Gratuitous Spanish

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"El Dorado didn't speak English very well. But not in the same way normal people do. He did fine with complex words and phrases, but every time he got to a word that a moron might have learned in their first week of Spanish class, he slipped into his native tongue. It could be that in his extensive linguistic studies El Dorado forgot to learn our word for "yes," or it could be that his dialogue was written by morons in their first week of Spanish class."


"El inglés es ideal para hablar de negocios, el alemán se hizo para las ciencias, el francés es el lengua del amor y el español... Ah, el español, es el idioma para hablar con Dios…" [1]


Since mucha TV is produced in California, and California has a frontera with Mexico (Baja California, to be specific), it is only natural that U.S. TV writers would insert Spanish words and phrases into their series to make things seem foráneas. This trend has recently become popular in Japan, though it has a way to go before it becomes as popular as alemán or inglés.

Often, what occurs is that a Spanish hablante will only use Spanish terms that most English users know (such as "sí" meaning "yes", or "amigo" meaning "friend") but otherwise speaks in perfecto English, as noted in the above quote. It's a way for the writers to remind us that the character is from a Spanish-speaking país and therefore exotic, but exactly why the character needs to slip back into Spanish for such simple terms is nunca quite explained. There is a little bit of Truth in Television here—as anyone who's bilingual will tell you, sometimes you will say automatic responses (such as "yes") in your materna tongue without even thinking about it—but this trope generally extends far beyond normal levels of this. See also Poirot Speak.

This has become muy, muy common among childrens' educational shows, both live action and animated. The Primo Óliver may be added to existing shows, or by starting with the Five-Token Band right off the bat. It will obviously carry over to any branded books, video games and web site/games también.

If a series featuring Gratuitous Spanish is doblada into Spanish, the Spanish terms often become Gratuitous English.

See Everything Sounds Sexier in French for some of the connotaciones of the use of Spanish, such as the promedio Internet male talking about Penelope Cruz. For the actual Spanish language, see (derp) Spanish Language.

Ejemplos de Gratuitous Español incluyen:

Anime y Manga

  • Most Hollows in Bleach have Spanish-sounding names, and most things related to Hollows are named with Spanish words, with varying degrees of success. Note that the Japanese characters used to render the Spanish terms often have equally relevant meanings (for instance, Cero, a Wave Motion Gun-type attack used by high-level hollows, is Spanish for "zero", but is also written with kanji which mean "hollow flash"). Most of the time they aren't universe-shatteringly bad but they can leave much to be desired if you happen to be conversant with the language.
    • Nearly all of the Spanish-flavored tracks on the 3rd OST have Spanish titles too.
    • Chad's powers and attacks are also in Spanish, but it's okay because he is half-Mexican. (Although, we eventually find out that his powers are almost like those of a Hollow.)
    • Kind of a case of Did Not Do the Research. Chad's half-Mexican and raised in Mexico. And yet apparently he—like everyone else in the series—can't get simple phrases right.
    • Special mention for Dordonii, who litters his sentences with Spanish words like Niño(boy) and Bebé(baby)
    • Another special mention: for Szayel, which sword is called "Fornicarás" which basically means "You will Fornicate".
  • Tomo occasionally breaks out the Spanish in Azumanga Daioh. The English dub uses Spanish in place of most of the Gratuitous English.
    • Yukari throws it around too. A notable example is in the first episode, where she congratulates a group of kids in Spanish while the captions point out the fact that she is an English teacher.
  • One episode of Excel Saga had Il Pallazzo suddenly making a speech in Gratuitous English that was changed to Gratuitous Spanish in the ADV Films dub. Also, That Man's final words are "Adiós, amigos!"
    • Similarly, in episode 17, what was originally Gratuitous English spoken by Excel was changed to include some Spanish words: "Yo yo homies! Feliz Navidad. Me llamo Excel. You my bitches!"
  • In Eureka Seven's world there's a city called "Ciudades del Cielo". Which is wrong because „ciudades“ is plural.
  • The bounty hunters' TV show in Cowboy Bebop employs this along with other cheesy Western stereotypes; for example, "Amiiiigo!". The Latin American dub renders this as an exaggerated Northern Mexican and a Guadalajara accent.
    • Adios.
  • Sol Bianca has several examples of Gratuitous Spanish: the name of the show itself and the eponymous space ship is an incorrect attempt to say "white sun" in Spanish (the correct phrase would be "sol blanco"; "bianca" is Italian and "bLanca" is the feminine form of the adjective); some characters have the surname Delapaz ("of peace"); and there are two planets named Uno and Tres.
  • In One Piece, Sir Crocodile and Nico Robin both use Gratuitous Spanish in their attack names; though Crocodile likes to switch it up with the occasional Gratuitous Italian, and Robin's combines Spanish numbers (or body parts), the French word for flower, and English words like "clutch".
  • Moerumba of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star makes this his entire schtick. Nothing like a Quirky Miniboss Squad member randomly shouting "Señorita~!" when he's trying to kill you.
  • El Cazador de la Bruja, especially the dub. Justified since it's set in the US southwest.
  • Gaku from Absolute Boyfriend does this, starting with very simple words in Spanish to a few middle ones that everyone wouldn't know, and he's not even supposed to be Spanish. (Night also does this when his speech functions aren't working and he starts speaking entirely in random languages, starting with Spanish)
  • In School Rumble Nakamura when he was disguised as Eri in the School War said "Hasta la vista" when he was going to "kill" Asou. Probably a tribute to some movie, where a robot says that before killing the main antagonist.
    • A much, much, MUCH bigger example of the series is Lala González, being a Mexican girl who speaks loudly and uses random Spanish words in her otherwise fully in Japanese speech.
  • In Medabots During the World Championship arc, the Mexico Team consists of three guys that wear Ponchos and "sombreros" and just spout the word "Amigo" over and over (as in THE ONLY THING THEY EVER SAY, and they say it a lot).
  • Axis Powers Hetalia... Well, Himaruya tried in the comic, at least. When Spain is trying to teach Romano Spanish, the blackboard has some generally correct, if misspelled and incorrectly punctuated, Spanish on it (specifically, "!Holla!" and "Dame un beso!!" [sic]) in the comics. In the anime, the board says... "dome uh beso." Here's a screenshot.
  • Roberta in Black Lagoon, with an atrocious accent to boot. Which is odd since Japanese and Spanish aren't that different, but she still manages to sound funny.
  • In one of the Wandering Son episodes a sign said "Ropa Inperior". They were probably going for "Ropa Interior".


