Basic Canarian Expressions

The Canarian dialect is very special and while it does not greatly differ from Castilian, the form of speech, accent, loving words and expressions that are used sometimes makes it difficult for anyone outside the islands to understand what we are trying to communicate because of the way we express ourselves.

Assuming your destinations is Tenerife, the following basic words and expressions are the most common you may hear.

Lisping – We do not differentiate pronouncing the “C” and the “S”. For example, pronouncing the name Caesar as “SESAR” the “c” and “s” are the same. This feature is also a trait common in Andalusia in the south of Spain.

Partially removing the “s” at the end of words – Depending on the island, the final “s” at the end of a word, can be eliminated, except on the island of El Hierro. Tenerife compromises between the total elimination, and the typical Spanish pronunciation. For example, “los turistas” is pronounced as “loh turistah” with the final “s”, sounding more sucked in.

Here are some typical expressions that you can practice during your stay.

Expressions for the beach – If you want to get a tan, you must “Tumbarte como un lagarto” this means spend time in the sun without moving to get “negro como un tizón” as black as a piece of burnt wood.

Expressions for a night out – If you want to flirt, you can always start with the old tactic of “picar un ojo” wink at the person you like. But do not overdo it or do it in moderation otherwise, you run the risk that you “camber la peluca,” lose the sense of what you’re doing and do something foolish.

Expressions of astonishment – We are confident that during your visit you’ll be amazed by many experiences. If so, remember to use some typical Canarian words of astonishment: “¡Ño!” “¡Agüita!” or “¡Chosss!” for example “¡Ño! Vaya vista más preciosa” or “¡Choss! La comida está deliciosa

Expressions of endearment – On the Canary Islands, we are very affectionate with everyone, and we transmit it by the way of speaking and maybe some people who are not used to it find it a bit shocking at first. You might find some people call you “mi niño”, whether you know them or not, and regardless of how old you are. You could say that is a way to make you feel like part of the family.

Indispensable Canarian words
“Guagua”: that is what we call the busses
“Papas”: instead of “patatas”.
“Guachinche”: typical Canarian restaurant, only open a few months of the year to sell the production of wine, and where you can enjoy Canarian food at much reduced prices.

Practice the Canarian dialect – This has been the most basic overview of the Canarian dialect but using some of these expressions and typical words will make you feel part of this friendly community who will welcome you with open arms. Even more if you are inclined to learn things from its culture and origins.

The above article was originally published by Ambassador and adapted by RQM from the original Spanish
For more info on Tenerife read the Red Queen Musings everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog
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