Names and Nicknames in Spanish (Listening Practice)

¡Hola! Thanks for joining us in this basic lesson. Today, we will learn some very common nicknames in Spanish and practice listening too. You will listen to people introducing themselves in the language and also talking about their nicknames and where they come from. Let’s start…

Vocabulary Introduction: A list of common nicknames in Spanish

First of all, nicknames are really common in Latin America. They are normally used as a way to refer to friends and family members in a more affectionate or casual way. Just like English nicknames, Spanish nicknames are oftentimes very similar to the original name but not the same thing. Take a look at the picture below and guess the real names of some of these persons.

Common Nicknames in Spanish
Nombres y Apodos en Español

Some nicknames in Spanish are born because of a physical feature. For instance, the word “Pelón” (bald) is used as a kind way to call newborns, but it sometimes becomes a permanent nickname for guys. Those nicknames related to physical appearance can be interesting, but in this lesson we will focus “apodos” that are born from names. Here is a list of names with their corresponding nicknames in Spanish.

Beto – Alberto, Adalberto, Humberto, Roberto, Rigoberto, etc.
Cata – Catalina
Coco – Socorro
Concho(a) – Concepción
Chayo – Rosario
Chema – José María
Chente – Vicente
Dagoberto – Dago
Goyo – Gregorio
Juancho – Juan José

There is one more category of nicknames in Spanish that is extremely common. It consists of adding the suffix “-ITO” at the end of a name just like this: “Manuel” and “Manuelito”, “Jaime” and “Jaimito” or “Rosa” and “Rosita”. You can do this with most names in the language. When the name ends in the vowel “E”, we must substitute the last “E” for “I”.

Lupe – Guadalupe
Magda – Magdalena
Meche – Mercedes
Moncho – Ramón
Mundo – Edmundo, Raimundo, etc.
Nacho – Ignacio
Poncho – Alfonso
Rafa – Rafael
Toña – Antonia
Tere – Teresa

Listening Activity No. 1: Friends and nicknames in Spanish

Listen to two friends talking about their names and nicknames in Spanish. This conversation will make use of greetings and farewells, as well as some very basic phrases and questions. Make sure to solve the interactive quiz once you are done.

1. “Me he perdido” means “I haven’t been around for a while!”
2. “Le mando saludos” means “I send him greetings!”

Listening Quiz: Nicknames in Spanish - Los apodos

Listen to the conversation once more and choose the right answer for each of the questions in this short quiz. ¡Buena suerte!

Conversation script: Friends and nicknames in Spanish
Rosario: Hola Juancho. Tanto tiempo sin verte.
Juan José: ¿Qué tal Chayo?. Me he perdido, ¿verdad?
Rosario: ¡Qué bueno verte si! ¿Cómo está doña Coco?
Juan José: Está bien. Siempre ocupada cuidando de sus nietos. ¿Qué tal don Chente?
Rosario: Doña Socorro es muy linda gente. Quiero visitarla. Mi papá está más o menos. Estuvo enfermo pero ya está mejor.
Juan José: Dile a don Chente que le mando saludos.
Rosario: No te preocupes, yo le digo. Mira, ¿Qué te parece si salimos este fin de semana? Voy a invitar a Moncho y a Lupe también.
Juan José: Buena idea Chayo. No te olvides de Carlitos también.
Rosario: Es cierto… Bueno, nos vemos el fin de semana Juancho.
Juan José: ¡Bueno! ¡Hasta pronto!

Listening Activity No. 2: Using Nicknames in Spanish at work

Listen to two friends talking about their nicknames and names. This conversation will make use of introductions in Spanish, as well as some very basic phrases and questions. Make sure to solve the interactive quiz once you are done.

1. “Entrar en confianza” means “Gain confidence!”
2. “Llamarlos por su nombre”  means “Call them by their names”
3. “De cariño le decimos” means “We kindly call her/him…”

Spanish Listening Quiz: Nicknames at work?

Listen to the conversation again. Find out the nicknames of the people who work at the company. Then solve the exercises in the quiz. Buena suerte

Conversation script: My co-workers' nicknames in Spanish
Catalina: ¡Hola! Buenos días, me llamo Catalina.
Ramón: Hola Catalina. Soy Ramón. Mucho gusto. ¿Ya conoces a todos en la oficina?
Catalina: No, aún no. Hoy es mi primer día de trabajo.
Ramón: Ya veo. Bien, debes entrar en confianza entonces. Mira, él es Alberto. Trabaja en Recursos Humanos. Nosotros le llamamos Beto.
Catalina: ¿Beto? – Está bien ¿y ella quién es?
Ramón: Ella es Doña Teresa. Es la administradora. Le llamamos Doña Tere. La chica que está con ella es Rosita, su asistente.
Catalina: Oye, ¿Ellos no se enojan si los llamas usando apodos?
Ramón: Bueno, es mejor llamarlos por su nombre en situaciones formales. Por cierto, déjame presentarte a Mercedes. Ella es mi asistente. De cariño le decimos Meche.
Catalina: ¿Tu asistente? Entonces, ¿Qué haces tú?
Ramón: Ah sí, disculpa. Yo soy el dueño de la empresa. Me puedes llamar Moncho.
Catalina: ¿En serio? – ¡Qué pena! … bueno Moncho, me puedes llamar Cata.

This is all for this lesson. We hope you found it useful. We will cover more nicknames in Spanish in future lessons. Leave us a comment if you have any suggestion and tell us how well you did in the listening quizzes. ¡Hasta pronto!


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