Chilean Spanish Pronunciation

How to pronounce like a Chilean

Chilean Spanish is spoken like a machine gun, with words flying out at a million miles an hour. If you learn how to speak Spanish as quickly as they do in Chile, then you will think other regions speak like a river of mud.

Chilean Spanish Pronunciation

One of the most difficult things for someone who has learnt Spanish at school or university and then end up in Chile is that they suddenly discover that they have no idea what people are saying. More than having different vocabulary, it is the speed in which things are spoken and how certain letters can be missing. Sometimes an entire sentence sounds like one long word.

Vamos a comer un helado will sound like vamoacomerunelao

Let's see why this happens...

What happened to the S?

You will quickly discover that the final S at the end of words will not be there.

Instead of Los Gatos, you will hear Lo' gato' (The cats)

One you will hear a lot is Vamo instead of Vamos. (Let's go)

You will hear the common expression Má o meno instead "Más o menos" (More or less, so-so). In fact you will most likely hear it as one word Máomeno.

What happened to the D?

With words ending in -ado you will find the D not pronounced.

Instead of pesado, you will hear pesa'o

Instead of helado, you will hear ela'o screamed by those guys selling ice-cream (remember the H is silent in Spanish)

With words ending in -ada you will find the DA not pronounced.

Instead of pesada, you will hear pesá (the final A said a little longer)

Instead of empanada, you will hear empaná (the final A said a little longer)

Avoid the SH sound

Sometimes you will hear the CH pronounced as SH. This is looked down upon and considered low class/uneducated. If you want to scare the high society folk at the dinner table, say... "Me manshé el shaleco con shocolate" which should be "Me manché el chaleco con chocolate" (I stained my sweater with chocolate).

Lo(h) Pesho = Los Pechos (remember, the final S is often not pronounced)

A new verb ending

Chileans have created their own conjugation (change in verb form) for verbs used with Tú (Second Person). The -as that should be at the end of -AR verbs becomes -ai.

Instead of estás you may hear estai.

The classic greeting of the young ¿Cómo estaí? is often used instead of ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

¿A dónde vai? (A dónde vas is the correct form) = Where are you going?

The -es that should be at the end of -ER and -IR verbs becomes -í.

¿Qué querí? instead of ¿Qué quieres? (notice the change in the middle of the verb too)

The final "Po"

At the end of many sentences you will hear the word "Po" (sometimes written as Poh)

Even after a simple yes or no "Si po, No po".

What does Po mean? Nothing. It's just added out of habit. (Though some say it's like saying Pues at the end of a sentence).

Check out: Our Chilean Spanish Dictionary with Slang, Idioms and local expressions.

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