  • Parodied in commercials for the Bing search engine. The commercials are done in telenovela style with dialogue all in Spanish (other than proper names and the word "links") and subtitled. However, when the Mysterious Stranger displays his laptop showing Bing, it's apparent that the characters are in San Jose, California (showing movie listings for local theaters or airline fares from the city) -- almost 700 miles from the Mexican border.
  • There's this one anti-drug PSA where a Hispanic teenager is talking with a friend on her cell phone. Their conversation is entirely in English, except that she calls her friend chica (which really doesn't make sense, since if both characters are fluent in English they really should know the word for "girl").
    • To be fair, chica is a popular term of endearment among the Hispanic community and female teenagers.
  • The recent State Farm commercials feature an obnoxious man trying way too hard to appeal to viewers. He's often seen standing near groups of people trying way too hard to act like regular people, and then telling you to "Ask your neighbors/friends/family" about State Farm, because they probably use it. In one commercial, he says "Ask your neighbors- tu familia.", with absolutely no setup for the sudden burst of spanish. It's assumed they did this to make the commercial even MORE obnoxiously trying-too-hard, but the "tu familia" part has been removed in later airings.

Historietas y cómics

  • Mexican-American Victor from Runaways uses random Spanish words and phrases all the time. However, once in a while he'll actually subvert the trope by using a phrase that the average American probably wouldn't know or be able to guess from the context. It's very accurate Mexican Spanish though, and he's displeased when fellow teammate Chase insists on calling him "amigo".
  • According to her official Marvel biography page, Silverfox was known to use the (identical in meaning) alias "Zora del Plata". Uh, you mean "Zorra de Plata"? Not to mention that you really wouldn't want to name a woman that: calling a woman a "zorra" is calling her a slut in most of Latin America and Spain. (Also, the Rio de la Plata is actually a river in South America. If they were actually trying to make it sound like the actual name for the animal, it should have been zorra plateada.) Marvel at The Silverslut!
  • Eric Powell's The Goon uses a Bilingual Bonus variation with El Lagarto Hombre.
  • When Yolanda Montez was introduced as the second Wildcat during Crisis on Infinite Earths, she had an endearing habit of letting spanish phrases slip into her internal monologue followed immediately by the english translation as though she were trying to teach spanish to any listening telepaths.
  • Superman comics' third-rate villain Encantadora is from Spain and the writers will remind you of it by generously peppering her dialogues with unnecesary Spanish words and phrases. It gets really annoying after a couple of pages...
    • the 2000 Superman Annual was part of the "Planet DC" event, featuring familiar heroes going to foreign countries and teaming up with new heroes from those countries. Superman teamed up with three Mexican heroes, Acrata, Iman, and El Muerto, all of whom are extremely prone to this; El Muerto describes his amazing stealth as allowing him to disappear and reappear at will, "like a fantasmo."
  • Blue Beetle: the third's series has most of the main and supporting characters being hispanic, they even have a whole issue that is almost entirely in Spanish.
  • Teen Titans's 2011 relaunch features Bunker, a teen metahuman from a small village in Mexico. He's actually pretty restrained compared to most examples, using one or two Spanish words or phrases per issue (as opposed to "per word bubble").


