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The Spanish of Peru 101: Words, Phrases, & More

Some call Peruvian Spanish the clearest and most comprehensive accent in all of Latino America!

And while some disagree, during my research and analysis of the vocabulary, expressions, and pronunciation I would say it definitely is more standard than most dialects of Latin America.

In this article, we’ll go over the most unique expressions, words, and distinct pronunciations found within the borders of this lovely country.

Without further ado, let’s learn the Spanish of Peru!

people visiting machu pichu in Peru

Summary of The Spanish Spoken In Peru

Along with many other unique words mentioned in this article, some of the most notable ones are as follows:

  • Pata - Friend

  • Monsefú/Monse - Boring/Wack

  • Paja - Cool

  • Ya - Yeah

  • Latear - To go for a walk

Now as for expressions, there is a ton in the Peruvian Dialect. Some of the ones mentioned in this article are:

  • Al toque - Right now

  • ¡A su mare! - Wow!

  • Estar asado - To be annoyed

  • Qué palta - How embarrassing

Read the full article for all of the Vocab, Expressions, and Pronunciation differences found within the Peruvian Dialect of Spanish!

Peruvian Vocabulary

cartoon peruvians infront of a peruvian flag that says "The Vocabulary of Peruvians"

Elena - Cold 🥶

This is a very unique word to the Peruvian vocabulary, elena, meaning cold - is used like in the following sentence:

Yo quisiera un sándwich de atún y una cocacola bien elena

(I would like a tuna fish sandwich and a chilled coca cola)

La yapa - Bonus 🤏

Whereas in many Latin American countries this concept is referred to as La ñapa, in Peru they call it La yapa. The idea of la yapa is that when you buy something (such as a smoothie) from a street vender, after finishing it you ask for la yapa (the bonus).

Usually, if there is still some smoothie left in the blender, they’ll give it to you for free. Ex:

Guau ese batido fue riquísimo, voy a pedir la yapa

(Wow that smoothie was so delicious, I am going to ask for the bonus)

Bacán - Cool/good/excellent 👌

This word is like chévere which is used in many Latino-American countries including Peru, meaning cool. This word is often used, so if you memorize it and speak with some Peruvians you'll defintely hear it. Ex:

Está muy bacán este artículo

(This article is super cool)

Pata - Friend 👭

The word Pata in Peru is usually used to refer to a friend, although sometimes it might just refer to a random person. For example:

Ella siempre ha sido una pata mía

(She has always been a friend of mine)

Monsefú/Monse - Boring/Wack 🤓

Peruvians will call something Monsefú, or monse to say that it’s boring or wack. For example:

Elena no quiere venir esta noche, es bien monsefú

(Elena doesn’t want to come tonight, she’s so boring/wack)

Latear - Go for a walk 🚶‍♂️

The Peruvian word latear likely comes from the word lata - meaning a can. If this is true then when they say vamos a latear they are saying is let’s roll. Which makes sense, no?

Regardless of its origin, latear means to go for a walk. For example:

Ey María vamos a latear en el parque, yo estoy aburrido

(Hey María let’s go for a walk in the park, I’m bored)

Paja - Cool 😎

If you want to say the equivalent of “How cool!” in Peruvian Spanish, exclaim “¡Qué paja!” For example:

Yo acabo de comprar un carro nuevo - qué paja, se ve increíble

(I just bought a new car - How cool it looks incredible)

Papaya - Easy 🎂

Although in Cuba for example, papaya means the private parts of a woman (just a warning, lol), in Peru it means something that is easy to do. For example:

¿Cómo te fueron las tareas? - Papaya

(How did the homework go? - Easy)

Ya - Yeah 👍

Although you can still use this word to mean - already, now, anymore, etc. It also is used as an affirmation to another Peruvian when you’re asked a question. For example:

Ey José ¿vas a venir esta noche? - Ya

(Hey José, are you going to come tonight? - Yeah)

Pituco/a - Wealthy 💸👨‍🎓💸

In Peru, a pituco or pituca is a person who has a lot of money. For example:

