I don’t speak Spanish (I speak Castellano) PART IV

June 13, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah--I got called to be anchor news for the I-News en Español, the TV News show from BYU-Idaho. On my first day there I spoke with a terrible but noticeable Argentinean accent (Castellano).


The producer told me that I should try to get rid of it, so I tried. When trying, something inside of me felt wrong…

Language is something that helps define a country’s cultural identity. Words can reflect the beliefs, values and attitudes people have.

Argentines shine in this category. There is no other country in the Spanish-speaking world with the colloquialisms found in Argentina (Bias?).

Argentines use words that belong to them only. They are not found in any traditional Spanish class or book.

Even if you can’t say hola, if you can pronounce one of these lunfardos you may impress more than a few locals.

According to the Oxford Spanish Dictionary a lunfardo is “a form of Buenos Aires slang that originated in the underworld. It draws on many languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German and several African languages.”

There are enough lunfardos to fill a dictionary, so I’ll just mention a few that may help you on your travels-you never know when you might have to say, “No me chamuyes!”

Lunfardo Survival Kit:

afanar: to rob

afano: to rip-off

bajar un cambio: to calm down

bancar: bancá = “hold on”

berreta: cheap or bad quality

boliche: dance club

bondi: bus (public transportation)

boludo or bolú: It can be an insult, similar to idiot, or just a tag or expression used among friends. It all depends on the tone and intensity of its pronunciation. It can also refer to something that is easy to do.

“hacerse el boludo: to act dumb

“me estás boludeando: you are pulling my leg

botón: police officer

botonear: is to tell on somebody

careta: having a lot of nerve

chabón: guy

chamuyar: A conversation where a man, or a woman, is flirting with someone while trying convince them of something, with half-truths and half-lies.

fachero: someone who has good presence

gil: someone who is slow or stupid

goma: A woman’s breast

laburar: it comes from the Italian word lavorare, which means to work. Laburo is also used to refer to work or work place.

mimosa/o: s/he loves being made a fuss of or being pampered

mina: woman, this originated with a derogatory connotation it no longer has

morfar: to eat

morfi: food

patovica: muscular man or a club bouncer/security

pibe: it can mean boy, guy or man, depending on the context

pendejo: A kid (human, not goat)

pucho: cigarette

quilombo: mess

quilombero: rowdy, noisy person

telo: a by-the-hour motel, it is the reverse form of the word hotel in Spanish.

Zafar means, to get out or wiggle out of a situation. It can also be used as an expression “¡zafé”, “that was close!”

guita = cash

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