CULTURE: Costeñol; a different way to speak Spanish

Beer and dominos on a Saturday afternoon in Barranquillita. Photo by: Rudolfo Rojas

When you come to Barranquilla, you’ll find different places to visit, delicious foods to taste; you’ll even hear a special dialect of Spanish. You can easily tell who’s a Costeño by their intonation and particular expressions they use every day in their conversations.

A distinct sign in the Barranquilleros’ dialect is that they skip over letters of words. Instead of saying “para qué?”, Barranquilleros say “pa’ qué?”. They use a lot of contractions all the time. There’s a specific expression for every situation.

Here you have a little dictionary of costeñol with the most common expressions used in Barranquilla:

  • Tronco’e bollo/ Tronco’e bollito = a beautiful woman
  • Estoy tragao = I’m deep in love
  • Me tiene tramao = I’m impressed
  • Tengo filo = I’m Hungry
  • Estoy pelao = I don’t have any money
  • Tronco’e carretillero = a big liar
  • Que vaina buena = something really good
  • Que vaina fregada = something difficult
  • Cogela suave = Take it easy
  • Parame bolas oye = Pay attention to me please!
  • Se formó el bololó = There are troubles
  • Esta de papayita = a piece of cake
  • Puya el burro = Hurry up!
  • Mamadera de gallo = kidding
  • Tronco’e hueso = It’s boring
  • No aguanta/ No paga = It’s not worthy

Now you can start using costeñol and and sound like a real Barranquillero!