Posts Tagged ‘Lunfardo’

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires

Friday, September 8, 2017 8:07

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Health & Safety, Shopping, Spanish Classes, Student Stories - 0 Comments

Coming to Buenos Aires to study Spanish is a big decision, but one that is rewarding and can have lasting impressions on your life. As with any new adventure, it requires some planning and preparation before taking the leap. There will inevitably be things you wish you had known before arriving, but hopefully these tips will help you prepare to get the most out of your experience.

pexels photo 509799 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires

1. Dedicate Yourself to Immersion

Spanish classes in Buenos Aires are an excellent foundation to language learning, but to really master the language you must dedicate yourself to a true immersive experience. Choose to live with native Spanish speakers, watch programs in Spanish, listen to Spanish music and podcasts, or read your favorite book in Spanish in your free time. When I moved to Buenos Aires, I learned that the more I forced myself to engage in the language, the stronger my Spanish became. It will take effort to push past your comfort zone, but in the end it pays off.  Dedicating yourself to learning Spanish wherever you go, not just in the classroom, allows you to excel in the language while engaging with the culture. Who knows where it can take you, you could even become a reggaeton music addict like me!

2. Get to Know the Vos Form

Studying Spanish in other parts of Latin America, you will most likely study the “tu” form for informally referring to “you.” In the region of Buenos Aires however, it is more common to use “vos” instead of “tu,” when speaking informally. So instead of saying “Tu eres un estudiante” to say “You are a student,” in Buenos Aires you would say “Vos sos un estudiante.”

To my fellow Spanish language learners, don’t worry! The vos form is easy to learn, and arguably even easier to master than the “tu” form. I used to be stubborn in my “tu” form ways, but the undeniable simplicity of “vos” has won me over. There are no irregular verbs and conjugations are much simpler than the “tu” form, you will be an expert of “vos” in no time!

3. Lunfardo is a Way of Life

As with any language, slang is common practice and can make a conversation feel less formal. It’s useful for any language learner to pick up some slang and incorporate it into their conversations. In Buenos Aires however slang, or “lunfardo,” is almost a language of its own. I had no idea that studying Spanish in Buenos Aires meant I’d also be studying its very prominent lunfardo as well! Lunfardo cannot easily be learned in a textbook, the fun of it is learning directly from porteños and practicing it in your everyday conversations.

With words like “fiaca” to describe a state of laziness, “quilombo” to describe a complete disaster, or the ever famous “che” to call a friend, lunfardo is a defining feature of Argentine Spanish. While learning lunfardo is extremely fun and useful to understanding porteños, exercise caution when using new phrases in a formal environment, Argentine lunfardo is quite infamous for its irreverent words!

4. Learn Some Phrases Before Arriving

Even if you’re a beginner in Spanish, it’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with a few key phrases to help you navigate the city. When I first arrived, I struggled through simple tasks like ordering food and asking for directions. Add practicing some common Spanish phrases to your pre-arrival checklist so when you touch down in Buenos Aires you can feel a bit more confident in getting around.

5. Bring What You Need

While Argentina is renowned for many of its goods like leather, fine wine, or beef, it lacks many of the common goods you may have at home. For example, Apple Stores don’t exist in Argentina. Break your iPhone and need to get a replacement? You’re better off asking a friend flying into the country to bring a spare. Learn from my mistakes, bring a cheap or an old phone model you no longer use as a backup in case you lose or damage your phone. Just make sure your phone is able to use a local SIM card!

Clothes shopping is also a big no. The price of clothing and many goods in Argentina is far more than what you can buy at home due in part to importation taxes and inflation. Pack the clothes you plan to wear and save your shopping money for indulging in what Argentina does best: great steak, fine wine, and the best leather goods all at incredibly affordable prices.

Most importantly, what I wish I had known before moving to Buenos Aires is to not be afraid to take the leap of faith and do so. Buenos Aires is the perfect place to learn a new language. With a vibrant global community, the city offers incredible opportunities to meet people from all over the world, have unforgettable experiences, and learn a new language while learning more about yourself. Had I known what a life changing opportunity this was, I would have come to Buenos Aires much sooner!


