Jeanie Tsui

Lunfardos Tango

7 essential Lunfardos for tango (Part 2)

After our last Lunfardos blog post (7 Lunfardos for Tango (Part 1)), we have received a lot of requests for more Lunfardo words. So here you go our second collection of 7 essential Lunfardo words for tango, enjoy!

 

 

1. Metejón

Metejón means a crush or a crazy love.

“Milonga sentimental”, a popular milonga song, tells a story of a man who went to a milonga and thought about his lover that had left him. The lyrics describe how he was mad in love and crushed by her betrayal:

 

“Pero no es fácil cortarse

(But it is not easy to cut off)

los tientos de un metejón

(tentacles of a crush)

cuando están bien amarrados

(when they are tightly attached)

al palo del corazón”

(to the carcass of the heart)

 

Listen to “Milonga sentimental” by Orquesta Canaro and singer Ernesto Fama here:

 

2. Bombón

The Spanish word “bombón”, as you can probably guess, refers to candy, especially those that are coated with chocolate. In Argentina the word carries the double meaning of an attractive man or woman or a sweetheart.

In this beautiful song “bomboncito”, the lyricist poured out his heart and expressed without hesitation how his “bomboncito”, his little sweetie has taken his heart totally, and how her love does wonder to his life.

 

Dejame

(Let me)

que te diga despacito

(let me tell you slowly)

bomboncito… bomboncito…

(my little sweetie… my little sweetie…)

dueña de mi corazón.

(owner of my heart.)

 

Una vez más mi emoción

(Once again my excitement)

repetirá la canción

(will repeat the song)

milagro de tu amor

(miracle of your love)

y de mi amor

(and of my love.)

 

Listen here the song Bomboncito interpreted by Orquestra Salamanca and singer Armando Guerrico here

3. Afilar

The standard meaning of the word you would find in the dictionary is to “sharpen”, for example, Juan afila sus lápices (Juan sharpen his pencils).

However, in Lunfardo, the word takes on another meaning: to be in love (enamorar), or to court someone (cortejar).

Example: Pablo afila con esa mina pero no es muy serio.

(Pablo is courting that woman but he isn’t that serious.)

 

4. Botón

Botón” in Lunfardo means police or guard. Legend has it that Lunfardo is a secret language invented by the street gangs in Buenos Aires so that the “botón” would not understand what they are saying.

 

5. ¡Aire!

Aire means air, but if someone at Buenos Aires says to you in a milonga “¡Aire!”, he may actually be telling you to get out from there immediately, as “¡Aire!” in Lunfardo carries the meaning of “¡Afuera!, márchate, vete” (Leave now!).

An interesting fact here to note is that the literal meaning of “Buenos Aires” is “Good air”.

 

6. Amarguear

As you would probably know, mate is a big part of Argentine culture, and the Lunfardo word “Amarguear” refers to the action of taking a mate (tomar mate), and more precisely, mate without sugar, as the word is very likely formed based on the adjective “amargo” (bitter).

 

7. Chorro

Chorro” (or “choro”) means thief, and “chorear” is the verb form of the act (to steal).

The tango song “chorra” is about a man who was tricked by the lie of his lover, and in 6 months he went bankrupt and lost everything he earned from his hard work, so in the song, the man called his past lover a “chorra”:

 

En seis meses me fundiste el mercadito,

(In six months you bankrupted my little market,)

la casilla de la feria, la ganchera, el mostrador…

(the stand at the fair, the hooks, the counter…)

 

¡Chorra!

(Thief!)

Me robaste hasta el amor…”

(You even stole my love…)

 

Listen to this song by the Orquesta Alfredo de Angelis here

 

Interested in learning Spanish for a deeper understanding of tango culture? Check out our Tango Spanish course by our Argentine Spanish teachers who are tangueras from Buenos Aires!

 

Want to know more about Argentine Spanish? Check out Speak Spanish like an Argentine.

