The Accent of the Chilango

One of the topics that is most discussed about the inhabitants of the capital of the Mexican Republic, is about their peculiar way of speaking.

And it is not that in the rest of Mexico the characteristic accents do not exist, from the rough and strangled Northern, to the leisurely and flowery Southern, but talking about the Chilango attracts those of us who come from abroad.

The curiosity is that most of the time, if not always, the accents stick together, especially when the time spent living in the place increases.

And just as one does not notice these changes, for the natives of the city, it takes more work to notice.

I approach an active young man who is dedicated to calling out the minibus routes at a stop.

–¡Vallejooo, Ceilááán, voca trees, voca seiiis, all over Plaaan de San Luiiis!

— Hello good morning. Hey, I’ve got a question. Do you think that chilangos speak differently from the rest of the country? – He asked without protocols.

— Quiubooo güero (blond, but also white man), are you messing me up or do you want to chingar (fuck, but also bother) me? – he answers me with a big smile, but not without checking me from top to bottom with his eyes.

— It’s for an investigation of the school compa (short for compañero, buddy) – I try not to dwell on the matter and not show myself as a foreigner, in addition to adding one of many words that I think will be necessary to relax communication.

Órale carnal (carnal, but also brother), we speak well, you the ones who say they study are the ones who speak strangely, – he answers me already impatient to return to work.

— Sale y vale (Come out and okay, also Roger that or Deal). Thank you. – I finish the conversation and say goodbye to him.

— That thing that we chilangos talk with an accent is a pendejada (bullshit) maiii, – he says goodbye again with a smile from ear to ear.

I raise my hand in farewell.

– Cameraaaa, – his last word before whistling and pointing to the V with his right hand.

In a conversation with a middle-class man from the city, who lives with his daughter in a park, he brought up the subject.

– Beware of the cactuuus hijaaa, the cactuuus, you don’t understaaaand!, – he yells at his little girl who has entered one of the gardens.

— Look Ricardo, so that you understand me, here we speak the best Spanish in the country, for a reason we are the capital nooo. Go watch TV or listen to the radio so you can see, – he answers without taking his eyes off the girl.

— But for you there are no differences in accents from one place to another?, – I keep thinking about the matter.

— Sometimes that bothers me but it doesn’t matter. It’s that la neta (the truth), nobody looooves us just because we live here, buddy.

— So, doesn’t the Chilango have a peculiar accent when it comes to speaking?

— Fucking, my balls with that Chilangooo accent cuate (buddy, close friends, twin brother).

Silence ends the conversation and I decide to quickly change the subject.

Las Lomas turned out to be the ideal place to meet the city’s good people.

— I mean, güey (ox, but also cuckold and also stupid and also man), do you think we speak like singing like Pedrooo Infanteee güey?

— You cannot deny that you have a peculiar way of speaking, – I insist.

— That is for the pelados (bald or shaven head, but also low-class) of Tepito (a densely populated barrio in Mexico City) güey , are you operated on the brain or what’s wrong with you güey? Back in your land of guercooos is where they talk shitty güey.

— But there are differences and you can’t deny it, – I try to convince her.

— What a shit nooo. We have to teach all the nacos (lower class, the opposite of “fresa”) of the country here güey.

— I think I will have to look for answers with people who are studious on the subject. – I give up.

— You’re in the funniest place in Mexico and you ask me those questions when I should be asking you what you’re doing here, with that northern accent of yours so shitty güey.

She finishes her cigarette and turns her face away, I don’t know if as a sign of offense or to change the subject.

To this day they tell me that there are several Chilangos accents, whether the Chilago ñero, the chilango Chilango, the Chilango fresa, etc., so I still have a long way to go to discover more accents.

If they exist.

Perhaps the country’s capital houses each and every one of the accents that distinguish us as Mexicans, as far as Spanish is concerned, because indigenous languages need to be treated separately.

For now I will continue my life in this great city, waiting for the moment when my accent fades and melts, until the day they tell me that the Chilango has stuck to me and I don’t even realize it.

Ricardo Trapero: Architect by vocation and destiny, writer by conviction. From a very young age I undertook the journey for freedom. On my way I have seen, perceived and felt so much that one day I decided to capture it in the best way I understood. The lyrics that have been my dear companions, each day bring me a little closer to freedom, which I have not yet found but which I already feel close to. Creature man, Mexican and sybarite in training.

Original published in Spanish in


  • Gabriel Lerner

    Founder and co-editor of Latino Los Angeles. Editor Emeritus of La Opinion, former Editor-in-Chief. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a journalist, columnist, blogger, poet, novelist, and short story writer. Was the editorial director of Huffington Post Voces. Editor-in-chief of the weekly Tiempo in Israel. Is the father of three grown children and lives with Celia and with Rosie, Almendra and Yinyit in Los Angeles.

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