Aitor Agirre

Aitor Agirre

Wagner Moura, the non-Spanish speaker “Colombian”


Wagner Moura is quite a skinny guy, he is not Colombian, and as recently as 2 years ago he didn’t know how to speak Spanish!

Yes, you read correctly, Wagner Moura couldn´t speak Spanish before he started filming Narcos. In spite of this, Netflix still chose him to be Pablo Escobar. One day, he got a call from Netflix: “We want you to be Pablo Escobar”. So, he decided to pack up and go to Medellin for 5 months, where he studied Spanish at the Bolivarian University. Yep, travelling to a country where the language is spoken is the one of the best ways to learn a language!

Learning Colombian Spanish

If you know some Spanish and you’ve watched Narcos, you may have noticed that “Colombian” Spanish is quite different from the standard Spanish that is spoken in Spain. Benny Lewis explains some curiosities about Colombian Spanish, that might sound familiar to you:

¿Qué más?  -> How are you?

Parce -> Friend

The all-too-famous “pues” that appears at the end of many Pablos´ sentences.

The use of the “-ico” diminutive: un momentico -> a moment

If you wish, you can check here for more useful and funny expressions that are used in Colombian Spanish.

A little cursing

But let’s get to the good part, you know the real reason why Pablo is so famous: his Spanish cursing. The latter is somewhat controversial, as understanding some of Wagner’s curses isn’t easy for the show´s viewers. In fact, this September the community manager of Netflix Spain had to ask the Real Academy of the Spanish Language which the correct form was- “hijoeputa” or hijueputa? (I’m sure you know its English translation…)

Besides “hijueputa”, “malparido” (son of a bitch), “gonorrea” (gonorrea), “marica” (gay) or “pirobo” (prostitute) are some of the most commonly used words by Pablo Escobar and his friends. There are much more curses in Narcos, but let’s stop talking about Pablo, we don’t want to be the next victims of his “plata o plomo” (bullets).

So Wagner went the extra mile to learn his Spanish.  But hey, don't fret! You don’t have to go to Colombia like Wagner, you can learn Spanish with native Spanish speakers from home!