Do you like watching TV shows in Spanish? It's one of the most entertaining ways of learning Spanish. You can binge-watch your favorite Netflix TV shows in Spanish without feeling guilty, because you're also learning at the same time! One of the extra benefits of TV shows is that they are usually more loaded with slang than movies. They tend to be more colloquial. And, for you, that’s very good news, because you want to learn the Spanish that people actually use in real life, not the Spanish from books and movies that nobody speaks.
For this goal, Club de Cuervos (Club of Crows) is the perfect choice. Fun, modern, fast-paced and engaging, you'll enjoy this high-level Mexican TV show. And you will learn real Spanish with it!
If you need more ideas for Spanish TV shows to watch, check out this post to find out the 5 Best TV Shows to learn Spanish on Netflix (ok, Club de Cuervos is number 1, but what are the other 4?)
About Netflix's Club de Cuervos (Club of Crows)
Club de Cuervos is a Mexican-American TV show produced by Netflix. It was the first Spanish-language Netflix original series ever created. As of today, there are three seasons published, each one more successful than the previous one.
Club de Cuervos focuses on the Cuervos Football Club, a soccer team in the imaginary Mexican town of Nuevo Toledo. The basis of the show is "Game-of-Thrones-esque", but set in the context of soccer in Mexico.
The show starts when the last owner of the Club, Salvador Iglesias Sr., passes away. His two children, Salvador "Chava" Iglesias Jr., and Isabel Iglesias, start a family war to become the successor President of the Club. Chava Iglesias is chosen first, but mainly because of male-dominant cultural attitudes, not because of his talent as a leader - an area where Isabel is actually better suited for.
The show also explores the personal relationships of the main characters and the successes and losses of the team in the National Mexican League. Interestingly, the series mixes the fictional characters along with some real soccer events and players from the Mexican League and the national team. The show is filmed mainly in Pachuca, Hidalgo.
Why Learn Slang with Club de Cuervos?
There are many shows and movies out there with which you can learn and practice your Spanish. But, because of its "street-like" characters and their realistic depiction, Club de Cuervos is especially well-suited for learning slang and seeing it in action.
The characters were created to represent the diversity of the Mexican society, and one factor that really makes them believable is their language. They talk just like regular people talk. And since many situations in the show are conflictive, energetic, and sometimes even extreme, you would see what people say in those situations, when the more authentic way of talking really unfolds!
However, there are many other Mexican slang words that I wasn’t able to show in the videos from “Club de Cuervos”. To learn more, find out 5 more top used Mexican Slang Phrases here.
This list is country-specific. That means these slang phrases are only used in Mexico. If you use them in other countries, the most common reaction will be a perplexed face - the phrases just don't make sense out of the Mexican context, and people won't understand your slang.
But, interestingly enough, some of them do have another meaning in other countries. For example, "pendejo" has a strong negative connotation in Mexico, but in Argentina it only means "little kid". And "cabrón" is widely used by everyone in Mexico, even if it’s not exactly something you’d say at the office. However, in Spain, it’s considered a curse word that means something like "asshole"!
So, as always with foreign slang word, use with care, and make sure you understand completely the context and the meaning of the slang phrases.
As a recommendation, you can practice your slang sentences in the comments section to make sure you get them right. You'll get corrections to double check your use of them.
Two Club de Cuervos excerpts for learning Mexican Spanish slang
I chose two short videos from Youtube that showcase the abundant and colorful use of Mexican slang in the show.
The first one is the trailer for the first season of Club of Crows. It has English subtitles, so it will be easy to understand what's going on. The story starts with Chava and Isabel Iglesias fighting for the presidency of the "Los Cuervos de Nuevo Toledo" club after the death of their father.
The second one is an excerpt from season 3 (Temporada 3), when Chava is welcoming a new player in a VIP section of a popular club (antro), and he meets this lady that wants him to leave. He won't accept, and he'll brag about being powerful and having money. Well, it turns out that the lady is the daughter of Armando Cantú, a business mogul in the city. From here, the story between Isabel and Chava only gets more interesting!
Club de Cuervos (Club of Crowns) Trailer - Season 1
Slang used in this video:
0:44: Ningún pendejo. = I'm not dumbass.
0:52: Cómo que lo van a publicar, güey. = What do you mean they're going to publish it, dude.
0:57: ¿...Si acepto algo así, güey? = If I accept something like that, dude?
0:58: Un chingo de followers = A s**tload of followers
1:22: ¿Quién es este pendejo? = Who is this dumbass?
1:48: Y de meter un chingo de goles. = And to score a s**itload of goals.
1:55: ¿Qué chingados hiciste? = What the f**k did you do?
Club de Cuervos (Club of Crowns) Excerpt: Chava and Isabel Cantú (Season 3)
Slang used in this video:
0:02: Estamos celebrando algo muy cabrón = We're celebrating something huge.
0:41: Este lugar está de hueva = This place is really boring.
0:42: Ni madres, es tu bienvenida. = No way, it's your reception.
0:46: ¿Tienes idea de lo pendejo que suenas? = Do you have an idea how dumbass you sound?
0:52: Tengo más lana que tú = I have more dough than you.
0:55: Me vale madres = I don't give a damn.
1:02: Pues, ¿quién chingados eres, güey? = Well, who the hell are you, dude?
1:09: De este cabrón que es dueño de... = Of that guy/dude that is the owner of...?
