How to Speak Like a Sevillano


Genevieve Hoyt is a student at Salve Regina University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.

For native Spanish speakers, understanding the Sevillian accent can be a struggle. It’s comparable to Americans listening to a very thick British accent, where you question if you’re even listening to English. Therefore, if you ever find yourself walking around Southern Spain (Andalucía), make sure you’ve studied this list so you will seem like a local.

1) Vale : If you ever don’t know what to say, just keep saying vale (ball-ay) repeatedly and no one will question you. It is the Spanish version of OK, but it is used constantly in southern Spain.

2) ¿Qué tal? : In beginner Spanish classes, everyone learns that the phrase “¿Cómo estás?” means “How are you?” and “¿Qué tal?” means a more casual “What’s up?” However, the latter phrase is the only one you will hear in Sevilla so it can be used to ask how someone is doing. Everyone is very laid-back here, so whether you are meeting someone for the first time, walking into a store, or reuniting with a friend, you will say, “¿Qué tal?”

3) Vosotros : Although the use of the subject “vosotros” is not exclusive to southern Spain, it is used A LOT here. It means “you all,” and it is not used in any other country in the world.

4) Weird pronunciation : You only have to listen to a Sevillano for a second to know where they are from. They love to drop the letters “S,” “D,” and “R” randomly. To’o han i’o a E’paña, entonce tú sabe que no tenemo na de hela’o pa vosotro. Look confusing? Now imagine that being spoken rapid fire by a Sevillano. Some speakers in Andalucía talk with a lisp, so when they do pronounce an “S,” it comes out as the “Th” sound. Andalucían Spanish is often described by the phrase “Los andaluces se comen las palabras” or “Andalucíans eat their words.”


5) Ta luego : Another expression used as frequently as “¿Qué tal?” is the phrase “¡Hasta luego!” However, since Sevillanos love to drop syllables, they turn “Hasta” into simply “Ta.” The phrase “Ta luego” is used to mean goodbye, even though it technically means see you later. Saying “Adiós” has more finality to it, so they prefer to say “Ta luego” to imply that we will be meeting again soon.

6) ¡Buenas! : A common greeting in Sevilla is “Buenas,” which is short for “Buenas tardes” or “Buenas noches,” meaning “Good afternoon” or “Good evening.” You’ll never again have to know what time of day it is!

7) ¡Qué frío! : Sevillanos love to exaggerate, and when it comes to the weather, they become especially emotional. It gets very hot in the summer, so as soon as the temperature drops beneath 75ºF in October, they start bundling up and grunting, “Ay, ¡qué frío!”

Now you can converse with a Sevillano at ease: ¡Buenas! Qué tal? Hoy e’ta bien frío afuera. Vale, ¡ta luego!

The world awaits…discover it.

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