[#021] This is Buenos Aires (II)

This time we will continue analyzing the video from our previous entry. We have already discussed some cultural aspects portrayed in this video, but we didn’t get to analyse all the typical rioplatense expressions that appear in it. So we’ll do that today. Here’s the video again:





So we did actually get to see some linguistic expressions last time, like “jamón del medio” or “la posta“. And we have also briefly discussed the meaning of “choripán“, “asado” and “bache“. But there are some other typical expressions that we can learn from this video as well. Two comments first:

At 1:46, there’s a short scene where Claudio tells Willy and Peter that if they need to wash their clothes, they can do it there at “Matilda wash”. He then tells Matilda, his mum, “Permiso, Matilda, open the way”, as he translates “abra el paso” literally into English. And here Matilda says “Chanta, hijo de puta” after realizing what his son is doing: making the guys from England believe that Matilda’s house is a hostel. Do you remember the meaning of “chanta“? We have already seen it on a previous entry. It means “lier” in castellano rioplatense.

At 2:33 Claudio tries to explain to his guests what a “subte” (subway/underground) is. If you listen to him carefully, you’ll notice how he pronounces the word “escuchá“. Do you remember what we’ve said about the aspiration of letter “s” before another consonant? You can barely listen to his /s/ here. You can find another clear instance of this aspiration of the /s/ sound at 3:13 (“estuve nueve meses estudiando inglés…” and “a mí me chupa un huevo lo que estuviste estudiando“).


Alright, let’s now look more closely at this dialogue between Claudio and his mother and sister (2:50), and concentrate on the new expressions. I’ll add an aproximate translation afterwards.

    —Te tendrías que haber casado con Luis vos, que era un tipo sano, fuerte, trabajador…
    —Era un plomo, mamá, Luis. Era un plomo.
    —¿Qué querés tener al lado? ¿Un payaso que te haga reír todo el tiempo?
    —Permiso…
    —Sacá de acá- Salí de acá, Claudio.
    —El mate, necesito el mate. Peter quiere tomar mate.
    —Bueno, escuchame una cosa, que mamá está muy enojada, muy enojada, porque no entiende por qué estás haciendo esto.
    —Me sorprende que vos no me estés bancando en esta. Yo me preparé, ¡me preparé! Estuve nueve meses estudiando inglés.
    —A mí me chupa un huevo lo que estuviste estudiando. Me metiste dos ingleses en mi casa. ¡No tenés patria vos, Claudio! No te importa nada. Aparte, yo los escucho a la noche, Claudio. ¡Son homosexuales, Claudio! ¡Son homosexuales!
    —Son avanzados, se visten así. En el primer mundo son así. ¡Abrí la mente, prejuiciosa!
    —¡Yo no tengo ninguna mente que abrir, Claudio, eh!
    —Prometenos que es la última vez que hacés esto y ya está. Y listo, solucionado el problema, ¿o no, ma? ¿O no, ma?
    —Quizás es la última vez que me ven a mí también… Quizás.
    —Dejalo que se vaya… Pero que deje las plantitas.

    —You should have married Luis; he was a sound, strong and hard-working guy…
    —Luis was unbearable, mum. He was a bore.
    —Who do you want by your side? A clown who’ll make you life all the time?
    —Excuse me…
    —Get the- Get out of here, Claudio.
    —The mate, I need the mate. Peter wants to drink mate.
    —Well, listen to me, mum is very angry, very angry, because she doesn’t understand why you’re doing this.
    —I can’t believe that you are not supporting me here. I prepared myself. I prepared myself! I’ve been studying English for nine months.
    —I don’t give a fuck about what you’ve been studying. You brought two Englishmen to my home. You have no love for your country, Claudio! You don’t care at all. Besides, I listen to them at night, Claudio. They are homosexuals, Claudio! They are homosexuals!
    —They are progressive, they dress like that. People are like that in the first world. Open your mind, you prejudiced woman!
    —I don’t have have to open my mind at all, Claudio!
    —Promise us that this is the last time you do this, and that’s it. Problem solved; right, mum? Right, mum?
    —Maybe this is also the last time you see me… Maybe.
    —Let him go… But he should leave the “plants” here.


The first expression from this dialogue that we can comment upon is the word “plomo“, which means literally “lead” (as in the metal). But when rioplatófonos use this word to describe someone, it means that that person is really dull and boring. We can also use the word “pesado” (heavy) or “denso” (dense) to convey the same idea. In addition, “ser un plomo” can also imply being annoying or a pain in the neck.

So in this case, Claudia describes Luis as a really boring person (¡un plomo!) and that is why her mother asks her if she wants to have a clown by her side, i.e. someone who will make her laugh all the time.


