When I arrived to Cuenca, Ecuador I really thought I had a great knowledge of Spanish. I had studied in the US and Madrid and felt relatively comfortable with the language. Ha! I’ve had a fun time learning the Cuencano slang and accent. Cuenca has a great influence from their indigenous roots, and many of these words come from the Quechwa language of the region’s history.
Study up, here is some of the regional slang and vocab you can expect to hear in Cuenca:
Carajo – Damn!
Bacan – Awesome, cool, etc
Chevere – Awesome, cool, etc
Chompa – A heavier weight sweater or hoodie
Chuchaqui – Hungover
Chupar – To drink (alcohol)
Chuta – Damn!
Farra – A party (where you party hard)
Fregar – The verb to describe you’re screwed
Guambra(s) – Child/children
Mijo/a (a slur of “mi hijo”) – My son or my daughter in an endearing manner (the taxi drivers will say this to me, for example)
Mono/a – Someone from the coast
Nano/a – Brother/sister
Pana – My buddy, my old pal, etc
Suco/a – Someone with usually blonde or light brown hair
Veras – Look, Here’s the thing (use this when you want to make your point)
Gara – Awesome, cool, etc
Al pelo – Amazing
Saca el aire – It takes the air out of you
La bola – A lot, a ton, etc
You’ll notice the influence of the English language in Cuenca with some great Spanglish terms – some of my favorite popular Spanglish terms in addition to this list are que bestia (what a beast), Si tiene un chance (if you have a chance), este man (this man), estoy full en la oficina (i am full with work in the office).