May 4, 2012 ·

Skip The Lunfardo and Still Talk Like An Argentine


people talking

If you have spent some time living and learning Spanish in Buenos Aires, you’d have no doubt come across lunfardo, which refers to the slangs that Argentine often use. There are some common ones, like “che“, “boludo“, which are easy to pick up, but generally, they are not for the faint-of-heart; it is not an easy skill to acquire in a short period of time and apply properly in everyday conversation without offending someone or causing a huge confusion. However, there is another simpler linguistic way to help you blend in and assimilate into the local Spanish speaking culture. This one is suitable for all levels!

In order to get to their point faster (on top of speaking reeally fast already), Argentine like to abbreviate words by shortening or combining them. For example, in terms of food, they will say ‘chori‘ for chorizo (beef sausage)/choripan (beef sausage with bread), or ‘chimi‘ for chimichurri (the famous sauce Argentine eat with their bbq meat). In terms of objects: ‘zapa‘ for zapatillas (sneakers/runners. Don’t confuse that with zapatos which mean shoes in general), ‘mochi‘ for mochila (backpack), ‘pelu‘ for peluquería (hair salon), ‘pile‘ for pileta (swimming pool)….the list goes on (see more below).

They don’t do this for every word though, that’d just sound too unnatural. To further demonstrate and with more examples of these abbreviated words, here is a very typical casual conversation between 2 friends:

(Dos amigos se cruzan en la calle. Pedro tiene 30 años y el Juan tiene 23)

PEDRO – ¡Ey! ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?
JUAN – Hola. Todo muy bien, ¿vos?
P– Bien. Este finde (fin de semana) me voy con mis hijos para Mardel (Mar del Plata) a descansar un poco pero sin el celu[lar], sin la compu[tadora]…
J– ¡Que bueno!
P– Sí, porque estamos cansados de tanta tecnología. A mi mujer y a mi nos pareció que estaría bueno si les mostramos a los chicos una vida más tranqui[la]. Unos días sin tanta tele[visión], ¡por Dios!
J– Claro, así ellos también van a poder descansar del cole[gio] (this refers to primary or secondary schools).
P– Si, porque en esta época del año los profes[ores] se ponen muy estrictos, ¿viste? ¡Pero contame vos como estás!
J– Bárbaro. Hoy voy a ir al cine a ver una peli[cula] con mi novia.
P– ¿Y la facu[ltad] (university)?
J– Bien, todo bien.
P- ¡Me alegra! Bueno, me tengo que ir porque tengo que pasar por el súper[mercado] para comprar carne así después hacernos un asado y comernos unos choris (choripanes) en casa.
J- Bueno. ¡Que tengas un buen viaje! Mandame un e-mail después contándome como te fue, porfa (por favor).
P- Okay. ¡Bueno, suerte! ¡Chau!
J- ¡Chau!

These shouldn’t be too hard to learn and remember right?! With just a few words in your pocket, you can easily talk and sound like a local!





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