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The Spanish Spoken In The Dominican Republic: Slang & More

Dominican Spanish, also known as Dominican Spanish Creole has been influenced by languages of Africa, Indigenous tribes, and of course Castilian Spanish.

Although Dominican Spanish is the same language as is in other Latin American Countries, they don’t call it a Creole for nothing.

In this article, we’ll look into some of the most unique words and phrases of the Dominican Republic's Dialect of Spanish.

Thereafter we’ll talk pronunciation, and I’ll leave you with a Quizlet to see how much of the vocabulary you remembered!

picture of the coast of the dominican republic - beautiful caribbean beach

Summary of Puerto Rican Spanish

The dialect of Spanish spoken in the Dominican Republic is extremely stylish and fun. Amongst many others on this list, here are some of the most notable Dominican words you should know!

  • Vaina - Thing

  • Pana - Friend

  • Vaguada - A storm

  • Concho - Taxi

  • Un chin - A little bit

  • Tato - Okay

Pretty different right? All of those words are super Dominican! Now let’s take a look at some phrases you might want to know that are used in the Dominican Dialect of Spanish.

  • Dame lu’ - What’s new?

  • Dime a ve’ - Whaddup?

  • Te la macaste - You screwed up

  • Cogelo suave - take it easy

If you want to learn all of the vocabulary and phrases on this list, read the full article and at the bottom, there will be a Quizlet flashcard deck that I made for you with the terms mentioned.

Good luck friend!

The Vocabulary of The Dominican Republic Spanish

dominican flag with two people infront of it and text that reads "The spanish vocab of the dominican republic"

Vaina - Thing 📐

This word is used in just about every dialect that has been affected by Caribbean Spanish. However, vaina is looked at by Dominicans as “their thing”.

Vaina is used especially when you can't think of the word for something - or don't care to. For example:

Julia pásame esa vaina

(Julia pass me that thing)

Concho - Taxi 🚕

This is just the Dominican word for a taxi. For example:

No necesito un uber, voy a agarrar un concho

(I don’t need an Uber, I am gonna grab a taxi)

Pana - Friend 🧍🧍‍♂️

Now the Dominicans that I have met really claim that this word is theirs, and it seems to me that they’re right to think so.

Pana just means friend, like amigo. Ex:

Ey no lo que toques ese es mi pana

(Hey don’t touch him that’s my friend/my guy)

Ahorita/ahora - When I feel like it/now 👏

Usually in Latin American Spanish the word ahorita means something closer to what it is now in English.

Whereas ahora means anything from in 5 minutes to 8 hours.

But the roles are reversed in the Dominican Republic.

Ahora means now, and ahorita means when I feel like it. For example:

Sí vamos para tu casa ahora, aún tenemos cosas que hacer antes

(Yeah we’ll go to your house now [in 3 hours], we still have things to do beforehand)

Moño - Hair 👸

In other countries, they say cabello, pelo, but in the DR your hair is your moño - which in more standard Spanish refers to a bun (as in to put your hair in a bun). For example

Yo tengo que lavarme los moños

(I need to wash my hair)

Jablador - Liar 🤥

Jablador probably comes from the word hablador - meaning talkative. However, the Dominicans replaced the H with a J. Their version of the word just means a liar. Ex:

No confío en ese tipo, es un jablador

(I don’t trust that guy, he’s a liar)

Tato - Okay 👌

Tato has a few different translations, but the most important one for you is - okay. Basically, it’s used to show you’re in agreement with something or someone. For example:

Raúl llámame esta noche - tato lo hago

(Raúl call me tonight - okay I will)

Vaguada - A storm 🌧

This is a common word used in the DR to mean a storm. For example, you might hear somebody say:

Ey debes cerrarte en tu casa por la noche ya viene la vaguada

(Hey you should get yourself in your house for the night, the storm is coming)

Chulo - Pretty, gorgeous 😻

Chulo is one way you can call something gorgeous in the Dominican Republic Dialect of Spanish. For example:

¡Guau mira tu camisa está chulaaa!

(Wow look at your shirt, it's so pretty!)

