Bolivia is not the an initial destination civilization tend to fantasize about visitingin Latin America.

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Not as soon as they can experiencesalsa in Colombia, tango in Argentina and of course the continent’sbeaches, jungles, glaciers and also samba rock.

But those who make that past all of that come Bolivia—usually afterwards in their southern American adventures—rave about it. And in despite the of the cute towns and fun cities, the main treasured storage of Bolivia seems to constantly be “the people.” A clichéd compliment, yes, but in this case it’s a deserved one. Bolivians are consistently spoken of in reverent terms for your generosity of spirit, hospitality and also openness.

So whenyou walk there, you’re really walk to want to speak to the locals, and also of food that’s always much more fun if girlfriend speak their native languages. Yes, languages—plural.

Andhere’s where things acquire tricky. There’s therefore much much more thanSpanish in Bolivia! and even the Spanish that’s usedin Bolivia has a lot of distinct vocabulary and expressions the you won’t find anywhere else.

There space 64 languages spoken in Bolivia follow to one count, and 36 main languages in the Bolivian constitution. Some of these main languages are properly dead, yet someare really much alive. The aforementioned survey put the key languages provided by the populace at 69% for Spanish, 17% because that Quechua (also sometimes spelled Quichua) and also 11% because that Aymara. Oh, also: 4 individuals in the survey claimed they use Araona, 5 saidMoré and six saidPacahuara.

Most travelers will probably want come skip finding out those last few, yet a mastery of Bolivian Spanish and at least some notion of Quechua will perform wonders for enhancing your travel suffer in Bolivia. I’d strongly recommend memorizing some typically Bolivian expression in both Spanish and Quechua prior to you walk in order to be on a funny footing through the locals; this short article hence offers 53of the greatest ones for your use and also amusement.

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53 Bolivian Spanish and Quechua unit volume You’ve Gotta Know

1. estar camote — to be crazy in love

2. Tener cuates — to have actually friends (cuate — friend)

3. Tu radio está th’anta. — your radio is top top the fritz/is old and crummy.

4. Imilla — (f.) young woman (can it is in disrespectful), from the Quechua word for girl

5. Llock’alla, yokh’alla— (m.) young male (can be disrespectful), indigenous the Quechua word because that boy

6. chupar — come drink, especially alcohol; literally, come lick or come suck

7. ch’aqui — (m.) hangover, from the Quechua word because that “foot”

8. tombo — (m.) police

9. estar kh’encha — to have poor luck

10. opa — (m./f.) idiot, fool

11. cojudo — (m.) idiot

12. gil — (m.) idiot

13. kh’orotón — (m.) idiot

14. padre — (m.) you are fool (also means father, together in standard Spanish)

15. paparupa — (m./f.) idiot, nonsense

16. estar charlando — to it is in lying (whereas commonly in traditional Spanish, this means to it is in chatting or providing a speech)

17. estar chuto — to it is in naked (it’sestar desnudo in standard Spanish)

18. lagartear — tolaze around

19. pachanga — (f.) a party

20. jailón/jailona — (m./f.) a really vain person

21. huaso/huasa — (m./f.) shameless

22. singani — (m.) a grape brandy typical of Bolivia

23. quelliskiri — human who has a hot temper

24. cómo es’ — hello (a shortening of cómo estás, or exactly how are you)

25. chacharse — come play hooky native school

26. ¡Anda a moler agua! — Screw you! (Literally, “go grind water.”)

27. ¡Qué chala! — Awesome!

28. Elay puej. — Well, yes, of food (used in west Bolivia).

29. Está pintudo. — That’s amazing/great.

30. ¡Jallalla! — Hello everyone! (This word is both Quechua and also Aymara, and apart from gift a greeting it conveys a wish for hope and also a fulfilling life).

31. wa — expression the surprise

32. La comida está lakh’a. — The food is flavorless.

33. wawa — (f.) baby

34. churro/churra — (m./f.) beautiful

35. estar yesca — to not have a dime

36. ¿Vamos a pirañear? — are we going to flirt?

