Posts Tagged ‘slang’

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Uruguay le ganó a Paraguay 3 a 0 en la final de la Copa América y alcanzó su consagración número 15. / Uruguay won 3 to 0 against Paraguay in the final of the “Copa América” and celebrates its 15th title as champions of this competition.

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Listen to a conversation in your own language and you’ll notice all kinds of filler-phrases or words… Mmm, huh, yeah, really?, wow, that’s great, yeah I know. If you spend time in Uruguay or Argentina, you’re sure to pick some of them up. Here’s a list of the most common ones so you can make a bit more sense of conversations when you first arrive.

dale = OK, yes (Uruguay and Argentina)

ta = OK, fine (mainly Uruguay)

pero ta = but hey, never mind

este… = umm…

ahí va = exactly, that’s it

claro = sure

bárbaro = great

¿Mirá? = Oh yeah? Really?

¿En serio? = Seriously?

¡Mirá, que bueno! = Wow, that’s great!

¡Anda! = Wow, no way!

¡Qué bueno / horrible / embole! = That’s great / awful / so boring!

¿Viste? = Know what I mean? (literally, Did you see?)

O sea, … = I mean, …

Yo que sé = I don’t know / What do I know?

 

¡ojo! = careful / watch out!

¡opa! = This can either mean something like “whoops!” (e.g. you nearly knock a full glass over, but catch it just in time), or something like “wow!” when someone walks in the room looking particularly well-dressed, smart or pretty.

guau = wow (Spanish spelling!)

pa = an expression of surprise, usually negative, such as when you spot a hefty price tag on something that should be cheap. The classic phrase is Pa, ¡qué frío!

che = hey, mate (used to attract someone’s attention or change the topic of conversation)

bo = used the same way as che, and is possibly more common (at least among the younger generations) in Uruguay.

 

Exercise: A lot of these words and expressions are kind of hard to understand out of context. Try to write an example sentence or short dialogue using one or two (or all!) of them, and send it in for the Uruguayan seal of approval (that’s Virginia and Juan). Also let us know if you hear one of them out on the streets! 

 

Any questions? If you’re not sure about the content of today’s class or have something to add, leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Your questions and comments will help other students too. Our Spanish immersion programs at La Herradura in Uruguay and Spain teach you an international form of Spanish, but the teachers are all native speakers and will offer guidance on local expressions and words.

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Uruguayan Spanish conserves just a few remnants of the language of the country’s original inhabitants, Guaraní. A lot of the place names and words for native animals are of Guaraní origin, and here are a few more terms that have made their way into common speech (but you’re unlikely to hear outside of this area).

el gurí / la gurisa / los gurises = guy / girl / guys (both sexes)

el guacho / la guacha = boy / girl (in some contexts it also suggests a marginalised youth or orphan)

Lunfardo is the classic River Plate slang, particularly associated with tango. A lot of lunfardo has fallen out of use and is preserved only in tango lyrics; however here are a few terms that have survived and are used fairly commonly today.

un pucho = a cigarette butt

un pibe / una piba = a guy / girl

un palo = $1000

una luca = $1000

una luca verde = $1000 U.S. dollars

una gamba = $100

un mango = $1

 

Here’s a common slang word: pintar. Obviously it literally means to paint, but in colloquial speech it has several different uses.

Firstly, it can mean to happen or materialise, when referring to an event or opportunity:

Iba a ir a la fiesta pero al final no pintó. = I was going to go to the party but in the end it didn’t happen.

Ir a la playa en invierno no pinta. = Going to the beach in winter isn’t going to happen.

Secondly, it can take a personal indirect object:

Querés ir al cine? -No, no me pinta. = Want to go to the cinema? – No, I don’t feel like it / It doesn’t appeal to me.

Che, vamos al centro para ver el fútbol en la pantalla gigante – ¿te pinta? = Hey, we’re going to the centre to watch the football on the big screen – fancy it?

Finally, it can mean “appearance”: if some food or drink looks really good you say it has buena pinta:

¡Tiene buena pinta esa cerveza fría! = That cold beer looks real good!

Ese rubio tiene pinta de alemán. = That blond guy looks German.

 

And one more thing… Those of you who are battling to be able to roll your Rs won’t thank me, but it’s very common here to replace the word muy with re, which I think is short for realmente. So you’ll get phrases like, Es re linda tu hermana = Your sister’s really pretty.

 

Any questions? If you’re not sure about the content of today’s class or have something to add, leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Your questions and comments will help other students too. Our Spanish immersion programs at La Herradura in Uruguay and Spain teach you an international form of Spanish, but the teachers are all native speakers and will offer guidance on local expressions and words.

Coming up next… Class 30: Conversation

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