spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
man and woman


Perceiving Language Variation

Compliment Sequences


man calling out

While there are some interesting features in language variety in terms of compliments, one of the most interesting features that is unique to Spanish is the PIROPO.

What is a piropo?

Piropos are flirtatious comments common in the Spanish-speaking world. They are usually given to a female by a male and do not evoke a response from the female, unlike most other types of compliments. Also, they are usually given anonymously.

Traditionally, piropos have been viewed as compliments that are polite and artistic. The perception of piropos is changing, however, as the roles that women assume in society continue to change.

It is important for nonnative speakers to understand piropos because of their multiple interpretations. But expressly for this reason, only nonnatives who are well-established members of the local speech community should attempt to produce them. Even then, the task of performing a piropo might be seen as offensive. The most important aspect is understanding the message that piropos send.

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