I think that some of the easiest Spanish to pick up here have been the sayings. They’re just so easy and people here use them so frequently that you can’t help but use them, too.
Some dichos Ticos:
An all purpose phrase. Can be used to mean anything from “Now!” to “Stop it!”
¡Ya voy! : “I’m coming!”
People are always calling to each other from one room of the house or school to the other
¡Qué Lindo! : “How cute!”
Can also mean, “How cool!”
T.Q.M. or T.K.M. : I love you a lot
This is an acronym for te quiero mucho. Most often used by children who like to use a “k” to spell “quiero”
Chiquillo : Little one/child
I think one of the cutest things I’ve seen here was watching Mariela (the smallest of the children) yelling, “¡Chiquillas!” to try to get the attention of the other girls during recreo.
Literally means “pure life,” but it is used as a greeting
Ex: “¿Pura Vida?” “(Sí,) ¡Pura Vida!”
It can also be used as an adjective, though. My host dad once told me that one of the other volunteers was “very pura vida” when she came to visit me. I guess it could somewhat be considered to mean” easy-going.”
Used as a greeting like pura vida. I have no idea what it actually means.
Can mean “young boy,” “little person,” or anything that is small.
Rico : Delicious or tasty (food), wonderful
I’ve never heard a Tico use anything else to describe food. Ever. No delicioso. No sabroso. Just rico or riquísimo (extremely delicious). Also, things can be rico
Ex: La perfuma es riquísima
Digamos… : Let’s (just) say…
Used most often when trying to describe or explain something.
Ex: Digamos que Ud. quisiera un novio…
Rato and Ratico
These are arbitrary units of time. Basically means “a while.” A ratico is less time than a rato.
¿Como le va? : How’s it going?
Adiós : Hello
When passing by one another in the street, people often use adios as a greeting
Arriba : Up (over there)
Most often used to describe where people live. Often used with arbitrary pointing and/or snapping in the direction of the nearest mountain. Additionally, the longer they roll the “rr” or the more times they repeat the word, the farther the person lives.
Ex: Ella vive arrrrrrrrriba or Ella vive arriba, arriba.
¡Qué pecado! : What sin! Or How sinful!
That’s the literal translation; I’m still trying to figure out if that is also what it means colloquially. My host mom loves using this expression.
¡Que + almost anything!
Used as an exclamation.
Exs: ¡Qué calor! = It’s so hot!
¡Qué rico! = How delicious!
When used in conjuction with names it is usually meant as a chide
Ex: *Enrique knocks all the soap off the table* ¡Qué Enrique!
An ay may be added at the beginning to add extra emphasis
Ex: Ay, ¡Que lindo! (I use this for babies and fluffy animals)