  • Several sports leagues have had Spanish events where the team names or mascots were changed to their cross-border equivalent. They don't always go all the way. For example, the Phoenix Suns chose to wear uniforms that said "Los Suns." Grammatically, the proper way should be "Los Soles de Fenix".
  • San Francisco has had "Gigantes" jerseys for their local baseball team, the Giants, for years on appointed Spanish Heritage games.
    • Baseball teams that have Spanish Heritage nights will generally have the opposition teams play in Spanish translated team names as well. Such as a game in San Francisco with the Gigantes de San Francisco v. Cerveceros de Milwaukee (Milwaukee Brewers).
    • In fact, as a rule of thumb, American baseball, basketball and football teams are translated depending of the country: In Mexico, per example, the Chicago Bulls are ALWAYS translated in Mexican media as "Los Toros de Chicago", but in Hispanic media in the U.S., the names are not translated due possibly to cultural and legal reasons. But, for some reason, soccer teams from the Major League Soccer are left untranslated in Mexican Media (something that normally does happen sometimes with some foreign teams, like the ones from the Japanese J-League, from all the foreign soccer leagues they want to translate the names in Spanish.)

Ficción de Fanáticos

  • Da Princessindagleclub features an extreme example of this when Spanish teacher Mr 'Shoe' tells Princess, in Spanish, that he loves her and that flamers are retards. The problem? He's actually talking Slovenian. And most of what he says isn't even translated anyway.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, Naomi thanks Dark by saying "GRACIAS!" The problem? The character is supposed to be speaking Gratuitous French (although it's difficult to tell, as she says things like "I fortez je was mort!").
  • Parodied in Those Lacking Spines, where Pence speaks an unintelligible mess of Spanish, English, and Gratuitous Japanese.

"Watashi wa wanta tots domo muchos, minna-san!"
"Iie, iie, no way Jose."
"Donde esta la biblioteca? La biblioteca esta allí! Donde esta Pedro? Pedro esta en la biblioteca! Pedro esta allí!"

  • In the Bones fanfic, "The When and the How; A Bone to Pick", when Booth and Bones are enjoying a romantic dinner, Bones whispers a sentence in Spanish in Booth's ear; "Un día, nos vamos a duchar juntos. Y ese día, cuando nosotros estemos por fin solos, voy a enseñarte cuanto te quiero." Translation: "One day, we will shower together. And on that day, when we are finally alone, I will show you how much I love you."
  • My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing has Dyno and Myte, which are blatant ripoffs of Más y Menos.


  • In the French dub of The Addams Family, Morticia drives Gomez mad with passion by speaking Spanish (it was French in the original).
  • In 2046, the song "Siboney" is sung in Spanish.
  • Rosalita in Tremors breaks out in Spanish when excited or frightened.
  • In Legend, one of the goblins shouts "Adios, amigos" when he falls into a pit.
  • Puss in Boots in the Shrek films, by virtue of being voiced by Antonio Banderas. The Mexican dub replaces it with Antonio Banderas speaking with a heavy Andalucian accent. In the Spanish dub, Banderas exaggerates his own "malagueñan" accent.
  • In Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, the many Mexican characters slip in very few Spanish words, and always easily understood words, such as occasionally replacing "buddy" with "amigo".
  • "Hasta la vista baby". Which becomes 'Sayonara, baby' in some Spanish dubs.
  • There's an HBO original movie by the name of Walkout, which despite being about the Chicano movement in Los Angeles, appears to have been written entirely by white people. The allegedly Latino characters only seem to be familiar with the phrases, "Que no" and "Que si", and the word "pendejo".
  • "Jai Ho", from Slumdog Millionaire, is in Hindi, but features an entire section in Spanish ("Baila! Baila! Ahora conmigo, tu baila para hoy, Por nuestro dia de movidas los problemas los que sean, Salud! Baila! Baila!").
  • Vasquez in Aliens. "Pendeja jerkoff!"
  • The bad guy biker gang from Wild Hogs are called the Del Fuegos, literally "Of the Fires" or "Of the Flames." So the individual members would be "Flamers." Allegedly Disney wanted the gang to be a chapter of Hell's Angels, but they were sued for attempting to use this.
  • In Toy Story 3, after Buzz's reset button is hit, he turns into a flamenco dancing version of his Space Ranger Persona. ¡Buzz Lightyear al rescate!
  • Most of the foreign language in Team America: World Police is total gibberish mocking the As Long as It Sounds Foreign trope, with the exception of the Panamanians' reaction to the Panama Canal blowing up: "¡No me gusta!"
  • In the English subtitles for District B13, the French word banlieue, meaning "district" or "ghetto," is translated into the Spanish word barrio. Although barrio is used in English, it's as a Spanish-speaking section of an American city, and just looks ... weird ... in a movie that's set in France.
  • In Jumanji, the store where the hunter gets his BFG, has the Himno Nacional Mexicano (Mexican Anthem) playing in the background.
  • The title of the song "Que Sera, Sera" from The Man Who Knew Too Much does not actually translate into "Whatever will be, will be", but something more like "What's it going to be?" Composer Jay Livingston had seen the 1954 film The Barefoot Contessa, in which an Italian family has the motto "Che sarà sarà" carved in stone at their ancestral castle; he later translated the phrase to Spanish (the original Italian is also incorrect). Something closer would be "lo que sea será".
    • In the Spanish dub the Spanish lyrics are kept while the English part is translated, which could have been redundant if they didn't mean completely different things. For those interested, the song goes: "Qué será, será; lo que quiera ser será..."