 

 

Tango books

8 tango books for devoted tangueros

8 tango books for devoted tangueros

 

Tango is a dance which embodies the rich culture and history of Argentina. After dancing for a while you may be curious about its origin and background. At times, you may need advice on tango techniques. You may also plan about visiting Buenos Aires, the mecca of tango and need travel tips. Here’s the time you need a good tango book covering the topic of your interest.

 

If the book is written in Spanish it can help us practicing the language, which is the foundation of a real understanding of the dance. Here we provide our top selection of 8 books covering different aspects of tango: from the music and the lyrics; the history; the dance techniques to traveling tips to Argentina, for you to sit back and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!

 

Book on Tango music and lyrics

 

1. Tango stories: musical secrets (Available in both Spanish and English versions)

A must-read for all tango music lovers. Written by Michael Lavocah, a tango teacher, and DJ, the book introduces tango orchestras of different periods of time while focusing on those important ones in the golden period, and highlights the characteristics of the music of different orchestras so to help you distinguish them in a milonga. It also comes with a playlist including the most representative songs from each orchestra so you can listen to while reading the book.

 

2. Tango para dummies (Tango for dummies) (Available in Spanish version only)

Tango para dummies is written by Diego S. Lerendegui who was one of the key violinists in the orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese, and now director of la Orquesta Municipal de Tango de Avellaneda. It is a good book for people who want to learn about how to listen to tango. It includes a comprehensive history of tango music and explains about its development at different periods of time, introducing different tango orchestras and elements of tango music, and finally how one can compile his collection of tango music. The Spanish is straightforward and suitable for intermediate Spanish learners.

3. Tango words (Letras de tango) (Written in English and Spanish)

If you are looking for enriching your understanding of tango lyrics and advance your Spanish, “Tango words” is the book that you will love! The book comprises 20 classical tango songs whose lyrics are meticulously translated by Manuel Garber, an Argentine milonguero who grew up in Buenos Aires and is now living in Australia. You can listen to the 20 beautiful tango songs on his website.

 

Book on traveling to Buenos Aires

 

4. Happy Tango-SallyCat’s guide to dancing in Buenos Aires (Written in English and Spanish)

 

The book is written by a British artist and tanguera Sally Blake who follows her tango dream and travels all the way from Britain to Buenos Aires. It is an entertaining book yet filled with sage advice and useful tips. You will get advice from how to attract dances in milongas, to planning of a week of milongas and classes in Buenos Aires. Though the latest version was published in 2013 which means you will need to double check the information of milongas and tango schools in the book, still it offers timeless insights for tangueros who set foot on Argentina soil for the first time.

 

 

Book on Spanish learning and traveling Buenos Aires

 

5. Tango Spanish and Buenos Aires travel tips (Written in English and Spanish)

 

This book is for those of you who have been thinking about learning Spanish for tango. It is also a must-read for those who will be visiting Buenos Aires for a full tango experience. Instead of being an ordinary Spanish learning book, the authors Jeanie Tsui, a tanguera, and her Spanish teacher Micaella Digenio introduce a fresh approach for learning Spanish tailored for tangueros.

The book goes into details of explaining how Argentine Spanish is unique from European and Latin-American Spanish. It also filled with essential information and tips on how to save money during traveling, to strategies of tango class taking and unspoken rules in local milongas, which are essential for a successful tango trip.

 

Book on History and culture of tango

6. The meaning of tango (Only English version available)

If you would want to learn about the history of tango this is the book you should turn to. The author of the book, Christine Denniston, is the first non-Argentine tango teacher in Buenos Aires. It traces back to the origin of tango, and walk readers through the development of tango. From there you can learn about golden age, and the dark period of prohibition of tango from Argentine government. The book also talk about the success of Broadway show Tango Argentino that led to the renaissance of tango in the 1980s which eventually made the dance becomes a global phenomenon. Apart from the history part, the book also comprises of a section on tango techniques.

