• Teaching the Canarian dialect

    Teaching the Canarian dialect


    Aída, the blond girl in the #handyteam, is very passionate when it comes to teaching typical expressions and words from the Canary Islands. 

    She gets excited every time she has the chance to teach it to foreign friends. ¡Chacho, yo soy canaria! 

    Canary Islands location


    First of all, do you know where the Canary Islands are? 


    There are 7 super sunny islands located in the Atlantic Ocean and all of them boast  warm temperatures all year round thanks to the trade winds (vientos alisios).  


    Their location has been an excellent strategic spot for centuries: the islands are 97 km away from the coast of Morocco (Africa), they belong politically to Spain and thus they share a lot of culture things from Latin America. 


    Due to this geographical situation, they have been an important stop for the navigation and commercial purposes between Europe, Africa and America.

    Residents of the islands speak Spanish  with their our own unique dialect, a dialect that is a variant of standard Spanish. More than 2 million inhabitants talk the Canarian dialect in the whole archipelago. 


    Canarian people emigrated not so long ago to Venezuela or Cuba to make money and to have a better life. This is because the islands inhabitants were struggling to provide for their basics needs. 


    You know what? Our dialect is considered the sexiest in Spain because of its soft and sensual rhythm. We can’t disagree, and the proof is on what travellers tell us.  

    3 differences from the Canary Islands accent to the standard Spanish


    Here we give you some examples to see the differences from our dialect, compared to the standard Spanish from the mainland or from South America that you may have already learnt.

    You have realised we talk fast and we are sometimes, “eating the words”. 

    1. Ustedes instead of vosotros 


    When Aída listens to someone saying vosotros instead of ustedes, “un baifo se muere” (a baifo dies). “Baifo” is our canarian word to say young goat. She immediately gets angry (in a funny way, of course :D) and tries to correct the person who spoke in the standard Spanish. 

    It’s not a mistake, it is just that Canarians use ustedes for a second person plural when they talk. 


    2. Final “s” is not pronounced


    You may struggle for the first days you talk with islanders because we love contracting words and “eating” the final ‘s’ of the words. This is due to the way of talking fast, and instead of saying “Playa de Las Canteras” you could hear “Playa de Laaa Canteraaa” because we prolong some vowels #opps.


    Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand us at first, ask again and we will pronounce slower. 

    Another example is “Graciaa” instead of “Gracias” (Thank you!).


    3. Past tense is often used than perfect tense


    Canarian speakers tend to say “I did” instead of “I have done”. 

    It is more common to listen from an islander the past participle “Comí papas” (I ate potatoes) when talked than the perfect participle “He comido papas” (I’ve eaten potatoes).

    Is it possible to learn Spanish in the Canary Islands? 


    ¡Claro! Of course! There are many foreigners who come to the islands without knowing any Spanish words and in a few days they are able to talk in a sexy Canarian accent. 


    Canarian people don’t talk too much English, but they will try to understand you and will help you to understand them. Don’t be scared because we are friendly and nice people. The smile is going to be your best present for them. 


    Look for Spanish classes on Facebook like La Casita de LauraOn Google you will find many options in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city center, in Maspalomas and in other municipalities. Sometimes it is also useful to ask for recommendations on Facebook groups or to check previous messages about it. 

    10 words you have to learn to be Canarian


    Being local is not an easy task when you are new in town and you don’t know any local people.


    Don’t worry, we are local and love meeting new international people. The best way to learn  local things is by being surrounded by locals. In that way, you can understand, not only words, but cultural things that are super weird for you. 


    1. Fos = when you smell something terrible ¡Fos, qué mal huele! 
    2. Chacho = to express surprise (it’s a shortened form of Muchacho). ¡Chacho, ven pa’ cá! 
    3. Ños = wow! (surprise) ¡ñoos, qué calufo! 
    4. Guagua = bus. La guagua se coge en Santa Catalina.
    5. Chachi = good, nice. E.g: ¡Su hermano es chachi! Your brother is really nice!
    6. Papa= Potato. E.g: Quiero comer papas arrugadas. I want to eat wrinkled potatoes. 
    7. Fleje = loads. E.g: Hay fleje de comida aquí. There’s loads of food here. 
    8. Calufo= unbearable heat. E.g: ¡Fuerte calufo!
    9. Pelete/ Viruje= unbearable cold. E.g: ¡Hace un pelete/viruje!
    10. Gofio= Grounded and toasted corn or wheat 

    Learn these 5 expressions to have a high Canarian level of language


    • Se me fue el baifo: Literally, the young got left. It means that you totally forgot something. 
    • Salpica p’ allá: Literally, splash right there. It is used to tell someone to go away. 
    • Estar emperchao: Literally, being well dressed. “¡Estás emperchao!” when someone looks very well and it is not usual. 
    • ¡Fuerte machango!: Literally, what a character! When someone is very silly or stupid. 
    • Estoy to cambao: Literally, “I'm very sore all over”. It is used when your whole body hurts. 