  • The children in Good Omens use Gratuitous Spanish (along with an assortment of stereotypically Spanish props, like onions and a straw donkey) to give their re-enactment of The Spanish Inquisition extra authenticity. They use such inquisitorial phrases as olé and viva España.

Series de Televisión

  • In The Office (UK version), David Brent's song "Freelove Freeway" has some parts in Spanish (that, predictably, make no sense)
  • In season 1 of The Cosby Show there was an episode where Claire, Rudy and several guest characters go into Gratuitous Spanish, ending in the characters laughing at Cliff who saysJust listening for my name... to the point where it just gets annoying.
  • Manuel in Fawlty Towers, being from Barcelona, speaks an almost incomprehensible mixture of Spanish and English.
    • Basil Fawlty's "classical Spanish", meanwhile, is utterly dire.
  • An episode of Father Ted had a visiting Cuban priest named Father Hernandez, who had no trouble communicating with anybody despite speaking only Spanish.
  • The Royal Hulamouse on Mr. Roger's Neighbourhood
  • Rosita in Sesame Street.
  • In fact, this trope has spread like a virus through most Public Television kids' shows. Arthur gained some pseudo-Hispanic neighbors, and the already Hispanic main characters on Dragon Tales gained a recent immigrant pal with a heavy accent and lots more Gratuitous Spanish.
    • It's somewhat justified in an Edutainment Show, since the idea is obviously to teach kids a little Spanish.
  • Later seasons of The George Lopez Show did this, to the point where he would repeat sabe que or no que no after almost every sentence.
  • The bilingual television channels Mundos (Telemundo on cable, thus Mun+Dos) and MTV Tr3s subsist on these shows with English mixed with Spanish, usually in the clumsiest and most grammatically incorrect mixes of language ever ("Videos al Fresco?!" "Tr3s or False"?!), which are known to make a translator fly into fits of rage.
  • Dexter loves to do this to drive home the point that some characters are Cuban-American. Particularly jarring when characters completely switch their accents for a single mid-sentence Spanish word, then continue with their "normal" accents. It happens a lot in season four, once Maria and Angel get together, because they have several private conversations that are half-English, half-Spanish. She also switches her pronunciation of his first name (Anglicized "Angel" vs. "Ahn-hel") all the time.
  • The El Hombre segments of Pee-wee's Playhouse.
  • Paula in Defying Gravity.
  • Starting from the second season of iCarly with Freddie, it gets to the point where it's annoying with the random phrases.
  • Catalina's rambling, untranslated speeches on My Name Is Earl are actually Easter Eggs for the bilingual audience.
  • George Ikaruga in Ultraman Mebius, justified in that he played Football in Spain for a while.
  • Played for laughs in Community; Senor Chang will often gratuitously replace English words in conversation with the Spanish equivalent. Justified in that he's a Spanish teacher; however, he does it at every opportunity and is clearly established as not a very good Spanish teacher, so it comes off as if he's trying hard to cover up his deficiencies.
  • Santana on Glee. Twice she has gotten angry enough at Rachel to try to attack her while yelling in Spanish and being held back by several people. The second time, there were subtitles:

Santana (yelling in Spanish): Listen, I'm from Lima Heights Adjacent and I'm proud. Do you know what goes down in Lima Heights Adjacent? Bad things!

