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BOP’s Dominican Phrasebook – Dominican Slang Part 1

a person standing in front of a building

One of the most talked about things in the Dominican Republic is the language! Spanish is the official language of the country, and Dominicans love using it! People here speak so fast, and no matter how much you’ve studied, often you’ll find it hard to understand! Dominican’s speak with such passion and energy, you know instantly that they’re from the island!

Once you get to grips with the speed, you’ll notice a lot of slang words are used, which you certainly won’t have heard in your Spanish classes back home! To make things a little easier, we bring you some of the most popular Dominican slang words:

Vaina

Extremely popular and infectious word, it can be used to describe anything. It can be used to describe something bad that has happened, or bad news. Sometimes it can be used to describe something you don’t know the name of! It can also be an exclamation either good or bad! You’ll find yourself picking up this word quite quickly as it nicely fits into a number of situations.

Examples:

Que Vaina – How bad/What a bad situation

Dame esa Vaina – Give me that thing

Dime la vaina – Tell me whats up

Chin

A small piece or amount of something. Usually used when you want to try something. Can also be used when you are offered food or drink that you should politely accept even if you are not hungry. If you want a really small amount, you can say “un chin chin”

Example:

Tengo sancocho, quieres?- I have Sancocho, would you like some?

Ah Si, dame un chin – Yes, give me a little

Claro

Used often in exchange for yes, ok, sure. Not to be confused with the telephone company!

Example:

Quieres un trago? – Do you want a drink?

Claro! – Sure!

Tranqui

Shortened version of tranquilo, used in greeting as the response to Que lo Que (link to previous article). A general state of mind, relaxed, happy chilling.

Example:

Que lo Que Hermano? – How are you brother?

Tranqui hombre – Chill man

Chulo

Used to describe anything that is cute or cool. Can be used for things or for people. You’ll hear the variation of Papi Chulo, which is used to describe men that are extremely good looking, and often with money. This word is used throughout the Caribbean and Spain!

Example:

Mira lo que compré! – Look what I bought!

Ah que chulo! – So Cute!

Which of these words have you heard or used when visiting Punta Cana? Show us our videos of you or your friends speaking Dominican Spanish in our Facebook group!

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