 

Tango Technique

 

7. Secrets of the embrace (Secretos del abrazo) (Available in both English and Spanish versions)

 

If you need insights on improving your posture and technique this is the book for you. The book author, Rubén Véliz is a world-renowned Argentine tango master.  He has been performing and teaching with his life partner Sabrina Véliz since 1998. He is passionate about tango teaching and has taught tangueros all over the world. The book is written to help tangueros to understand how their body works, and how to shape it into the best form for dancing via regular practices.

 

 

Tango sociology

 

8. Tango passion and the rules of the game (Available in both Spanish and English versions)

 

Tango is not purely a performance art, but also a social activity that involves complex human interactions. The author Margareta Westergård is a Swedish milonguera who has a sociology background. She offers her observation about the códigos (strict rules) and behaviors of tangueros in Buenos Aires milongas.  You may also gain some insight about the roller-coaster ride of tango life, and how to survive the change from being at the height of intense joy and delight, to the rock bottom of tango depression and feeling like a pariah.  Read the book for a fascinating glimpse of the happenings inside the tango world of Buenos Aires!

 

Looking for way to learn Spanish for tango? Check out our Skype Tango Spanish Course with Argentine teachers, and book a trial class for only USD7!

 

Spanish words for tango lyrics

7 essential Spanish words for understanding tango lyrics

7 essential Spanish words for understanding tango lyrics

 

When you are dancing in milongas, have you ever wonder what those tango lyrics you are listening to are about? While understanding the whole Spanish lyrics often requires a near-native level of Spanish, which we may not be there yet, knowing some words that frequently appear in the lyrics would definitely help us to get a feeling of what the song is about, and makes it easier for us to get into the mood while dancing to it.  

In this blog post we have compiled a list of 7 common Spanish words in tango songs, each with its explanation in English, and an example of a tango song in which the word appears.

 

1. Amor

Amor” means love, and perhaps the central theme of all tango.

One representing tango song that contains this word is “Hasta Siempre Amor” (Farewell, love) (Music by Donato Racciatti; lyrics by Federico Silva). The song has been interpreted by many different orchestras, such as D’Arienzo, Di Sarli, and Salamanca.

When we listen to the song, we will hear the phrase “hasta siempre amor” being repeated many times in the lyrics, for example:

 

“Hasta siempre, amor,

(Farewell, love,)

cuando sueñes conmigo

(when you dream about me)

en las noches de frío

(on cold nights)

ya no estaré…”

(I will no longer be there…)1

 

Click here to listen to the version by orchestra Juan D’Arienzo and singer Jorge Valdez.

 

2. Abrazo

Abrazo” means embrace, the essential element of tango. The verb form of the word is “abrazar” (to hug).

We can find the word “abrazar” in “Volvamos a empezar” (Let’s start over again) (Music by Daniel Álvarez; lyrics by Eduardo Maradei):

 

“Mirá…

(Look…)

Nuestro cachorros como ayer

(Our kids (puppies) are just as before (yesterday))

Mirá…

(Look..)

Como me abrazan otra vez…”

(How they hug me once again…)2

 

Click here to listen to version by orchestra Alfredo de Angelis and singer Óscar Larroca.

 

3. Despedida

“La despedida” (Farewell) is a recurring theme in tango.

The song “Fueron tres años” (3 years have passed) (Music and lyrics by Juan Pablo Marín) describes the heartbreak of a man separating from his lover:

 

Aún tengo fuego en los labios,

(I still have fire on my lips)

del beso de despedida.

(from the farewell kiss.)

¿Cómo pensar que mentías

(How could I think you were lying)

si tus negros ojos lloraban por mí?”

(if your dark eyes were crying for me?)2

 

Click this link to listen to the version by orchestra Jorge Dragone and singer Argentino Ledesma.

 

4. Mentira

Mentira” means lie, and “mentir” is the verb form (to lie).

