[#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?
    —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.


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.

    —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.
    —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.