There are no difficult or easy languages to learn, it’s all about practicing. If you apply yourself and have the resources you need, you have everything you need to become bilingual. Immersing yourself in a language and conversing with native speakers is the best way to learn. If you can become comfortable speaking with other people, then learning the grammar and vocabulary is that much easier. At LV Studio’s language school in Palermo, we give you the tools you need to learn. Our knowledgeable native speakers will help to guide you into language and culture. The small groups and individual attention we provide is distinct from other language schools in Buenos Aires. Language learning is a skill that improves with practice. Once you have the tools it becomes easier and easier. The important thing to consider is not that the language you are learning is more or less difficult than your native tongue. It is that you have the tools and resources necessary to learn.
Traveling in South America? Buenos Aires is a great place to improve your Spanish. Learning Spanish is a breeze when you are immersed in a culture, and culture is something Buenos Aires has in spades. The city has so much to offer expats. From tango to football to the best beef in the world. Take a Spanish course from our native speakers here in Palermo and in no time at all, you’ll be speaking Porteño like a local. The relaxed atmosphere of our language school in the heart of Palermo makes students feel at home. Expats can learn Spanish in our conversation cafe while making friends and experiencing Buenos Aires like a local. Native porteños will introduce you to one of the richest cultural experiences in South America. Buenos Aires has everything you want and need to learn Spanish.
How to Speak Porteño Spanish
So, you`ve arrived in Buenos Aires and discovered that 2 semesters of Spanish in HIgh School or your 2 months living in Barcelona has not prepared you to converse with the average Porteño? The people of Buenos Aires (Porteños) have their own distinctive way of speaking that is different from the Spanish spoken worldwide and even from the rest of Argentina. Here are a few tips to help you blend in with the natives.
The first thing you will notice is the pronunciation of certain letters in porteño is unique to Buenos Aires. For example, the Y and LL in porteño make shh sound instead of Y like yankee. “Yo me llamo Shaq” becomes “Sho me Shamo Shaq”. Also, the Spanish of Spain’s TH pronunciation of S, C, and Z is ignored in Porteño. “Grathiath por la thervetha” becomes “gracias por la cerveza” Here is a helpful video breaking down the differences.
The most notable grammatical difference is the presence of “vos” in the second person. Instead of using the Spanish tú,Porteños use vos in this case and it results in a change in the conjugation of verbs.. Eres becomes sos and most other verbs pick up an accented change in the second person such as quieres-querés and puedes-podés. “Tú eres de Argentina¨ becomes “Vos sos de Argentina”. “Tú quieres helado” becomes “vos querés helado”. Here is an explanation of the history of this usage in Argentina.
Porteños have deep cultural ties to their Italian heritage as does their distinct slang lunfardo. Lunfardo roots lie in the criminal colloquialisms of early immigrants and is commonly found in the lyrics of tango music. So if “Che, vamos a morfar como bachichas” means nothing to you, then maybe you should pick up a dictionary of lunfardo.
If there is one thing the expressive, demonstrative Porteños do well, it is speak with their whole body. Here is a great guide to how to say it without (or with fewer) words in Buenos Aires.
To go more in depth about Argentine Spanish our lvstudio teachers will be more than happy to help in Palermo, Microcentro, Puerto Madero, Belgrano or online if you are not in Buenos Aires!
Tips to choose a Spanish School in Buenos Aires:
The truth of the matter is, no matter how easy it is to live in Argentina or anywhere else in the world as an English speaker, learning the local language (Spanish for example) will benefit you socially, professionally, and—most importantly—bureaucratically. (If there’s one thing all expats are familiar with, it’s filling out forms… for visas, for medical treatment, for work, for everything.)
There’s another reason to learn Spanish that no one talks about: once you get over the hump of the hard work and constant embarrassment, it is so incredibly empowering to be able to express yourself.
It takes time, though. Not all people are as patient with themselves as others. I want to be fluent NOW! At our Spanish School in the Super Intensive Spanish Course, if you stick with it and practice, you will start getting better and better.
There are a few things that you need your Spanish School to provide that will help you through the process of learning Spanish:
- A Spanish School with Relaxed Environment.
Lots of people say they speak a foreign language better after they’ve had a few drinks. You know why? They’re relaxed! Our Spanish Teachers will introduce the Spanish topics in a way where you won’t feel pressured. Also our ambience, the beautiful garden our school has and the social events we provide to practice your Spanish, will help a lot!
- A Spanish School that helps you to learn vocabulary in a fun way:
You can’t speak without words. flashcards, pocket notebooks, handy dandy travel-sized dictionaries… these are all part of your language learning future. We will provide all of it!
- A Spanish School that makes you start speaking right away.
