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Learning How To Speak Chilean Spanish

in Chile Travel Blog, Travel Blogs

Learning how to speak Chilean Spanish is something that you honestly, don’t want to do.  I am a native Spanish speaker and when I first arrived in Chile & started living in Santiago, I couldn’t understand the majority of people that interacted with.  Before arriving in Chile, I thought that they spoke another “understandable” form Spanish with a high possibility of having a different accent.

The way I can describe it is by asking someone to speak Spanish and then putting them on 10x fast forward.  The only thing that you end up hearing are the Chilean known words “po” and “catchay” at the end of the sentence. Watch the video below to understand what they mean.

Before knowing anything about Chile, it was my understanding that the Caribbean countries of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Dominican Republic, spoke the worst Spanish.  I now have to put Chile on top of this list because when most people speak you can’t even understand what they are saying.  There are many things to love about Chile but their Spanish and ugly jeans are not on top of the list.

See the posts below if you want to learn other dialects of Spanish:


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle - chinogringo July 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

I’m half Chilean, half Japanese and lived in Chile for six months about four years ago.

Chilean spanish is awesome! Everyone who speaks spanish should experience Chilean spanish at least once in their lives.

I created a similar video when I was in Chile. Below is the Youtube link:


Como estai, weon? A la CHUCHA!

Chau Chau de California!


Marcello July 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Hey Kyle.. loved the video cachai?


Eco Retreat July 13, 2012 at 5:44 am

hey nice idea to learn……. it helping me a lot


Andrea July 15, 2012 at 12:37 am

First at all, your comments and articles about Chile are offensive. Just generalizations, for example we can say that Americans are fat-asses and have no taste in clothing, Australians are drunk and women dress sluty like, or NZ mess up grammar etc.
Instead of picking up bad things about one country see the bright side or just go away if you fear or complain about the culture you better stay at home, got it?
As a humble recommendation, better be focused on the main idea, I mean, Chileans speak fast as any native speakers so, open your mind- if you travel abroad at least learn the language and culture, before making nasty comments.



Marcello July 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Andrea… Its funny that you find offensive considering that I lived in Chile for 4 months and all my Chilean friends thought it was very funny and true. I always share the the good things and bad things about all countries and the 100% Chilean woman in the video thought it was funny. I am a native Spanish speaker and have lived in 5 different countries across South America and native Spanish speakers do not speak that fast.

I’ve lived in Chile and those are the facts.


Will Peach July 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Love the video, mate, South America is one of my next stops.


Marcello July 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Bring It.


Kyle - chinogringo July 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

jajaja cuidado con los pacos en brasil, weon!


Matthew Karsten July 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Nice Marcello. I love that all your language assistants are beautiful women. :)


Marcello July 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm

There are more where that came from… lol


Jo July 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

my Latin American Spanish teacher is from Chile, and I find it’s much easier to understand than the Spanish in Spain (I was in Barcelona for a week last week). I guess it all depends on what you start with – and this is my first experience of learning Spanish.


Marcello July 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Jo.. not everyone speaks that way. Its the same thing as someone from NYC or even California.. not everyone is going to have the same accent. It would also depend exactly where she is from. Thanks for the comment


Nomadic Translator @latinAbroad July 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm

LOL! That’s hilarious.

Andrea: It’s a joke, it’s his opinion. He’s not insulting anyone, get over it.

Geez, some people are too sensitive.

Happy to see your audience considers me a “beautiful language assistant” XD ;P

Chau corillo!

-María Alexandra


Jeff July 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Marcello. You got 2 of my 3 words you need to know in Chilean Spanish: cachay, po and hueón! I always say that if you can manage those three, you can get through a conversation. Brings back fond memories of me studying Spanish in Santiago.


Marcello July 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Sooooo true… LOL. Then you just talk fast enough so no one understands you lol


Audrey July 29, 2012 at 1:24 am

Haha, pololeando is a good one. It’s funny how places that speak Spanish can have so many different words for one thing. I remember trying to order grapefruit juice at the airport in Miami once (we can count that as a Spanish speaking state), and I tried using pomelo and toronja and the woman just stared at me blankly. She replied with a third word for that same fruit!


Marcello July 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

LOL… at least its not like India and China where some of the dialects are barely understandable.. lol. For the most part its like English in the UK & US.. the foundations are the same and they just have a bit different words for things.. Thanks for hte comment Audrey


Jessica Holt July 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

That’s so funny you noted that, I lived in Peru and I remember going to Chile and being like WOAH it’s a different language just across the border! literally an hour away and they triple the speed of speech. What a beautiful place!


