As in the majority of Latin American countries, the official language in Colombia is Spanish.

Blessed are those who manage to remember the teachings given at the high school, for others here are some simple and useful expressions that will help you immerse yourself in the heart of the local culture and forge ties with this population that deserves to be known throughout the world.

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An incredibly kind people

With unparalleled kindness, Colombians could spend their day greeting each other and inquiring about the well-being of their fellow man.

There are a thousand and one ways to express a simple “how are you? ».

Here are a few examples: Qué mas, Qué hubo, Como le va, Como le ha ido, Como esta, Como ha estado.

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silvia colombia

The most understandable Spanish in South America

Colombian Spanish is one of the most comprehensive forms of Spanish.

Although some dialects differ from region to region, the language is nonetheless soft and musical.

You will enjoy conversing with a festive and welcoming Colombian population that will make fun of your imperfections.

So don’t be afraid of ridicule and in a word “dare”

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silvia colombia

Colombian Basic Glossary

Here are some Useful expressions and questions to make yourself understood in Colombia

  • Hello : Hola
  • Good morning (morning): Buenos días
  • Good morning (afternoon): Buenas tardes
  • Good night: Buenas noches
  • Bye, bye: Adiós
  • Goodbye (more formal): Hasta luego
  • Please: Por favor
  • Thank you: Gracias
  • You’re welcome: De nada
  • Nice (to meet you): Encantado de conocerle
  • I don’t understand: No entiendo
  • I don’t speak Spanish: No hablo Español
  • If you wish to go further in the conversation
  • What’s your name? ¿Cómo se llama usted?
  • I am American : Soy de Estados Unidos
  • How do you say that in Spanish? ¿Cómo se dice esto en Español?
  • Excuse me (to ask for information): Perdón
  • I would like to (…) : Quiero (…) por favor
  • Great! (expressing enthusiasm): Goat or Bacano
  • Can you repeat that, please? : Puede repetir, por favor?
  • Can you speak slower, please? Puede hablar mas despacio, por favor?
  • Useful questions depending on the situation
  • Where’s the bathroom? ¿ Dónde se encuentran los lavabos?
  • I’m lost, could you help me : ¿ Estoy perdido, me puede ayudar?
  • Where is the train station / the city centre / the airport : Puede indicarme como ir a la estaciòn de tren / al centro / al aeropuerto.
  • At what time does the train / plane / bus leave? A qué hora el trén / el avion / el bus para (city), por favor?
  • Could we have some water / bread / check, please? ¿ Nos podria traer agua/ pàn / la cuenta, por favor?

Colombian Slang

  • Paisa: Anyone from Antioquia (Medellín’s departamento) is a paisa.
  • ¿Quiubo, Parce? (Key-ubow, par-say): What’s up, bro?
  • Parcero(a); parce: Dude; parce is the shortened version. Or ‘parcerita’ is the feminine version.
  • El parche (par-chay): Your crew; your close friends.
  • La rumba (room-bah): The party. Ditch the word “fiesta” and use “rumba”.
  • ¡Que chimba! (cheembah): How awesome. It’s dirty street slang- don’t say in front of elders.
  • Tengo guayabo (gwhy-yabo): I have a hangover.
  • Guaro: Literally “fire water”. It’s slang for Paisa’s favorite drink: Aguardiente.
  • “¡Dale Pues!” OR “¡Hágale pues!” (Dah-lay Pways) “Do it” “ok” “Deal!” If your buddy says he’s going to bring Guaro over to drink before la rumba, you say “DALE PUES!”
  • A la orden: “Can I help you” or “You’re welcome”. You’ll hear vendors say this when selling you something (or when finished).
  • La plata: Literally “the silver” but used as the most common term for “the money” 
  • Efectivo: Cash. If you see “solo efectivo” in a restaurant, they don’t accept debit/credit.
  • ¡No des papaya! or ¡No dar papaya!: “don’t give people a reason to rob you”. 

Accents that change according to the region

You may don’t understand anything, but you’ll get aware that like in every country, there are tons of different accent in each regions.

This video will present you all the different accents in Colombia.

Now Your Turn

Now I would like to know, do you have any question ?

Or maybe do you have some information to add ?

Either way, let me know in the comments below

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