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10 words you need to know in Buenos Aires

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:29

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Argentine Customs and Culture, Spanish, Spanish Classes - 0 Comments

It is widely known that the Spanish of Buenos Aires, also called “Rioplatense” is different from the Spanish that is spoken in other parts of Latin America and in Spain, with different terms used for certain things (an avocado, in most places known as aguacate, is a palta here, for example, and bacon is pancetta, instead of tocino). Then there is this accent (the soft ‘y’ is pronounced ‘sh’ in Argentina, which means calle (street) sound like ‘cashe’ instead of ‘caye’, as it does for example in Spain). And then there is the Argentine slang, which is a different thing entirely. You may take a class with a combination of Spanish and Culture to get deeply into it.

Copy of 7 1024x468 10 words you need to know in Buenos Aires

The first thing to know is that Argentine slang can refer to two different things: Lunfardo, which refers to the street slang that was created by prisoners in the late 19th century so that prison guards wouldn’t be able to understand them, and which soon after spread among the lower classes of society. Lunfardo is mostly created by using vesre, which means reversing words (revés becomes vesre = reverse; backwards). So for example café con leche becomes feca con chele, pizza becomes pazi, perro (dog) becomes rope, mujer (woman) becomes jermu, and so on.

Lunfardo is not to be confused with modern slang though, which refers to informal words that have found their way into day-to-day conversations between friends, but are less common in written Spanish. When you arrive in Buenos Aires, you will hear Argentine slang words all the time, and if you want to fully understand the context of a conversation or remake that is being made in a conversation, it is important to learn the most common Argentine slang.

Here are ten Argentine slang words that you will definitely hear while you learn Spanish in Buenos Aires:

  • Che

Che is the most common Argentine slang word, used on a daily basis to say ‘Hey’ or ‘What’s up’.

Example: Che, ¿me pasás la sal? – Hey, can you pass me the salt? ¿Che, cómo andás?Hey, how are you?

  • Boludo

Boludo can be understand as ‘dude’, when used among friends, but also be a mild insult, to say someone is an idiot or fool, so be careful in which context boludo is used.

Example: Che, boludo! – Hey, dude!

  • Chabón/chabona (feminine)

Chabón means dude or guy, or dudette as the female version.

Example: ¡El chabón me ofendió! – That dude offended me!

  • Mango

Mango is used for money, or Argentine Pesos.

Example: Cuesta cien mangos. – It costs one hundred pesos. No tengo un mango. – I don’t have a single peso.

  • Quilombo

Quilombo means mess, chaos, and is used to describe chaotic situations.

Example: Qué quilombo es el tránsito en Buenos Aires! – What a chaos is the traffic in Buenos Aires!  ¡Qué quilombo! – What a mess!

  • Pedo

The actual translation of pedo is fart, but it has a plethora of meanings when used as a slang word and is used frequently. Ni en pedo (“Not even if I were drunk”, “No way in hell!”) is probably the most common one.

Example: Vives en una nube de pedos. – You live in a dream world. Estas en pedo – You are drunk. Hablás al pedo. – You’re talking trash.

  • Fiaca

Fiaca refers to laziness – when someone feels like doing absolutely nothing.

Example: Todo el día he tenido fiaca. – I’ve been feeling lazy all day long.

  • Pibe / Mina

Pibe and mina are the colloquial terms to say boy and girl in Argentina, similar to Chabón/chabona. These words are also used for actual kids.

Example: ¡Che, pibe! – Hey, boy! ¡Que linda mina! – What a pretty girl.

  • A full

A full means ‘absolutely’, ‘totally’, ‘a lot’, ‘to the maximum’.

Example: Si, a full vamos a la fiesta! – Yes, we’re totally going to the party! ¿Cómo fue la fiesta? A full, che. – How was the party? It was packed, man.

  • Buena Onda

Buena Onda literally means good wave, and is a term that is used to describe ‘good vibrations’, or simply a good vibe. It is used to describe people, places, or the atmosphere of something, so you always want to make sure you have a ‘buena onda’.

Example: Tu amigo tiene muy buena onda. – Your friend is really cool.

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Un poco de Lunfardo

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:45

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

Lunfardo 1 Un poco de Lunfardo


I was kinda confident about having a basic conversation with portenos , because I took some classes right before my trip , however, my Argentinean friend gave me some tips when I first arrived in Buenos Aires:  greeting friends with “che chabon”;  picking one sunny afternoon and enjoying people watching in san telmo’s vintage feca;  dancing the night away with gomías to the most popular boliche; and having a delicious Sunday morfi with local porteños; I know I was in serious trouble when I heard these unfamiliar words. In the beginning of the stay in Buenos Aires, visitors and students are usually very confused and tortured by this Argentinean slang, but NO TE PREOCUPES, now we are going to have an authentic learning experience of the porteno’s own language: Lunfardo.


