In my first week working at Whee, I had a couple of students from the Netherlands who were traveling through South America as backpackers and were interested in learning as much as possible about daily life in Colombia and the rest of the continent. The first question they asked me was if it was fine to ask for discounts and in which situations and places it was possible. La ñapa is the answer!
A positive answer “yes, of course,” encouraged them to learn and practice in and out the classroom with different sentences and expressions that helped them to get discounts and even more than what they were buying. On their third day in Colombia, they were able to start asking for the ñapa… Ñapa? What is that?
“La ñapa” refers to that extra one or extra something you get once you have bought something and you ask the seller: “¿Y la ñapa?”. Colombians are used to asking for discounts and ñapas in different places and situations; they are part of our daily transactions. And this happens not only in Colombia. It is possible to do it in Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia too but with a small difference; they call it “la yapa”. The need to save as much as possible mixed with the interest of the sellers to gain new customers have perpetuated an ancient habit in these countries.
Learning how to ask for la ñapa can be very useful when we are talking about food. It is frequently used in small markets, in food stands on the street, small restaurants, and bakeries. You just need to ask the seller once you are almost finished: “Veci, y la ñapa?” or “¿Qué tiene de ñapa?”. The first questions means: “Mr/Mrs/Miss, and the ñapa?” And the second: “What do you have for the ñapa?” In small markets, it is normal to get an extra little something or an additional product/item added to what you have bought already. In food stands and small restaurants, you will get more of what you were eating, extra juice or extra dessert, and in bakeries, you might get more bread.
An important tip: it will be easier in places you go frequently. Once you gain the trust of a seller, you will get a ñapa without having to ask for it!
Now, choose places where you can ask for a “ñapa” – put your answers in the comments and we’ll let you know how you do!
To know more about Colombian Spanish tips visit Whee Institute blog here.
Written by Mari, profesora at Whee.