Ese chico es pituco

(That kid has money)

Peruvian Phrases

cartoon peruvians infront of a peruvian flag that says "Peruvian Expressions""

Estoy aguja - I am broke 😓

In Peru, if you are a needle, that means that you’re broke! For example in the sentence:

¿Quieres comer en ese restaurante hoy? - No, no puedo, estoy aguja

(Do you want to eat in that restaurant today? - No, I can’t, I am broke)

Al toque - Right now 👏

This phrase, meaning literally - to the touch, is used to say right now. For example in the sentence:

Por favor hermano necesito que me hagas este favor pero al toque

(Please brother I need you to do me this favor but immediately)

Estar asado - To be annoyed 😡

To be roasted in Peru means to be annoyed, or in a bad mood. For example:

No me hables bro estoy asado

(Don’t talk to me bro I’m not having it)

Qué palta - How embarrassing 😨

Palta is the Peruvian word for an avocado. However, the expression what an avocado means how embarrassing! For example in the sentence:

Qué palta, no sé ni donde estoy

(How embarrassing, I don't even know where I am at)

¡A su mare! - Wow! 😱

This phrase comes from the saying ¡A su madre! which just is a way of expressing surprise or excitement. Although now it has its own spelling and pronunciation. You can use this phrase to say:

¡A su mare! Nunca he visto un hamburguesa tan grande

(Wow! I have never seen such a big hamburger)

La hora del bitute - Lunchtime 🍛

Although the word bitute can’t be found in any official dictionaries, it is a very real word in the borders of Peru. Bitute means lunch, so you could say:

Tengo demasiada hambre, ¿ya es la hora del bitute?

I am too hungry, is it time for lunch yet?

Peruvian Pronunciation

cartoon peruvians infront of a peruvian flag that says "Peruvian Pronunciation""

The Peruvian pronunciation more or less is pretty standard, although it depends on the region of the country, and this statement best describes the pronunciation of the capital Lima.

The signing of certain vowels

I have noticed that the Peruvians sometimes sing vowels, and it’s almost like they add accent marks to words, and over pronounce the vowels that do have accent marks.

This makes for a singy songy accent. For example, a Peruvian might sound like this:

Estaba hablando con ellaaa, y me dijo que ya tiene 3 bebeees, así que tiene que trabajaar mucho más en estos díiias

(I was talking with herrr and she told me that she already has three babiiiees, so she has to woork a lot more these daaays)

This seems a lot more prevalent in the outskirts of Peru, but I’ve heard it quite a bit and thought it was worth mentioning to you.

Why do Peruvians always say pe?

Pe’ comes at the end of many sentences for some Peruvians. This is short for pues, meaning well - but seems like a better translation would be bro.

Some speakers in their day-to-day conversations will say this every other sentence or so. For example:

¿Por qué me estás llamando pe? Yo tengo cosas que hacer, tengo que levantarme temprano mañana pe ¿me entiendes?

(Why are you calling me bro? I have things to do, I got to wake up early tomorrow bro, you got me?)

Why do they say Peruvian is the most standard of Latino America?

The reason why the Peruvian Dialect in general can be considered one of the most standard is because they pronounce almost (if not) all of their D’s, S’s, and P’s.

This is extremely surprising because many Latin American countries either pronounce these letters very softly, or not at all.

Conclusion: The Spanish of Peru

cartoon peruvians infront of a peruvian flag that says "The Spanish Spoken in Peru"

Peruvian Spanish is extremely beautiful!

Sometimes it sounds like Castilian Spanish, and sometimes it sounds a bit like Argentinian or Venezuelan accents in that, some people speak with a sing-songy rhythm.

If you want to learn Peruvian Spanish, I think that’s a super solid choice - It’s not too distinct, it sounds good and is easily understood.

If you’re interested in learning about other Spanish dialects, check out this category called Spanish Dialect Breakdowns where we talk about every Spanish Dialect that exists.

It was really fun going over these phrases with you, I hope you have a wonderful day/evening/or night.

Hasta luego!

~ Ben


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