  • Theresa from Wizards of Waverly Place speak Spanish on special occasions. Subverted with her children though, and one of them is even failing Spanish.
  • Saturday Night Live did a skit ¿Quién es más macho? entirely in Spanish. ¿Fernando Lamas o Ricardo Montalban?
    • When Jimmy Smits was the guest host, one newsroom skit had everyone using increasingly gratuitous Spanish (Who had the an-chee-lah-dahs?)
  • Colonel Potter in M*A*S*H (television) talks like this, saying, "¿Comprende?" where he might have said, "Understand?" and such, despite having no Spanish or Latin American background whatsoever and showing very little interest in the culture or language itself. It may just be a Verbal Tic for him.
  • Fred and Lamont's Puerto Rican neighbor Julio would slip into this on Sanford and Son.
  • Antonio the Gold Ranger from Power Rangers Samurai.
  • On Cedric The Entertainer's show, he had a skit called "Que Hora Es?" which parodies Gratuitous Spanish describing it as "a soap opera for people who Spanish for 2 weeks". The phrase means "What time is it?" for those of you curious.


  • The famous U2 single "Vertigo" starts with Bono saying "Unos, dos, tres, catorce." It sounds like he's saying "1, 2, 3, 4"... except that unos means "some" (specifically the version used to refer to things with "masculine" words,) and catorce means "14!" The correct translation, for the record, would be "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro." This is reportedly a Shout-Out to the album's producer, who produced U2's first, second, third, and fourteenth albums. "Vertigo" also features "Hello, hello (HOLA!)/We're in a place called Vertigo (DONDE ESTÁS!)"
    • Not forgetting Bono's own use of this trope when the band tours in Spanish - speaking countries. All together now... "Muchos huevos, muchos trafico..." ("Many eggs, many traffic...")
  • The Pop'n Music song "Passion Girl" starts off with some spoken-word Gratuitous Spanish, then the rest of the song is sung in Japanese with some Gratuitous English at the end. Appropriately enough, the song's genre is "Tequila Dance."
  • At least three songs in Japanese do this - "Daite Senorita" by Yamapi, "Seishun Amigo" by Shuji to Akira, and "Senor Senora Senorita" by Miyavi.
  • The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" features the song lyrics in Spanish (concurrently with the English ones at a certain point). So does "Spanish Bombs", which makes at least a little more sense since the song references the Spanish Civil War.
  • The Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)": "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis!"
  • Weird Al Yankovic's "Taco Grande".
  • Brazilian satirical band Los Pirata, starting with the name, has many songs like this. (no, Brazil speaks Portuguese!).
  • Want Gratuitous Spanish? Look no farther than Lady Gaga's "Alejandro". The only Spanish is the line "en su bosillo".
  • Beck's song "Loser" has the chorus start with "soy un perdedor". "Hotwax" continues the theme by having the chorus entirely in Spanish ("yo soy un disco quebrado/yo tengo chicle en el cerebro"), ans similarly self-mocking (that second line means "I've got chewing gum in my brain".
    • And let's not forget "¿Qué onda, Güero?" (Translation: "What's up, white boy?"), which is completely full of random Spanish words. Apparently it's meant to simulate the experience of being a white boy in LA. Like Beck.
  • The song La Muerte is entirely in French, with the exception of the chorus "La muerte, mi amor".
  • On the other hand, Amigos para siempre (as sung by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras) is entirely in English, with the exception of ... you get the idea.
  • The German NDW (Neue Deutsche Welle—German New Wave) band Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) recorded a song called "El Que" which features refrains in German and a chorus in Spanish; this could be somewhat justified by the fact that lead singer Gabi Delgado-López and his family emigrated from Spain to Germany when Gabi was a little boy:

Mi cariño
El que
qué me dices
qué me dices
por qué me dices

  • "The One Semester of Spanish Love Song" is a guy playing guitar while trying to woo a girl with phrases like "Donde esta la biblioteca?"
  • The Pixies' frontman Black Francis lived for a while and studied Spanish in Puerto Rico. He never really got very far with it, judging from the weird language-switching in "Vamos" (Estaba pensando sobreviviendo con mi sister en New Jersey), the outright clumsiness of "Isla De Encanta" and others. Unsurprisingly, he got help for the Translated Cover Version of "Evil Hearted You".
  • The German industrial metal group Rammstein put out a song entirely in Spanish for their album Rosenrot titled "Te quiero puta!".
  • Dana International's 1998 Eurovision entry for Israel, "Diva", has a chorus saying "viva la dia, viva Victoria, Afrodita" when it should be "viva EL dia".
    • Actually, the lyric is "Viva la Diva, viva Victoria, Afrodita".
  • Bowling for Soup's "No Hablo Inglés" is about getting out of trouble by saying "I don't speak english" in spanish.
    • In the same song there's the line: A guy walks up and says "¿Dónde está la casa de Pepé?" ... He no habla Inglés.
  • Dominican-American pop singer Kat DeLuna includes a lot of Spanish in her songs and occasionally does full Spanish translations of them.
  • During one Spanish language song, Tommy Smothers interrupted and tried to make some point (in Spanish) about his brother's base fiddle playing, but got stuck on what to call the instrument, finally coming up with "guitarra grande".
  • Bradley Nowell tended to drop some Spanish slang in Sublime songs, but the most extensive cases would be "Chica Mi Tipo", which is entirely Spanish, and "Caress Me Down", which has several long stretches of Spanish in the verses. In "Caress Me Down", this may have partially been for Getting Crap Past the Radar purposes - the song was able to get considerable uncensored radio play despite lines like "Pero la cosa que me gusta mas es panochita" ("...but the thing I like most is pussy").
  • Lampshaded by They Might Be Giants, in "I Can Add":

I don't even know Spanish
But I'm gonna sing it in Spanish now


Lucha Libre

  • Usually with the now-defunct luchadore-type cruiserweights in the WWE (re: they discarded the Cruiserweight Title). Nowadays it's down to Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, and Supercrazy.
    • TNA has the Latin American Xchange. BG James would also do this in his 3 Live Kru promos.
  • There's also Rosa Mendes, a California-born Latina who spoke perfect English when she first appeared on Raw (where she was a Psycho Supporter of Beth Phoenix) but who upon moving to ECW morphed into an arrogant Evil Foreigner who would speak only in Spanish and insulted General Manager Taryn "Tiffany" Terrell by screaming "Eres estupida! (She's since moved to SmackDown! and undergone a Heel Face Turn.)


  • The 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story translated some of the lyrics of "I Feel Pretty" and "A Boy Like That" into Spanish. Apparently, the change didn't last.
    • When the production still had the Spanish lyrics it was more of a subversion of this trope. For one thing, the Sharks spoke almost exclusively in Spanish. The Spanish lyrics were linguistically accurate and extremely heavy on slang (if a very loose translation of Sondheim's original lyrics), which made sense given that the people singing were very young and hot-blooded, but it had the effect of the audience not relating to the Sharks because they had no idea what they were saying, thus undermining the whole thing. The whole thing was a pretty good case for Translation Conventions.
  • "I Am Easily Assimilated" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide is about learning to sing in Gratuitous Spanish.
  • In the Heights...but of course, it's justified because all but one of the main cast is Hispanic. And there's a lot of phrases that most non-Spanish speakers won't know.
  • Taz from Starship will say at least one random Spanish word or phrase per scene that she's in, including two times that she actually shouts out Spanish holiday names when in the face of danger.


  • The ganados in Resident Evil 4 all speak Spanish (and badly mangled Mexican-accented Spanish at that), despite the creators insisting that the game is set in central Europe and not Spain. At any rate, this is mostly an aversion, as the Ganados never speak English (but it is an example of Spexico). Ally Luis Sera and a few of the major villains dip into this trope on occasion, but it's rather rare.
  • Selena Recital from Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 tends to slip up Spanish words in her sentences, such as Gracias, soshite Adios.
  • The Vato Bros. in Disgaea 3, weddo.
  • This line from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which combines Gratuitous Spanish with Poirot Speak:

Smoke: Hola, yo soy El Grando Smokio!
Chicano: Chale, who's this cabrón?
Smoke: Coughio up el weedo, before I blow your brains all over the patio!
Chicano: ¡Chinga tu madre, pendejo! This is not your place!

