Tico Talk

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Language is a funny thing. Every region, state, country has their own “accents” or dialects and even their own language. Costa Rica is definitely different from other Latin American countries especially in its vocabulary. Some of my funniest memories here in Costa Rica is trying to teach my Costa Rican friends U.S. slang or learning what Costa Rican say.

Image result for pura vida memes costa rica


First things first the most common words:

  • Tico/Tica is used to define someone from Costa Rica.
  • Mae is friend. A lot of males use Mae more than anything and you only use it with people you are comfortable. It is definitely becoming just a filler word.
  • Playo is used to identify homosexuals, but it is used with the absolute most respect and only used for those who identify as men.
  • Diay/ lo explico are also filler words people use when talking to people.
  • Tuanis/Pura Vida. The most important Tico saying. Which just means really good. It is a Tico’s answer for everything.

Something that I have found that is also rare to Costa Rica is the usage of “Usted” and “Vos.” Usted which is a pronoun to refer to you all in a formal manner. In Costa Rica, they also use it all the time not just in formal settings. The usage of “Vos.” is also used in all settings, but not as often as “Usted”. However, the “tu” form is almost never used and even if it is its used more between people who are extremely comfortable with each other like lovers, but even then it is rare. All countries have their own way of using Spanish pronouns. For example, my friends and I met this woman from Argentina who said the “tu” form for them was way too formal. That being said everyone and every country has different ways of communicating.