Everything You Need to Know About Dominican Spanish (Phrases Included!)


Ask practically anybody about La República Dominicana, and you’ll quickly discover of Punta Cana, the swim-up bars, and the beach tourist that has actually escalated the island’s appeal. It would be a pity to paint the entire nation with the exact same brush! If drinking vibrant beverages and taking pleasure in fresh tropical fruit isn’t your design, you’ve still much to find about the Dominican Republic.

Ditch the crowds and discover remote beaches available by ATV or motorbike near the fishing town of Las Terrenas, appreciating your catch directly from the sea. Enjoy experience sports in Cabarete, and wade amongst the starfish in the blue-green blue water of Isla Saona. See the humpback whales near Samaná Bay.

Leave the ocean behind to promenade through the capital of Santo Domingo. Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage website, enabling you to stroll through a picture of history. Delight in the cathedral, palaces, art galleries, and on your method, discover anything from an abbey to a stogie store.

Whatever your travel rhythm, let the pulsating beats of merengue and bachata form the soundtrack of your experience, with their mix of contemporary beats and custom. Let your Spanish circulation, and challenge your understanding! Rosetta Stone can assist assist you through the basics and beyond, to assist you engage with the language in self-confidence, and discover some distinct attributes of Spanish in the Dominican Republic without counting on memorization alone.

Where is Dominican Spanish spoken?

Other than the island of Hispaniola, with the Dominican Republic on the East and Haiti on the West, you’re most likely to hear Dominican Spanish in the United States and Spain. Numerous United States residents can trace their origins to the DR, and including their number to current migrants, over 2.3 million Dominican Spanish speakers call the United States their home.

New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut have the greatest concentration of Dominican Americans. Near to 40% reside in the Bronx and other districts of New York City. In practically any significant city of the United States you will discover speakers of Dominican Spanish or those who have household ties with the dialect.

Among Dominican Americans, completely half are Spanish-dominant, and near to half are completely multilingual in English and spanish. It prevails to keep the Spanish language as a vital part of a household identity even amongst those who have actually lived amongst native English speakers for generations.

Why is Spanish spoken in the Dominican Republic?

As with the majority of Spain’s previous nests and the Caribbean islands that were associated with the grim age of the transatlantic servant trade, the history of La República Domincana resulted in the supremacy of the Spanish language throughout the nation.

After Columbus initially arrived on the island in 1492, calling it Hispaniola, or “Little Spain,” Spanish inhabitants followed up in 1496, establishing the very first Spanish nest in the Western hemisphere at Santo Domingo. This city would consequently work as capital of all of the Spanish nests in the Americas.

The colonial powers reduced making use of the native Caribbean languages and the languages of the enslaved Africans, and utilized Spanish in all elements of life, consisting of education, religious beliefs, and federal government, resulting in the supremacy of Spanish. Spanish is still the main language of the island, and is spoken by practically all of its population.

Much of the speech patterns and accent that is utilized today shows the Spanish that was spoken in the Canary islands throughout the 20th and 19th centuries, combined with West African and other Caribbean impacts, such as the Taíno Arawakan language. Blending vocabulary, pronunciation, and structures from all of these sources, it progressed into its own local dialect.

Haitian Creole is a minority language, provided the distance of the 2 nations on the shared island. It does not share main status, nevertheless, with Spanish. There are likewise Samaná English speakers, descendents of Black immigrants from the United States, who utilize an English Creole.

How lots of individuals speak Spanish in the Dominican Republic?

Approximately 9 million individuals speak Spanish in the Dominican Republic, representing over 90 percent of the population of the nation. It is the main language of the nation, and the primary language utilized for commerce, education, and public life. That number increases to around 13 million individuals if you consist of those who are residing in other nations after the Dominican diaspora.

Fleeing political and financial instability, regular natural catastrophes, and searching for higher academic chance, Dominicans and their descendents have actually discovered neighborhoods in the United States, Spain, and worldwide. Great deals of Dominican Spanish speakers reside in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida, in addition to Puerto Rico.

