¿Qué Onda Vos?

Guatemalan slang is great, but it’s important to make sure that you use it correctly, lest you come off looking foolish. Fortunately, XelaWho is here to rescue you. While the cantina will probably always be the best teacher for these matters we hope to come in a close second.

This month’s theme: usage of the words si and no.

Nombre A contraction of the words no and hombre with a slight pause in-between, this expression is a stronger—though polite—way to express disagreement.  Typically used to express disagreement or frustration, nombre can be used with both men and women interchangeably without causing offense.  Conversely, sihombre is used to express the opposite emotion.  EXAMPLE: “Do you want to borrow my 3-hour Don Omar mix tape?” “Nombre.”

No tenga pena While not expressly slang, when rattled off quickly this phrase can sound like one word.  Literally meaning “do not have woe”, no tenga pena is used in situations to tell someone not to worry, oftentimes when the other person is about to do you a favor that you are refusing for one reason or another. For those new to Spanish, make sure not to accidentally say no tengo pene which, while similar, means something completely different.  EXAMPLE: “Would you like me to make you a sandwich” “No tenga pena.”

Simon Spanglish by way of Jamaica, this combination of the words “si” and “mon” (man) is both an effusive affirmative and a general answer if someone is calling your name.  Like nombre, this word is not offensive, but it would get you docked points were you to use it in your Spanish essay.  For an especially emphatic agreement make sure to put a slight pause between the “si” and the “mon”.  EXAMPLE: “Hey Charles?” “Simon.” “Want to go get a beer?” “Simon.”

Si mi reina Literally this expression means “yes my queen” and is generally used by men apologizing to their girlfriends or hitting on women.  The phrase isn’t particularly slang-y, but the pronunciation is.  The more i’s there are in the word “si” the more BS the man in question is feeding you.  Should he need to take a breath during the word “si” it’s probably a bad sign.  EXAMPLE: “Are you reliable?” “Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii mi reina.” “Well, I’ll see you around.”

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