When walking down the streets of Buenos Aires, talking with locals, or socializing in a bar, students studying Spanish in Buenos Aires will quickly realize that there are words being used that are unrecognizable to them. These words are most likely lunfardo, or in English, slang. In Buenos Aires lunfardo is used frequently, and like the rest of the Spanish language, students learning Spanish in Buenos Aires will learn these words through practice.
The use of lunfardo began in the 20th century in the working class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Lunfardo is said to have come mostly from the arrival of European immigrants and from people of the provinces who came to live in Buenos Aires. The word lunfardo is said to be derived from the Italian word Lombardo, meaning ‘outlaw’.
Spanish immersion courses in Buenos Aires would not have the same significance for students if they did not learn about lunfardo. For most studying Spanish in Buenos Aires the use of lunfardo is very important as it creates more understanding in social situations, among peers, and for fluency reasons. Learning lunfardo in the streets, among peers, or anywhere are like free Spanish classes in Buenos Aires.
Students in Spanish immersion courses in Buenos Aires can use the words below to kick of their lunfardo studies:
- Ché ‘Hey’, ‘Hey You’
- Barbáro: ‘Great!’
- Boludo/a: (…of a person) stupid, silly, clumsy,(term between friends)
- Canchero: a cool guy
- Chabon: fool (used as term of friendship between boys)
- Concheto/a/Careta: a snobby person, concerned only with fashion and look
- Dale! ‘Lets do it!’, confirmation
- Guita: money
- Hincha: fan (especially of futból)
- En Joda: joke; said in a joking way
- Mina: a girl/women, (usually attractive)
- Ojo eye; means ‘watch out’ ‘be careful’
- Pendejo/a: kid/child; used for someone who looks/acts young
- Pelotudo: an idiot
- Quilombo: a mess/ disaster
- Viste: expression (saw it? get it?)
Here are just a few of many lunfardo terms used everyday by residents of Buenos Aires and Argentina. Lunfardo is a great way for students taking Spanish classes in Buenos Aires to feel more like native speakers and part of the Buenos Aires culture.
(A note for students in Spanish immersion courses in Buenos Aires: Keep in mind, that like any slang, these terms are all about context, so be aware about their meaning(s) and how to use them correctly.)
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