What does a Dominican Spanish accent seem like?

Most individuals can’t view their own accent, however practically everybody’s speech is impacted by where they matured. English speakers from worldwide all appear to have greatly various pronunciation and tone, however can comprehend each other. Compare Louisiana to Liverpool, or Sydney to Scotland, and you can comprehend what we suggest when we talk about the variety of local accents!

It would not be precise to talk about simply one single Dominican Spanish accent, as distinctions exist due to area, generation, gender, and socio-economic aspects. The particular regional accent may be apparent for a Dominican Spanish speaker, whereas for a student, a number of the Caribbean Spanish accents may sound rather comparable. If you’re a cautious listener, there might be a couple of tips that set Dominican Spanish speakers apart!

  • Eliminating “s” sounds and other last consonants
    • muchas gracias seems like mucha gracia
    • feliz seems like felih
    • ustedes can seem like u’ tede
    • verdad might seem like velda
    • pasar might be reduced to pasá
  • Switching the “r” noise for an “l” (or “i”, particularly in el Cibao in the North)
    • verde might seem like velde
    • puerta can seem like puelta
    • hablar can seem like hablal or hablai
    • jugar can seem like jugal or jugai
    • amor can be amol or amoi
  • In the South, the dialect discovers balance! All of those changed r and l sounds will reverse!
    • capital may seem like capitar
    • Miguel can seem like Miguer

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What are the distinctions in between Dominican Spanish and Latin American Spanish?


One may state that Dominican Spanish speakers talk as though there were a time frame. Compared to other languages, Spanish is among the fastest spoken, so when you include the Dominican Spanish propensity to speak at a naturally fast lane, usage contractions, and drop a great deal of the letters completely, students can definitely discover listening an obstacle!

Contractions can be so extreme that it might appear that Dominican Spanish speakers utilize a various expression completely. Blending and contracting words is really typical in this dialect.

Po’ tá bien = Pues, está bien.

¿ Cómo tú tá? = ¿ Cómo estás (tú)?

vua = voy a

Influence of other languages

Dominican Spanish vocabulary brings the finger prints of other languages with which its speakers have actually engaged, consisting of the historic ties with native Taíno Arawakan language.

Un conunco (a farm), una arepa (a corn cake), una maraca (a rattle made from a gourd), and el tabaco (tobacco) are all words that were initially obtained from the Arawakan language.

Los conflé (cornflakes), un polo ché (a golf shirt) and la vaguada (bad weather condition) are terms originated from an accented pronunciation of English words.


Like in many Latin American dialects, there is no usage of vosotros for a plural casual “you.”


can be heard in some Caribbean and South American areas, it is practically unidentified in Dominican Spanish. In Standard Latin American Spanish, pronouns are generally left out or put after the verb in a concern:

¿ Qué quieren (ustedes) comer?

= What do you wish to consume? But in Dominican Spanish, the positioning of the pronoun may be before the verb.

¿ Qué ustedes quieren comer?

= What do you wish to consume?

Other grammar distinctions If you’ve been specific and fussy about all of your grammar guidelines, be prepared to endure some variation when you’re in the Dominican Republic. Common Dominican Spanish
Standard Grammatical distinction Nos bañábanos Nos bañábamos Change in the
– ábamos ending of the imperfect Yo ha hecho esto
Yo he hecho esto Substituting the 3rd individual “ha” for the very first individual “he” Hacían tres meses que no te veía
Hacía tres meses que no te veía Third individual plural arrangement of “hacer” Habían pocos que sabían
Había pocos que sabían Third individual plural arrangement of “haber” Lo aprendí fácil
Lo aprendí fácilmente Use of adjective rather of the adverb Son muy dificil
Son muy dificiles No arrangement of difícil Sabía durar dos horas

Solía durar dos horas

Substitution of saber for soler

A class instructor might have fixed your grammar in a few of these cases, however would you actually have the ability to call them “errors” if it appears most Dominican Spanish speakers would comprehend and accept these variations?