Not tomorrow… now. There’s no way around it. You are going to have to start speaking on your first class. Our conversational focus is the best way to improve your speaking. If you’re looking for conversation we provide two Conversations Classes per week and one Lunch where you are going to be able to practice Spanish with our Students and Teachers.
- A Spanish School that allows you to study every day:
Learning a language has to become a habit for it to be effective. When you’re learning a language, you need to engage both your long-term memory and the part of your brain that keeps important information easily accessible. If you want to be able to speak smoothly, you have to keep that information fresh. Our 4 hour per day Spanish Course from Monday to Friday is the best option!
Abschluss des vierwöchigen Intensiv-Spanischkurses
Unsere Privatstunden im LV- Studio (www.lvstudioweb.com) haben wir erfolgreich mit Diplom abgeschlossen. Mit der Schule waren wir sehr zufrieden und können das LV- Studio nur weiterempfehlen. Carolina, die Leiterin der Schule, war sehr professionell und hat uns sehr gute und kompetente Lehrer zugeteilt – nochmals allen herzlichen Dank.
Spanish Schema Learning
Adaptation by Sophie Elliot.
Moving to Buenos Aires as a non-Spanish-speaker can be a scary step for a lot of people. Not knowing the local language can make parties, museums, festivals – pretty much any social gathering – frustrating and boring, and really puts a dampener on any kind of cultural integration.
That is why, booking your Spanish Course should be one of your first steps when you arrive.
If you want to practice/refresh what you learn in your Spanish classes, your main option should be doing it online. Most people know about the website duolingo – it’s great for learning vocabulary, not so great for understanding the grammar behind it, and its completely free. My other favourite site for language learning is called ‘Memrise’. This site uses a method to link new knowledge with the old knowledge – which really is the key to learning. They use pictures and comics to connect a new word in Spanish with something that you already know that can remind you of the new word. For example, the word is ‘seguramente’. The “mem” (the thing to help you remember) is a drawing of two people having tea and the first person asks “Would you like SUGAR in your MINT TEA?” and the second person says “certainly”. I think this is great because “SUGAR MINT TEA” helps you remember the word, and “certainly” helps you remember the meaning.
This technique is really important to keep in mind while planning lessons to teach as well. If you just throw information at a student, they will not retain it if it can’t fit into any of their already established mental schema. I always try to use pictures/objects/readings/audio material, etc to supply the student with a more holistic understanding of the vocabulary/grammar so that they can make connections and really remember what they have learnt.
In terms of my own learning, I need some more practice before I can communicate well with the locals. Conversation Night and Free Spanish Conversation Class are both great ways of do that. I can now understand enough to sneaky eavesdrop on their conversations ☺
The importance of being a “Smart” learner and communicator
Learning a language can, and should be enjoyable, yet obviously it needs to have its reward of comprehension and communication at the end- who would learn if they couldn’t have the satisfaction of putting their new knowledge to use?
It is in this last month, whilst teaching at Lv Studio Spanish school, that I have realised the importance of being a “smart” learner and communicator- by that I mean using the knowledge one has already attained in the most efficient way. Worrying about small details helps no-one; native speakers couldn’t care less about your grammar proficiency (unless of course it provides them with a moderate laugh).
I say this because, when teaching a private Spanish student, I was asked as a native teacher precisely how to say “it got out of hand” in Spanish. We can of course say “se les fue de las manos”, but that’s not the point. I said to “substitute, substitute, substitute.” It´s great to be ambitious, but which is more sensible- trying to learn each one of the 500,000 Spanish words (dependant on who you believe) or being practical? We don’t explicitly need to know every idiom and phrase that might face us- I told my pupil to say “perdieron el control” (They lost control) instead.
Another point I try to stress at my Spanish Classes is that a good learner will realise, with time, where English and Spanish are similar, and where they are not. For example, nouns that in Spanish end in –ción almost always end in –tion in English too; nation, preparation, section and infection are some of the umpteen examples that spring to mind. We just have to undestand that is very similar in English: The stress falls before the –tion ending and we´ve learnt more words than we can imagine, all in two minutes! These words are almost always cognates (the same) in several Romance and other European languages too- Nation in German, Nazione in Italian, Nation in French.
Some parts of language (well, at least Spanish to English!) will practically learn themselves! Instead of two hours with the grammar book, be efficient with what you know and how you learn more. You´ll learn twice as much in half the time!
Having lived in different parts of the world, I can tell you that the synthesis of cultures, entertainment, and street beauty found in Buenos Aires, more specifically in Palermo, totally resonates with my taste. This is why I chose Palermo to set up a Spanish School in Buenos Aires. The range of activities close-by are so varied, you can never be bored.
