Paraguay-isms

Posted on October 29, 2010


To follow-up on my Re-learning Spanish post, here are some of the uniquely Paraguayan expressions and manners of speech that I’ve caught onto during my travels.

  • Nderasore!”  A Guaraní word that’s used a lot like “No way!” or “Shoot!” (and stronger variations thereof) in English.  The literal meaning of the word in Guaraní is ‘maggot’.
  • …verdad.”  This is the equivalent of when English speakers say ‘right’ or ‘right?’ at the end of their sentences.  Also equivalent to the Canadian “eh” used at the end of sentences.
  • no mas”  I’m not sure if this expression is used a lot in other Spanish-speaking countries, but it’s very frequently used here.  Or maybe I’m just getting ordered around a lot.  The expression translates to something like “just” combined with some kind of order like:  just go ahead, just sit down, just eat.
  • impressionante!”  This is a popular expression for talking about things that are exceptionally notable or surprising.  For example, “La cantidad de carne que comen los Paraguayos es impressionante!” /”The amount of meat that Paraguayans eat is impressive (or amazing)!”
  • guapo/guapa”  These words mean handsome (the male and female variant) generally in the Spanish-speaking world, but in Paraguay they particularly signify a person who is hard-working, since that’s considered a very attractive quality.  When I tell people I’m working in the Chaco I get a lot of “Que guapa!”  Not because working in the Chaco is going to make me pretty, but because only a hard-working kind of girl would go to the Chaco.
  • mira un poco”  Literally means “look a little”, but translates more like “look here”.
  • super”  Everything is super.  Super cool, super neat, super good.
  • re-”  This prefix is added to words to give them extra emphasis.  For example, “¡re-spectacular!” is “really spectacular!”
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Posted in: Language