Spanish Tips for Semi-Latinas (Video)

I recently introduced a half-Puerto Rican friend to a totally cubana friend and watched as the Puerto Rican sheepishly admitted she didn’t speak mucho Spanish.

I joked with her that we’d get rid of her complejo by teaching her to say “Ay, Dios Mio!’‘ and all would be well. She’d be able to “pass” and not feel so “semi-Latina.”

That funny moment, coupled with conversations I have had with other Latinas who don’t speak Spanish —  or much of it — has inspired this video post: “Sneaky Spanish Tips for Semi-Latinas!”

You too can be 100% Latina with these quick and easy Spanish tips from the Tiki Tiki!

Yes, guay!

OK, hermanas, what other sayings, dichos, words should we be teaching our monolingual sisters?

And, nobody say “Ay, Papi!”

Share, por favor!

By Carrie on November 17, 2010 · Posted in featured, latest video post, videos

44 Comments | Post Comment

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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tiki Tiki Blog, Tiki Tiki Blog and Carrie Ferguson Weir, Esther J. Cepeda. Esther J. Cepeda said: RT @TikiTikiBlog: On the Tiki Tiki: Spanish Tips for Semi-Latinas (Video) http://goo.gl/fb/LYW80 [...]

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Tracy says:

LOL, that last one is especially sneaky!

I think that the word “Qué ….” in conjunction with a dozen other words committed to memory will go a long way. Examples:

Qué…

bueno
rico
[mala] suerte
bonito/lindo/guapo/precioso/bello
triste
horror
divertido
chistoso
aburrido

…you get the idea! Just learn as many adjectives as you can. Paired with the word “Qué” (said with the right intonation and expression!) – will cover any situation :)
Tracy´s last [fabulousness] ..El Cumbo

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Micaela Vega @strivingbean says:

Carrie – love your video and great idea! My Spanish story – my Grandmother from Mexico lived with our family when I was growing up. She spoke all 3 languages (Spanish, English, Spanglish) to the children and the kids always answered in English, rarely in Spanish. My parents almost always spoke Spanish to her – I got used to the rhythms, the frequently used words, and knew my way around a Spanish/English dictionary.

Great phrases, I’m going to throw these in every once and a while :-) I always joke if somebody wants to sponsor me for a 6-month long trip to Mexico City I guarantee I will come back bilingual!
Micaela Vega @strivingbean´s last [fabulousness] ..Honey Pumpkin Baked Donuts

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Yoly says:

Que was the first word I teach my husband and even though his Spanish is limited ‘que’ has been very handy for him.
Yoly´s last [fabulousness] ..Nov 17- Get Your Vlog On!

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Rebecca at Toothwhale says:

Carrie, you know I love this.
Rebecca at Toothwhale´s last [fabulousness] ..Were reading- Books about Thanksgiving

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Jeannette says:

Oye, Carrie: No puedo parar de reirme. En serio! This is so funny it cracks me up. AMAZING JOB, por mi madre.

In my house, where there are strong Peruvian and Chilean influences, you could also fake your “Latinidad” by saying “Me aloco” (Peruvian) or “Me muero” (very Southern Cone way to say To die for) or if you want to cuss like a Chilena “Me estái hueviando?!” (super chileno, means Are you kidding me?), just like you would use “¡Mentira!”. In my family instead of No me digas, everybody just opens their eyes real wide and says “Noooooo!” (in Spanish).

I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment in this exclusive TikiTiki Series. En serio!
Jeannette´s last [fabulousness] ..Paulina Rubio confirma que es madre de un varoncito

Posted on November 17th, 2010

lisa says:

OMG!! You’ve got me laughing over. I so wish i can do vlogs but I am so shy and feel weird about talking to a camera..

I am definitely a semi-Latina but I know curse words in Spanish! LOL

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Roxana A. Soto says:

Mentira!!!! By far, my favorite!

Carri-e estás loca!! You’re vlogs crack me up! Well done, my friend! Spanish for the semi-Latinas! Love it!

