Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Language & Phrasebook in Chile

South AmericaChileLanguage & Phrasebook in Chile

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Spanish is the official language of the country and is spoken everywhere. Chileans use their own dialect, Castellano de Chile, with many differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and slang. Spanish-speaking foreigners will have no trouble understanding it and will simply think it is funny, but non-native speakers often have trouble understanding it, even with years of practice. For example, Chileans tend to omit the “S” sound at the end of their words. They replace this sound with an “H” (for example, the word “tres” is pronounced “tréh”). On the other hand, Standard Spanish is not the first dialect of choice, but people generally speak it quite fluently.

Here are two of the most common Chilean expressions:

  • Huevón (usually pronounced as way-OHN) can be translated into different words depending on the context. Originally a swear word meaning “idiot”, it can also be used as “friend” or “boyfriend”.
  • Cachar (pronounced ka-CHAR) comes from the verb ‘to catch’ and means ‘to understand’. It is also often used in a strange conjugated form as cachai’ at the end of sentences, similar to “y’know”, and colloquially it can also be used for sexual intercourse.

English is widely understood in the major cities, notably Santiago, and to a much lesser extent in Valparaíso, Concepción or La Serena. English is now compulsory at school, so young people are much more likely to speak English than older people. Most Chileans over 40 are unlikely to speak English unless they work in the tourism sector.

Indigenous languages such as Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui (on Easter Island) are spoken in Chile, but only by indigenous people, who represent less than 5% of the population. Many people who identify with one of these groups are unable to speak the language of their ancestors and speak only Spanish.

Many Chileans understand some French, Italian and Portuguese, and there are also some German speakers, especially in the south of the country, where many German immigrants arrived in the second half of the 19th century and some at the time of the Second World War.

How To Travel To Chile

By airThe most common point of entry for foreign visitors is Arturo Merino-Benítez International Airport (SCL), located in the municipality of Pudahuel, 15 km (9.3 miles) northwest of downtown Santiago. It is the largest airport in Chile and one of the six busiest in South America in terms of...

How To Travel Around Chile

By airChile has a fairly good airport infrastructure. The main flight hub in Chile is the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, from where several airlines fly to the most remote parts of the country. These companies are the three Chilean airlines: LAN Airlines, Sky Airline and...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Chile

Citizens of the following countries may be exempted from the tourist visa requirement:Up to 90 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland,...

Destinations in Chile

RegionsNorthern Chile (Arica-Parinacota, Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo regions).Visit the driest desert in the world, archaeological ruins and the Andean highlands.Central Chile (Valparaíso, Santiago, O'Higgins and Maule regions).In the heart of the country you can visit the main cities, the famous vineyards and some of the best ski resorts...

Weather & Climate in Chile

The diversity of Chile's climate ranges from the driest desert in the world in the north - the Atacama Desert - to the Mediterranean climate in the centre, the humid subtropical climate on Easter Island and the oceanic climate, including alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and south....

Accommodation & Hotels in Chile

There are many types of hotels in Chilean cities: some of the most common chains are Sheraton, Kempinsky, Ritz, Marriott, Hyatt and Holiday Inn. There are several hostels and small hotels of varying quality waiting to be discovered. On the backpacker trail, you can find residences in each small...

Things To See in Chile

With an extension from 17°S in the north to 55°S in the south, Chile is one of the longest countries in the world with several climatic zones and natural types. High mountains are present throughout the country. On the Chilean mainland, you can visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:...

Things To Do in Chile

Chile is home to the second largest leisure pool in the world (previously the largest until its builder completed an even larger pool in Egypt in 2015). It's located at the San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Algarrobo and you'll need a sailboat to navigate its 2km length.

Food & Drinks in Chile

Food in ChileChilean cuisine presents a great variety of dishes that were born from the fusion of the indigenous tradition and the Spanish colonial contribution, combining their dishes, customs and culinary habits. Contributions from German, Italian and French cuisine have been given thanks to the influence of the immigrants...

Money & Shopping in Chile

CurrencyThe currency of Chile is the Chilean peso (CLP). Other currencies are not widely accepted, but most cities have exchange offices with reasonable rates for euros and US dollars. Rates should be posted on prominent signs.As of mid-July 2012, 1 € ≡ CLP600, 1 GBP ≡ CLP763, 1 AUD1...

Festivals & Holidays in Chile

The festivities in Chile correspond to religious celebrations and civil commemorations. Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, the local high tourist season begins in December and ends in the first week of March. The beginning of this period is marked by two major festivals: Christmas, which is...

Traditions & Customs in Chile

Although modern in many ways, Chile is still fundamentally traditional. You will fare much better if you do not openly denigrate or disrespect these traditions. People speak in conversational tones.Unlike other Latin American countries, the Chilean police are admired for their honesty and competence. Report any complaints to the...

Internet & Communications in Chile

TelephonePayphones on the street are very susceptible to tampering or vandalism, so it is best to use a phone in a shop or station.Prepaid cards for mobile phones and landlines are sold in most newsagents, supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies and telephone retailers.GSM mobile networks are ubiquitous in all major...

Culture Of Chile

From the beginning of agricultural colonisation until the end of the pre-Hispanic period, the north of Chile was a region of Andean culture influenced by the traditions of the Altiplano, which extended to the northern coastal valleys, while the southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activity. Throughout the...

History Of Chile

Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the north of Chile was under Inca rule, while the indigenous Araucanians (Mapuche) inhabited the centre and south of the country. The Mapuche were also one of the last independent indigenous groups in America, and were only fully integrated...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Chile

Stay Safe in ChileLike most large cities in South America, Santiago suffers from a high rate of pickpocketing and muggings. It is advisable not to walk around the city centre with expensive-looking jewellery or watches, even during the day. Stay alert and be especially careful in all busy areas...

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