[#029] ¿Te jode si nos vamos de joda?

It’s party time!  🙂 Or at least that’s what the title of this entry seems to suggest. Today we will be talking about the word “joda” and some other related ones, too. In Rioplatense Spanish, the word “joda” is slang for “fiesta“, so it is quite common to hear it in informal contexts. But it can also have other meanings, as you’ll find out in this post.




We should start talking about the verb “joder“, though. If we look it up in the Real Academia Española dictionary, we’ll see that the first meaning is “to fuck”. But this is not how this word is commonly used in the River Plate area. If you remember the first entry of this blog… Congratulations on having such a good memory!!! No, wait, I mean, if you remember that very first entry, then you’ll remember that in order to say “to fuck”, rioplatófonos usually use the verb “coger“. In addition, another well-known usage for the word “joder” is as an interjection, to express anger, irritation or suprise. But this is typical of Spain, and extremely rare in Argentina or Uruguay.


So what does “joder” actually mean to rioplatófonos? Well, many things, to be honest. Let’s see some of the most common uses, with examples. But first, a warning: some people might find it rude if you use this slang word, so if you are planning to start using it, make sure it’s with friends or people you know well.

1) Joder: to annoy or bother someone, e.g. “¡no me jodas más!” (stop bothering me!), “perdón que te joda” (sorry to bother you) or “¿te jode si pongo música?” (mind if I turn on some music?). Similarly, if something or someone is “jodido“,  like an exam or a teacher, it means they are annoying or difficult to deal with.

2) Joder: to joke about something, to speak in a non-serious manner, e.g. “no te enojes, te estoy jodiendo” (don’t be mad, i’m just joking with you) or “¿me estás jodiendo?” (are you kidding me?)

3) Joder(se): to ruin or damage something, to screw up, e.g. “no me vas a joder el día” (you won’t ruin my day), “si hacés eso, vas a joder el motor” (if you do that, you’ll damage the engine) or “se jodió la canilla” (the faucet is broken).

4) Joderse: to have to bear or endure something, to put up with something, e.g. “¡jodete!” (suck it up!) or “siempre termino jodiéndome por ayudar a los demás” (I always end up putting up with difficult situations for helping others).


Ok, enough with the verb “joder“. Let’s now look at the noun “joda“, and its two main possible meanings.

First of all, “una joda” can be used as “a joke” or something that’s not really true, following the second definition we just saw above. So we can say “no te enojes, es una joda” (don’t be mad, it’s a joke). What is more, during the ’90s there was a famous TV show here called Videomatch, which helped spread both this word and a special phrase containing it. In this show, pranks were played on people: basically, they did lots of horrible things to upset them and in the end they’d say “es una joda para Videomatch“. This show was so popular, that this phrase started being used by rioplatófonos when trying to calm their friends down, after teasing them or making fun of them.

And then, there’s the other meaning for “joda“, which has to do with having fun, as we said at the beginning of this entry. So for example, rioplatófonos can ask “¿dónde es la joda?” (where is the party?) or they can “salir de joda” (go party). But of course, this word can also be used in a more flexible way, not just to talk about an actual party. “Estar de joda” could also imply to be simply having a good time, instead of being at work, for instance.  😛

Enough theory. Let’s practice a bit now. Do you remember the entry in which we talked about the news channel Crónica TV? Well, look at the following screen capture from this newspaper’s website:




Here you have different examples of news articles where the word “joda” has been used. Can you try and guess which meaning is being used in each case? Are they talking about a joke? Or is it a party? By the way, as we saw previously, Crónica isn’t precisely a very formal or politically correct newspaper. That probably explains why we find so many hits with the word “joda” here. Nevertheless, in my opinion, this word is becoming less taboo or rude sounding for newer generations. We’d have to conduct a study to confirm this, though!

And finally, I’ll share with you a fun song called “Himno a la joda“, by Chicos Católicos. Chicos Católicos is a comedy play about a group of  teenagers who are about to take the First Communion. You can read more about it here. Anyway, this particular song is in fact a typical religious song, with modified lyrics, that has been turned into a cumbia. For those who are not familiar with cumbia, it’s a dance-oriented music genre, that is quite popular throughout Latin America. Anyway, here it goes. Enjoy the song!  😉 And you can turn on the subtitles if you want!





[#028] ¡Epa, qué colorcito!

