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Your Information to Genuine Panamanian Spanish (Phrases Included!)

You’ve caught the journey bug and your bucket checklist simply retains getting longer. You’d like to go to each the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, a cloud forest within the mountains, a rainforest, a espresso plantation, a big metropolis, a smaller metropolis, and a contemporary architectural marvel that has impacted world commerce. An excessive amount of to ask? Not for Panamá. It’s so rather more than its well-known canal!

You’ll be able to pattern the tastes of conventional sancocho (a hen soup with yuca and corn) and ceviche (a citrusy contemporary seafood dish) with a background of reggaeton and salsa. Go from browsing to climbing, and alternate between the animated nightlife of the town and the sounds of the wildlife within the rainforest. You’ll go away with a colourful mola (handmade textiles created by the indigenous Guna individuals), superb recollections, and a bucket checklist that simply acquired longer. 

Don’t waste your moments attempting to recall memorized vocabulary. Make recollections as an alternative! Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion methodology is probably the most intuitive option to be taught language that lasts. Plus, Phrasebook teaches you helpful phrases associated to eating out, getting round, well being and security, and extra, so that you’ll be prepared to your first journey to Panama! Begin your language studying journey right now!

Why is Spanish spoken in Panama? 

Spanish is an official and dominant language in Panama as a result of historical past of the Spanish language and tradition dropped at the world by means of colonization. Expeditions led by Christopher Colombus reached the East Coast of present-day Venezuela in 1498, when colonists started to pillage the area for its sources, enslaving and exploiting the indigenous populations, bringing enslaved Africans to the area, and implementing their very own language and tradition. By the mid-1500s, the entire space was a colony of Spain, and the indigenous individuals of present-day Panama who survived publicity to European ailments had fled to forested areas and neighboring islands.

Within the early 1800s, present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panamá gained their independence from Spain because the nation of Gran Colombia. The individuals of present-day Panamá revamped 80 makes an attempt to secede earlier than 1903 when all 4 nations had lastly separated. 

At the moment, Spanish is a dominant and official language, and a primary language for round 4 million individuals. Round 14 p.c of the inhabitants additionally makes use of English for enterprise and public life. The prevalence of English may be partly attributed to the presence and affect of america in Panama Metropolis when it managed the Panama Canal till 1999, in addition to the proximity to neighboring Barbados and Jamaica.

The nation has seven totally different indigenous teams who converse plenty of languages, together with:

  • Ngäbere (additionally referred to as Valiente, Chiriquí, and Movere)
  • Buglere (Bokotá and Sananero dialects) 
  • Kuna
  • Embera
  • Teribe

Not solely is Panamá a bodily bridge between two continents, it’s a place the place many cultures and nationalities come collectively. You’ll be able to encounter communities of Chinese language, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Yiddish, and Hebrew audio system in Panama. 

How many individuals converse Spanish in Panama? 

Round 90-95 p.c of Panamá’s inhabitants speaks Spanish, accounting for round 4 million individuals. 

You may also encounter Panamanian Spanish audio system in Brooklyn, South Florida, or in different Caribbean islands, by means of household connections, or in on-line communities.


What does a Panamanian Spanish accent sound like? 

Regional accents can range even at a distance of a few hours drive, and virtually everybody’s speech is affected by the place they grew up. Spanish audio system from all over the world all appear to have vastly totally different pronunciation and tone however can perceive one another. 

It’s necessary to notice that there isn’t a one explicit Panamanian Spanish accent. An individual’s explicit accent could possibly be influenced by area, era, gender, and social surroundings. For a learner, Panamanian Spanish may sound just like different dialects of the Caribbean, corresponding to Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Dominican Spanish. When you’re a cautious listener, there could possibly be a number of hints that set Panamanian Spanish audio system aside! 