  • In Final Fantasy VI, when the party first encounters the "master swordsman" Siegfried, he leaves with an "Adios, amigos!" Yes, even in the Japanese version: "Adiosu amigosu!"
  • The South of the Border region in Kingdom of Loathing.
  • The Ammo Bandito machines in BioShock (series) say "Bienvenido al Ammo Bandito! (Welcome to the Ammo Bandito!)" in a horrible Spanish accent when using them. Upon exiting, it says "Muchas gracias, señor! (Thank you very much, sir!)"
  • Subverted by Panther Caroso - his name, his stature, and his character gives him a feel of being "Spanish", but he speaks purely in English.
  • Elvis from God Hand loves to swear in thick Mexican accent
  • Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango tends to slip a Spanish word or two into nearly anything he says (or rather his voice actor does - most of it was improvised and simply left in). Which kind of makes sense, because all the human characters in the game are modelled after mexican paper dolls.
  • Secundo in Beyond Good and Evil sprinkles his speech with several Gratuitous Spanish terms...and at least one incidence of Gratuitous Italian (Gratuitous French, too), leaving one to wonder exactly where he's supposed to be from. There's all the race announcer, who inexplicably counts down in Spanish (despite not sounding Spanish at all), and the song "Fun and Mini-Games," which combines several lines of random Spanish with several lines of what sounds like nonsense.
    • In the original French Secundo uses a mixture of Gratuitous Spanish, Italian and English terms.
  • Ganette from the Blue Dragon Ral Grad manga peppers his sentences with gratuitous Spanish, such as a very dramatic "Adios!" when slaying Shadows.
  • The MacGuffin of Tales of Monkey Island is a mythical sea sponge called "La Esponja Grande", which was being searched by a man called Coronado De Cava. Coronado himself speaks with Gratuitous Spanish from time to time when Guybrush finally encounters him also.
    • It's worth noting that a few times Guybrush plays off the name, he gets the adjective and noun title wrong and uses the masculine form when the noun is feminine ("La Esponja Gordo" (rarely, since this may be a production error where the item's name was changed during development, which is especially evident in Chapter 3 when he talks to De Cava), "La Esponja Pequeño", "Señor Esponja Not-So-Grande"). This said, there is also a hilarious scene in The Curse of Monkey Island where, upon seeing Guybrush tarred and feathered, a character will yell "Madre de dios! Es El Pollo Diablo!" ("Mother of God! It's The Devil Chicken!"), and Guybrush can respond with "Huh?" or "Yes! I have released your prisoners and now I have come for you!" English or Spanish.
  • In the first Uncharted game, Nate claims "El Dorado" means "the golden man", when it actually means "the gilded one".
    • He probably got confused by the original legend, which describes the king of said city pouring golden water all over himself every morning, but you'd think a treasure hunter would know the words "hombre" and "oro".
  • Dante in Devil May Cry 4 says "Adios kid" to Nero after their first battle.
  • Croco in Super Mario RPG spouts "Adios amigos!" when he runs away during the first battle. Cortez in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door also speaks in Gratuitous Spanish.
  • Zevran periodically does this in Dragon Age when you select him out in the world—provided he likes you, anyway. ("Sí, amor?", among one or two others.)
  • Miror B.'s theme song in Pokémon Colosseum contains several random shouted Spanish words, such as "Canta! Rico! Baila!" et cetra.
    • And from Pokémon Red and Blue, we have Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres (Arctic-one, Zap-two, Molten-three)
    • Pokémon Special gives us the character Amarillo del Bosque Verde, (Yellow of the Viridian Forest).
  • Wheatley in Portal 2.

Wheatley: "[to self] Hm. Could be Spanish, could be Spanish. [loud again] Hola, amigo! Abre la puerta! Donde esta--no. Um..."
Wheatley: "... Alright? Dead. Dos Muerte."
Wheatley: "Estás usando este software de traducción de forma incorrecta. Por favor, consulta el manual." I don't know what I just said! But I can figure out!

    • GLaDOS also throws in one line in Spanish.
  • The new Mass Effect 3 squad member James Vega is supposed to be Hispanic and constantly uses words like 'pendejo' and 'loco'...but his accent is absolutely cringeworthy.

Original de Internet

  • Parodied in Lonelygirl15 episode "Spanish Princess", in which Sarah receives a love letter written entirely in Spanish, which was probably supposed to be romantic. Unfortunately, she doesn't actually understand it.
    • The show would also play this straight from time to time. This trend was carried over to LG15: the resistance, before the series had even started - one of the prologue videos is called "Fun Things to Do in Hiding - Volume Dos!"
  • Cortez from the internet Machinima The Leet World uses Gratuitous Spanish frequently. His brother Mendoza and the Ocho Muertos terrorist group also use it.
  • In the Alternate History Decades of Darkness, the USA conquers Mexico and big parts of Latin America. Most of its inhabitants become peons, spread to the northern areas, and as a result, around 1950 American English has a lot of Spanish loan words.
  • In a Protectors of the Plot Continuum mission, Latino [sic] Mary Sue on Sampetra calls Ublaz "puerco (pig)". This brings out the Deadpan Snarker in one of the Agents.

