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!
lvstudio Spanish School – Tigre Time Out!
After one week of a Super Intensive Spanish Course in lvstudio Spanish School Buenos Aires you may need a relaxed weekend. If you are just looking for a place to spend a nice weekend, a trip to Tigre will do you a treat.
Tigre is a town just North of Buenos Aires. The town sits on an island created by several small streams and rivers and was founded in 1820, “after floods had destroyed other settlements in the area, then known as the ‘Partido de las Conchas’.”
In fact, Tigre is called Tigre because of the Jaguars that roamed there before they were all killed.
The town is easily reached by a 45 minute train ride from the Retiro station and well worth it at only a click on the Sube card!
Apart from the obvious things to do in Tigre such as ferry rides, museums and dining in the river side restaurants, here are a few unexpected things I found and did and will come back to do again in Tigre!
- Go to China town! I had never heard anything about the China town mall that stands very prominently opposite the river side. It is not the China town that excited me but the most amazing pancake-dulce de leche cake things that were sold in a small stall in the right when you enter the mall. As unexpected as it was, they were absolutely incredible and I advise you that if you ever go to this mall, do not leave before trying these things. With three flavours; dulce de leche, crema pastelera, and chocolate , I recommend ordering six and trying two of each. Surprisingly not overly sweet, these beauties really hit the spot! If you are able, bring some on monday to share with the students of lvstudio Spanish School in Buenos Aires.
- Puerto de Frutos market– make sure you go to Tigre on a Sunday so not to miss out on the artisanal market down by the river. Delicious food vendors and all sorts of interesting arts and crafts. Although similar to the markets of San Telmo, Recoleta and Palermo near our Spanish School. I found this one to be cheaper, a little more relaxed with more original, interesting items.
- Kayaking on the Parana Delta- after a busy week of rushing to work in chaotic public transport and sweating away in the sweltering Argentinian heat, there is nothing better than taking a day out to paddle along the beautiful Tigre waters. Unlike a ferry you see so much more on a Kayak and really feel a sense of freedom and peacefulness.
Due to the proximity , easy accessibility and cheap train tickets, Tigre makes for the perfect daytime getaway!
In most people’s mind the word “expat” recalls images of luxury, shiny desks in multinational corporates and privileged lifestyles. On the other hand, when it comes about the term “immigrant”, we tend to think about dreams, hopes and cardboard suitcases. Two words, two deeply different concepts.
As someone who has been living in Asia for several years, I’ve always taken for granted that I was an
Article by Claire McKeever.
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I have to say that my go to drink was a glass of Malbec. However, on closer inspection, I’ve been so impressed by the selection of artisan/craft beer on offer, and the inviting pubs it’s served in, that a well brewed pint has often been just as appealing (especially a honey based one).
Even after Oktoberfest has ended, you don’t need an excuse to share a few beers and enjoy some of Buenos Aires’ best locally brewed craft beer:
A new kid on the block, Otra Vuelta keeps it simple with a selection of two artisan beers on tap and a fridge full of honey, light, dark and even smoked based brews (local and international). It may be light on pint choices but its ski-lodge esque interior, friendly staff, excellent happy hour and complimentary snacks (a very important part of the craft beer experience) keeps me coming back for more.
- Gurrachaga 1324, Palermo.
- Happy Hour 18:00-21:30.
- Opening hours: 18:00 – 14:00.
A popular chain of artisan beer pubs, Antares has spread its wings for very good reason. With a wide selection on tap, happy hour and locations across the city (as well as across Argentina), it’s often a good choice if you’re wanting a decent beer and lively atmosphere. There have been times I’ve visited when doors have closed due to limited capacity (especially during happy hour) so make sure you make it in good time to get your order in.
- Las Canitas, Palermo (Armenia 1477) & San Telmo (Bolivar 491).
Source: Buller Pub
If you find yourself in Recoleta and in need of something exciting to quench your thirst after all that sightseeing then I would recommend this place. Its beer garden, very cool ¼ pint tastings and the fact it is all made in-house makes it a real treat. Rest assured you can also order a ‘proper’ pint if that’s what you’re after. There’s also a base in ‘microcentro’ but unless you want to nestle a pint amidst lots of office workers then you’re best to stick to the Recoleta version.
- Presidente Roberto M. Ortiz 1827, Recoleta / Paraguay 428, Microcentro (city centre).
- Happy Hour 6-8pm.
- Weekdays open from 12:00 / Saturday from 21:00.
This place is pretty magical. I must admit it is lacking when it comes to offering as wide a selection as other artisan beer locations across the city (at least when I’ve visited as half the menu hasn’t been available) but the fact you’re sat in the middle of trees and fairy lights makes it quite special. It’s definitely worth a visit and again, you’ll find another great happy hour if you’re wanting to grab a bargain.