Sometimes, after Spanish school, I go with Spanish students for lunch to Plaza Armenia. My favorite place is up on the terrace at Quimbombo. They have refreshing drinks, organic food, and a great view of Plaza Armenia.
Other days, there’s an independent designer fair close to Plaza Serrano, where you can find all sorts of things from skirts to accessories with an alternative look… When the weather is good, having a picnic by the Rose Garden in the Palermo Park is beautiful… Just beware of ducks stealing your food! 🙂
At night, my thing is dancing Tango. Popular places are La Catedral del Tango, La Viruta, Buenos Ayres Club. To dance salsa I go to La Salsera or Azucar. Now, if your thing is electronic music here is a good site to check out where to go techno dancing.
If you prefer a more quiet night, there’s a wide variety of restaurants, cafés, bars, to enjoy a good wine, music, and meet new people. For instance, on Thursday nights, lvstudio hosts an event at Birmania Bar, up on the terrace when the weather is good. You can drink a beer while a teacher is there to help you practice what you’ve learned in Spanish class, and meet Argentines doing the same in English!
Hasta pronto! See you soon at lvstudio Spanish school in Buenos Aires!
Bondiola is a particular cut of pork, unique in its dimensions and presentation, that can be found at any typical restaurant in Buenos Aires. Taken from the shoulder and neck, its nearest North American equivalent would be the Boston Butt, but porteños usually don’t cook it as an entire roast like the yanquis. You can find bondiola in fiambre (lunchmeat) form or ready for the asador at your local carniceria.
The sandwich de bondiola, with luscious, thick slices of pork and salsa criolla or chimichurri or even barbacoa (if your tastes lie that way) is one of the flavors you can’t miss when you come to Buenos Aires. Head down to Costanera Sur in Puerto Madero to sample this reasonably priced delicacy made by a professional. With an array of fresh veggies and salsas to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Order it completo if you want them to add ham, cheese and a fried egg on top of all that delicious pork. Your vegetarian friends can order a provoleta sandwich if they are unfortunate enough to be trying to eat in BA.
For the gourmet experience, try the bondiola rellena at your favorite BA steakhouse. Imagine tender, exquisite pork stuffed with plums, mushrooms, or even bacon if you are a glutton for porkishment. The bondiola mechada con panceta at La Cabrera comes highly recommended, if not a little pricy. No matter how you slice it, bondiola is a savory delight you can’t pass up when you visit Buenos Aires.
Let’s be honest, it’s obvious. To drastically improve your quality of life while living in Buenos Aires, you need to learn the local castellano. Why? Read on for just a few of the reasons.
Author: Emily, American, BA Expat since 2008
Dealing with the logistics of BA life
Whether you need help with public transportation, getting directions, talking to your building’s super or doorman, renting an apartment, dealing with the immigration office, or dealing with local businesses or services (internet, telephone, etc.)…it’s a fact that being able to speak well, and understand well, is absolutely essential.
If you ask around, almost all expats in Buenos Aires will agree that speaking fluent Spanish is necessary for most jobs, unless you work online, teach English, or have your own business. Speaking Spanish will definitely open professional doors during your time in Buenos Aires.
Furthering your education
UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) is an excellent public university, with many affordable postgraduate programs open to foreigners. Also, these programs are generally in the evening, so you can keep your day job while you’re in school. However, I have yet to hear of a single program that is in any language other than Spanish!
Learning new things
Buenos Aires has a world of opportunity when it comes to learning new things: art classes, dances classes, business conferences, educational seminars, bartending courses, political protests, clubs, organizations, events, workshops and more. However, the large majority of these opportunities are in Spanish, so if you want to take advantage, you’ll need to learn the language. Last year I started attending a Filetado course, and I’m planning to sign up for a wine course and singing lessons this year, all opportunities that wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t speak Spanish.
Enjoying local culture
Buenos Aires has a wonderful theater district, with a variety of plays and productions to enjoy, and even great stand-up comedy. Argentina also has a well-known and vibrant film industry. However, if you want to enjoy BA’s local film and theater productions, you need to be fluent in the local language! Obviously there won’t be any English subtitles at the movie theater…
Understanding the Argentine personality
There are many things about Argentines that can be learned from their language. Their strong Italian roots, for example, are reflected in the sheer volume of Italian words they use and their many body gestures. You begin to understand the dichotomy of their interest / lack of interest in politics by listening to them debating with each other, and their somewhat ironic sense of humor also explains a lot about who they are.
Integrating and making local friends
There are definitely Argentines that speak English, so I’m not saying that not speaking Spanish means you can’t make local friends, but it will isolate you from integrating into a social group or family. Keeping up with the conversation, understanding jokes, showing your personality and sharing your opinions are all fundamental parts of integrating into any social group, so doing so here would certainly improve your quality of life.