¿Querés una birrita? ¿No tendrás un tomatito para la ensalada? ¿Por qué no nos sentamos allá, al solcito? ¡Qué carita que tenés!

These are all things that you can hear from rioplatófonos. Actually, from Spanish speakers in general. But since this is a common phenomenon in the River Plate area, it is important to talk about it and explain a few things. ¿Solcito? Little sun? ¿Birrita? Little beer? What’s all this about?



Friday… I deserve a cold one!


If you’ve already had a Spanish lesson or two, you will have probably noticed that word endings change all the time and these changes are quite common. Look at the verb “to speak” in the present tense: hablo, hablás, habla, hablamos, etc. You already know that these endings (or suffixes) convey different meanings. In this case, they point to the subject of the sentence, and that’s why you don’t need to use personal pronouns like “yo” or “ella” all the time… Yes, exactly, I’m talking about verb conjugation. And yes, we all hate it. Moving on!

There is a special kind of suffix in Spanish that is often used to imply a different meaning, which has to do with size. When we add “-ito/a” (or “-cito/a“) to some words, we add the meaning of “small”. So for example, “casita” means “casa pequeña” (little house), and “lapicito” means “lápiz pequeño” (small pencil). This word transformation is not so common in English, but you can think of the suffix “-let” in words like “droplet” (little drop of rain) or “booklet” (a small book), which works in a similar way.

Now, these special endings (or diminutive suffixes) don’t always convey the idea of a small size, as in the examples that you read at the beginning of this post, but can also express affection. This is what linguists call “morfología apreciativa“, which has to do with the use of morphological resources like suffixes to express affection or emotions. Compare saying “little dog” and “doggy”. Or “little cat” and “kitty”. Which one would you say sounds cuter?

Now, it is well known that Spanish cannot live without its crazy and super rich morphology, so that means that we can add these suffixes to lots and lots of nouns, and adjectives too.

So if you ask for a “tomatito” to add to your salad, then yes, that can be a small tomato or it can be just a cute way of referring to it. It wouldn’t be weird for a cook on TV to say something like “y ahora cortamos unas cebollitas y después las agregamos al tuquito” (so now we chop some onions and then we add them to the tomato sauce), which will make the cook sound more loving or less cold and captivate their audience. (By the way, good luck translating this affective component in such cases. Cute onions? Haha, what’s that?)

If a friend invites you to go for a “birrita“, don’t assume you will be drinking only a little bit. That won’t necessarily be the case. Actually, this word has already appeared in a video in a previous entry. We didn’t get to say much back then, but there you have an example of this diminutive suffix. And in case we haven’t mentioned this before, the word “birra” is slang for “cerveza“, so you will only hear it in informal contexts.

Next example. Think of a cold winter sunny day. Wouldn’t if feel great to go sit over there under the warm sun? ¿Por qué no nos sentamos allá, al solcito? Of course, the sun can never be small. But the use of “solcito” conveys this nice feeling of the sun gently warming our skin.

Sometimes things get a bit more complicated, though, as in the expression “¡qué carita que tenés!” (literally, “what a face you have!”). If someone says this phrase to a friend, they will be probably trying to point out a special facial expression. Maybe their friend is tired and sleepy, maybe they look angry or they are in a bad mood, or maybe they are smiling while daydreaming. Qué cara, carita, carucha, caripela All of them are valid. Oh, the wonders of morphological derivation!


And finally, we can look at the title of this entry. Suppose we bump into Ross Geller, right after he’s been to the tanning salon.




We can then tell him: “¡Epa, qué colorcito, eh!” (Wow, nice tan you got there!)

Epa” is an interjection that usually shows some kind of surprise, at least in the River Plate area. It can be used differently in other places, though. Anyway, in this case, we can say that the word “colorcito” does not refer to size at all and is in fact being used in an ironic way. In other words, this affective meaning embedded in the suffix “-ito” does not represent our real opinion of Ross’ tan, and we probably don’t actually like his skin colour now.


Ok, to end this entry, here’s a piece of advice: be careful when you try to use these complex morphological resources. Mastering them is an art. If you want to use them correctly, start by copying what native speakers say, in the same contexts and with the same intonation. But if you want to experiment, run the risk of sounding weird and have a laugh, then go ahead and have fun with any palabritas that may come to your mind! 😉


[#027] ¿Me estás cargando?

