Newsletter November 2011
  The Gringo's Short Guide to Speaking Spanish like an Argentine  

Learning the local language is tough, and learning various pronunciations for all the countries you may travel while in South America can be a bit tricky, as well. In Argentina the dialect spoken differs from typical Latin American Spanish in two major ways – the pronunciation of the 'll' and 'y', and the use of 'vos'. Here is a brief overview of how to survive in the midst of Argentine Spanish.

The 'll' and 'y'.

In most Latin American countries, the 'll' and 'y' are pronounced like the English 'y', as in the word year. In Argentina, both are pronounced as 'zh', like the g in mirage. So, to say the phrase yo tampoco (meaning, me neither) sounds like zho tampoco, and the word calle (street) is pronounced cah-zhay.

The 'Vos'.

Now that you've got the pronunciation of the first person pronoun down (yo, or I in English), let's move on to the second person pronoun (you in English), which is "Tú" in Spanish. Simple enough, right? Wrong. During an informal, friendly environment, many Argentineans will use "vos" (pronounced vohs) instead of "tú", and "vos" has its own set of verb conjugations. Take the following for example:

  • Spanish: Tú tienes (You have), pronounced 'too tee-en-aes'
    • In Argentinean Spanish: Vos tenés, pronounced 'vohs teh-nays';
  • Spanish: Tú puedes (You can), pronounced 'too pway-days'
    • In Argentinean Spanish: Vos podés, pronounced 'vohs poh-days'

Is it similar to "vosotros", you ask? No, sorry, it's not. On the bright side, you don't have to worry about "vosotros" in Argentina because they don't use it! Instead, you can just use "ustedes", which is the plural form of "you" in Spanish.

Lunfardo and other handy Argentine Spanish words.

No, it's not a type-o; Lunfardo is the word for Argentinean slang, which originated as a prison language. In Argentina, you will find that young and old alike use various jargon. For instance, you may hear an old man say talk about the "onda". This is a term used to describe people, places, and things. A person who has buena onda is a kind and easy-going person.

Knowing some lunfardo and other frequently used words can help you get by (or avoid) the things you want to. For a more complete list of lunfardo words, here is a Lunfardo dictionary:

Food & Drink:

  • Pancho (pahn-cho) – hot dog
  • Chinchulín (cheen-choo-leen) – Intestine
  • Cerdo (ser-doh) – pork
  • Bife de chorizo (bee-fay day chor-ee-zoh) – sirloin stek
  • Chimichurri (chee-mee-choo-ree) – a typical marinade
  • Chorizo (chor-ee-zoh) – highly seasoned pork sausage usually eaten at the beginning of an asado.
  • Choripan (chore-ee-pahn) – a chorizo in a sandwich


  • Porteños (por-tayn-yos) – residents of Buenos Aires
  • Boludo (bow-loo-doh) – amigo
  • Che (chay) – Dude or, "hey, you!"
  • Baboso (bah-boh-soh) – 'skirt chaser' or someone very fond of the ladies
  • Piola (pee-oh-lah) – clever
  • Morfar (more-far) – to eat
  • Macanudo (mah-cah-noo-doh) – cool, excellent
Spanish for Families – A unique and fun family vacation!

Finally, a family vacation that combines fun with learning! With AMAUTA's Spanish for Families program, a typical day may begin with the whole family visiting museums or other interesting sites in and around Buenos Aires with Spanish classes in the afternoons. Parents have Spanish classes at their respective levels while the children have their own Spanish teacher and a specially designed children's class.

This class is held in a bright, colorful room where children study using a range of fun materials. This class is adapted to the age range of your children, but is most suitable for ages 6 through 17.
For younger kids, AMAUTA offers the option to have them in a private 'class' where they will be painting, singing and playing.

Weekends are filled with fun excursions, as well! A special range of trips can be planned, including a visit to a famous estancia where parents and children will enjoy participating in a Fiesta Gaucho, or a boat excursion on the Paraná Delta to the small village of Tigre, which has a famous family amusement park. Other options are the Feria de San Telma with its fun street acts and tango dancers, the Bosques de Palermo for a small boat trip and picnic, or the Zoo in Palermo, among others. Truly an unforgettable experience for both parents and kids.

Visit our blog (http://www.spanishschoolsblog.com/) to read three testimonials from families about their experience with AMAUTA's Spanish for Families program!...

  Top 10 Must-Do Activities in Spring in Argentina!  


Your time in Buenos Aires will be filled with many new sites and experiences, no doubt, and some will be more interesting than others. It is often difficult to know from your guidebook which activities are truly worthwhile. So, we thought it might be helpful to get advice from fellow students. We parsed the people at AMAUTA for must do activities in Buenos Aires, and we condensed it into a list of the top 10 things. We hope you have time to enjoy them all!

