mi guagua y vengo recogerte
- I will take my car and come to pick
 you up.
Gay man
Es un pato - He is a gay
Damn it!
Cuesta cinco chavos.
 - It costs 5 dolars
This word could be used for
someone who is as well
trying to cheat people for money.
- Es un pillo
El es muy panita mia -
He is my good friend

 Small Platano Pancakes
Another tipical caribbean
food suplement to main dish
Sweet Bananas
If you are here in Puerto Rico
I definitelty recommend to try the baby guineos :)

Jugo de China = Zumo de Naranja
= Orange juice (Do not confuse China from
Spain - which means Marihuana) 
De puta madre


Esa Bocina es Nítida! -
This speaker is Great!
Deal with
Todo el dia estaba bregando con mi carro.
- He was trying to fix my car all day long.
 Hang around/Have fun
Ayer hangeamos por la noche con ella
 - We went out with her yesterday night

Another word which comes from
 english using just the spanish ending
Flippers/Fins for snorkeling
Quien dejo los trastes sucios?
Who didn't clean up the dishes?

Ella es muy chota -
She is picking nose in everything
 Petrol Station 

MaiMadre MotherI would guess that this
is something like the rest after
some Portuguese who lived on island
I would guess that this 
is something like the rest after
some Portuguese who lived on island
De veras?De verdad?Really?They always ask it with
big surprise and affection :)
Ya mismoEn un ratoIn a whileWell - it means translated exactly
- right now,but it means in a while
MazetaTacañoMeanEl es un mazeta,el no te va ayudar.
 - He is very mean,he won't help you 
ZafacónBasuraTrash Can Botalo al zafacón! Throw it to the bin!
MinocoCosaThingThey use this word if they
 don't know what is the name
of the word. Que es ese minoco?
What's that thing?
TrigueñoNegroTanned/Black African color of the skinSu novio es trigueño. 
Her boyfriend is black.

The person who does the work
of low quality,or as well cheats in bussiness
Embustero/PaqueteroMentirosoLiarEs un embustero. He is trying
to cheat people.
FrisaSabanaSheet/Cover/BlanketTrigamos una frisa con
nosotros a la playa -
Let's take some blanket to the beach.
A la orden (olden)De nada
You are welcome
It's a response when you thank to
 someone. Gracias - A la orden ;)
Es un Revolú grande. It's a big mess
To turn
Vira aqui a la izquierda.
Turn here to the left.
To drive
El guia mal. He drives really bad.
Being angry
Estoy bien enfogonado en ella.
I am very angry with her.
The word Abanico in Spanish from Spain
it's used in general for the fan you have in the hand,like have the Framenco dancers. Here
in Puerto Rico abanico are all the airconditioning ventilators and fans.
De cacheteGratis
For free

The daughter-in law

Preñada/Estar en cintaEmbarazada
Esta en cinta ya segunda vez.
She is already second time pregnant.
Pa donde cogió?Donde fue?
Where did he go?
Pa donde cogió Carmelito?
Where did Carmelito go? 
Dar una pelaPegar alguien
To hit someone
Me dió una pela. He hit me!
Me dió un cantazo. I hit myself.

MarquesinagarageParking place
ChochaCoñoVaginaChupa me el bicho - Suck my dick
Being Broke
Toy Pelao - I don't have any money
Chupa me el bicho - Suck my dick
Fue preso federal por vender perico.
I was in federal prison for
dealing with cocaine
Ta tostao - He is crazy

And here are some videos for you to practice and hear it real:

Rules how to speak with good Boriqua accent :)
1. In Puerto Rico they don't say almost never the R, so for example when you have the verbes, as every spanish word in infinitive ends up in R - Bailar,
Termination of all the verbs in spanish or anything which would haveAl al al Bailal,hangeal, Peldon, Pol favol

2. They don't pronounce much the letter S either - so for example in the word Espejo (mirror) - they would say Ehpeho. But still you have respirated h. When you compare it with people from Dominican Republic they just simply omit it.

3. They don't pronouce much the termination ado - like terminado,limpiado (finished,cleaned) - they just shorten it to ao - terminao, limpiao

These 2 rules sounds bit like if these islands were colonised by people from Andalusia - where they simply don't pronounce these things either.

4. There is no problem over here with word Coger - to catch - as in many others latin american countries where it means to, so don't worry,here in Puerto Rico you can coger whatever you want ;)

5. Speak with afection and like half singing, making the vowels to sound longer (it could be different silab - this u have to listen to get to it). Daale maami :)Pero entooonce?

6. End every phrase with ai papi - if u are talking to man,or Ai mami/ai mi amol - if u are talking to woman with enough affection and you could be considerate real boriqua ;)

7. Many times they use after every statement which would need some afirmation question - Oiste? (Did you hear?) or Aham (after any question or statement you made). You will notice this quite a lot.

7. At the end I would like to say after being a bit while out of Puerto Rico and getting to know a lot of people from Dominican Republic, los boriquas speak much slower than dominicans,maybe that would be one of the things to recognize the accents from these 2 islands.

P.S. IMPORTANT: This is for sure not the list of every special boriqua word - as there are so many, as in every variation of Spanish in every Spanish speaking world,but these are which you would hear mostly and these are some which stayed in my mind while writing this article. I hope you enjoyed it ;)

To see more boriqua word and exceptions :
And many others :) I am sure that if you look for them  google will help you to find them ;)


  1. Very interesting Suzann! There are words which I'd never heard before like jeba or pon! :D

    Just for completion purposes, there are words in the list that are also perfectly understood and used every day in Spain or in other Spanish-speaking countries too!! My mother and relatives from Andalucia could never name beans other than "habichuelas", "lechón" is a young pig here, "guagua" is a bus in the Canary Islands, "de veras", "chapucero", "preñada/encinta" and "embustero" are standard everywhere, and we Spanish also say "no tengo un chavo" or "estoy pelao" for being broke. Amusingly "perico" is too one of the many names of cocaine in Spain :D

  2. Suzzan! This is so coooool! I am from Puerto Rico and I have to tell you that you really made an excellent collection that I think represent our local Spanish! There are some words that we spell different, but catching the slang is hard! My husband is a gringo and when he moved to Puerto Rico he started his list just like this one and after a couple of years it end up being the book called Speaking Boricua. I really liked that you compare the words/phrases with the Spanish from Spain. We also have a blog about Spanish Slang I will definitely share this post with our readers!