Plomo

The second word we’ll have a look at is the verb “bancar (a alguien)“. This verb can have several different meanings. In this context, Claudio is telling his sister that he is surprised she isn’t supporting him, helping him, backing him up: me sorprende que vos no me estés bancando en esta. In a different context, this verb could mean “to support financially”, and also “to bear, tolerate or stand” (as in “bancar a un plomo” or “to put up with a bore”). What’s more, this expression can be used as a synonym of “wait” or “hang in there” as well (e.g. “bancá un minuto“). And the expression “bancársela” could be translated as “to be brave enough to face/endure a tough situation”. Hmm, I guess we’ll have to devote a special entry to this verb in the future, so you can see more examples of how it can be used!

The last expression we are going to discuss from this dialogue is “me chupa un huevo“. When rioplatófonos say that something “les chupa un huevo“, they mean that they don’t care about that thing at all… but in a very vulgar way. A good translation for this would probably be “I don’t give a fuck/damn about that”. And its literal translation would be “(something) sucks one of my eggs” (“eggs” referring to “testicles” here), so yeah, it’s definitely a vulgar expression and you should be careful with how you use it. And as you can see from this video, women can use it too.


Me chupa un huevo

Here’s the second dialogue in Spanish from the video (4:55):

    —¡Claudio, esta gente está enferma! Está volando de fiebre este tipo… Y vos también. Mirá cómo están. A ver, correte… ¡Claudia, traé un balde que van a vomitar todo! Ahh, pobrecito…
    —Hay que llevarlos a la Embajada, que se mueran ahí, mamá.
    —Vos no tenés corazón. Por eso estás con ese payaso. Pobre gente. Yo los voy a cuidar, se van a quedar una semana acá en casa. Esto es todo mío. ¿Sí? Quédense tranquilos que se van a poner bien. ¿Sí?

    —Yeah, I feel I’m dying over here…
    —No pasa nada, bebé. Va a estar todo bien. A mí me gustaría conocer Inglaterra también.
    —¡Pero mamá, vos odiás a los ingleses!
    —Dejame, que estoy hablando con la gente tranquila… Yo quiero ir allá. A mí no me preocupa que ustedes sean homosexuales. A mí me gustan también las cosas por el culo: es lindo.
    —¡¡Mamá!!
    —Dejame.

    —Claudio, these people are sick! This guys is running a fever… And you too. Look at you. Let’s see, move aside a bit… Claudia, bring a bucket, they are going to throw it all up! Aww, poor boy…
    —We have to take them to the Embassy and let them die there, mum.
    —You have no heart! That’s why you’re dating that “clown”. Poor guys. I’m going to take care of you, you’ll stay here for a week. This house is all mine, ok? Don’t worry, you’ll get better, ok?
    —Yeah, I feel I’m dying over here…
    —There’s nothing to worry about, dear. Everything will be alright. I would like to visit England, too.
    —But you hate people from England, mum!
    —Let me talk with these guys on my own… I want to go there. I don’t mind that you are gay. I also like it form behind: it’s nice.
    —Mum!!!
    —Let me (talk with them).


From this second part, we’ll just look at the verb “correrse“. Of course, the verb “correr” can be used in the sense of “running” or “moving at a high speed”, but it can also be used as a transitive verb (requiring a direct object) in the sense of “moving something from one place to another“. So if you want to say something like “move the chair”, you can then say “corré (vos) la silla“, and nobody will think that they have to go running after it. Now, if what needs to be moved is oneself, then we can use this verb reflexively, which takes us back to “correrse“.

    Dame un segundo y me corro.
    Give me a second and I’ll move.

    Correte, por favor.
    Move aside, please.

I’m pointing this out, because apparently this usage isn’t very common in Spain, where “correrse” means “to ejaculate/cum”. So yeah, you can just reread these previous examples, but with this other meaning in mind now, and see why someone from Spain will surely have a laugh listening to us rioplatófonos. And, by the way, to express this other meaning in the River Plate area, we can use the colloquial expression “acabar“. Yes, “acabar” usually means to “finish” or “complete”, but it can also have this other sexually-related meaning here, i.e. “to cum”.


And that’s all for today! But if there are other expressions from this video that you would like me to explain, feel free to ask in the comments below.


BA

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[#020] This is Buenos Aires (I)

Today we’ll keep on learning about the typical culture of rioplatenses, or people from the River Plate area. Well, to be more accurate, we’ll be talking specifically about porteños, i.e. people who live in Buenos Aires.

I’ll share a video that is actually a funny sketch made by a group of young rioplatófonos. The main character here represents a porteño who wants to meet people from other countries and decides to invite foreigners to Buenos Aires, offering them a place to stay and also showing them around the city. Two guys from Great Britain arrive and… Let’s see what happens.





Did you like the video? Did you understand the parts in Spanish? We’ll be working later with some typical expressions of the River Plate area that appear in this video, but for this entry we’ll concentrate on some general cultural aspects first.

The first thing that we should point out is, naturally, the mate. You are already familiar with this typical drink, as we have already talked about it on our previous entry. So I’m sure you knew what Claudio was talking about (and holding in his hand) at the very beginning of the video.

