Chilean Spanish: Huaiquimán y Tolosa

Huaiquiman y Tolosa

Whenever I think I’m getting better at understanding Chilean Spanish, I watch some Chilean television and am reminded that, yo, this stuff is hard.

Embedded above is the first episode of a popular Chilean private detective show from a few years back, Huaiquimán y Tolosa, a show that hits all of the usual low-rent private eye tropes, but with a Chileno flavor.

Watch a little bit of it and you’ll see why two minutes in and I’m already shouting at the characters to slow down and stop using so much slang. Chileans talk at a million miles an hour, dropping various consonants (especially s’s) in the service of speed. And their slang (frequently profane) is famously opaque. For example, the universal “you know” appended by Chileans to the end of sentences is “cachai”, a word that seems have its roots in the English word “catch” as in “did you catch that”, cachai?

Add to this mix peculiar floating particles, such as “po“, and a vocabulary filled with indigenous Mapuche words, and you’ve got the makings of dialect with substantial differences from Castilian.