  • S on the finish of a syllable could also be pronounced extra like an h.
    • Nos vamos a… may sound like noh vamoh a.
    • Estás could possibly be ehtá and even shortened to sound like .
  • N on the finish of a phrase could also be pronounced extra at the back of the roof of the mouth than the entrance, giving the vowel a nasal high quality.
    • Man can sound like mang
  • The ch (as within the English “channel”) can sound like sh (as within the English “shine”).
    • Dicho or hecho sound like disho or hesho
  • A closing d is usually silent.
  • Like most Caribbean dialects, a d between two vowels can disappear completely.
    • Cansado turns into cansa’o, and adónde may even sound like a’ónde.
  • R between vowels can sound like a d.
    • Morado can sound like moda’o and enamorado could possibly be enamoda’o.
  • R on the finish of infinitive may be silent, however the closing syllable continues to be harassed.
    • Amar = amá,  ser = sé, and decir =decí

>>Follow your talking and get suggestions with the TruAccent speech recognition engine

Is it troublesome to be taught Panamanian Spanish? 

Studying any language takes loads of time, apply, and persistence. Even native Spanish audio system could require a bit of additional time and instruction to construct understanding of a distinct dialect of Spanish. For learners, dropped letters, slang, and informal speech could make a brand new dialect tougher, however these challenges simply imply you’ll by no means be bored! 

If you’re a newbie or intermediate learner, you’ll have to discover a sympathetic interlocutor, which suggests an individual who’s prepared that will help you talk by: 

  • working to know your that means
  • speaking clearly utilizing Spanish that’s simpler so that you can perceive
  • slowing down
  • enunciating properly
  • avoiding an excessive amount of slang
  • shifting their vocabulary to a extra universally understood phrase
  • utilizing gestures or different non-verbal communication to elucidate meanings 

Some learners really discover that studying Spanish in Panama is simple, since many Spanish audio system in Panama also can talk in English, so within the case of confusion, you’ll be able to make clear utilizing an English phrase in order that the circulate of the dialog doesn’t come to a halt! 


What are the variations between Panamanian Spanish and Latin American Spanish? 

Very intently associated to different Caribbean dialects and Colombian Spanish, Panamanian Spanish serves as a bridge between Central American and the Caribbean dialects. It shares a reasonably impartial grammar and may be understood by audio system of different Spanish dialects.  

Affect of different languages

The Spanish spoken in Panamá is a range belonging to a gaggle of Caribbean Spanish variants, with Canarian and Andalusian influences, which is why it could remind you of the Spanish spoken in areas of Spain corresponding to Las Canarias (the Canary Islands), or Sevilla (Seville). 

Interaction between English and Spanish

Although Spanish may be very a lot the dominant language of the isthmus, English has a historic, political, and geographic affect on the dialect. Typically direct English phrases are used mid-sentence, or are was anglicismos (a Spanish phrase influenced by English). Typically referred to as “Spanglish,” this interaction between the 2 languages may end up in a code-switching type or casual mixing of the 2 languages which will make it troublesome for Spanish audio system from different areas to know that means at occasions.  

Some widespread phrases ensuing from English affect embody: 

Panamanian Anglicismo Impartial Spanish verb English that means
un buay chico boy
chopear ir de compras to buy
cool (there are various)  cool
el breaker interruptor circuit-breaker
el chingongo el chicle chewing gum
el swap interruptor mild swap
fren, frenes amigo(s), amiga(s) mates
una guial chica lady (with a jamaican accent)
los chiwiz snacks (from a well-liked model identify of spreadable cheese product) 
man hombre man
okay vale okay, i agree
priti bella, linda, bonita fairly
chill out relajado/a relaxed
un charcot un atajo a shortcut
un cuara moneda de 25 centavos from “quarter.” 

Archaic types of some verbs may be extra widespread in Panama, like these beneath: 

  • arrecordar for recordar (bear in mind)
  • entodavía for todavía (nonetheless) 

Typically plurals are pronounced with an additional syllable. Un café turns into unos cafes in Commonplace Spanish, however in Panama, you may hear unos cafese.  