  1. Take time to visit the Palermo Parks. Enjoy a picnic, rent a bike, lay in the grass, enjoy the lakes and diverse wildlife. It's Spring, for pete's sake!

  2. Treat yourself to a fantastic parrilla. There are many parrillas, but there are some that are exceptional. Try La Cabrera and Las Cholas in Las Cañitas!

  3. Attend a dinner tango show. To travel to Buenos Aires and not attend a dinner tango show is just a darn shame. There is so much passion in it!

  4. Free city walking tours. Organized by Buenos Aires' city government. The architecture is breathtaking, and all the neighborhoods are vastly different.

  5. Attend a futbol game. Argentineans are futbol fanatics, and weekends bring huge crowds to the city. Chanting along with thousands of Argentineans will be an unforgettable experience!

  6. Stroll through the Recoleta Cemetery. Its beautiful marble mausoleums characterize it and many famous people that call this their final resting place.

  7. Enjoy the nightlife. Did you know that Buenos Aires is ranked as one of the Top 10 most nocturnal cities in the world?! Yeah, you have to experience it.

  8. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a local. Sit down at an open-air café and enjoy a conversation with some of the locals. You will learn a lot about the local culture and practice your Spanish, as well!

  9. Visit MALBA, the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. Even if you are not the biggest art lover, you will still be amazed by MALBA's impressive permanent collection of art.

  10. Visit a feria (an open market). The ferias combine shopping and entertainment. From handicrafts to dancing, you can enjoy the local culture.


  Essential Brain Food: The Alfajor  

AlfajorAs a student, knowing what food will get you through your studies is essential. Perhaps you remember late nights slumped over a computer chowing down on a cold piece of pizza. Or, perhaps twinkies were more your style. Whatever was your handy side-kick, we all know that we probably would not have made it through high school, college, etc. without it.

In this series, we will discuss essential foods to help you through your Spanish language courses. The first is the oh-so-delicious Argentinean alfajor (pronounced 'all-fah-hor'). Actually, alfajores are found in multiple Latin American countries, but Argentina's alfajores are spectacular! No trip to Argentina would be complete without sinking your teeth into one (or twelve) of these sweets.

Picture this – two layers of sweet biscuits glued together by a rich layer of thick caramel sauce (called "dulce de leche") then coated with chocolate. Mmmmm! There are many variations, and this is just one of them.

Argentineans eat alfajores at all times of the day, so there's no reason you shouldn't either. Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Argentine Alfajores

(*Recipe and photo from Anything Au Chocolate)


  • Alfajor6 1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cans dulce de leche
  • 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate


In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar, honey and egg, then add the orange zest. Sift dry ingredients over it, and mix well until it is a firm dough. It might still be a little sticky. Wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll the dough onto a floured surface until about 1/5 inch thick. Cut the cookies using a 2-inch cookie cutter, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool.

Once the cookies have cooled, you can assemble the alfajores. Spread dulce de leche on the flat side of the cookie and place another cookie on top making a sandwich (again, flat side to the dulce de leche), squeeze them lightly together then I even out the dulce de leche around it with a knife and dip them in the chocolate, tempered. With a fork, lift the alfajor out of the chocolate, lightly tap the fork against the bowl to get rid of any excess chocolate and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cool. Makes about 25 alfajores.

  The PERFECT Argentine Spring Discount for YOU! 
(Must book by December 15th to receive discounts)
For the STUDY FREAKS and LANGUAGE NERDS: Register for 8 weeks or more of Spanish courses and receive a 30% DISCOUNT!
Book Now
For the TANGO DANCERS: Enroll for 2 weeks or more and receive 5% OFF and two FREE tango lessons!
Book Now
For the CULTURAL ENTHUSIASTS: Enroll for 3 weeks or more and receive 5% off and a FREE Buenos Aires city tour!
Book Now
For the HAPPY COUPLES or GOOD OLD FRIENDS: Register two for 2 weeks or more and the second receives 30% OFF!
Book Now
For the BACKPACKERS: Enroll in 1 week of our Survival Spanish (group class) and receive a 20% DISCOUNT! (Class starts on January 2nd and February 6.)
Book Now
For the EXPLORERS: Register for 8 weeks or more and receive a FREE weekend trip to the famous Iquazu Waterfalls!
Book Now
For CARD HOLDERS and STUDENTS: All SAE and ISIC cardholders receive a 10% DISCOUNT on course bookings!
Book Now
Coming in JANUARY 2012: Book a 4 week group course with a family homestay starting January 2nd and receive the 5th week FREE!
Book Now
  Test your Argentine knowledge!  
Can you correctly locate this famous Buenos Aires location? (No cheating via Google!) Check back in our next newsletter for the answer.


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Calle Suecia 480,
Cusco, Peru
Phone. (+51) 84 26 2345
Av. De Mayo 1370
Barolo Palace 3 floor, “10”
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone/Fax. (+54) 11 4383 7706