Language, Buenos Aires

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  • Getting to grips with Spanish in Buenos Aires
    Getting to grips with Spanish in Buenos...
    by barryg23
  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Learn some spanish

    by GentleSpirit Written Jan 17, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You have no doubt heard that the Argentines speak somewhat "different" Spanish and you might be worried that the phrases you learned will be incomprehensible to an ordinary Argentine.
    Worry not! All Argentines know standard Spanish.

    In Buenos Aires they speak somewhat differently. They speak fast, they throw their hands all over the place and get all excited and it might seem that the more excited they get the faster they talk.

    If you can learn a few words and phrases you should be fine. Most anywhere that deals with tourists will have people that can communicate in your language. A lot of Argentines are a bit nervous about speaking english because they are worried they don't speak it well enough. But don't be intimidated by their accent, they will understand you perfectly.

    Here are a few words you can use
    Buenos Dias/Buenas Tardes/Buenas Noches- Good Day/Afternoon/Evening
    Gracias- Thank you
    Cuanto cuesta- how much is it?
    muy caro- too expensive
    Barbaro!- great/excellent
    Me llamo (portenos will pronounce ll as a zh sound-it will sound like "me jamo"- My name is..
    Mucho gusto- a pleasure
    Donde esta- where is...?
    Me gusta- I like it.
    Me gustaria hacer- I would like to do ...
    Bife- steak
    No puedo bailar (when they ask you to demonstrate how to dance tango)- I can't dance

    a few things to get you started, buena suerte (Good luck)

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    Speaking Spanish to the locals

    by Gypsystravels Updated Nov 6, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spanish is the native language in Buenos Aires (and all of Argentina) and we found it quite easy to communicate with the locals as we both speak very good Spanish.

    The Argentinians where quite impressed with our Spanish and would quickly ask us where we were from. I found that speaking to the Argentinians in Spanish made our travel experiences more wonderful as well as more memorable and I believe that because we spoke Spanish, the Argentinians we encountered where more comfortable which in turn made them friendlier to us (this is based on my experience).

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  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    Different forms and sounds of Spanish

    by barryg23 Updated Sep 9, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Getting to grips with Spanish in Buenos Aires

    Many people believe it's the influence of Italian immigrants that makes the Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires sound so different from Spanish everywhere else in Latin America. Whatever the cause is, the accent and sounds here are certainly different to Spanish you will here in Spain or other parts of Latin America.

    The biggest difference is the "ll" sound which portenos pronounce like an English "sh", rather than like English "y" as is the norm. So a word like pollo (chicken), comes out as "posho" rather than "poyo" to an English speaker. This difference was originally confined to BA, but from our experience it seems to have spread to Uruguay, Paraguay and the rest of Argentina. The "y" sound in BA is also pronounced as an English "sh" in certain cases.

    Another thing to look out for is the "Vos" form of verbs which is often used instead of the "Tu" form. This form has almost died out in Spain nowadays but it was used in the 16th century, and hence introduced by the Conquistadores. Argentina, unlike the rest of Latin America, has kept on using it. Just our luck to have picked BA as a place to learn Spanish!!

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  • solcitom87's Profile Photo

    Che!

    by solcitom87 Written Feb 3, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's really common hear that Argentinians use the word "che" really often...

    We only use it in an informal way with friends or people that we don't know to call their attention, it's like the -Hey in english,the Scusa (in italian) and Pardon or excuse moi (in French)

    The word "Che" doens't have a translation

    Differents ways of using "CHE":

    Che, como te llamas? = hey what's your name?
    Che, que hora es? = Hey, what time is it?
    Che, prestame atencion! = Hey, pay attention to me!
    Che Ma! a que hora esta la comida? = Hey mum, At what time is dinner?
    Che, me prestas esa lapicera? = hey, could you borrow me that pen?