The song “Y todavía te quiero” (And still I love you, music by Luciano Leocata; lyrics by Abel Aznar) tells the torture and pain of a man being repeatedly deceived by the one that he loved:

 

“Sin embargo… ¿Por qué yo no grito   

(But … Why I don’t cry)

que es toda mentira, mentira tu amor

(it’s all lies, your love is a lie)

y por qué de tu amor necesito,

(and why I need your love,)

si en él sólo encuentro martirio y dolor?”

(if in it I only find martyrdom and pain?)1

 

Click here to listen to how the song was interpreted by orchestra Di Sarli and singer Jorge Falcon.

 

5. Corazón

Corazón (heart) is an important word in tango. How can you dance without your corazón?

In the song “Corazón ”, the lyricist Hector Marcó told a story via the lyrics how a man talked himself (his heart) to get over from a girl who had betrayed him:

 

“Corazón,

(Heart,)

no la llames

(don’t call to her)

ni le implores—

(don’t beg her for anything—)

que de tus amores

(from the ones you love)

nunca has merecido

(you have never deserved)

tanta humillación.”

(so much humiliation.)3

 

The song was written by Carlos Di Sarli, let’s listen to how his orchestra and singer Roberto Rufino interpreted the song (Click here).

 

6. Adios

Adios” means goodbye, another frequently appear topic in tango lyrics.

In “El adios” (Music by Maruja Pacheco Huergo), the lyricist Virgilio San Clemente wrote about the sorrow of parting from a lover:

 

“El sueño más feliz,

(The happiest dream,)

moría en el adiós

(died in the goodbye)

y el cielo para mí se oscureció

(for me, the sky became dark…)1

 

We have selected “El Adios” (The Goodbye) by orchestra Pugliese and singer Jorge Maciel for you, a powerful and sorrowful interpretation of the song (Click here to listen to the song).

 

7. Dolor

Many songwriters expressed via tango lyrics their different kinds of “dolor” (pain) in life: the pain of losing a lover; parting from their family or being betrayed.

In this song “Lejos de Buenos Aires” (Far from Buenos Aires, music by Alberto Suárez Villanueva), the lyricist Oscar Rubens wrote about the pain of an old person recalling what he had abandoned: his family, his girlfriend and everything back in his native city Buenos Aires in order to chase after his dream, and at the end feeling lonely and regretful of staying on a foreign land where nobody cares about him:

 

“Lejos de la gran ciudad

(Far from the great city)

que me ha visto florecer,

(that witnessed my flourishing)

en las calles más extrañas

(in these strange streets)

siento el alma oscurecer.

(I feel the darkening of my soul)

 

Nadie observa mi final,

(No one notices my ending)

ni le importa mi dolor,

(nor care about my pain,)

nadie quiere mi amistad,

(nobody wants my friendship,)

sólo estoy con mi amargor…”

(I am just alone with my bitterness…)2

 

Click here to listen to the interpretation of the song by orchestra Miguel Caló, singer Raúl Berón.

 

Interested in learning Spanish for tango? Check out our Tango Spanish Course, or get a copy of our book Tango Spanish and Buenos Aires Travel Tips on Amazon!

 

 

References (Tango lyrics and translations)

The lyrics and translations of tango songs appear in this blog post were adapted from various online and published sources:

1. “Tango Lyrics page in Spanish with English translation” maintained by Alberto Paz: https://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/

2. “Tango words-a guide to tango lyrics with English translation Vol.1” by Manuel Garber: http://tangowords.com/

3. Poesía de gotán: The poetry of the tango”: https://poesiadegotan.com/2009/04/09/corazon-1939/

 

Spanish tips

6 tips for hacking Spanish in one week

 

6 tips for hacking Spanish in one week

 

So you are going to a Spanish-speaking country soon, and you need to pack as much Spanish learning as possible in one week! What should you do?

 

Fear not, follow below tips and you are guaranteed to learn the essential Spanish that you will need for the trip in no time!

