(In this thread examples of a variety of words with the same meaning used in specific countries and/or regions)
The topic of lexical diversity in the Spanish-speaking world has been discussed in many threads. Some believe it makes Spanish more challenging to learn and understand however; in the same nature it makes the language more rich and flexible due to such a broad variety of options. As noted in a recent thread "Panamanian Spanish" some words are region specific, some are country specific and some are generic in usage.
One of the benefits (IMO) of living in a multilingual community, which I thoroughly enjoy, is the infinite options that I have at my disposal from a linguistic point a view. I have exposure to vocabulary from several Spanish-speaking countries not just one, the French language and if I were interested in other languages the opportunity exists too.
As an example of the diversity that exists in Spanish many words and expressions can serve as an example and one that I find interesting in Spanish and English is the variety of regional words (and slang) used to say "money" and the expression "I am broke". Some people say Spanish is hard to understand because of said variety but I believe the opposite to a certain degree. The meaning of a word in question can often be derived from the context once it's not too complicated.
In English some common regionalisms for money are: dough, bread, bucks, coin etc. of course this is based on my environment and what I most often hear or use.
In the Spanish-speaking world the same variety exists. The two principal words I use for money are: el dinero and la plata. El dinero is the generic word and la plata is used all over South America more so than el dinero. There are many other common ones that you will hear such as: el billete, el chele, el chavo, el efectivo, la lana, el peso, la pasta, la guita, etc.
"I don't have money" or "I am broke in Spanish" can be expressed in many ways ranging from a simple "no tengo plata" to "no tengo ni un real", "estoy pelado/a", "estoy quebrado/a", *estoy limpio/a and many other expressions.
-estoy limpio/a is a good example of how context derives the meaning because it has another significance. Whenever I hear this expression it reminds me of the great merenguero Fernandito Villalona. In one of his songs "Sin cadenas" he states: "que en mi voz ya no hay barreras, que estoy limpio y sin cadenas". If you know about the musical career of Fernandito V. you will understand that "estoy limpio" in this context does not mean, "I am broke".
If you have any more "money" examples in Spanish to add please do so or choose another word or expression and provide examples of the variety used in the Spanish-speaking world.
* No vulgarities please
Although Fernandito Villalona uses the expression in his song ("estoy limpio"), it is not particularly Dominican expression of "I am broke". For this you will have to use, "Estoy arrancado" (more accurately pronounced, "etoy arrancao"
Originally Posted by Lesley D
No tengo ni un chele.
Estoy en olla.
ni un peso amarillo (DR)
la lana (mexico)
chen chen (panama)
la lechuga (cuba)
las campanitas . . . (from the clinking of coins in the pocket, I guess)
I think you read my post too fast. I stated in my opening post that in the song by Fernandito V his use of 'estoy limpio' did not mean "I am broke". The usage in the song surely has a different context. BTW- "Estoy arrancao" is also used outside of the DR.
Dragonfly and Maco-
Good additions. La lana was in my original list and Maco the last three you listed are really regional.
There are some more. I will let others have an opportunity to add some if they wish.
Thats more from Puerto Rico, but ive heard it used in the D.R. as well.
RE: Money terms - "change"
"Estoy pelao" is part of my original list. You gave the colloquial equivalent of the formal "estoy pelado"
I told a friend about this thread and I was asked to add "el bolo" (Ven.) to the list of regional terms for money.
What about loose change?
There are some regionalisms that are commonly used. The common ones I hear and/or use are:
(tener) suelto, (tener) cambio, (tener) sencillo.
More slang for money - 'cuartos' (DR), 'reales' (C. America), 'pelas' (Spain) and 'pavas' (Gibraltar).
Originally Posted by Chirimoya