Learning How To Speak Chilean Spanish

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:


  1. Hi,
    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.


    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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 !

  11. 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!

  12. 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 🙂

    1. 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

  13. 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.

  14. I have had problems flipping from Mexico to Guatemala … some words are different between these two countries … I can’t imagine how many times I’ll have to re-learn this language before my journey is over!

  15. Haha! I think this is all so true! I arrived in Chile and spoke absolutely no Spanish at all; left a year later and, with all modesty, thought my Spanish was great! Returned to Scotland to study Spanish at university and nobody can understand me, I think I have picked up every bad Chilean habit that exists. My Chilean boyfriend looks over my Spanish assignments, says they are fine and then my Proffessor hands it back covered in squiggly red lines 🙁

  16. Hi,
    Where are you from? Let me guess by your accent…colombia? Talking about the video, I think it is a poor reference about chilean spanish. The majority of expressions and words used are slangs. People can avoid those words when they are talking with a foreigner to sound more understandable. And it is kind of offensive to call chilean spanish as *the worst spanish, because it is just another type of spanish.

    1. I’m from the United States.

      I also speak 9 languages and have lived in over 12 countries across 6 continents so I think I would be the right person to make such an opinion.

      This wasn’t meant to be offensive even though some Chileans have taken it that way. It was a joke but most of my friends in Chile actually agreed with me.

  17. Well, it may not sound pleasing to you, but it is our way of speaking. To me, it’s sort of a national identity thing. We understand each other just fine, and that’s all that matters to us. I am actually quite proud of it, much like Swiss Germans are proud of their fucked up dialect

  18. hey
    I am chilean, but I’ve been learning english since I was 5 years old. I think this is really funny. Seing people from other countries talking about this is just hillarious 🙂 Loved your report or whatever

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