¿Qué Onda Vos? A Series on Speaking Guatemalan Spanish

“¿Qué onda vos?” is XelaWho’s a monthly guide to speaking Spanish Guatemalan style. This month’s topic:  Qué buena onda and other local expressions.

The main source of inspiration for this column is the useful book on Guatemalan (and other Latin American) slang ¿Qué Onda Vos? by Juan Carlos Martínez.

Buena onda/mala onda: The equivalent of “cool” in the US, but the Guatemaltecos have taken it one step further to include a negative version. Example: “Que buena onda es XelaWho” or “Antigua es mala onda comparada a Xela.

Chapín(a): Yet another term to denote your Guatemalan pride, chapín is an additional self-referential phrase for guatemalteco.

Chócale: Essentially the next wave of high-five, this is especially useful if you work with kids, as it’s way cooler than “dáme cinco”.

Chucho: Who knows where this word for dog comes from, but there are so many on the street maybe they were looking for something more interesting than perro. Also applicable to men. Example: “The chucho from last night never called me.”

Fufurufo/a: Possibly the most fun way to call someone elitist or a snob.

Güiro/a: While this word is essentially the same as “rascal,” only use it with kids and parents you know really well.

Híjole: “Oops” or “I forgot”. Don’t forget the accompanying finger snap.

Huevón(a): A lazy person, possibly unemployed, possibly just doesn’t like waking up in the morning.

Patojo/a: 1. Teenager, adolescent. 2. What you think you still are since you don’t have a real job even though you’re 26.

Puchica: “Wow!” For things good or bad. Ladies, now you’ll understand what all those men are yelling at you.

Ubícate: Possibly the most useful term on the list, this word is all you need at places like The Roca Negra or any street where single, young guatemaltecos lurk. Practice telling those hopefuls and more seedy types to “get lost” by telling them to “find themselves”.

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