If you’re planning to come to Argentina or if you have arrived recently, it should be evident that Argentines do not speak the type of Spanish you may have learned in a textbook… or in any other Spanish speaking country for that matter.
Argentine Spanish or “Castellano” is not that hard to master and with a few quick adjustments you will be able to blend in with the porteño crowd!
An important thing to remember about Castellano is that Argentines pronounce “ll” and “y” with a “sh” sound. Keep this in mind with words like ella, playa, yo, calle, galletita,
While in Argentina you will hear the word “vos” instead of “tu” when speaking Spanish. “Vos” is a very important part of Argentine Castellano and has its own conjugation in the simple present tense. Although using “tu” is obviously understood here, we’d like to fill you in on this difference in Castellano.
Instead of “tu eres” Argentines say “vos sos”
Instead of “tu tienes” Argentines say “vos tenés”
Instead of “tu vienes” Argentines say “vos venís”
Instead of “tu puedes” Argentines say “vos podés”
Instead of “tu hablas” Argentines say “vos hablás”To use the “vos” form, start with an infinitive verb like decir. Then drop the “r”, add an accent over the last vowel, and add an “s” (decís). Remember that verbs that normally have a root change maintain their infinitive form. Very simple, try it!
Argentine slang (Lunfardo)
Check out some of these unique words and phrases you may only hear while here in Buenos Aires!
To rob, to steal, to overcharge. If you are charged too much at a store it’s un afano
Great “Que bárbaro!” – “wow!”
Dance venue, bar, club all together
Fool, used commonly among friends as a greeting or conversation filler.
Can either be “hey buddy!” or “you idiot!” depending on the situation.
Someone who is well liked, popular (“the man”)
Smooth talker, know-it-all
“Hey,” meaningless addition to a sentence or thought
Anything or person that is cool
Laziness “Que fiaca!” – you don’t feel like doing anything (tener fiaca)
“Wow”, “really” “you don´t say.” Literally “look at you!”
Good attitude, agreeable, cool (mala onda would be the opposite)
Energy (tener pilas, to have energy)
Fake, poor quality
“You know” meaningless interjection in conversations
Use these few tips to get you started while out and about in Argentina, but don’t forget that the best way to learn talk like a local is to start talking TO locals!