Rioplatófonos often say that they carry one another, yet they don’t actually do that. What do they mean by this then? Today we will talk about the expression “cargar a alguien” (to carry someone, literally speaking).

The first thing we have to say is that the verb “cargar” has several meanings in Spanish. I’ve just done a quick search in the DRAE (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española), and I’ve found (to my surprise) no less than 46 definitions! But don’t freak out, most of those meanings are either very closely related or very specific to a given domain. To keep it simple, we are going to say that one of the most common meanings of this verb is to carry or hold something or someone. So for example, we can carry a box or a baby: “cargar una caja“, “cargar un bebé“.

But this verb has another meaning, too. Look at this image from the website we talked about last time: Grandes Frases Ilustradas.


As you can probably guess from this picture, the second most common meaning for this verb is “to charge”, when talking about devices or their batteries, for instance. That is why in this picture you can see a mobile phone that, while being charged, says: “You’re charging me!”.

However, when a rioplatófono says “¡me estás cargando!” or asks “¿me estás cargando?“, they are neither being carried nor being charged… Ok, so much for suspense: let’s now solve this mystery. The expression “cargar a alguien” means to tease someone by jokingly lying. So when someone tries to fool somebody else or make them believe something untrue, this expression comes in handy. Look at this example from an Argentinian soap opera:

In this short dialogue, two people are talking on the phone about the police finding out about something apparently secret, and the guy doesn’t understand how that was possible. The woman says that there was someone who betrayed them and, after spying on them, gave them away. The guy can’t believe it, so he says the following at the end:

    –Pero ¿qué decís, Marga? ¿Cómo que Mía policía? ¿Me estás cargando?

    – But what are you saying, Marga? How come? Mía, a policewoman? Are you kidding me?

So whenever you think someone is lying to you for whatever reason, you can now say “¡Me estás cargando!” (You gotta be kidding me!).

And here’s a bonus! In English there’s an idiomatic expression with a similar meaning: “to pull someone’s leg”. In Spanish, we also have our own idiomatic expression to convey this meaning, but instead or pulling legs, we take people’s hair: “tomar el pelo“. So apart from saying “¿me estás cargando?“, you can also say “¿me estás tomando el pelo?“.

[#026] ¡Estoy frito!

Do you like eggs? Apparently, rioplatófonos do, as they have many expressions that refer to them, at least in a figurative manner. Today we’ll have a look at some informal expressions that include the word “huevo” (egg) or refer to it somehow, even if the actual non-literal meanings of the phrases are unrelated.

But to explain the meaning of each expression more easily, we’ll resort to this wonderful website called Grandes Frases Ilustradas: http://www.ggffii.com/ In this website, you can see the work of an artist who collected everyday phrases and represented the literal meaning conveyed by them through pictures made by himself. The result is hilarious and, at the same time, it helps us think about how crazy language can be!

Alright, let’s get started then!


This expression is not exclusive to rioplatófonos and can be found in other linguistic varieties, too. It translates literally as “I’m fried!”, so this is the image that shows that specific meaning:
Estoy frito
Now, what this phrase means is something different. It is used to express the idea of being very tired or exhausted, as in “estoy frito, me voy a la cama” (I’m exhausted, I’m off to bed). “Quedarse frito” further implies falling asleep immediately: “anoche me acosté y me quedé frito” (last night I went to bed and fell asleep right away). Another possible meaning for “estar frito” is to find oneself in a difficult or tough situation, so in that case it could be translated as “I’m screwed”.


We have already discussed this expression here, but this time we will explain a bit more. This is an interesting expression, as it can be interpreted in different ways, even from a literal perspective. Look at this image to see one of the possible meanings:
Me chupa un huevo
Here we can see that one egg and a half are sucking a person. Through this interpretation, we can see that the expression is understood as “un huevo me chupa” (that is to say, for those who love grammar, that the egg is the subject of the sentence and the person is the direct object of the verb).

In reality, the correct (still literal) interpretation should be different: something is sucking one of my eggs… (So in grammatical terms we have something, a tacit subject, that is doing the sucking of a direct object, the egg, and this object belongs to me, the indirect object). But wait… WTF?! What would this even mean? Well, in this case, “egg” is to be interpreted as “testicle”. So, when rioplatófonos say that something sucks one of their testicles, the real non-literal meaning they are conveying, in a vulgar way, is that they do not care about that at all. So for example, we can say “me chupa un huevo lo que decís” (I don’t give a damn about what you say). Adding “y la mitad del otro” at the end simply adds more emphasis (and also shows that there are two eggs in total, which goes hand-in-hand with the anatomical explanation).