Bacano - Really good, an expert 🧠

Bacano which is sometimes spelled like vacano in the Dominican Republic's Dialect means somebody or something excellent. For example:

José sabe tocar esa guitarra - Sí es un bacano

(José knows how to play that guitar - Yeah he’s excellent)

Un chin - A little bit 🤏

Whereas in many countries the word “poco” is used, in the Dominican Republic they have their own word for that - un chin, meaning a little is used like in the following sentence:

Ey puedes darme un chin de esa salsa

(Hey can you give me a little bit of that sauce)

Jevito - Trendy kid 👕👖

Somebody who is called un jevito is basically a young person who is keeping up with fashion trends. For example:

Ay mira a José ese jevito, siempre vestido en las prendas nuevas

(Hey look at Jose, that trendy kid, always dressed in the newest clothes)

Guapo - Angry 😡

Whereas in most places in Latin America, guapo means handsome - in the Dominican Republic it means angry. For example:

No le digas nada, está bien guapo

(Don’t say anything to him, he is really angry)

Yala - Yeah 👍

Yala is a way of affirming that you will do something. For example:

¿Bro tú vas para la fiesta el sábado? - Yala

(Are you going to the party on saturday bro? - Yeah)

Phrases That Are Unique To Puerto Rican Spanish

dominican flag with a outline of the country infront of it and text that reads "Unique phrases in the dominican republic"

Dame luz - What’s new? 🤙

When a Dominican asks you to give them light, they aren’t asking for you to pull out your phone and turn on the flash. This phrase means what's new? For example:

Dime a ver - Whaddup? 👋

This phrase literally means something like tell me, let's see and it’s used as another way to ask what’s new? or what’s up?

Qué lo que? - What it is? 🗣

This phrase is used either to ask how you are, or what you are doing. For example:

Echar una pabita - To take a nap 😴

When a Dominican told me this phrase I went searching to find out what the heck a pabita was, so I could better understand the phrase.

It seems to me this is not a real word outside of Dominican Spanish. But when used like in their borders, it means a nap. For example:

Ey papi voy a echar una pabita nos vemos luego

(Hey bro I’m going to take a nap we’ll see each other later)

Ella está dura - she looks hella good 😍

When a Dominican says that a girl is tough, they mean that she is very attractive. For example:

Guau ella está dura

(Wow she is super attractive)

Ella es una paloma - She is stupid 🕊

When you hear somebody call a person a pigeon, they mean that the person is an idiot. For example:

No hablo con ella, es una paloma

(I don't speak with her, she's an idiot)

Estar achocha’o - To be lazy 🦥

This is a word that outside of the Dominican vernacular I have never heard before. But to be achochado means to be lazy. For example:

Me siento tan achochao

(I feel so lazy)

Bajala dos - Chill! 👇

Bajala dos, meaning turn it down 2, is a way of saying that the person is basically exaggerating and needs to chill out. For example:

Ey tranquilo bajala dos

(Calm it down, chill!)

Cógelo suave - take it easy 🤙

Cógelo suave is used in some other Caribbean dialects as well, and it basically means take it easy.

Literally, the translation would be something like grab it lightly or take it smoothly. Ex:

No hay que pelear sobre una pendejada, cógelo suave

(There’s no need to fight over something so stupid, take it easy)

Te la macaste - You screwed up 👎

This phrase literally means something like you bruised it but figuratively means you screwed up. For example in the sentence:

Mijo no debías haberlo hecho, te la macaste

(My man you shouldn’t have done that, you screwed up)

Dominican Spanish Pronunciation

dominican flag with two people infront of it and text that reads "How to: Pronunciation in the dominican republic"

The R In Dominican Spanish

The R in Dominican Spanish can sound two different ways. Sometimes you will hear the R turning into an L like in the word Escribir-Escribil.

Whereas other times the R will disappear like in the word Correr-Corre’. Let's take a look at some other examples.

The R Turning Into a L In Dominican Spanish

Ya me cansé de estudial (estudiar)

(I'm tired of studying)

Ellos no me dejaron hablal (hablar)

(They didn’t let me speak)

The R Disappearing in Dominican Spanish

Ya no quiero aprende’ (aprender)

(I don’t want to learn anymore)

¿Quieres escribi’ esto? (escribir)

(Do you want to write this?

The D In Dominican Spanish

The D in the Dominican Dialect of Spanish often will not be heard at all. For example:

Complicado = Complica’o / Interesado = Interesa’o / Investigado = Investiga’o / Etc.

The S In Dominican Spanish

The S is another letter that will disappear from words very often in the Dominican Republic. For example: Espero = E’pero / Está = Etá / Estaba = Etaba

If you have never heard of the concepts I just described, don't let it disturb you too much! You'll get used to it and learn to appreciate it. The Spanish Language wouldn't be as beautiful as it is without its diversity!

Conclusion: The Spanish Spoken In The Dominican Republic

While the Dominican dialect might not be the most standard, it is definitely worth learning or at the very least understanding. If you understand the way Dominicans talk, every other dialect will automatically be easier.

Furthermore, Dominicans are extremely humble and pleasant people to interact with, and if you know some of their words and phrases it will probably put a smile on their face.

If you are planning on learning the Dominican dialect of Spanish shoot me a comment down below and tell me why! I would love to know.

If you want to learn about other dialects check out this category on my website Dialect Breakdowns where we do the same thing we did in this article with all other Spanish dialects.

See you soon, have a great day/evening/night! ~ Ben


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