The Argentine Sign Language
Getting to know and to live the Argentine culture might be one of the goals during your stay in Buenos Aires besides improving your Spanish language skills. There is one thing you need to know before immersing yourself in Argentine culture; Argentines use a lot of sign language while conversing. When studying Spanish in Argentina, you won’t just learn the Spanish spoken language, you will also learn to interpret the “sign language’. And if you end up staying in Argentina long enough, you might even start using it yourself. Knowing about sign language might help you make new friends or communicating with your host family.
Argentines use their hands continuously to express themselves. For every emotion there is a particular gesture. In this blog we will inform you about the most import signs.
Forming the letter ‘O’ with the fingers and holding the hands in front of the belly while moving the arm up and down. This is the most common sign used in almost all conversations as, obviously, the Argentines always know what they’re talking about.
Waving with their hand from the front to the back above the head. If an Argentinean does this, you’d better back out because he or she is not happy with your presence.
Sliding the hand forward from under the chin. Doing this, means your question cannot be answered, because they have no idea. In some countries this signs means ‘go away’. In Argentina it is just a sign to say ‘I don´t know’.
Doing this, means your question cannot be answered, because they have no idea. In some countries this signs means ‘go away’. In Argentina it is just a sign to say ‘I don´t know’.
One finger pointed upwards and a flat hand on top of it. The person who is doing this is asking for a minute. He needs one more minute before he is ready, before he knows an answer etc.
Acting like you are writing something in the air and look at the waiter. If you are in a restaurant and want to have the bill you can say “ la cuenta, por favor” or you can make this gesture and the waiter will bring you the bill.
Your thumb and forefinger a few inches apart, indicating you want something small. In Argentina this means you are asking for a cortado. A Cortado is a small coffee. If you are in a restaurant and you would like to order a cortado, you know what to do!
A rapid back-and-forth movement with your hand up. This means you need to watch carefully what you are doing or saying because your behavior is not appreciated.
Pointing a finger at your eye. This sign has multiple meanings. One of them is ‘I know what you are doing’, or ‘watch out’ or ‘I’m watching you’.