 

1.Know the characteristics of the language

Before learning a new language it is always good to know the characteristics of the language, as it will help you understand how it works quicker. Spanish is a Romance language, so if you speak French, Portuguese or Italian, or you have learned Latin in school, you are off to a good start!

 

There are 2 genders in Spanish: masculine and feminine. The articles for masculine and feminine nouns are “el” and “la” (e.g. El niño (the boy); la niña (the girl)).

 

Spanish is a language pronounced phonetically which means you speak what you write! But be aware that the letter “h” is silent.

 

2. Learn the essential vocabulary first

Think about what are the words you can’t live without, and start learning them first. Those may be words like “baño” (restroom), “carta” (the menu of restaurant), “agua” (water) etc.

 

3. Learn the greetings

You will always need greeting words like “hola” (hello), “¿cómo estás?” (how are you?), “gracias” (thank you) and “adiós” (goodbye) wherever you go!

 

 

4. Learn more words quicker with cognates

Cognates are words from different languages that share an ancestor, so they look similar. Some examples are “televisión (television), “teléfono” (telephone), “fotos” (photos). Learning cognates would help to expand your vocabulary faster. But be careful with false cognates such as “embarazada” (looks like “embarrassed”, but it actually means pregnant!).

 

 

5. Use podcasts

Podcasts are a great tool for learning languages, especially when you are on the road. “Notes in Spanish” is a popular Spanish learning podcast which offers podcasts for beginner level. It is free for download to listen, but if you want to read the transcript, you will need to purchase their worksheet. Listening to podcasts will help you to practice Spanish listening, as well as learning the pronunciation of useful phrases!

 

 

6. Downloading an offline Spanish dictionary

Remember to download an offline Spanish dictionary on your phone before your trip! As you may not always have internet data on your phone or  access to WIFI, downloading a dictionary that works offline would allow you to find meanings of unknown word whenever you need it!

 

Spandict and Google translator are 2 great free apps.

 

Spandict ( iphone app/android app)  is Spanish-English dictionary which works even if you are offline, it also has a “word of the day” function, which shows a new word and its meaning for you every day- great for expanding your vocabulary!

 

Needless to say, Google translate ( iphone app/android app) is the most used online translator. But did you know that the App provides translation when you are offline? What makes it even more powerful is that it has a camera-translation function- when you open the camera function in the app and focus it to the foreign words, it will display the translation on  the screen. Download it and try!

 

If you need a quick boost of your Spanish, you can book a travel Spanish class with Master Spanish now!

 

Check out our other travel Spanish blog posts!

 

Survival Travel Spanish- Start packing! (I)

Ready for a Spanish meal?

Tango Ronda

7 essential Spanish keywords you must know for tango

7 essential Spanish keywords you must know for tango

 

Tango is a dance which origin is Argentina, and therefore many keywords are in Spanish.

Learn the following 7 keywords which are often used, and improve your understanding of the dance!

 

1.    Cabeceo

In milonga people usually make an invitation for dance with cabeceo (eye signals) . A man or a lady can look at the person he/she wants to dance with. That person can accept it with a nod, or decline by looking away. This is a subtle form of invitation that avoids embarrassment from both sides if one doesn’t want to dance with the other.

 

2.    Cortina

“Cortina” means curtain. It refers to the non-tango music in between 2 tandas (sets of tango songs). It tells the dancers that they should stop dancing, and the men should escort the ladies back to their seats.

 

3.    Códigos

Códigos (codes) refer to a set of rules in milonga that everybody adheres to, such as performing cabeceo (use of eyes for invitation).

 

4.     Canyengue

Canyengue is an earlier style of dancing which was danced mainly in the early 1900s. It is still danced today but to a lesser extent.
You can view how canyengue is danced here.

 

5.   Tango Fantasía

 

In Spanish, “fantasía” means “fantasy”. But in tango, “Tango Fantasía” (or Tango Escenario) mean Stage Tango. It is usually danced in an open embrace with exaggerated movements like jumps, which are not usually done in milonga.