It is not uncommon to listen to shortened phrases: 

  • la u for la universidad
  • el refri for el refrigerador
  • el micro for el microondas
  • la bici for la bicicleta. 

El vesre” is a sort of slang in style in Argentina and Uruguay that has additionally affected some phrases in Panamanian Spanish. It’s shaped by switching the syllables of widespread phrases, so for instance, “revés” (reverse) turns into “vesre.” One widespread instance of that is the greeting ¿Qué xopá? Which is a vesre model of ¿Qué pasó?


Should-know phrases and phrases in Panamanian Spanish

Figuring out a number of phrases forward of time may help you slot in, or no less than keep away from bewilderment! Hearken to how they’re used and by which contexts, and also you may impress the locals. In all instances of slang, proceed with warning, as many phrases can change that means drastically with context and tone, so check out any new phrases or expressions with a trusted pal to keep away from misunderstandings. 

Don’t fear about understanding each slang reference. Phrases move out and in of favor daily! 

Panamanian Spanish That means
¡Qué ponchera! What a catastrophe/what an issue!
¿Qué xopá? / ¿Qué sopá?  What’s up? How are you? (greeting) 
‘tas limpio you’re broke, you haven’t any cash 
ahuevado a idiot; dumb (an insult) 
blod, broder brother, bro
buco many, a lot, like mucho (so much) 
burundanga somebody who eats too many sweets
chantin home
chifar to depart somebody out of the plan or social group
Cuéntame la cocoa.  Inform me the gossip of the day. 
el millo popcorn
el palo cash
Estamos activo We’re leaving / we’re out of right here
estar en panga to do not know what to do, one thing is dangerous high quality
estar tirado/a to be exhausted
Hay rantan de comida. There’s loads of good meals.
la chonta the pinnacle
la pasta cash
mopri cousin (vesre: reverse slang of primo
ofi okay, agree
parquear to exit and occasion with mates
un arroz con mango a struggle or enormous downside
un bulto somebody who does nothing and is aware of nothing, lazy
un diablo rojo a public bus
un parkin a celebration, a fiesta
una bombilla a consuming straw
Voy a mi chantin. I’m going again to my place (residence).
yeyé, yeyesita somebody who thinks they’re higher or larger than others, like “bougie” in english

Discover Spanish in each area with Rosetta Stone

When you go to Panama, you’re certain to need to return. A vacation spot with a lot to supply is a treasure, and your research of Spanish is certain to unlock a wealth of experiences. Don’t let the variations in vocabulary or accent intimidate you, because the Spanish you’ve studied will certainly be useful as you tune your ear to the native dialect of Spanish in Panama. 

With 20 international locations formally recognizing Spanish as an official language, near 500 million native Spanish audio system, Spanish being the 4th most spoken language on the earth and likewise the second most-used language on the web, you’ll by no means be accomplished studying Spanish! Studying the fundamentals and extra common vocabulary phrases can open the keys to an array of language communities, however irrespective of the place you select to journey, research, or do enterprise, there might be regional specifics to maintain you motivated! Pasito a pasito (step-by-step), you’ll be able to really feel proper at residence utilizing your Panamanian Spanish. 

Rosetta Stone may help you by focusing your language studying journey on what issues most.  As a Rosetta Stone learner, you’ll capitalize on early successes to spice up your confidence quick. Our Dynamic Immersion methodology gives most publicity to a brand new language, by means of audio spoken by native audio system, written phrases, and real-world pictures. All the pieces is offered within the new language, offering a very immersive expertise. Say ¿Qué xopá? to your new language! 

Written by Jamie Edwards

Jamie is a learner and trainer of Spanish and French. When she’s not studying new phrases, you’ll discover her on the soccer sidelines, ski slopes, and observe and discipline bleachers having fun with the 4 seasons of Western New York.



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