What is a Paisa accent when it comes to Spanish in Colombia?
If you are learning Spanish or traveling to Colombia you may have heard of the paisa accent as it is known by many all over the world.
You hear about it a lot, and to understand what makes it so endearing starts with listening to it as well as reading about it and all the rest.
Below I’ll dissect some key elements of the Paisa Accent to get you up to speed with how to be able to start to speak Spanish like the Paisas.
What is a Paisa Accent?
The paisa accent is my favorite Colombian accent and one of the most predominant accents in Colombia and it’s very particular.
It’s the accent from Medellin, and if you want to sound more like a paisa, I have a few tips for you and will share them below!
Where Does the Paisa Accent Come From?
The paisa accent comes from the Paisa region, which consists of the departments of Antioquia, Risaralda, Caldas, and Quindío.
These are the predominant areas of coffee production and it’s characterized for its voseo, meaning they use “vos” instead of “tú”.
The paisa accent is also characterized by phrasal intonation. This is a singsong kind of accent where they drag out the end of the sentence if a tonal rise and fall.
It’s very particular. Also, they pronounce the S as /sh/, which is softer. They also have paisa slang, which is a lot of fun to learn.
5 Ways to Sound Paisa
If you are learning Spanish and you want to sound more like a paisa, there are a few things you can do.
The paisa accent has a few particular elements. So, if you integrate them into the way to speak, you will sound a lot more like a native.
Just keep it respectful!
1. Always Use the USTED Form
The “usted” form is the formal form of “you”. In Spanish, you use the “usted” form mostly in formal scenarios or when speaking to elders or someone who outranks you.
Such as your grandparents, your boss, etc. Overall, it’s a show of respect.
In the paisa accent, everyone is called “usted”. You will rarely hear anyone using “tú”.
Everyone sticks to either “vos” or “usted” when talking to other people and they conjugate verbs accordingly. If you want to sound more like a paisa, this is one of the first things you should do.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your sister, best friend, grandmother, boss, secretary, etc. You always address them as “usted”, no matter what age they are.
It may feel funny at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it will feel.
2. Add OIGA/MIRE/VEA to Your Phrases
An easy way to practice this accent from Medellin is to add “oiga”, “mire”, o “vea” to your phrases.
If you spend some time listening to people speak in a paisa accent, you’ll notice that these three words come up very often.
They’re a way to get someone’s attention when addressing them, so it’s very common.
These three words are so common in Colombia, there’s even a song called “Oiga, Mire, Vea”, a great example of good salsa.
You can easily use them at the beginning of a sentence, for example:
English translation: “Hey, did your mom make bandeja paisa today?”
English translation: “Look, I’m too busy to attend you.”
English translation: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you about that girl”
English translation: “Hey, dude. Are we going or what?”
English translation: “Look, I’ll wait for you at the square.”
3. Say “Hágale Pues”
“Hágale pues” must be the most typical phrase in the paisa accent.
It’s very versatile, so you can use it a lot. It can mean anything, but its literal translation would be “go ahead, do it.”
You can use it to give your approval to something, to encourage someone to do something, or to say “for sure” or “word.”
English translation: “Go ahead, Juan. Throw the ball.”
English translation: “I’m going home, talk to you later. – Okay, cool.”
English translation: “Can you come with me?” – “Yeah sure, dude.”
Saying “hágale pues” is one of those things that will make you sound a lot more like a paisa.
Additionally, saying “pues” often is also a good way to sound more paisa. You can add “pues” to all your phrases, right after the verb you want to emphasize.
4. Use Hijueputa, Malparido or Pirobo to Curse Someone Out
Cursing people out is an important part of any language.
If you want to do it with a paisa accent, you should use the words “hijueputa”, “malparido”, or “pirobo”. These are all popular in paisa slang, so using them will make you sound a bit more paisa.
“Hijueputa” is the short version of “hijo de puta” (son of a bitch), and it’s, by far, the most used one.
Though it sounds intense, paisas use it in their everyday lives.
It can be used to describe someone or as an exclamation when something bad, funny, or exciting happens.
“Malparido/a” is another popular swear word and it can be used as an adjective.
“Malparido” literally means someone who wasn’t birthed right. Then, we have “pirobo”, which is equivalent to “motherfu*k*r” or “a$$hole”.
Each of these terms can be used on their own or you can combine them if you’re feeling really feisty.
5. Call Everyone “Parce” or “Parcero”
Last but not least, calling everyone “parce” or “parcero” is another easy way to sound more like a paisa.
It translates to “bro”, “dude” or “pal” and they use it all the time.
You can use it to refer to someone or as a sentence filler.
English translation: “Ugh dude, I don’t know what to do.”
English translation: “Bro, wanna hang out?”
English translation: “No bro, that car is really ugly.”
English translation: “Dude, did you see the new season of Euphoria?”
What Is a Paisa Accent?
The paisa accent is one of the most popular accents in Colombia and it’s the accent from Medellin.
If you find yourself learning Spanish and you want to sound paisa, the tips above will definitely help you advance.
See this guide on cities to visit in Colombia if you’ll be visiting soon.
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