I’m with Tracy that “Qué” will go a loooooooooong way… but one she didn’t mention is when you double it, as in “Qué qué???” and you say it with horror and disbelief!! Jaja!! Gotta love our language!!
Roxana A. Soto´s last [fabulousness] ..Between Me and You- A Keepsake Journal in Spanish Giveaway

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Maya Escobar says:

Carrie, you crack me up! You are such a good performer! It is such a pleasure to watch your vlogs!
xo Maya
Maya Escobar´s last [fabulousness] ..Critical Mixed Race Studies on iTunesU

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Melanie (ModernMami) says:

I second Roxana in “Qué qué???” being a major one! Actually, combine it with Mentira!

ex: I gained 20 pounds! “Qué qué? Mentira!!!” with the hands on hips of course. ;)

Love it!
Melanie (ModernMami)´s last [fabulousness] ..Cleaning Rituals and Habits- What Did Your Mama Teach You

Posted on November 17th, 2010

BellaVida says:

Hola Carrie, what an entertaining vlog. I love this post.

Here are a few more tips to add to your list.

Add the word “oye” before a question.

example:

Oye, did you take out the garbage?
Oye, why isn’t your homework done?

And another sneaky tip is NOT to call people by their name instead use Chico or Chica.

Chico, what are you doing?

and to go really pro combine the two.

Oye Chica, where are you going?
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Posted on November 17th, 2010

Ana Lilian Flores says:

Ay, Dios mio…I love you!!! Jajjaa! This was just perfect.
Ana Lilian Flores´s last [fabulousness] ..Between Me and You- A Keepsake Journal in Spanish Giveaway

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Saray says:

Great video and tips!!

I’m trying to raise my DD bilingual. I watched it with her and I can tell you she loved it and made me play it over and over; more importantly she learned a few new words. Thanks for sharing Carrie!

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Maura says:

In my house we use “Oye” a lot. I say it so much, my husband teases me and mocks me sometimes. I’m a big fan of “mentira” and “pura mentira!” I definitely agree with the combination of “Qué” + adjective – we especially use “Qué horror” a lot in our family. It’s such a versatile phrase that it can cover anything from bad traffic to talking about someone’s manners. The one thing I would advise, though, about the use of “¿Qué¿” for “what?” is that in some places, it can be perceived as rude to say “¿qué?” and is more polite to say “¿mande?” The use of “¿Qué qué?” is perfectly acceptable in casual circumstances with people you know well, but God help you if you say it to your co-worker’s mother (or to your suegra if you’re a newlywed), ¿me entiendes? ;) I’ve got many more, but I’ll save some for the 2nd installment of the series!
Maura´s last [fabulousness] ..Wordless Wednesday- Boing de guayaba en vidrio

Posted on November 17th, 2010

Marcela says:

You were made for the camera!!! I love it!

“mentira?”…definitely my favorite!!

Posted on November 17th, 2010

angelica perez says:

Carrie, I totally loved this video! You’re awesome at vlogging. Can I please publish it on New Latina? plis (as my mom would say in English with her Spanish accent)

Posted on November 17th, 2010

class factotum says:

My father got by for four four years in Spain and three in Panama with a few key phrases:

Donde estan los servicios?
Cuanto?
Cerveze, por favor.
Vino tinto, por favor.
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Posted on November 18th, 2010

Jenn Walus says:

OMG, Carrie, these are hilarious! My husband (who is a gringuito) likes “Mueve tus nalgas!” for “Hurry up!” Well, then again, “nalgas” or “buttcheeks” is his favorite Spanish word. I like “Andale!” for when you’re trying to get your kids to go faster, as in “Come on!” or it can also be used when you’re listening sympathetically to a friend, as in “Right… right.” Another one is instead of saying “um” when you’re looking for something to say, you can say “este…” or “em…” That sounds very Latino :)

Posted on November 18th, 2010

Carrie says:

You Guys! I am going to come back and respond to as many personally as possible because, really, your answers are clever and hilarious and right on target. I love your offerings.

I already know we have to do a dirty words one and I know exactly whom is going to help me with that one!

Besos…

Posted on November 18th, 2010

Carrie says:

And, you know, I know that you’re fabulous. We must hang more.

Posted on November 18th, 2010

Lisa Renata says:

Carrie you did it again! Made me LMNO! With tears running down.