7 Mexican slang words from Club de Cuervos:
Probably the most common Mexican slang word. It's not really negative or deprecative, but it's not elegant either. It's something you would use with your friends (or "cuates", in Mexico), to call each other. It's similar to the American "dude". It's common to find it at the end of the sentences, many times just as a way to finish your interaction. That's how they use it in the videos here!
- 0:52: Cómo que lo van a publicar, güey. = What do you mean they're going to publish it, dude.
- 0:57: ¿...Si acepto algo así, güey? = If I accept something like that, dude?
- 1:02: Pues, ¿quién chingados eres, güey? = Well, who the hell are you, dude?
- ¿Quién es ese güey? Lo conozco de algo. = Who’s that dude? I know him from somewhere.
- ¡Ese güey toca la guitarra bien chido! = That dude plays guitar really well!
2. Chingar, and all its variants
Chingar is a very interesting word and widely used in Mexico, in may different ways. It even has its own dictionary, the "Chingonario", a list of the different uses of the word with examples.
It literally means the F-word. But it's actually not used in a sexual way anymore. Many different meanings emerged from the original word and are used today.
It means just "a lot", in a more colorful, rich way. It's again not something to say in a formal environment, but it is used widely.
- 0:58: Un chingo de followers = A s*thload of followers
- 1:48: Y de meter un chingo de goles. = And to score a shitload of goals.
In these examples, it's just a way to make a question stronger and more aggressive. Literally, it would mean: What the f- did you do?, and Who the f- are you?
- 1:55: ¿Qué chingados hiciste? = What the f- did you do?
- 1:02: Pues, ¿quién chingados eres, güey? = Well, who the hell are you, dude?
This is a word you can use against people you dislike! It's a pejorative word that could be translated for "asshole" or "idiot."
- 0:44: Ningún pendejo. = I'm not dumbass.
- 1:22: ¿Quién es este pendejo? = Who is this dumbass?
- 0:46: ¿Tienes idea de lo pendejo que suenas? = Do you have an idea how dumbass you sound?
- Estás bien pendejo, no deberías haber aceptado ese dinero - You’re such a dumbass, you shouldn’t have taken that money.
This is a somewhat mixed word. It could mean both somebody that does something really well, and you admire and envy at the same time (like Chava here); or somebody that you disapprove of. It can also be used for something really big and important, like in the first example here.
- 0:02: Estamos celebrando algo muy cabrón = We're celebrating something huge.
- 1:09: De este cabrón que es dueño de... = Of that guy/dude that is the owner of...?
- Ese cabrón se hizo millonario a los 25 años = That punk became a millionaire at the age of 25.
- No seas cabrón, no hagas eso = Don’t be a jerk, don’t do that.
It's unknown why there are so many Mexican slang expressions with "madre". Some say it's because it's a more matriarchal society than what it appears to be. Some say the opposite: "padre" is used with positive connotations ("Está padre" it's a very common sentence for "It's cool"), but the slang phrases with "madre" are usually negative.
Either way, in the second video you can find two different uses:
- 0:42: Ni madres, es tu bienvenida. = No way, it's your reception.
"Ni madres" means "No way". Here Chava says to the new player that they are going to celebrate no matter what the lady says. I can also mean "at all".
- ¿Vienes a la fiesta? Ni madres, tengo un chingo de sueño. = Are you coming to the party? No way, I'm so sleepy.
- No le entiendo ni madres cuando habla = I don't understand him at all/anything when he speaks.
- 0:55: Me vale madres = I don't give a damn.
A very common expression, "me vale madres" means "I don't care", or "I don't give a damn". You could say "No me importa", a more neutral expression, but you say "me vale madres" to show your total lack of interest towards the matter in question.
- Me vale madres que hubiera tráfico, la cuestión es que llegaste tarde = I don't care that there was traffic, the thing is that you were late!
- Eres un vale madres, no te importa nada = You're a care-free guy, you don't give a damn about anything.
6. Estar de hueva
I hope this article is not "de hueva" for you! "Estar de hueva" means "to be very boring". It's slang, but this one is not pejorative.
- 0:41: Este lugar está de hueva = This place is really boring.
- La película estaba tan de hueva que me fui a la mitad = The movie was so boring I left in the middle.
- Mañana terminan las vacaciones, ¡qué hueva regresar a la escuela! = Tomorrow's the end of the holiday, how boring going back to school!
"Lana" is another word for "dinero". It just means "money", in a more colloquial way. Like "dough", "bread", and all those words. Literally, "lana" means "wool" - which means that at some point in Mexico's history, wool was probably really valuable!
- 0:52: Tengo más lana que tú = I have more dough than you.
- No traigo nada de lana, ¿me prestas? = I didn't bring any cash, can I borrow some?
- Ese güey está podrido de lana = That dude is filthy rich.
Bonus: Salma Hayek teaches you Slang, for Vanity Fair
Remember there is more Mexican slang to be discovered. Here you can find 5 more Mexican slang words that you definitely need to know.
As an extra, you might find entertaining this video of Salma Hayek commenting on some Mexican slang expressions for Vanity Fair. Her explanations are not very deep, to be honest, but she's very charismatic and funny!
Your Turn: Practice your Mexican Slang Words in the Comments
Just write the sentences you might want to use in real world. Test your knowledge on Mexican slang. If you want to be confident about using them correctly when you speak, you can receive comments and corrections now so you can get really conversational when the moment comes!