Marcello August 7, 2012 at 5:36 am

You noticed it too.. haha.. thanks for the comment Jessica


Brice July 31, 2012 at 11:25 am


You do realize that Marcello is at a native fluency in Spanish, right?



Simon Procel August 7, 2012 at 2:20 am

Hahaha I kind of agree, understanding Chilean Spanish is pretty difficult, but after a week or two, if you are a fluent Spanish speaker (like I am) you’ll get to understand what they say and it won’t seem very difficult. So at the beginning, when you don’t understand a thing of what they say, just answer “Aja, Si, Si claro, Ok” and you wont look like you’re stupid asking a thousand times to repeat what they say. Btw its a travel blog, is pretty good pointing out things like this that might help those who are about to travel to Chile, only try not to be harsh otherwise people like Andrea might get bit mad LOL.


Marcello August 7, 2012 at 6:42 am

I agree Simon.. but some people dont have a sense of humor either.. lol. Thanks for the comment


John Thomas August 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

I can speak Spanish (Spain) but noticed a huge difference in Mexico.
I plan to learn ‘Chilean Spanish’ YouTube here I come.
Thanks for the article, some great comments.


Gary August 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Interesting articles…taking notes.


Lorenzo Gonzalez September 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Haha I had to laugh at the girlfriend, boyfriend reference. As for phrases that have been adapted from English to Spanish, that’s common in Belize. For example: bounciar – to bounce…


Marcello September 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Its common in all Spanish.. there are even many words here in Portuguese that are English words pronounced in Portuguese. Thanks for the comment Lorenzo


Paulina November 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

hahaha this is a cool video! You should learn how to speak Mexican Spanish.


camila December 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

te falto una palabra clave en nuestro vocabulario chileno jajajjaaj
que es “weon” y sus derivados, realmente sirve para todo esa palabra jajaj


Marcello December 31, 2012 at 7:12 am

Siii se me olvido! lol


sonia February 18, 2013 at 2:13 am

Soy chilena y estoy totalmente de acuerdo!
Ya que cada ano que voy a Chile me da una mezcla de pena y risa darme cuenta de lo mal que hablamos. no me refiero a los dichos , como guevon, cachay , o puta la hueva.. etc , me refiero a que nos comemos todas las silabas finales – en todo caso – me encanta ser Chilena y ensenar Espanol – no chileno! pero si una mezcla rara – que he ido aprendiendo despues de vivir mas de 30 anos en USA !


cacinda maloney April 15, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Marcello, this video is so funny and brings back fond memories of my time studying Spanish at the University of Santiago. So true these things that you observe, they definitely have their own language down there. My husband is from Chile, but left 30 years ago and when he goes back, he can barely understand anyone when ordering food or with friends and he speaks Spanish everyday in the states!


kati June 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm

i liked the video, it was very funny! But if you study linguistics you will learn that there are no right and wrong languages. What you are doing right now is saying that the most similar is the spanish to the spanish from Spain, the better it is, and that’s some colonial racist crap.
Its very different though, i will give you that. And po is a short way of saying pues, and it is used to emphasis an the phrase. We don’t use it on every sentence, only in the ones we want to stress. “Si, po” could be translated to “yes, of course”.
And those jeans are not “normal” jeans that everyone wears, those are “flayte” jeans (reggaeton fans). And you shouldn’t take pictures of people without their consent, that’s disrepectful and plain creepy.
I’m from Chile and i don’t know if i made any english mistakes :)


Marcello June 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I would agree with most of your comments Kati. You are definitely right that there is technically no wrong or right way to do it but when I can barely understand most people in Santiago that is a sign that most other people wouldn’t be able to understand either. Really strong accent in Chile. Thanks for the comments


Nick October 17, 2013 at 12:49 am

I am not a native Spanish speaker but do speak Spanish fluently. I stayed in Chile for around 6 months. In the starting days it was a bit difficult (as it was my very first time to any Spanish speaking country) but as the days passed everything came out to be quiet interesting and I really loved that. I started understanding the Chilenos without much problem. Apart, I found them really good and they did appreciate that I would speak Spanish. The Chilean Spanish has its own peculiarities and as already commented above in the thread, one who speaks Spanish must experience it at least once.


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