In the second scene, we see Claudio receiving Peter and Willy. Did you notice that he gives them both a kiss on the cheek and also hugs them? Of course you did! Well, he’s overreacting a bit here in a humorous purpose, but that’s just how we roll, haha! In general, rioplatenses (and people from Latin America for that matter) are very warm and affectionate. We show our feelings quite openly. And yes, when rioplatenses greet someone in an everyday situation, we usually kiss that person on the cheek. And it doesn’t matter if the greeting is between a man and a woman, two women or two men. As long as it’s not a formal situation (which usually requires a handshake), we can greet others like this. Even if it’s someone you’ve never met before, like one of your friend’s friends. This may be shocking to some people, but hey, in some other parts of the world, like Québec or France, you normally greet people with two kisses, or sometimes even more! We just give one kiss, so it’s no big deal, right? 😀


Welcome England_

As a result of our open, effusive and friendly nature, we don’t just speak through our mouths, but also through our bodies. You may have already noticed this in Claudio, as he’s moving his hands around virtually all the time as he speaks. We’ve probably inherited this from the big waves of Italian immigrants who came to Buenos Aires during the last century. If you ask rioplatenses about their grandparents, you’ll find out that they were probably from Italy or Spain. But let’s focus on two specific instances of body language right now.

At 1:38, Claudio says “Ustedes tienen lindas mujeres también: Lady Di, las Spice Girls… Jamón del medio“, and then he kisses his fingertips. This expression “jamón del medio” means literally the middle part of the ham, which is regarded as the best/most delicious part. When this expression is applied to people, and women in particular, it means that they are very attractive. And yes, this hand gesture conveys the same idea.

At 4:18, Claudio says “Ok, this is Argentinian… very… food, the posta“, as he tries to explain (to the best of his linguistic skills) that they are about to eat a very traditional Argentinian meal (and the best one, according to him). He doesn’t seem to find a good translation for the word “posta“, though, so he says it in Spanish. In this case, “la posta” means “the absolute best, without question”. What’s more, “posta” can sometimes be translated as “truly” or “really”. For example, when you want to verify if something actually happened or if something is true, you can ask “¿Posta?“, which is equivalent to “¿De verdad?” or “¿En serio?“. And another common expression related to this is “decir la posta“, which means simply “to tell the truth”… Once again, this idea of “the best” or “the truth” can be accompanied by Claudio’s gesture: you make your thumb and index fingertips touch and form a ring, and you move your hand up and down.


Posta_

Let’s now look at some other cultural points that we can gather from the video. After seeing Claudio, can you think of a common stereotype for porteños? People from Buenos Aires (and all Argentines by extension) are often said to be very arrogant and conceited. This is of course not true for everybody and I’m sure you can find arrogant people everywhere in the world, but I guess that we can see this attitude when Claudio tries to explain to his guests what the subway/underground is, as if they didn’t know already, or when he tells them that “we have the best pretty girls of the world in Argentina”.

Another interesting character in this video is Matilda, Claudio’s mum. She’s characterized as adhering to certain beliefs and values that, in my opinion, are shared by a big group of people of her generation. For example, she tells her daughter that she should have settled down and married a guy described as morally sound, strong and hard-working, regardless of the fact that her daughter thought he was boring and therefore probably wasn’t in love with him. She tells Claudio that he has no love for his country, because he let two Englishmen stay at her place, making a clear reference to the resentment some rioplatenses have towards Great Britain regarding the Malvinas (Falklands) conflict. And she points out the fact that Willy and Peter are gay in a negative manner. Claudio tells her that she should have a more open mind and not be so prejudiced. (Nevertheless, I’d say that in general younger generations don’t share these ideas anymore.)


En mi casa_

Moving on… Did you notice all the references to food on this video? Well, we have already talked about the “la posta” scene. There, these guys are eating choripán (“chorizo” is a kind of sausage, usually made from pork, and “pan” means bread, so “choripán” would be a kind of sausage sandwich), which is part of any genuine asado. In a nutshell, asado consists of different cuts of meat grilled on a parrilla and it serves as an excuse for family or friends to gather, especially during the weekend.

Birra” is a common word that rioplatófonos use to refer to beer in informal contexts, although we can also use the more general word “cerveza“. In this video, Claudio says “birrita” after sharing some choripán with Willy and Peter, and we can see him drink it from a bottle of Quilmes, a very popular beer brand here. And lastly, at 4.00, we can see them buying some garrapiñada, or caramel-coated peanuts.

And the last two points worth-mentioning: tango and baches. Tango is one of the reasons this area is best known for, and in Buenos Aires you can see people dancing tango in San Telmo, a traditional neighbourhood, among other places. At 4:04, you can see someone learning to dance tango in the street. Then, we have the word “bache“, which means “pothole”. You can see one in this video at 3:55. Believe it or not, these “baches” are also part of our culture and you can easily spot one if you walk a lot around Buenos Aires. But don’t worry, when election days are coming closer, our political leaders in power make sure they disappear.


Bache_

Well, on our next entry we will have a closer look at the Spanish dialogues in this video, as there are some interesting words and expressions that need to be explained. But this is all for now… And probably the longest entry so far!