One of my favorite phrases I like to use (especially with my four year old) is “No me digas!/?” Which can be a statement or a question depending on the tone of voice. It is funny, I never really thought about all the ways “Que” can be used (Thanks Tracy). I need to teach that to my grinito hubby! LOL
Lisa Renata´s last [fabulousness] ..Friday Favoritas

Posted on November 19th, 2010

NYCPatty says:

OMG! This is the BEST VIDEO I’ve seen all week! You’re awesome and so on target with the keywords we say all the time.

You really made me smile today! :)

Posted on November 19th, 2010

Tia Mirtha says:

Mi sobrina, you are getting better and better with the videos.
You are funny!!…
love you
Tia

Posted on November 22nd, 2010

Carrie says:

You are genius! Thank you for suggestions!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

I may have to talk you into doing the video!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

You can do video! Call me. I will walk you through the fear!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

I want to do a video with you! Wait, wait, I already did! When are we going to publish that, loca mia?

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

Oye is my husband’s favorite and I love how you combined them Oye, Chica…Hilarious!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

High praise coming from you, my favorite Elotera!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

If I was being totally Cuban, it would have been “No me jodas!?”
LOL

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

Saray, you reminded me to show it to my daughter…My Tennessee-born, 1/4-cubanita!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

You are too kind!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

And your comment made my day, too!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Carrie says:

Teaching this stuff to the gringo husbands is hilarious!

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Silvia says:

ok Carrie, this is your best video EVER, and should I say? so far!!

Awesome, I need to show it to my husband. My gringo husband loves “pues” and sometimes he combines it with “bueno pues!”
Silvia´s last [fabulousness] ..Mujeres y Cáncer de los Ovarios – Women and Ovarian Cancer

Posted on November 24th, 2010

Lilian Hurn says:

Excelente!!, I was smiling watching the video.
My Gringo Husband said “Que pasa”, “No entiendo” he knows this word very good. He add drama to the “No entiendo”
Lilian Hurn´s last [fabulousness] ..Muestra Gratis de Happy Me Productos para acné

Posted on November 26th, 2010

Articles and Blog Posts Worth Reading Curated from the ModernMami.com Community — ModernMami™.com says:

[...] Spanish Tips for Semi-Latinas – Marta’s Tiki Tiki Blog partner, Carrie, shares some humorous tips for speaking Spanish even when you don’t know how. [...]

Posted on December 1st, 2010

Alexandra says:

I love this video, found it at New Latina’s.

You are made for the camera..so confident.

Posted on March 16th, 2011

Alexandra says:

Oye, mujer.

I just played this for my teen boys…and they loved the tips more than any semi latina could.

Thank you for making these boys now cool in the suburban hood.
You should be hearing them now, girl… the house is full of “mentira!” and “ay! dios mio!”
Alexandra´s last [fabulousness] ..Beautifully Bilingual – Your Child Talking Guest Post

Posted on March 16th, 2011

Zeidy Vargas says:

That was great! But I have to confess that I seen more American Girls use more Spanish words than the actual Latinas. I have so many friends who are non-Latinas and speak really great in spanish… pero gracias a Dios you made this video… I will pass it long to all the girls in need!!

Saludos,
Zeidy

Posted on March 16th, 2011

Carrie says:

Alexandra, thank you! Please tell your boys I will make a video with tips especially for the guys! They’ve inspired me!
No mentira!

Posted on March 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

Zeidy, that is funny…and I guess the non-Latinas have picked up the aire around them?
Saludos a ti!

Posted on March 17th, 2011

Melissa says:

Too funny!

I think ending any conversation with, “bueno, bye” can be particularly helpful to semi-Latinas, especially if the “e” sound is drawn out.

And how about the less common, but utterly Latin “alabao!”? Bust out with that one and no one will assume you don’t speak Spanish.

Posted on July 17th, 2011

Nancy says:

Hola Carrie, It is my first time hear. Que contenta that I found you. Your video is really cute and funny. It reminds me of my childhood in the states. I am Mexican, born partially raised, as a child my family moved to the states. I didn’t speak a word of English. So to pretend like I understood what people were telling me I would say yes to everything. As you can imagine that didn’t work out so well :) Thanks for sharing the video!

Posted on January 17th, 2012