    BTW, don’t be afraid if someone calls you “guiri” because it is the way we refer to someone who is a foreigner. 


    Where can you learn more Canarian from Spanish classes


    1. Come to Handy Visits tours and social events

    Stay tuned on Facebookor Meetup to know what’s coming up. All the social events are created with the aim to spread the Canarian culture, being social and making a #handychallenge. Tours are guided by local people who were born and raised in the Canary Islands. 100% local! 

    This is the best way to learn Canarian and practise Spanish, have fun, and meet local people at the same time ;) Easy, right? 


    2. Travel in public transport, move yourself by guagua (bus)


    This is the cheapest way to practise your listening skills. Just sit close to Canarian people who are already talking. Identify them by their brown skin, brown eyes and friendly smile. Open your ears!  

    Don’t be shy to start talking with them, because they will help you and try to understand you.  



    3. Order a coffee and check the sugar packet


    Whaaat? First, take a typical Canarian coffee that is called “leche y leche” (literally, milk and milk) it is coffee with milk and condensed milk. 

    There is a Canarian brand “Café Ortega” who produce little sugar packets, among others, and on its cover you can read and learn Canarian words and its meaning. It is written in Spanish. 

    If you don’t want to take sugar, save it in your pocket and collect them at home as a local treasure

    4. Go to language exchange events and talk with locals


    Yes, go to meet new people and try to identify who are the Spaniards and practice your Spanish. Get out of your comfort zone and start a conversation. 

    It is a very simple way to improve your skills and you don’t pay for it ;). There are many groups on Facebook with the topic “Language exchange” like this one or this other. Check also on Meetup


    5. Ask on Facebook groups for a Spanish-Canarian buddy


    I’m sure you can offer something in exchange. Canarian people are not very fluent in English and they are looking as well for someone to practise their English skills. Usually people ask for someone to meet and practise their language skills. 

    Write a comment and see how fast you get replies. 


    Now it is your turn to talk Canarian or Spanish


    It is challenging to start to talk a new language but life is made to overcome challenges, isn’t it? Why don’t you dare to talk the Canarian dialectto surprise locals with your level? They will love you immediately! 


    #feelhandyvisits #behandymyfriend 

    Written by: Elena Castellano

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  • Un tour innovador

    Una muy buena e innovadora experiencia. Me sorprendió gratamente ya que al residir en la misma ciudad no esperaba descubrir/aprender grandes cosas, ¡pero lo consiguieron!. Lo recomiendo si quieren descubrir la ciudad de una forma diferente y divertida.

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    Handy Visits is a start-up whom unique value proposition is to offer a new concept of interactive tours in Canarias. Young and local guides will lead you around in town in order to discover secrets and tips unknown at any other tourist, including backpackers.

    Alberto M
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    Una visita genial y diferente, llena de juegos. Experiencia innovadora y para rematar nos invitaron a una tapa de comida típica canaria. un 10!.

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    Hice su visita en Teror y Vegueta, fue muy divertida. Elena y Aída son personas encantadoras. El tour tiene una forma especial, y pude conocer la cultura canaria con ellas. No se puede comparar a otros tours que hice en otras ciudades. ¡Muy recomendable!

    Youjin Y
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    August M
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    Do you like challenges? Say goodbye to those boring tours while you travel to Gran Canaria. Handy Visits is the best option to get to know the island, but in a funny and always-on-the-move way. I took the gastronomic tour in Teror, a lovely village in Gran Canaria. Found out interesting things about the place, explored hidden treasures and solved urban challenges. All this in a great and multicultural company. After this experience, Teror quickly became my favourite place on the island!

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  • Discovering Teror

    Thanks a lot Elena & Aida for the lovely tour in Teror. Discovering the beauty of Teror and got to know a lot of insights with the special interactive tour. You are doing a great job

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