Do you remember the meaning of the verb “hinchar” in Spanish? We talked about it on this previous entry. Normally it means “to swell”, but in the River Plate area it also means to cheer or root for a team. That is why we can have the following literal representation of this phrase:
Cómo hichan los huevos
However, when rioplatófonos say “hinchar los huevos“, they are actually referring to something or someone that is causing their testicles to swell, giving the idea of feeling annoyed or irritated. So if you hear someone saying “no me hinchés más los huevos“, you now know they are saying “stop bothering me”, but in a kind of vulgar way. You can even shorten the expression and simply say “cómo hinchan…” or “cómo hinchás…” (how annoying…), and in such cases the missing information can be easily recovered from the context.


What can “salió un huevo” mean? Well, the literal interpretation is that an egg went out, instead of staying at home:
But the verb “salir” can also have other meanings. For example, it can be used in the same way as “costar“, when talking about prices: “¿cuánto cuesta?, ¿cuánto sale?” (how much is it?). If someone answers this question by saying: “salió/costó un huevo“, it means it was really expensive or, in the case of “costar“, it can also mean that it required a lot of effort. For instance, “esta computadora me salió/costó un huevo” (this computer was very expensive) or “me costó un huevo resolver este problema” (I had to work very hard to solve this problem). Again, here we are making reference to (something as valuable as) a testicle. And likewise, this phrase can also take “y la mitad del otro” at the end to add more emphasis to the expression.
Ok, I think we’ve had plenty of protein already, so no more egg phrases for today! 🙂

[#025] Estás al horno

Today I bring you a new expression that I have recently come across in an Argentine advertisement. The product that is being advertised is a “flan“, which is a dessert similar to a custard. And the expression used in this ad is “estar al horno está bueno“. Here’s the video:

This kind of dessert is very common in the River Plate area. You can have it with dulce de leche (remember?), with cream, or with both of them (and that’s called “flan mixto“). Yummy!

So this is the text from the video:

    ¿Vacaciones con tus suegros? ¡Descanso para tu billetera! Estar al horno está bueno. Te lo dice el flan casero Sancor, que ya estuvo ahí, para que vos disfrutes el verdadero sabor casero y mucho más.

And here is a quick translation:

    Going on holiday with your parents-in-law? Your wallet will get a break! “Being in the oven” is good. The home-made flan Sancor tells you so, as it has already been there, so that you can enjoy the real home-made flavour and much more.

Side note: Remember when we talked about the aspiration of the letter “s” on a previous entry? In these four sentences, there are seven instances of that kind of aspiration. Can you spot them?

Alright, but what does “being in the oven” mean then? Well, if we are talking about a cake, for instance, of course it can be literally inside an oven. But in a figurative sense, when someone “está en el horno” or “está al horno“, it means that they are in trouble or have to deal with a difficult situation.

In this particular case, it is assumed that spending your holiday with your partner’s parents can be tough. But the silver lining seems to be that they will be paying for certain things, so you won’t have to spend so much money in the end: your wallet will get a rest. That’s why being in trouble can be good, or “estar al horno ESTÁ BUENO“. And since this product has already been (literally) inside an oven, it can say first-hand that being there is good and, thanks to that, you’ll be savouring a delicious dessert.

These are two pics from the same ad campaign that show other situations where this phrase can be used. Can you guess why someone would “estar en el horno” in such cases?



Apparently, doing the dishes and eating soup have both a bad reputation! But hey, as long as you can eat this flan, it’s alright! Or at least that’s how marketing seems to work.

So next time you are sitting for an exam, paying your bills, or getting late to work, you now know that you can say “¡estoy en el horno!” and feel like a true rioplatófono. 😉

[#024] Aló, Jorge

Have you ever wondered how rioplatófonos answer the phone? I had never actually given it much thought. But then I came across the following picture and thought I should make a comment about it on this blog.


This seems to be a photo of an old textbook used by Argentine students around 60 years ago or so. It shows a dialogue between two children who are talking on the phone. I will first give you an approximate translation of what they are saying, and then we will focus on some specific points.

