A bit about Argentine Spanish

Unique Argentine Spanish Sounds, Phrases, & Words

You can tell when a Spanish speaker is from Argentina. For starters, the way an Argentine pronounces “ll” (as in lluvia -- rain) or “y” (as in yogur -- yogurt) is quite unique, very similar to how “j” is pronounced in French.

The closest we get to that in English is the sound the “s” makes in “treasure” and “pleasure.” Practice making this sound with these Spanish words to give them an Argentine Spanish flair:

    yo - - - -> I / me
    mayo - - - -> May
    ayudar - - - -> to help
    llevar - - - -> to take (or to carry)
    llave - - - -> key
    pollo - - - -> chicken

As you listen to an Argentine speak, another language might come to mind: Italian.

The inflection and flow of Argentine Spanish is much closer to Italian than to Spanish spoken elsewhere, no doubt because of the large Italian population in Argentina.

Even the Italian ciao is used extensively for “goodbye” or “see you later.” Argentines write it as chau.

Another major difference is the translation for the familiar form of “you.” In the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, “you” is .

But in Argentina, “you” is vos. The corresponding verb typically changes as well, as shown in these examples:

Typical Spanish - - - -> Argentine Spanish - - - -> English

    tú eres - - - -> vos sos - - - -> you are
    tú bailas - - - -> vos bailás - - - -> you dance
    tú hablas - - - -> vos hablás - - - -> you talk
    tú sientes - - - -> vos sentís - - - -> you feel
You’ll notice that between bailas and bailás, and between hablas and hablás, the only difference is an accent.

But in Spanish, this is a big difference! The accent changes which syllable is stressed and alters the pronunciation of the whole word.

Argentine Spanish Slang

Argentines love their slang and Argentine Spanish is full of it!

To avoid getting lost in a conversation, it’s good to know some of the more popular slang words unique to Argentine Spanish (even though you might be safest not using them yourself, since some have double-meaning):

    che - - - -> hey (used all the time in casual conversation)
    bronca - - - -> anger
    una macana - - - -> a mistake
    bochinche - - - -> noise
    pibe - - - -> guy, kid
    piba - - - -> gal, kid (female)
    choto, chota - - - -> of very poor quality
    engrupir - - - -> to deceive
    laburar - - - -> to work
    rajar - - - -> to flee, to leave quickly
    afanar - - - -> to steal, to rob
When you dine in an Argentine restaurant or café, you’ll want to know how to order delicious traditional fare:
    churrasco - - - -> steak
    chimichurri - - - -> steak marinade made from parsley and garlic
    milanesa - - - -> breaded, pan-fried cutlets
    empanada - - - -> dumpling or turnover, Argentine-style
    fatay - - - -> spicy turnover
    chorizo - - - -> sausage
    fiambre - - - -> cold cuts
    fideos - - - -> noodles, pasta
    tallarines - - - -> spaghetti
    tuco - - - -> spaghetti sauce
    flan - - - -> Argentine egg custard
    arroz con leche - - - -> rice pudding
    vino tinto - - - -> red wine
If you find yourself in one of the fabulous Argentine bakeries or pastry shops, these words will come in handy:

    panadería - - - -> bakery
    confíteria - - - -> pastry shop (may also sell pizza & finger foods)
    pan francés - - - -> French bread
    torta - - - -> cake
    facturas - - - -> pastries
    medialunas - - - -> crescent rolls
    sandwiches de miga - - - -> finger or tea sandwiches
    alfajores - - - -> classic Argentine dessert (something like a
    soft, fancy, dipped and rolled sandwich cookie)

At the grocery store, in a farmer’s market, or at a vegetable stand, you’ll find some products unique to Argentina. You’ll also see that some items are labeled differently than what you might be accustomed to. For example, “strawberry” is fresa in most Spanish-speaking countries. But in Buenos Aires and in most other regions of Argentina, it’s frutilla.
    mate - - - -> a tea which is THE Argentine beverage
    dulce de leche - - - -> sweet caramel spread
    pan dulce - - - -> Italian-style fruitcake
    caramelos - - - -> candy, sweets
    el ananá - - - -> pineapple
    el pomelo - - - -> grapefruit
    las arvejas - - - -> peas
    las frutillas - - - -> strawberries
    el durazno - - - -> peach
    los porotos - - - -> beans
Here are several more Argentine words that you may find useful while visiting this beautiful and intriguing nation:
    la bañadera - - - -> bathtub
    la pileta - - - -> sink, or swimming pool
    la heladera - - - -> refrigerator
    un mozo - - - -> a waiter
    el boliche - - - -> bar, nightclub
    el carrito - - - -> food cart
    el auto - - - -> car
    la nafta - - - -> gasoline
    manejar - - - -> to drive
    el micro - - - -> bus

Chau!

written by Graciela Sholander

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