As you know, there are many words in the Spanish language, but there are some that are used A LOT more than others, here is a list of the main ones:
1. Tío/ tía
¡Hola tío! ¿Qué tal tía? ¿Qué pasa tía?
Hey mate! You alright girl? What’s up sweetie?
If you want to sound like a Spanish person, you need to call all of your friends and family tío or tía. Normally this word means Uncle or Auntie, but in Spain everyone is your tío!
Buenas derives from Buenos días (good day) and bueno (good) and people in Spain use it to mean ‘Hello’. It’s a bit more casual and informal than Hola, so you can use it with your friends, but if you’re having a job interview it’s probably best not to go in and say Buenas hombre!
Bueno, ¡claro! Claro que sí. Claro, claro.
Claro is a word of affirmation, used to mean sure or of course. Out of the many ways they have to say of course, Claro seems to be their favourite.
Hola guapa. Gracias guapo.
Hey babe! Thanks honey!
Literally, guapo/a means handsome or beautiful. In England we would be: Oh, I can’t call random people beautiful! It’s not used for random people, only friends, family or people you know well.
Ah, vale vale.
Vale. Vale is an interesting word, it means much more than just ok. In Spain, you use it to accept a proposal (let’s go for some tapas – ¡Vale!) or to say I hadn’t realised that before, I understand what you’re saying/where you’re coming from (Ahh.. vale, vale).
Oy, ¡hombre! ¡Hombre!
Oh man! Man!
This is always used as an exclamation, ¡Hombre! It can be used to show amazement or disbelief, but also frustration. You can also use it when you haven’t seen someone for a while: ¡Hombre! ¡Cuánto tiempo!
7. A ver
A ver, Ana… A ver, ¿qué tenemos aquí?
Right Ana… Right, now what do we have here?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really think this means a lot. It’s proper meaning is let’s see, but in Spain they just seem to use it as a way to start talking. It also seems to be a bit of a filler, so they can have more time to think before they speak.
8. ¿Qué tal?
There are two main ways to ask how someone is in Spanish:
- ¿Qué tal?
- ¿Cómo estás?
Despite this, nobody ever seems to use ¿Cómo estás?, people only ever say ¿Qué tal? I think this is probably because ¿Qué tal? is a bit more casual and informal and it’s also shorter to say. You can use it with trips, plans, experiences, etc. as well: ¿Qué tal la película anoche? ¿Qué tal el finde?
¡Oy! ¡Oy hombre, ¿qué pasa? ¡Oy, mi pie! ¡Oyyyyy!
Oi! Hey mate, what’s up? Ow, my foot! Ahrrr!
This is another exclamation, which is very widely used. It can be used to get people’s attention on its own as ¡Oy! or together as ¡Oy hombre, ¿qué pasa? It can also be used when you are in pain: ¡Oy, mi pie! Or when you’re anxious/ stressed about something: ¡Oyyyyy!
10. Illo / Quillo
¡Oye quillo! ¡Hola illo, ¿qué pasa?
Hey mate! You alright kiddo!
In Cadiz they say quillo and in Seville it’s illo. This word comes from the words chico and chiquillo (they both mean kid) and Spanish people (especially those from the South) use it a lot in everyday conversations with friends.