[#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.


[#013] Re panchos

A couple of weeks ago, a new friend of mine visited Luján (a small city in the province of Buenos Aires) and took a picture of a fast-food restaurant with an interesting name. Have a look at the photo and pay attention to the sign of the shop.

Re pancho

Any idea of what the meaning behind “RE PANCHOS” could be? If you’ve been reading the previous entries of this blog, you’ll probably remember we’ve already discussed the use of “re“. Now, “pancho” might be a new word to you. We’ll start by saying that it means “hot-dog”. You might have guessed that from the picture, though. But what do these two words mean combined?

If you don’t know/remember the meaning of “re“, you can check it out here, but in a nutshell, we can translate this tiny word as “very” or “really”. It is normally used before adjectives and it works as an intensifier. However, it can also modify nouns and in such cases we cannot, of course, translate it simply as “very”. After all, what would a “very hot-dog” mean, right?

When this particle “re” modifies a noun, it turns the noun into a superlative form. It conveys the idea of a highest/lowest degree or the best/worst quality of something.

    Una re depresión
    The worst depression ever

    Una re fiesta
    The best party ever

    Re panchos
    The best hot-dogs ever

The interesting thing about this use of “re + noun” is that the process of construction of meaning can get very creative. These panchos could be re panchos for several different reasons. Maybe they are super tasty, or maybe they are super large, or maybe you can add lots of different toppings to them. Similarly, if you tell someone that you just got a new job, but not just any ordinary job, sino un re trabajo, that could be a very well-paid job, or maybe a job that requires very little effort or time, or maybe a job that implies doing something special to which not many people have access (like interviewing celebrities or something of the sort). The actual specific meaning will always depend on the context.

  • “Best hot-dogs ever”, then. Is that all?

I’m afraid not. There is more to discuss here, as the word “pancho” can have other meanings, too. In castellano rioplatense, we can also use this word in informal contexts to describe people or animals. Someone described as “pancho” can be “calm”, “relaxed” or even “lazy”; someone who enjoys lying around and doing nothing.

    Estoy re pancho, mirando una peli en la cama.
    I’m very relaxed, watching a movie in bed.

    ¿Tu gato duerme todo el día? ¡Qué pancho!
    Your cat sleeps all day? He’s such a lazybones!

It can also be used to describe someone who doesn’t easily get annoyed or bothered, someone who never gets worried or doesn’t care much about things. So if you know people who never lose their temper, they could be good examples of “panchos“.

    Juan es un pancho. Aunque lo insultes, no te va a responder.
    Juan never loses his temper. Even if you insult him, he won’t answer back.

Another possible use of the word “pancho” is to refer to people who are not very smart or who are so innocent that they can’t read between the lines.

    Es re pancho, no se da cuenta de que querés dejarlo.
    He’s so dumb, he doesn’t realize you want to break up with him.

And last (I promise!) but not least, “Pancho” is also a very common nickname for the name “Francisco” and, well, for lazy pets, too! I once met a dog named Pancha, who (needless to say) was sleeping all the time!

Anyway, as you can see, there are lots of meanings attached to this word. Can you imagine Pancho re pancho comiendo panchos? But going back to the beginning, what do you think the name of the hot-dog place means then? I guess the most evident meaning in this case would be “best hot-dogs ever”, but at the same time it seems to be a good strategy to add this idea of going to this place to chill out and relax while eating something. Just forget about your problems and enjoy your hot-dogs!

Let’s see if you can now spot all these different meanings we’ve discussed in the following set of pictures. I know you can! 😉

[#005] Dulce de leche

This should be reason enough for you guys to devote all of your free time to learning Rioplatense Spanish. And I’m being serious (and biased). Let me introduce you to… ¡el dulce de leche!

Dulce de leche

It is too bad you can’t taste it on the screen, but if you have a sweet tooth, I’m sure you’ll definitely love dulce de leche. This is sometimes translated as “caramel”, but it is not quite that. This is actually sweetened milk. Just milk and sugar, cooked and stirred for a while until it starts getting darker and the water in the milk gets evaporated. That’s roughly the basic procedure for preparing dulce de leche.

It is worth pointing out, though, that this is not only found in the River Plate area. You can eat dulce de leche all over Argentina, and in other countries too, like Chile and Uruguay. But this is anyway something that rioplatófonos generally eat, so here it is. In terms of popularity, I guess we could say that dulce de leche would be the Argentine equivalent to Nutella in many European countries or North America.

And for those of you who might be wondering how we eat dulce de leche, well, you can always eat it by itself. You just grab a (big) spoon, try a bit, say “that’s enough”, try a bit more, and then keep going until it’s all gone. But there is in fact an infinite range of options and you can add dulce de leche to virtually anything. And this is where I stop writing, because we all know that pictures speak louder than words…

Ok, the first step is done: you already know about dulce de leche. Now you’re supposed to come here, give it a try and fall in love! 🙂 What are you waiting for?