37. Tienes mucho ñeque. — You’re quite brave.


Faking Your means Through Quechua top top the roadway in Bolivia

Quechuais actually a totality family of language spread across the Andes. World who speak this languages in different places have the right to understand each other somewhat, back those from much more distant regions can have difficulty communicating. The linguistic transforms are constant as you relocate geographically—there aren’t any kind of defined borders for the dialects/languages.

The adhering to are useful and also fun words and also phrases in theQuechua talked in areas of Bolivia. The pronunciation different according to the region, but in basic using your understanding of Spanish pronunciationrules won’t command you too much astray native what you check out spelled here. (Incidentally, Quechua spelling additionally varies and also is the source of part controversy.) anxiety is virtually always ~ above second-to-last syllable. Once you seek’,that’san ejective membranous stop, or a click in the earlier of her throat. It’s a fun, an extremely weird thing to shot to endure as a communicative device.

You’ll be happy to recognize that Quechua has actually no rarely often rare verbs, nouns (cases), or adjectives. Nouns likewise thankfully don’t have actually genders to memorize, and even the words for he/she/it aren’t gender-specific. On the various other hand,words execute tend to get really long (suffixes space tacked ~ above to include meaning), and also they will look prefer nothing you’ve ever seen prior to (except because that the Spanish loanwords).

38. ¿Imaynallan kashanki?— exactly how are you?

39. walliq— great, good, OK

40. Allinlla kashani.— i am simply fine.

41. Manchay allin. — I’m doing completely fabulous!

42. Ñuqa-qa Mose ka-ni. — ns am Mose.

43. Qam Estados Unidos suyumanta kanki. — i am native the unified States. (Quechua speakers usage the Spanish names for countries.)

44. Tinkuta tusuyta yachachiway! — Teach me the tinku dance! (See below.)

45. À! — (Add this sound ~ a command favor the preceding one to do it sound much more pleasant and polite.)

46. K’acha qhari — beautiful man (a term of endearment, favor guapo in Spanish)

47. k’acha warmi — beautiful girl (also a hatchet of endearment, likeguapa)

48. Mana yachanichu. — i don’t know.

49. Ch’allana! — Let’s toast! (After you speak this, rather of clicking your glasses together, you should spill several of your drink top top the ground together an offering for Pachamama, or mommy Earth. If you’re in a city girlfriend may, however, simply raise your glass a bit if friend don’t desire to acquire the floor dirty.)

50. Challarikuna! — Let’s toast for us!

51. sonsochakoq— to make oneself a fool

52. champ’a uma— someone who’s going nutty, literally, who has actually weeds farming in one’s head

53. Tinkunakama. —See you next time.

Continuing Your learning of Bolivian Languages

I learned some of these expressions in this write-up through virtual language exchanges—you don’t need to be in Bolivia to find out to speak Spanish through Bolivians! (I additionally happened to find a Bolivian expat bar a few blocks from mine apartment—most of friend are more than likely not for this reason lucky.)

The very first way to continue learning about Bolivia, the languages and also its societies is to discover offerings indigenous Lonely Planet. They market both Spanish and also Quechua phrasebooks!

One terrific place to collection up language exchanges through Bolivians isitalki (under the “community” menu). You have the right to even pick to find a private Spanish guardian based in Bolivia—a true blue native speaker from the country who knows the ins and outs that the local language.

You can also search the now-corporate CouchSurfing.com for members that speak your target language—by meaning they’re interested in exchanges with foreigners. One more idea worth trying is contacting Bolivians that are finding out English in facebook groups and also language schools, specifically if you’re feather to achieve the language or accent ofa specificgeographicalarea.

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For discovering Quechua, the excellent an initial chapter of the English-language coursebook “Kawsay Vida” is available on Google Books, and if you favor it you deserve to buy the rest on paper and DVD. There’s likewise anoutdated yet still quite interesting guide to resources and learning, and a stiffly created but much more complete complimentary guide come the language in Spanish.

Best that luck, cuate! Tinkunakama!

Mose Hayward’s other crucial South American social anthropology includes a overview to the mostjaw-dropping, slobbery kisses top top the planet.

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