    Hope this is usefull!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Study Abroad
    • Singles

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  • sof76's Profile Photo

    Little spanish lessons

    by sof76 Updated Jan 19, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hi! How are you? = Hola! Como estas? or Hola que tal? (more informal)
    Thank you = Gracias
    You're welcome = De nada
    Sorry = Perdon (or just sorry)
    Please = Por Favor
    Where are you from? = De donde sos? (In spanish from Spain = De donde eres?)
    What time is it? = Que hora es?
    Cash = Efectivo
    Credit card = Tarjeta de Credito
    Debit card = Tarjeta de debito
    ATM = Cajero Automatico
    Bank = Banco
    Exchange = Cambio
    Meat = Carne
    Chicken = Pollo
    Potatoes = Papas
    Ice Cream = Helado
    Door Bell = Timbre
    Door men = Portero or encargado
    Floor = Piso (E.g.: 1st floor = 1er piso - first floor = primer piso)
    Stairs = Escaleras
    Elevator = Ascensor
    Door = Puerta
    Window = Ventana
    Open = Abrir
    Close = Cerrar
    Pull = Tirar
    Push = Empujar
    Water = Agua
    Sparkling Water = Agua con gas
    lemmon = Limon
    Wine = Vino
    Red Wine = Vino tinto
    White Wine = Vino blanco
    Beer = Cerveza
    Drinks = Tragos
    Dessert = Postre
    Waiter = Mozo

    Asking bill @ a restaurant => The bill please = La cuenta por favor

    If you like to know more words, please ask me and I'll update this tip!

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  • AlekToronto's Profile Photo

    learn some Castellano

    by AlekToronto Written Nov 28, 2005

    I found that the vast majority of Portenos do not speak english. I did not hang out in hotels, tourist traps or tourist restaurants as I am sure the employees there probably do.

    When in BA do as the locals do and learn at least the basics in Castellano (Spanish) and realize that the local accent is different than in other Latin countries 9bar Uruguay). I must say the locals sound so cute with their sh accent! Overall I found the portenos very friendly and helpful so a little spanish will go a long way.

    Also most if not all local restaurants will not have english menus.

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  • The Language (cont)

    by MDC6 Updated Jun 18, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are also a lot of differences in vocabulary, at least from what is taught in the U.S. as "standard" Spanish. These you'll learn as you go along. A couple random examples:

    Pool: la pileta
    T Shirt: la remera
    Jacket: la campera
    Sneakers: las zapatillas
    City bus: el colectivo
    Long-distance bus: el micro
    Subway: el subte
    Refrigerator: la heladera
    etc...

    Careful with this word in Argentina: If you want to say "to take" DO NOT use "coger," since it means "to f*ck."

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  • Slang

    by MDC6 Written Jun 18, 2005

    If you talk to anyone at a conversational, familiar level, you'll notice a lot of slang words. Here are only a few of some of the more useful ones to know, since they might come up in everyday conversation:

    Che: This is a very Argentine word. It's used almost like we use "hey" in English: to start a sentence, to get someone's attention, etc.

    Boludo/a: One of the most common words used by younger people. And it's used a LOT, but ONLY amongst friends, because in some cases it's an insult. Its slang meaning is roughly "stupid," but in conversation is used to address someone. The only equivalent that comes to mind in English is the word "man," as in "What's up, man?" In Argentina you might hear something like "qué hacés, boludo?" Girls use it to address each other, too, but as boluda.

    Gordo/a, flaco/a etc: Don't get offended if someone calls you gordo/a (fat) or any other term describing physical appearance. They're more like terms of endearment.

    Pibe: kid

    Chabón: guy

    Guita: money

    Mina: girl/woman

    bondi: city bus

    quilombo: a disaster/a mess

    "Lunfardo" is practially a whole language of slang that developed in Buenos Aires and Montevideo beginning in the 19th century. It was used particularly among the lower classes of newly arrived immigrants, and it borrows words from many other languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Quechua, French, etc. Some of these words have made it into everyday slang (like quilombo and guita).

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad

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