When you visit Argentina, Spanish words like ‘che’ and ‘boludo’ are repeated quite often. In other hispanic countries, like Mexico, you might hear the words ‘güey’ and ‘órale’ more often. This happens because Spanish is a diverse language.
If you’re planning on traveling to Argentina, one of the first things you’ll want to do is brush up on your Spanish skills. As a Spanish-speaking country, Argentina has its own unique vocabulary and phrases that can be a challenge to learn for non-native speakers.
In fact, as someone who has spent time in both Mexico and Argentina, I can tell you that there are some words that can get you into trouble if you don’t use them correctly. In this blog post, I’ll share my experience with 7 words that got me in trouble in Mexico vs Argentina, and give you some tips for learning and speaking Argentine Spanish.
Is Argentinian Spanish Harder Than Mexican Spanish?
One of the first questions people often ask when it comes to learning Spanish is whether there are any significant differences between the Spanish spoken in different countries. And the answer is yes, there are some differences in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. There are 20 countries that speak Spanish as their official language, therefore, Spanish can get quite diverse!
When it comes to Argentine Spanish vs Mexican Spanish, some people find the Argentine accent and intonation more challenging to understand, while others find it easier. In general, Argentine Spanish has a more musical quality, with more intonation and emphasis on the last syllables. It’s also common to use more slang and colloquial expressions in Argentina than in Mexico.
Argentina Spanish vs Mexican Spanish
So what are some of the specific differences between Argentine Spanish and Mexican Spanish? One of the most noticeable is the use of the pronoun “vos” instead of “tú” in Argentina. This can take some getting used to if you’re used to using “tú” in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Another difference is in vocabulary and there are many words that we say differently across these two countries. For instance, while in Argentina we call the fridge “heladera”, in Mexico this is called “nevera.”
Let’s take a look at the 7 words that got me in trouble while I was in Mexico.
The 7 Words That Got Me in Trouble
La entraña, steak skirt in English, is my favorite meat cut because it’s lean and tasty. However, when you go to a Mexican grill and look for “entraña” on the menu, you won’t find it. In Mexico, this meat cut is called “arrachera.” Tacos de arrachera are definitely something to try while in Mexico. They are so good! However, if you go to Argentina, remember to use the word “entraña” for steak skirt.
Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocado. Therefore, avocado for breakfast or in guacamole is one of the most common foods to order. My problem was that I know that fruit by another name: palta. When I ordered tostada con palta in Mexico, it only caused confusion. Avocados are known as “aguacates” in most of Central America and as “paltas” in most of South America. Therefore, in Mexico, you should ask for “aguacates,” but in Argentina you should say “paltas” when you are craving some delicious avocado.
Dulce de leche
Everyone I met in Mexico seemed to know what dulce de leche was. On the other hand, it was me who wasn’t familiar with the Mexican version of dulce de leche. In Mexico they prepare dulce de leche with goat’s milk and call it “cajeta.” It is very delicious and similar to the traditional Argentinian dulce de leche. However, the word “cajeta” was quite a shocker for me. In Argentina, “la cajeta” is a vulgar way of saying “vagina.” Therefore, it became a funny joke to say “Acá estoy, en México, disfrutando de esta deliciosa cajeta” to my Argentinian friends.
Going to the beach was my favorite activity in Mexico. Sometimes we would rent a couple of beach chairs with an umbrella. To do this in Argentina, I would normally say “quiero alquilar dos reposeras y una sombrilla.” But in Mexico, beach chairs are known as “los camastros,” also, Mexicans use the word “rentar” instead of “alquilar.” Therefore, I had to rephrase my sentence and say: “quiero rentar dos camastros y una sombrilla.”
We went camping in Tolantongo, a fantastic place in Mexico with gorgeous waterfalls and spring waters. At the campsite, I was looking at the signs for bathrooms and showers. For instance, I was looking for “baños” and “duchas.” But the only sign I found read “regaderas.” ¿Para qué quiero una regadera? I thought. Well, while regaderas in Argentina are used to water the plants, in Mexico a regadera is a shower (for humans). So, if you can’t find the showers, in Mexico, search for the sign that reads “regaderas,” in Argentina, the one that reads “duchas.”
Even though most Spanish speaking countries call the pool “la piscina.” Mexico and Argentina are two exceptions. For Argentinians, the pool is “la pileta,” but for Mexicans it is “la alberca.” This was very confusing! I was very lucky to be able to use the pool everyday in Mexico. My issue was that whenever I talked about how much I enjoyed “la pileta,” locals were baffled and I had to clarify “quise decir ‘la alberca’.”
The 7th Argentina Spanish word that got me in trouble while I was in Mexico is “remera.” In Argentina, remera is a t-shirt. However, this word sounds similar to “ramera” which means ‘whore.’ So, it can be quite funny, confusing or even offensive to say “quiero una remera,” especially if you say it quickly, like me. In Mexico, t-shirts are known as “playeras,” which was also problematic for me because of my Argentinian pronunciation. Learn more about the Argentinian pronunciation here: 3 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Argentine Spanish Accent.
How to Learn Argentine Spanish
After everything I just told you, it is easy to realize that learning any new language takes time and effort. But, there are some things you can do to make the process easier. Here are a few tips for learning Argentine Spanish:
Immerse yourself in the language. Listen to music, watch TV shows and movies, and try to practice speaking with native speakers. You can begin by listening to the Easy Argentine Spanish podcast here.
Use resources specifically designed for learning Argentine Spanish. These could include textbooks, online courses, and reading blogs like this one.
Focus on pronunciation. Pay attention to the unique intonation and accent of Argentine Spanish, and practice speaking out loud to improve your own pronunciation. Check out the Argentine Spanish accent challenge on my Youtube channel.
Argentina: Spanish Words and Phrases You Can Learn Now
Finally, here are some words and phrases that can help you get started with Argentine Spanish:
Che: A common Argentine interjection that can be used to get someone’s attention, express surprise, or show agreement.
Re: Another interjection used to emphasize something, similar to the English word “very”
Boliche: A nightclub or bar.
Laburar: To work.
Posta: Something that is true or genuine.
By taking the time to learn some of the unique vocabulary and phrases of Argentine Spanish, you’ll be better prepared for your trip and be able to communicate more effectively with locals. You can find more useful Rioplatense Spanish words and phrases like these in the section “Word of the Week” of this blog, click to start learning now.
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Find more videos about Argentine Spanish on my Youtube channel.