So you’ve finally finished booking, organising, packing and buying all the necessities for your trip to Argentina! You’ve no doubt been checking out La Boca, the Casa Rosada and other main attractions on the Lonely planet. Finally, you’ve had a little brush up on your Spanish:  “Cómo estás? Una cerveza por favor. Yo soy de Estados Unidos”, and you’re feeling like a pro. But wait, you arrive at the airport and hear all kinds of phrases you never learned in high school. What’s a “boludo”? Why are they trying to charge me in “mangos”? Welcome to Argentine slang.

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Argentine slang or “Lunfardo”, as they say here, is very particular. They don’t quite speak your classic Spanish, but what is called ‘castellano’. Below are some of the most important words to keep in mind that will have you speaking Spanish like a porteño in no time:

  • Both the ‘y’ ‘LL’ make a “sh” sound. For example, “Cómo te llamás” is pronounced “cómo de SHamas”.
  • Che – This originated with Che Guevara. It is an affectionate way of saying “dude” or “buddy”. Anyone, from your best friend to the bus driver may call you Che. Example: Che, pasame la botella.
  • Boludo – boludo, cómo estás?) to saying someone silly or being quite an insult.
  • Example: “ellá está bárbara”.
  • Ni a palos –  literal meaning: “not even if beaten with a stick”. This is a way of saying “no way!”.

Now you really are all set for your trip to Argentina!

Written by Rachel Hine