Mara: "¡Dios mío! ¡Tienes tanta soltura con la lengua española? Conoces una palabra que se puede buscar fácilmente en un diccionario! Es lástima que no puedas usar correctamente la gramática simple, ni siquiera la forma correcta de tu orígen. Se debe usar la forma femenina de "Latino", enemiga mía." ("My god! Thou hast such fluency with the Spanish language -- knowest a word that can be easily sought in a dictionary! Too bad thou canst not use simple grammar correctly, nor even the correct form of thy origin. The feminine form of "Latino" needs to be used, my enemy.")
Isaiah: "I'm not going to pretend I understood that, but I will add that calling Ublaz a "pig" in a world where animals rule is probably not the best way to insult him."

  • Taz in Starship.
  • The "Me Gusta" guy from Rage Comics.

Cómics de Internet

Animación occidental

  • Supercow in Cow and Chicken speaks entirely in Gratuitous Spanish. In the Latin American Spanish dub, she switches to Gratuitous English instead. In the Spaniard Spanish dub, she has a Mexican accent.
  • So does Eduardo in Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. Which becomes Gratuitous English in the latin american dub.
  • Dora the Explorer and its Spin-Off, Go, Diego, Go!. Like with Supercow above, in the Latin-American dubs they switch to English.
  • Handy Manny
  • Dragon Tales. Quetzal's Spanish use is pointed out in the first episode, and Enrique (a new human character) is originally from Colombia.
  • Many other childrens' educational animation.
  • Juandissimo Magnifico of The Fairly OddParents
  • Mucha Lucha
  • El Dorado in the 1980s Superfriends
  • Speedy Gonzales from Looney Tunes and The Looney Tunes Show.
  • Bumblebee Man on The Simpsons. As it's a parody of the Mexican El Chapulin Colorado.
    • Once again, in the Spaniard Spanish dub, Bumblebee Man has a Mexican accent (which is actually logical). Word of God says that several words spoken by him (woodpequero for woodpecker) were made up on purpose for the audience who the writers expected not to know a lick of Spanish.
    • Bart Simpson is also given to use a quote in Spanish: "Ay, Caramba!"
  • El Chapulin Colorado actually reverses this trope with Chapulin's rival superhero "Super Sam", who speaks in stereotypical American catchphrases like "Time is money!" and "Ohhhh, yeah!"
  • Más y Menos from the TV version of Teen Titans also speak entirely in Spanish, though in this case it was correct, good grammar and all. Their problem was the heavy American accent, they don't pronunce the R as it should be in Spanish, and put too many words together which makes it really hard to understand.
    • Turns out to be a fine way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. At least a couple of their lines wouldn't have flown past the radar in English.

"Y este viejo nos esta jodiendo!" - "And this old man is fucking with us!"

  • Panchito of The Three Caballeros has a few Spanish words, but he's put to shame by fellow Caballero José, who has half of his dialogue in Portuguese. In his first appearance, in Saludos Amigos, he ONLY speaks Portuguese.
  • Lucha Libre.
  • Futurama's Bender Bending Rodriguez, has been known to slip into his native tongue from time to time.
  • Maya and Miguel. ¡Eso es!
  • Tilly de Tots TV habla solo en Español, but understands perfectly the English everyone else speaks. In the original UK version, Tilly parle seulement Français, but still understands English perfectly.
  • Rex in Generator Rex tends to drop Spanish into his speech on occasion. Very bad Spanish. So bad that it is eventually explained in-universe that while his parents are native speakers from South America, he was born and raised in Europe, and has always been hilariously bad at the ancestral tongue.
  • Aquamaria in Static Shock.
  • El Grapadura, A Masked Luchador from The Angry Beavers.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz occasionally uses gratuitous Spanish of varying accuracy, despite hailing from a German-speaking country. Phineasis also fond of speaking spanish at random moments.

La Vida Real

  • NFL player Chad Johnson legally changed his surname to match his nickname "Ochocinco", a goofy form of his player number: 85.
    • The correct form would be "Ochenta y cinco"; his name is more like "Eightfive" rather than "Eighty-five". Although he probably Did Not Do the Research, his new legal name would probably sound too wordy and not as catchy if correct.
    • Considering his... well, just about everything about him, it's entirely possible that he wouldn't see any problem referring to himself as "number eight five." Especially for the pragmatic reasons mentioned above.
  • American English as a rule is somewhat prone to this, due to the proximity to Mexico and prevalence of Hispanic culture within American pop culture. Stuff like "que pasa," "adios," "hasta la vista," and the like are commonly used, especially by younger generations.

¡Gracias por leer este tropo, amigos!

  1. "English is perfect for talking business, German is just the thing for science, French is the language of love, and Spanish... Ah, Spanish, it is the language with which to speak to God..."