I think I have been here long enough now to have a decent list of Mexican slang for those planning to travel here with their Spanish. I think the Mexican Spanish is really quite fun and whilst I am no linguistic expert, I can comment on some unique words and phrases I have learnt here.
Something to know before you come to México is that neither Vosotros nor Vos exist. This is a blessing! When addressing “you all” you use Ustedes, for both formal and informal situations.
The present perfect (pretérito perfecto compuesto) tense is less common than present simple. Or at least, this is what I have noticed. E.g. It is more likely someone will ask you “¿Ya comiste?” than “¿Ya has comido?”
Other than this major difference and all the slang, the grammar is pretty textbook.
Only in México
(and maybe some other Latin American countries but these are very typical here)
güey/wey = dude, mate and sometimes idiot or just a filler word (used amongst friends and informal settings). Someone who is very mexican might use this as every second word to call attention to the person they are speaking to.
¿Qué onda? = What’s up?
buena onda = nice, cool, excellent (can be used to describe people too)
no mames/manches = no way, no fucking way, holy shit, you’ve got to be kidding, bloody hell
¿Qué pedo? = What’s up?
pinche = stupid/fucking (adjective used to express annoyance)
crudo = suffering a hangover (literal meaning is raw)
¿Mande? = Pardon me?/What did you say? (polite)
fresa = snob or stuck-up person that is often rich (literal meaning is strawberry)
¡Órale! = statement of encouragement (closest english phrase is probably: Go on!), also can mean alright, come on or okay
chido/a = cool (people also use the word cool)
¡Qué padre! = How cool!
carnal = brother (who is actually a pal that you are very close with)
sale = okay (the mexican version of vale but you can use both, have even heard “sale vale” – also the name of a supermarket here)
Bye/Chao = Very common to use these to say farewell
Things I have heard a lot in Mexican Spanish
Creo que – I believe that (often when you would usually use pienso que, Mexicans use creo que)
Gracias a tí ! – Thank YOU (used after you thank someone, usually by shopkeepers but also friends if they believe they should be the one thanking you)
¿De qué? – used after someone thanks you, english equivalent of “for what?”, “don’t mention it” or “no need to thank me”
These are just some random ones.
Beware the dreaded DOBLE SENTIDO
Yes that’s right, everything appears to have a double meaning in México. Often my roommates have been innocently discussing a fruit or vegetable and next minute the closest Mexican is in fits of giggles.
Also avoid using coger – in México this verb also means ‘to have intercourse with’
But most importantly, if you make mistakes, laugh at them and don’t take it too seriously because you will pick up the Mexican Spanish in no time.
(Soon to come – A Guide to Body Language and Gestures in México.)