Must-know Dominican Spanish expressions and words Because of the distance to Puerto Rico and Cuba, there are likely a great deal of words that overlap in between these dialects. 3 for the cost of one!
Dominican Spanish Meaning
¡ Ay ombe! a response to something unfortunate or charming ¿ Qué lo qué? ¿ Dime a ve?
¿ Dame lu? what’s up? (casual greetings)
” Alante alante” You’re method ahead of the video game!
” Te pasaste.” You crossed the line, you pressed it too far
chévere cool, terrific
chin/ chin chin a bit, couple of
chulo charming, or appealing
dar brocha boasting or overemphasizing with pride
di que allegedly
el kachú catsup
En tu mente. That’s what you believe.
estar en olla broke, without cash estar jarto to be fed up. (equivalent in peninsular spanish is “estar harto,” however the
j noise is pronounced in dominican spanish)
guapo brave, upset, or upset
Hacer un coro To hang out, hang around together
jablador phony (comparable to hablador– talkative)
la bandera a popular meal made with rice, beans, sauce, and a protein (actually “the flag”)
la vaina thing, things/ “cosa”
los cuartos cash
má ná say goodbye to (” nada más”)
Mai/ Pai Mom/ Dad
manso Chill, unwind! / meek
Móntame la pura. Tell me the fact.
nítido terrific, that’s great
pana friend, mate, man, brother
pila a lot, excessive
quilla’o upset
táto bien
Tumba eso Drop it. Forget it.
un colmado a “bodega” or little corner store
un concho a vehicle variation of mass transit paths. like a taxi however it follows a path like a bus or train line would.
un guachiman a mispronunciation of the english word “watchman.” a guard.
un motoconcho a bike variation of mass transit paths. like a taxi however it follows a path like a bus or train line would.
una chercha a celebration
una funda a bag
una guagua a bus
una lechosa a papaya
unos calizos shoes

vacano/ bacano/ jevy

cool (slang)

Slang prevails in Dominican Spanish, and might alter implying depending upon context, tone, or rule of the scenario. Regular usage of slang terms can toss a curveball in your understanding, and you’re not likely to discover all of the terms in a Standard Latin American Spanish dictionary. Even if you could, the subtlety of significance can quite depend upon the individual you are speaking with.

If you can discover a considerate native speaker who can assist to equate to a more neutral expression, discuss the much deeper significance beyond the words in an offered scenario, and fix your errors, you have actually really discovered a treasure for your language discovering. The Dominican culture tends to be warm, accepting, and happy with the Spanish language, so you’re most likely to discover great deals of assist with this obstacle.

In the meantime, you might make the most of online resources, article, and videos on social networks to assist you check out, decrease, and comprehend Dominican Spanish at a much deeper level. You’ll quickly discover in the remarks that even those with household connections are continuously learning more about their own dialect. You do not need to do it alone! the basics Explore Spanish in every area with Rosetta Stone With 20 nations formally acknowledging Spanish as a main language, near to 500 million native Spanish speakers, Spanish being the 4th most spoken language worldwide and likewise the 2nd most-used language on the web, you will never ever be done discovering Spanish! Knowing and more universal vocabulary words can open the secrets to a selection of language neighborhoods, however no matter where you select to take a trip, research study, or operate, there will be local specifics to keep you inspired! Poco a poco (action by action), you can dip your toes in both the warm sand of

La República Dominicana Dynamic Immersion and the linguistic variety of Dominican Spanish. Rosetta Stone can assist you by focusing your language discovering journey on what matters most. As a Rosetta Stone student, you’ll take advantage of early successes to enhance your self-confidence quick. Our approach supplies optimal direct exposure to a brand-new language, through audio spoken by native speakers, composed words, and real-world images. Whatever exists in the brand-new language, offering a really immersive experience. State


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Written by Jamie Edwards(*) Jamie is a student and instructor of French and spanish. When she’s not discovering brand-new words, you’ll discover her on the soccer sidelines, ski slopes, and track and field bleachers taking pleasure in the 4 seasons of Western New York.(*)


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