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10 Essential Spanish Words & Phrases for Life in Miami

Here you have a list of ten common words and phrases in Cuban” Spanish that you should know if you live in Miami, even if you don´t speak Spanish fluently. Review these colloquial phrases that you can hear daily among the Cuban community and you will realize that you feel more comfortable the next time you visit a Latin market or office. All of these essential Spanish words and phrases are very common, but it’s advisable to use them only in informal settings.

Let’s learn some Spanish words and phrases!

First, the classic greeting among Cuban friends that even Obama used, “Asere, ¿qué bola?” and if you want to say good bye, “Dale” will help you sound like a Cuban. When you listen to “¡Ay mi madre!” don´t think it is related to the mother´s person. It rather means that someone has received bad news.

If you are a woman and someone calls you “Mami” (Mom) or “Niña” (Girl), they don´t mean to offend you, but it’s just a way to address a woman, regardless her age. However, if somebody  says that you are a “mango”, take it as a compliment, since he is meaning you are very beautiful. On the other hand, if the person adds the words “rice with” before “mango” to form the phrase “arroz con mango”, you better get ready to run because he is announcing big trouble or confusion. If you are not only beautiful, but also very smart, and someone tells you “Estás escapá”, it doesn’t mean you escaped from prison but rather it’s a big compliment, reserved only for very intelligent people!

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When you listen to Cubans’ small talk and they use the words “piñazo” o “pescozón”, run! They are talking about a physical fight, which probably began due to a “brete” (gossip) or a “bateo” (word fight) because someone may have thought that you were a “bobo” (silly) or a “guataca” (flatterer). Then, you better “dejas la muela” (finish the small talk) and take the “guagua” (bus). Don’t ever try to “acotejar” (fix the matter) because at the end Cubans will do it “a la cañona” (by force) and finally, they will probably end up drinking some “guarapo” (sugar cane juice) with ron (rum), but I’m sure you know what that means.

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