- Malabia 1401, Palermo.
- Opening hours 18:00 until …
It’s no surprise that an Irish inspired pub makes it on my list. What I love about Breoghan’s is not only the selection of own-brewed beers but also the authentic surroundings; its bricked walls, wine barrels used as tables and old school seating making you feel like you’re in a ‘real’ pub. Happy hour is more unofficial and signalled with a bell so hopefully you’ll not miss on that.
- Bolivar 860, San Telmo.
- Opening hours: 18:00 until …
Don’t let the title fool you, one of the most stunning eamples of nineteenth century architecture in Buenos Aires houses one of its most quirky and unusual museums. El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes is gigantic and unmistakeable. Covered in hundreds of thousands of imported ceramic tiles and occupying an entire city block, its flamboyant style is in stark contrast to its humble orginal purpose as a water pumping station.
The yellow fever outbreaks that plagued BA in the mid-nineteenth century necessitated the building of a modern water delivery system. For this reason, the city of Buenos Aires employed Swedish-Argentine architect Carlos Nyströmer to design a building to house the tanks and plumbing necessary to carry almost 2 million gallons of water.
The heart of the building contains what appears to be a cathedral to plumbing. Enormous tanks suspended three stories above are fed by pipes big enough for a fair-sized walrus to swim through comfortably. It is an industrial pumping station with the dimensions and and style of an Viennese opera house. It is to public sanitation what Michelangelo’s David is to sculpture. Oh, and it also houses what can be safely described as the most comprehensive museum to toilets that you are likely ever to see. If you enjoy unusual museums or neo-renaissance sanitation conduit, this is the museum for you.
Riobamba 750 – 1st floor/ Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-1pm/ Tel: (54-11) 6319-1104
If you live in BA and are not lucky enough to have a pool at your apartment, it’s time to make friends with someone who does. The heat is edging into the upper thirties and it’s not getting cooler any time soon. You are not even safe if you have air conditioning due to the all-to-frequent cortes de luz. How do you stay cool when the heat is insoportable? Have a tereré.
Tereré is traditional mate infused with cold water or fruit juices instead of hot water. Originally from Paraguay, the drinking of tereré is wonderfully refreshing and a nice alternative to sugary sodas. Just find yourself a termo and fill it with your favorite iced beverage. Try fresh-squeezed lemonade with mint leaves, mango, peach, or pineapple; don’t be afraid to get creative. Even powdered juice mixes are good if you don’t have time to make it fresh. Add lots of ice, fill up your mate with yerba and a couple of ice cubes, put in your bombilla and find some shade. When the power goes out again use it as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors by sharing a tereré with them.
With electrical usage way up and insufficient power generation to handle the demand, rolling power outages are the order of the day in Buenos Aires. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the next outage:
– First of all, control your energy consumption. The hospital and elderly home down the street need the power a lot more then you need to run the air conditioner at 18 degrees.
-It’s not a bad idea to acclimate yourself in advance to using the stairs for when their is no elevator. If you live on the twelfth floor, take the stairs a couple of times a week and build up those great calf muscles.
– Security can be an issue when the power goes out. Be aware of your surroundings and be careful who you let in the building.
– Depending on the size of the tanks on the roof of your building. Once the power goes out you may soon run out of running water. Prepare yourself by keeping as many containers of water as possible handy. No need to generate more trash by buying bottled water if you are only going to use it for washing dishes, flushing toilet, etc. Just save any old plastic bottles, tupperware, old coffee jars, etc. and fill ’em up and put ’em under the sink.
– Fill the bidet in order to have water to flush the toilet
– A watering can for plants can provide a sorely-needed shower in desperate circumstances, especially if you have a friend to help you pour.
– Fill several tupperware containers with water and freeze them to preserve your food. Leave some in the freezer and move some to the fridge when the power goes out to keep your food cold.
– Put your flashlight with extra batteries in a specific place by the door and remember to put it back whenever you use it. Avoid candles, the fire department is busy enough this time of year.
-Plan on travel delays. Porteños are very vocal in their disapproval of power outages. Don’t be surprised to find burning piles of garbage piled up in intersections of affected areas.
-Don’t forget about any elderly or disabled people who may live in your building. Drop by and make sure they are ok. Offer to help carrying groceries or water up the stairs if you are able-bodied.
-Relax. Carry on. It should be back in a few hours.
Photo Source: parabuenosaires.com
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.
>It’s no secret that Argentines are big meat eaters. Not only do they eat more than their weight in meat — seriously — but they also have some of the best beef in the world. This already gives them a one up on the rest of us when it comes to food, and that’s just the beginning of it. Epic meat eating isn’t the only thing that defines (and elevates) Argentine food culture from the rest of the world. Though, their day long asados — grill outs to us — are what dreams are made of. They’re also home to the rich wine region of Mendoza, which produces some of the best bottles of Malbec you can get your hands on. And pasta. So much pasta. These few point alone already make the Argentines better at life than the rest of us when it comes to food. And then there are all these reasons too:
Grass-fed, free-range beef isn’t a privileged choice, it’s just the way it is.
