Becoming fluent in a new language is a long process. If anyone tells you otherwise, it’s a lie.
However, there are certain steps that will speed up the process or even trick people into thinking you are more fluent than is the case. We will call them hacks. And with this language hack people may even begin to think you are a local (or at least a native Spanish speaker from another country).
So what’s the secret? It’s simple really. Filler words. What are those you say? They are little words and phrases that have no meaning but are used to fill pauses or breaks in a sentence. You use them every day in English. In fact, you probably use them in every conversation you have throughout the day. Examples for English filler words include um, uh, well, like, eh, actually, ah, ok and right.
Since these words are not taught in regular language classes, the only way a person normally learns them is through exposure through other speakers and practice. Learning these words early on (with help from a native) will “trick” people into thinking you are more fluent than may be the case. Why? For the simple reason that your speech will sound smoother and more natural to a native speaker.
So to start off this series here are a few suggestions to help you with your Chilean Spanish. Watch the video featured at the beginning of this post, to listen to these filler phrases pronounced by a native Chilean.
17 Filler Words and Other Common Chile Spanish Slang Phrases
1. ¿cierto? – right?
2. ¿no es cierto? – isn’t it right?
3. eso no más – just that, that’s it
4. fíjate – look, pay attention
5. igual – equally
6. ponte tú – for instance
7. sí, poh – yeah man
8. ¿te fijai? – you see?
And here are a few other everyday phrases that when you sprinkle them in your conversations will bump up your fluency to a new level.
9. ¿te tinca? – sound good?
10. capaz que – perhaps
11. ¿cuál es la gracia? – what’s the big deal?
12. da lo mismo – doesn’t matter, who cares
13. ná que ver – that’s way off, not even close
14. no estoy ni ahí – I couldn’t care less
15. quedó pá la cagá – it’s all screwed up
16. ¿te imaginai? – can you imagine?
17. súper poco – very little
Memorize these words, use them occasionally and I guarantee people will be amazed at your fluency in Chilean Spanish. These words and phrases are included in the book Speaking Chileno: A Guide to Chilean Spanish.
Check out these other Chile Spanish Slang Expressions articles.