Oh, how hard it is to speak Spanish

Discussion on the difficulties of speaking regional Spanish are certainly not relegated to the language industry — it’s an issue that many Spanish speakers are highly aware of.

In fact, “Qué dificil es hablar español,” a viral Spanish clip of two regular guys singing about the cross-cultural difficulties of speaking the language, has well over ten million views on YouTube. The video has made the internet rounds for the last few years — although if you don’t speak Spanish, you may have missed it.

The song’s topic is a journey from Mexico to Patagonia and over to Spain; a series of language-learning courses and post-graduate studies scattered throughout the Hispanosphere, which nonetheless did not prepare the singers to speak regional Spanish. The song is over eight and a half minutes of humorous examples of regional misunderstandings. Here are a few translated excerpts; full subtitles may be found at

Oh, how hard it is to speak Spanish
Because everything you say means something totally different…
If you learn it, stay in only one region!
… In Venezuela I bought a pana [velour] shirt,
and my pals said: “that’s my pana
[friend], that’s my pana!”
And in Colombia the porro is a
cheerful rhythm people sing
But everyone gives me a weird look when I say I love it! [because it also means joint]
If something is far away,
Chileans will say it is a la chucha
While in Colombia, underarm odor is called la chucha
(Meanwhile in Uruguay the same smell is called chivo
Although the dictionary defines chivo as a bearded goat)
By changing only one vowel, the word becomes chucho
And chucho means dog in
El Salvador and Guatamala
In Honduras it means stingy,
People named Jesus are often called Chuc
With so many meanings, how do you use this stupid word?
Chucho means cold chill in Argentina,
Chucho in Chile is a jail,
Chucho in Mexico is someone who is skilled or clever:
Chucho’s chucho is chucho at barking,
And for being chucho Chucho was put in chucho.
The chucho was cold, so he felt chucho.
“How chucho,” he said, “I miss my chucho.”…
There was something I was
certain of: a strawberry is a fresa.
But what a surprise when in Mexico, I was called a fresa [rich kid]
For wearing Armani clothing
and ordering good wine
While wearing the same clothes, I was called cheto in Argentina,
“So cheto is strawberry,” I thought, and asked someone in a shop at the street corner:
“Are there any good chetos here?” And the owner got angry…
A Colombian said, upon seeing that I, dizzy with confusion, was sitting down in a chair,
“Man, relax and write it down on your hand: in Buenos Aires, strawberry is called frutilla.”