    —Aló, Jorge
    —What do you mean, “aló”? Where did you get that foreign word from, Enrique?
    —I heard it from someone I don’t remember.
    —OK, OK. I prefer to say “hola”, as it is said in Argentina. Specially now that we’ve had our own telephones since the government of the General Perón bought them. Don’t you agree?
    —You are right, Jorge.

The first word that we need to pay attention to is “aló“. But Jorge has already explained it for us. As he says, rioplatófonos don’t say “aló” when answering the phone. We just say “hola“. Some people might stress the second syllable of the word, though. This “holá” version is only used when answering the phone, it is never used when greeting someone face-to-face. But the traditional “hola”, stressed on the first syllable, can always be used, both in person or on the phone.

It is interesting to point out that, apart from using “aló“, Enrique also seems to use the pronoun ““, instead of “vos“. His last phrase is “tienes razón“, instead of “tenés razón“. Maybe the use of “” was a bit more common back in those days, as a result of the influence of the Spanish that came from Spain. Or maybe people still considered the form “” as the correct one (or at least the one that was to appear on a textbook), and “vos” as a kind of evil deviation from the norm. 😛 That’s no longer the case, of course! But it seems then that Enrique is trying to speak in a more neutral way or to imitate other accents, whereas Jorge makes a stand for speaking the way Argentines do.

The last point I want to mention is actually a cultural reference. Did you notice that Jorge refers to Perón? Do you know who he was? Maybe you’ve heard about his wife, Evita Perón, or that famous song in her honor, “Don’t cry for me, Argentina”. Anyway, Juan Domingo Perón was elected president in 1946, reelected right afterwards in 1952, and then came back to power in 1973. He played such an important role in Argentina that there is still today a political party named after him: el peronismo.

Now, this is not a blog on politics, so we will not be discussing what role should politics play in education, or if it is right or wrong to include such references in school. But if you are interested in finding out more about what textbooks looked like during those years, you can easily search for something like “libros escolares Perón” on Google or YouTube and I’m sure you will get more examples.

Anyway, you now know how to answer the phone in the River Plate area. But what about saying goodbye before hanging up? Luckily, there is nothing special about that, haha! There is no specific word or different stress pattern for this, so you can just say something like “chau, nos vemos“. 😉

[#023] Faltan 35 horas para Navidad

The countdown to Christmas has already started. And lots of rioplatenses will celebrate it too. So yeah, we can say that Christmas is definitely in the air… And everywhere you look around! Even on your own Facebook home page.

As I was scrolling down on Facebook and seeing my friends’ post, likes and stuff, I came across a Facebook page called Me lo dijo un forro. The idea behind this page is to share phrases or comments made by forros (i.e. assholes). We have already talked about this typical rioplatense insult on a previous entry.

And this is the actual image I came across. It shows a typical dialogue that can take place in an authentic rioplatense family gathered to celebrate Navidad (or Christmas):

Feliz Navidad

Now, here we see the word “boludo” again (used in its mild version, not as an insult). We have already talked about it several times, so if this is the first time you see it, you can click on its tag and read more about it. But what about the word Crónica? As they argue about the exact hour and whether it is already Christmas or not, someone says “poné Crónica” (which means “turn on/switch to Crónica“). Well, this is an important cultural point that I decided to share with you today.

Crónica TV is a well-known news cable channel (and newspaper) in the city of Buenos Aires. It is really popular, but definitely sensationalist. So you can expect all kinds of funny and bizarre news to be broadcast 24/7. This channel is best known for the use of big white letters on red screens to announce “breaking news”. And the typical background music used while telling the news is a US military march: The Stars and Stripes Forever. Why such a choice? I have no fucking clue.

Anyway, I will share now some bizarre news that you can find on Crónica TV, so that you can get a better picture of what Crónica usually means to us, rioplatenses.

This is the kind of news that you are bound to find on this channel. I hope you can understand the news, but if you have any questions, you can leave them on the comment section below. The countdown to springtime is one of the most popular, together with the countdown to Christmas/New Year. That’s probably why in our initial dialogue we find people saying that you should check Crónica on Christmas Eve. If it’s Christmas already you will be seeing lots of crazy fireworks on the screen. Otherwise, you will see huge numbers telling you how many minutes/seconds are left before midnight.

And finally, I’ll give you a bonus video, where you can see some interesting news about a car crash… Well, the interesting part is actually that the only witness was Batman.