TV Series have become one the most important products in the entertainment industry. We “get hooked” by them for years and, eventually, we consider their characters to be part of our lives. In the past we brought some articles related to series to our blog on www.spanishviaskype.com: Game of Thrones, X-Files or Breaking Bad are some examples.
Today we’re talking about Narcos, the American crime drama series, aired by Netflix. It tells the story of El Patrón, the popular drug kingpin called Pablo Escobar Gaviria. He was the public enemy number one in America during the 80s and 90s. But, what does this show have to do with Spanish language? Keep reading and you’ll know.
What makes this series interesting for us is the use of Spanish in the dialogues. I’ve not done the numbers but more than 50% of each episode’s running time is spoken in Spanish. That becomes this show in a valuable exposure for Spanish in the USA. Most of the settings are located in Colombia, so let’s see how Colombians speak.
Among a number of dialects, we can focus on some common features:
- The use of ustedes as the second plural person. Ej: Plata o plomo, ustedes eligen. (silver or lead –money or bullets– you choose. Pablo talking to a police officer). It’s not actually a form of courtesy as we do in Spain, they often use it with friends or family in most of the country.
- The voseo (the use of the pronoun vos as the second singular person lives with tú or usted, but taking the third singular person of the verb) is widespread, especially among young people. Ej: (Pablo holding a dynamite cartridge) – ¿Tiene miedo de morir?, – Yo no, ¿y vos?
- The word chao (from Italian ciao) is their favourite to say goodbye.
- The seseo (the pronuntiation of c/z as s) is general in all the country. They don’t make a difference between casar (to marry) and cazar (to hunt).
- They prefer the diminutive –ico for words that ends in a syllable that starts with t- (gato-gatico). Ej: “se ganó un billetico con esa vuelta” (he earned a lot of money with that delivery). Billete (banknote) is a slang for a big amount of money from drug dealing.
However, what makes Narcos so special in relation with Spanish language are the insults that Pablo usually spits out:
- Hijueputa (son of a bitch): it’s a contraction from the original hijo de puta, more used in Spain.
- Gonorrea (gonorrhea). Besides the disease, this is a popular insult in Colombia to discredit a bad person. Nevertheless, it’s not always negative, depending on the entonation. Sometimes they use it as a way to exaggerate something positively or negatively: me compré una gonorrea de carro (I bought an amazing car), ¡Qué gonorrea de pintura! (what an ugly painting!).
- Malparido/a (literally, bad born, bastard): Parir is the verb we use for “give birth”.
- Pirobo: it’s similar to hijueputa.
Well, here you have a brief guide to start watching this series, but if you want to go deeper in your learning, try a free trial lesson via Skype on www.spanishviaskype.com. However, calm down; if you refuse to give us a chance, we’ll not say to you: plata o plomo.