So, you are headed to Argentina and you are wondering which are the most useful words and expressions you will need to know beforehand. You already know how to say ‘Hola’ and ‘Gracias’ but you would like to go beyond that and really connect with the locals. However, remember that every Spanish-speaking country has its own lingo, and Argentina, the amazing land of ‘Asado’ and ‘Tango’, is not excluded. I am pretty sure that if you remember these expressions, you will get much better at your ability to understand and communicate with Argentines. So, let’s get started!
1- This word is used to call someone’s attention in a conversation, similar to ‘hey’ in English. For example: ‘Che, ¿me ayudás con esto? (Hey, can you help me with this?) or ‘Che, ¡mirá eso! (Hey, look at that!).
2- Also, this word is used like ‘mate’, ‘dude’, or ‘buddy’ among English speakers. For example: ‘Che, tanto tiempo ¿cómo estás? (Dude, long time no see, how are you?)
It’s the second person singular pronoun used in Argentina, Uruguay and some other countries in Latin America. It would be ‘You’ in English and ‘Tú’ in Spain and some other Spanish-speaking countries. So, the use of ‘Vos’ is known as ‘Voseo’ and the use of ‘Tú’ is known as ‘Tuteo’.
¿CÓMO ANDÁS? ¿CÓMO VA?
These are greetings and they are similar to ‘¿Cómo estás?’ (How are you?), a bit more informal, though. For example: ‘¿Cómo andás, che?’ or ‘¿Cómo va, che?
You’ll be likely to hear this one all the time in Argentina and it simply means ‘How cool!’. It’s a way to show your appreciation of something awesome, in an informal way, though. For example: ‘-El año que viene voy a ir a ver a Coldplay -¡Que copado!’
It’s an informal way of justifying something, it would be like ‘The thing is that…’ or ‘What happens is…’. For example: ‘-¿Por qué te ves tan mal? -Pasa que me duele la cabeza’ (Why do you look so bad? The thing is that I have a headache).
This single word has two main uses:
1- The most frequent one is similar to ‘ok’ or ‘sure’ in English, so don’t waste your time looking it up in the dictionary. For example: ‘¿Vamos a cenar hoy? ¡Dale!’ (Let’s go out for dinner tonight? Sure!.
2- It can also be used to hurry someone along. For example: ‘Es tarde, ¡Dale!’ (It’s late, hurry up!).
¿TODO BIEN? or TODO BIEN
This is a very common and informal greeting among Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) and it basically means ‘How are you?’ but more like ‘All good?’ . For example: ‘¿Todo bien?’ Sí, todo bien. It can also be the answer when someone asks you how are you.
This one can have two meanings as well, both of them really informal:
1- It can be another a greeting like ‘what’s up?’ and it’s usually combined with ‘¿Todo bien?’. For example: ‘¿Qué onda, Juan? ¿Todo bien?’
2- But it can also be used to ask about something or someone in a very informal way, when you think that something might be wrong or unusual. For example: ‘¿Qué onda con María? Hace mucho que no la veo’ (What’s wrong with María? I haven’t heard from her in a while).
In Argentina we use this expression to show surprise. It can be compared to ‘Really?’ or sometimes even ‘Wow’ among English speakers. There is a shorter version and it’s like ‘¡Mirá!’. For example: ‘-Nadia sacò la visa de Australia. ‘-¡Mirá vos que bueno!’ (Nadia got the Australian visa. Really? That’s so good!).
This expression is one-of-a-kind, you won’t hear it anywhere else. It is used to to show agreement in a conversation, it is very informal, though. For example: ‘-Las chicas argentinas son hermosas. -Sí, ¡tal cual!.’ (The Argentine girls are beautiful. Yes, exactly!).
The literal meaning is: to have huge balls. However, in Argentina it is used with the following meanings, depending on the context.
1- It is often used as a greeting together with ‘¿Cómo andás?’ among friends, mainly young people. For example: ‘¿Cómo andás, boludo?’ (How are you doing buddy?).
2- Careful because it can also be an insult pretty much like ‘stupid’. For example: ‘¡Sos un boludo!’ (You are stupid!).
3- It can also act as a verb: ‘boludear’, pretty similar to kill time or to mess around in English. For example: ‘¡Dejá de boludear!’ (Stop messing around!).
4- It can function as a noun as well: ‘boludez’ to refer to something easy or trivial. For example: ‘Andar en bicicleta es una boludez’ (To ride a bicycle is a piece of cake).
Stay tuned because you will hear these expressions all the time!