Steak is their religion and they treat it with respect. Argentines eat close to 150 LBS of meat per person, per year. And we can’t really blame them because their cattle is arguably the best in the world. Though sadly, feedlots are slowly starting to make their way to Argentina.
The pasta tastes like it was made by an Italian grandmother Probably because it was. Argentina has a large population of Italian immigrants which means that this country is rich not only in its steak but in its pasta too.
They melt an ENTIRE BAR of chocolate into a glass of milk.No one can make hot chocolate better than this Argentine hot chocolate — also known as a submarino — NO ONE.
When an Argentine makes you milanesa, it means they really love you. takes love, time and bloody knuckles to make a really good milanesa. (Traditionally, the filets are pounded thin by hand.) So when someone serves you that for dinner, you should know that you’re in good hands.
Breakfast is served with a side of awesome, also known as medialunas.
If you like croissants, you’ll love medialunas. They’re Argentina’s smaller and sweeter version of the beloved French pastry. Medialunas are most often served at breakfast with a cafe au lait. And since they’re smaller than most breakfast pastries we like to think that means you’re entitled to more than one.
They know that tea tastes best when shared with friends.
Mate, an infusion of the yerba mate plant, runs through the Argentine’s veins. They drink it all day everyday, out of a customary gourd with a metal straw. It is enjoyed with friends, sipped and passed.
Dulce. De. Leche.We will forever respect Argentina for truly seeing how great this milky caramel is. They put it on — and in — everything. Which means that if you ever find yourself in this great country, you’ll be guaranteed to eat a kilo of dulce de leche. (And your life will never be better.)
Sausage sandwiches are an appetizer. Seriously.
>Choripan, a sandwich made with sausage and sauce (typically chimichurri), is possibly the best sandwich in the world — especially because it’s usually served as an appetizer at asados. No point messing around with crudite.
They also serve handheld meat pies before asados.
Are you beginning to catch on to a theme here? MEAT. But empanadas are filled with more than just beef. You can get them with chicken, seafood and vegetarian fillings too. It’s great.
Argentine asados put every other kind of barbecue to shame.
When it comes to grilling meat, no one does it like the Argentines. A traditional asado first starts with offal (like sweet breads) and morcilla (blood sausage). Next comes the choripan (which we just talked about). Lastly they serve the serious cuts of beef, like lomo or vacio. And this doesn’t even include the salads. It’s epic in the best of ways.
The alfajor is a national hero.
Even more so than Evita. Not officially of course, but this cookie — stuffed with dulce de leche of course — is so good it can make anyone’s bad day, week or even year better. You want this.
They found Coke’s best friend.
Rum doesn’t belong when there’s Fernet to mix Coke with. This classic Italian amaro is so loved in Argentina they produce 25 million liters of the stuff a year. We thank them for figuring out this perfect pairing.
No backyard is complete without a serious grill.
Most often enjoyed with family. And it’s usually an asado, obviously. The perfect end to the week if you ask us.
My father complains all the time. His back aches, the supermarket seems to be further and further away every day, computers… oh, don’t get him started. He was very active when he was younger and all of a sudden his years are weighing heavily on him. “It is tough being old”, he says. But some old people are tough. They are as tough as old boots.
Take three elderly men in the headlines recently. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the great British explorer, has pulled out of an expedition across Antarctica because of severe frostbite. Some people were disappointed. I wasn’t. He is 68 years old and had the stamina to ski in temperatures close to -30C. No matter that he had to give up now. For me he is even a greater hero than when he was younger.
Pope Benedict XVI took a lot of flak because he resigned. I praise his courage to stay in the post till the ripe old age of 85.
But the person I would give a gold medal to is Fauja Singh from India. He has finally given up his career as a marathon runner. Singh is 101 years old! That’s resilience for you!
I think we should celebrate old people more. We should tell them every week how brave they are. It is tough being old, but we should be grateful for it. There is a quote attributed to French actor and singer Maurice Auguste Chevalier: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.”
Go and give a kiss to your old relatives!
don’t get him started – don’t encourage him to discuss the subject because he will never stop complaining about it.
his years are weighing heavily on him – he is very old and feels weak and vulnerable.
as tough as old boots – very strong and does not get injured easily.
frostbite – injury to the fingers, toes, ears or nose caused by very low temperatures.
stamina – the ability to do physical activity for a long time.
took a lot of flak – was heavily criticised.
ripe old age – very old.
resilience – ability to recover quickly from problems and difficulties.