Argentina Spanish Tips

Argentina is home to some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world including Iguazu Falls and Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia.  But one of the real wonders of Argentina is the Spanish. The Argentines are famous for their Rio-Platense dialect of Spanish and the accent is unmistakable, and quite distinct from their distant cousins in Spain or Mexico. The Argentines are constantly reinventing the language and many of the words that they use are completely different from what you might hear in other Spanish speaking countries. For example, in Costa Rica you might like to go swimming at the “piscina”, whereas here in Argentina, you go to the “pileta”.

To avoid getting completely lost in a conversation, it’s good to know some of the more popular slang that is unique to Argentine Spanish. Here are some Argentina Spanish tips.

che – – – -> hey (used all the time in casual conversation)
bronca – – – -> anger
una macana – – – -> a mistake
bochinche – – – -> noise
pibe – – – -> guy, kid
piba – – – -> gal, kid (female)
choto, chota – – – -> of very poor quality
engrupir – – – -> to deceive
laburar – – – -> to work
rajar – – – -> to flee, to leave quickly
afanar– – – -> to steal, to rob

Remember, Argentine food is delicious (especially the steaks), so when you dine in an Argentine restaurant, you’ll want to know how to order: The following Argentina Spanish tips will help you when eating out.

churrasco – – – -> steak
chimichurri – – – -> steak marinade made from parsley and garlic
milanesa – – – -> breaded, pan-fried cutlets
empanada – – – -> dumpling or turnover, Argentine-style
fatay– – – -> spicy turnover
chorizo– – – -> sausage
fiambre– – – -> cold cuts
fideos – – – -> noodles, pasta
tallarines – – – -> spaghetti
tuco – – – -> spaghetti sauce
flan – – – -> Argentine egg custard
arroz con leche – – – -> rice pudding
vino tinto – – – -> red wine

If you visit one of the many local bakeries or pastry shops, these words will come in handy:

panadería – – – -> bakery
confíteria – – – -> pastry shop (may also sell pizza & finger foods)
pan francés – – – -> French bread
torta – – – -> cake
facturas – – – -> pastries
medialunas – – – -> crescent rolls
sandwiches de miga – – – -> finger or tea sandwiches
alfajores – – – -> classic Argentine dessert (something like a soft, fancy, dipped and rolled sandwich cookie)

At a local grocery store, in a farmer’s market, or at a vegetable stand, you’ll find some products unique to Argentina. You’ll also see that some items are labeled differently than what you might be accustomed to. For example, “strawberry” is fresa in most Spanish-speaking countries. But in Buenos Aires and in most other regions of Argentina, it’s frutilla. Why? The truth is that nobody really knows exactly. 

mate – – – -> a tea which is THE Argentine beverage
dulce de leche – – – -> sweet caramel spread
pan dulce – – – -> Italian-style fruitcake
caramelos – – – -> candy, sweets
el ananá – – – -> pineapple
el pomelo – – – -> grapefruit
las arvejas – – – -> peas
las frutillas – – – -> strawberries
el durazno – – – -> peach
los porotos – – – -> beans

Here are several more Argentina Spanish tips that you may find useful while traveling in Argentina:

la bañadera – – – -> bathtub
la pileta – – – -> sink, or swimming pool
la heladera – – – -> refrigerator
un mozo – – – -> a waiter
el boliche – – – -> bar, nightclub
el carrito – – – -> food cart
el auto – – – -> car
la nafta – – – -> gasoline
manejar – – – -> to drive
el micro – – – -> bus

To find out more Argentina Spanish tips and interesting facts about Argentina culture, check out more of our blog. And when you are ready to travel in Argentina, contact Say Hueque Tours in Argentina.  We specialize in independent trips through Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia, Mendoza, Salta and to nearby Chile, Brazil and Bolivia too.

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