Spanglish 101: A quick guide to Miami slang Part 1

Moving to a new place will always include this small step: learning the local lingo. As you well know, or are just finding out, Miami will make you brush up on your high school Spanish more than just a little bit. Don’t worry, people in Miami do speak English, as well as you or us, but, as there is a plentiful Cuban culture here, which you will learn to love in due time, be prepared for a certain dose of Spanglish. If you are familiar with the everyday life in Miami already, you will know that some of these terms and phrases have never left the 305, but, there are a few with which you will be familiar, even outside of the area. So, let us get started with:

Not really Spanglish, but a definite part of the Miami slang: Bro

If you aren’t familiar with this one, just ask any teen in your family: this is the catchphrase of the century. Bro is usually used to refer to a brother in a short manner, however, in this day and age, this isn’t the case. Bro can be used to address a person regardless of gender or age in any part of the USA. And, if you should be aware of something, it’s that Miami likes to exaggerate from time to time. So, feel free to put bro anywhere in your sentence when chatting. It can be the beginning or the end of your words, or anywhere in the middle. Anything goes in Miami.

If you are giving directions, here’s a useful piece of Miami

Get your directions straight by learning that in Miami slang, you simply say Broward

slang: Broward

If you are unfamiliar with local counties, here’s a quick explanation: Broward County is a county in the Miami metropolitan area and it is the second most populated county in Florida. To the north, it borders the Palm Beach County and to the south, it is adjacent to Miami-Dade country. It also shares borders with Collier County to the west, as well as with Hendry County in the northwest. Mostly, people will refer to this county or anything in it as simply: Broward. There is usually no further explanation necessary. Also, some parts of the Palm Beach county can be referred to by this name, as well. So, if you are giving directions or receiving them, calling this county in any other way you will be considered a complete tourist.

Finally breaking out the Spanish, we give you a slang term which you will definitely need in Miami: Bueno

As you probably know, from some Spanish classes or simply watching a soap opera or two, ‘bueno’ means ‘good’. However, as you are peppering it all over your conversations you will notice that it can also be used as ‘well’ in different contexts. Don’t worry, after a week or so, you will be completely used to using this word in any casual chat.

A cup of cafecito in the morning will get your day started in a perfect way

For all those who cannot get up without caffeine, you will need to know this piece of Miami slang: Cafecito

Unless you are going to a fancy restaurant or a high-end coffee shop like Starbucks, prepare to use this slang term as your primary weapon. Not only is Cafecito coffee, but it is a delicious one as well. It is a Cuban espresso made from a dark roast coffee with sugary cream added to the drink. So, forget about ordering espresso, feel free to get some cafecito early in the morning.

Mostly used by the youth of Miami, but still a good slang term to be familiar with: Casa Yuca

A synonym for this one which you might be familiar with is ‘middle of nowhere’. So, this term is usually used to explain when something is really out of your way or pretty far away.

Commit this popular Miami slang term to your memory: Chanx

Learn how to say your future favorite footwear in the local slang

Chanx is the short version of chancletas, the Spanish word for flip-flops. Why is this word used 24/7 in Miami? Well, after a week of living there chanx will become your favorite footwear. After all, with the humid, hot weather and untimely downpours, flip-flops are the perfect solution. No need to change when going to the beach, either.

Chanx is the short version of chancletas, the Spanish word for flip-flops. Why is this word used 24/7 in Miami? Well, after a week of living there chanx will become your favorite footwear. After all, with the humid, hot weather and untimely downpours, flip-flops are the perfect solution. No need to change when going to the beach, either.

A slang term which you should be aware of before moving to Miami: Chonga

Similar to ‘chola’ from South California, a chonga is a young girl, usually between the ages of twelve and nineteen with a distinct way of dress and attitude. Chongas usually wear tight clothing, mostly cheap, as well as a lot of bling. The jewelry usually includes golden or silver hoop earrings, nameplates and a large number of bracelets. Their makeup is quite recognizable, as well, with eccentric lip-liner and accented eyebrows. Don’t worry, though, not every teen in Miami considers herself a chonga.

A common slang term for Hialeah in Miami is: La Ciudad Que Progresa

In case you aren’t familiar with Hialeah, it is a city in the Miami-Date county and it has the highest Cuban population in Florida. Its nickname is ‘The City of Progress’, which had been pushed by the developers originally. However, nowadays, it’s more famously known as La Ciudad Que Progresa.

You are sure to know this slang catchphrase from Miami: Dale

Now you’ll know exactly why Pitbull uses dale as his favorite slang catchphrase

If you have ever heard a Pitbull song, you are familiar with this word. It can mean a number of things, from ‘let’s go’, ‘hit it’, ‘come on’, ‘do it’ to ‘give it’. Now, this one is as diverse in its use as you could only imagine. Feel free to use it to encourage someone, to flirt, or simply to say goodbye. Using it in a sentence gets pretty difficult, though, as the meaning of the word itself is pretty vague. So, you can see why Pitbull likes this catchphrase so much, right? Don’t worry, you will, too, in just a couple of weeks of living in Miami.

So, hopefully we have given you some slang terms to think about and we will be back next week, with a few more. Stay tuned!

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