Phrases I Can’t Live Without

gecko¡Que guapa! – This is a compliment and means that someone is hard working. It is a good conversation starter and al ways makes people smile. It’s an acknowledgement that someone is working or that you are listening to whatever she is telling you about someone in her family.

Vamos a ver – Literally means, “We’ll see.” It’s a great way to deflect or be noncommittal without saying “no.” It leaves the possibility open, without making you a liar if you don’t do it. It’s also a good way to show that you don’t necessarily like whatever is being suggested.

Tranquilopa – Means happy, calm, and great. People always ask how you are doing and you can never say that you aren’t doing well. Saying “tranquilopa” instead of “well” always puts a smile on people’s faces.

Igual, no más – The literal translation is “equal, no more.” Paraguayans use the “no más” part with everything. It’s used to deescalate a situation, to tell someone to relax, to deemphasize something, to fill space…I think of it as an equivalent to the smiley face in chat, texting, and email. It can follow a positive statement or soften a negative statement.

Mba’e pikoGuaraní for “What?” You can also use a mixture of Guaraní and Spanish and say “Qué piko.” You can use it to literally ask a question or express surprise.

Hi’kue – An expression of surprise. It is especially helpful when someone is telling you something really sad or difficult and you don’t know what to say. It’s also a good way to express that something is expensive. I also use it to deflect questions and comments I don’t like.

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