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Learning Spanish in Argentina – The Porteño Way

The Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires is unique because of the characteristics of its dialects and slang which have a strong influence from the Italian language.

Argentine Spanish, as in any other language has variations and different dialects according with the country, city or area where it is spoken. The Spanish in Buenos Aires, known as the Rioplatense Spanish which includes Buenos Aires, Montevideo (Uruguay) and Rosario is characterized by the voseo, the use of “vos” instead of “tu” which means “you” and the yeismo, which is different pronunciation of the “ll” like if it was a “y” or a “sh” in English.

The slang spoken in Buenos Aires, the lunfardo, is mainly influenced by the Italian and also by other European languages. This can be explained by the large amount of Italian immigrants that arrived to Argentina and stayed in Buenos Aires at the beginning of 20th century. A great number of porteños have Italian last names and it is common to find lunfardo in Tango Lyrics as well as to hear it used in everyday language in the streets. Some examples of the lunfardo that can be heard in Buenos Aires:

  • Laburar: To work (from Italian lavoro , “work”),
  • Fiaca: laziness (from the Italian fiacco -weak-),
  • Morfar: To eat (from French morfer -to eat-),
  • Cana: lunfardo for policeman, or the jail,
  • Ciruja: Junkman one who collects (to earn a living) empty bottles, metals, cardboard,
  • Mina: lunfardo for woman.
  • Pebeta: lunfardo for young woman or girl.

At Expanish we teach a neutral Spanish alongside Argentine Spanish so that you will be able to understand the people you hear on the street every day, but also, you will be able to talk and understand in other Spanish speaking countries.

Have fun with your new words!

Alejandro