History of Lunfardo:

Lunfardo was widely spoken in the blue-collar class back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries inBuenos Aires with the influence from Castilian of Argentina and Uruguay. Nevertheless, it had begun to spread among all social classes, and with flow of the immigrants, lunfardo also traveled to the neighborhood countries such asChile, andParaguay.


ahumada5 300x206 Un poco de Lunfardo

And your door to Lunfardo is opening NOW :



cerebrar – to think something up

Amarrocar – to treasure

Amasijar – to kill

Junar – to know

Pescar – to know

Garpar – to pay with money

Morfar –to eat (Morfi is the food)

Laburar – to work (laburo is a job)

Afanar – to steal, to be ripped off

Apoliyar – to sleep

Ligar – to get punished

Pirar – to go to, to get to

Calentura – to observe

Zafar – to escape



Fiaca – lazy person

Gomías – friends

Chochamu – young man (vesre for muchacho)

Percanta – a young woman

Pibe – like “kid”, a common term for boy, young man, guy as well

Bacán – a rich man who looks after a woman

Che – hey dude/friend

Che boludo – hey stupid/ dude (use only with friends!)

Chabon – dude

Copado/a – someone or something cool

Mina – woman, girl

Cheto – rich, snobby person

Bombon, Diosa – hottie

La cana – the police, a cop

Chanta – cheater

Chorro – a thief

Piola – someone or something smart and cool

Yeta – someone or something with bad luck

Lunfardo 435px beige1 Un poco de Lunfardo

Most Used Words:

Telo – a pay by hour love motel

Boliche– dance club

Pilcha – cloth

Feca con chele – coffee with milk

Lorca – hot ( verse for calor)

Guita – money

Quilombo – disorder, mess

Gomas – woman’s breast, tits (offensive)

Una birra – beer

Bondi – bus

Boludo – stupid

Gil – Stupid/silly (pronounced as ‘hill’)

Pucho – cigarette

Trucho/a – fake

Buena onda –  good vibe

Macanudo – nice

Un Bajon – very bad news

Berreta – cheap, cheesy

Un cacho – a bit

Fulera – ugly

Guarda – watch out!


If you want to know more about Lunfardo, please have a look at our previous blog :

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Lunfardo in Argentina: Learn it, Live it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 6:56

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

1178361 jumping couple Lunfardo in Argentina: Learn it, Live it!

Lunfardo or ‘slang’ is another side of the Spanish language in Argentina and is very commonly used among the portenos (people of…) of Buenos Aires. If you are learning Spanish in Argentina, you should definitely get to know lunfardo as it not only makes learning and speaking more Spanish more fun but it will get you sounding just like a native!

Here are a few common slang words (taken from Argentina Spanish Slang Dictionary):


Referring to a person who is silly, clumsy, annoying, stupid; also is a very common way to address friends.



Public urban transportation; comes from English bonds, which is how Rio’s tram service got built and paid (being one of the first in Latin America) by a British company.



‘hey!’, ‘hey, you!’; a very common way to address friends or strangers.



‘crazy person’; a common way to friendly address someone; similar to the English ‘dude’.



‘fatty’; a common way to friendly address friends or family members. Also, Gordito/a is ‘little fatty’, used in the same way.



currency; pesos. Is used like the word ‘buck’ in English; can be used when describing how much something this.



Describes a child(boy or girl). Can be used to describe someone who looks young; also, as an insulting term for someone who comes off too young for their age.


Tip: You should always be careful when using slang in another country as to not insult someone or say something inappropriate.


To learn more lunfardo, visit Argentina Spanish Slang Dictionary, a fantastic site to read all of the Argentine lunfardo with detailed explanations of their meaning and use.


What is your favorite slang to use in Argentina?

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Add a Little ‘Lunfardo’ to Your Spanish Immersion Courses in Buenos Aires

Friday, September 5, 2008 12:40

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

img 8968 150x150 Add a Little ‘Lunfardo’ to Your Spanish Immersion Courses in Buenos Aires

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.)


Click for more information on Spanish Immersion Courses in Buenos Aires!

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