Watch here the performance of Mundial del Tango (World Championship of Tango) champion of tango escenario in 2016 here.

 

6.     Pista

“Pista” in Spanish means “floor”, and in Mundial del Tango it represents another category of the competition: Tango de Pista (salon tango). In contrast to tango escenario, participants need to compete as if they were dancing in milongas, and need to follow strict regulations, such as staying in the ronda (line of dance), and not lifting their legs higher than the knees.

Watch here the performance of champions of Tango de Pista of 2010: Sebastian Jimenez and María Ines Bogado here.

 

7.     Ronda

In Spanish, “ronda” means “round”. In tango, “ronda” refers to the line of dance, which are imaginary concentric lines on the dance floor. Couples should move in the counterclockwise direction in the ronda. Each couple should remain at a safe distance from the couple in front/behind them. The ronda ensures couples move on the dance floor in a predictable way, and prevent crashing into each other, especially in crowded milongas.

 

7 essential lunfardos for tango

 

Want to learn more Spanish words for tango? Book a class with our Argentine Spanish teacher Marcela!

You can check out her profile below:

Teachers

 

Speaking Spanish like a pro

Speaking Spanish like a Pro

A FREE Spanish learning eBook for all of you!

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Speaking Spanish like a Pro ebook is for those who:
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To download the book, please:
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If you can’t download the book, please drop us a line at admin@masterspanishnow.com

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Spanish Proverb

Spanish proverbs of wisdom

9 Spanish proverbs of wisdom

 

Learning Spanish proverbs not only helps us to learn the language, but also gives us valuable insights of life. In this blog we have compiled 9 Spanish proverbs that descend from old wisdom:

 

1.”Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.”

-Tell me who you walk with, and I will tell you who you’re.

 

We always absorb the way of living of people close to us.

So stay with the right crowd of friends, keep them close and don’t ever let them go!

 

2. “A mal tiempo, buena cara.”

-In bad weather, put on a good face.

 

While we may not be able to do much to change the situation, we can always change our attitude.

 

3. “Desgraciado en el juego, afortunado en amores.”

-Unlucky in games, lucky in love.

 

We don’t usually get to have everything we want in our life. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, why don’t we be grateful of having people who love us?

 

4. “Más ven cuatro ojos que dos.”

-Four eyes are better than two.

 

When we are about to make important decision, it is usually good to have a second opinion. People out of our situation may offer insights that help put things in perspective.

 

5. “Muchas manos en la olla echan el guiso a perder.”

Too many cooks spoil the broth

 

It is good to get people’s help in getting work done, but let’s not overdo it. Getting too many hands involved may sometime complicate the work and make it harder to finish.

 

6. “Dios los cría, y ellos se juntan”

-Birds of a feather flock together

 

This proverb means people of similar characters or backgrounds usually go together. It usually carries a negative connotation referring to people sharing negative characters would go together (like gangs).

 

7. “A la ocasión la pintan calva.”

Opportunity knocks only once

 

We should always prepare ourselves for opportunity. When it come, catch it tight and don’t let it go!

 

8. “A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda”

-God helps those who get up early

 

This is perhaps the most well-known Spanish proverb. The early bird gets the worms. Early to bed and early to rise would make one healthier, and get more things done!

 

9. “Al fin es debido el honor.”

-All is well that ends well

 

As long as the result is satisfactory, the problems and misfortune along the way can be forgotten.

 

Though we may have errors that are silly and embarrassing, but at the end it is still the result that people remembers.

 

Want to learn some Spanish slang? Check out

10 Super Spanish Street Slangs

Tango-Spanish

Why learn Spanish for tango?

4 reasons why learning Spanish makes one an advanced tango dancer

 

When we start learning tango we usually focus on steps and techniques, which are essential for being a good tanguero/a (a tango dancers). However, if being a real advanced dancer is your goal, then learning Spanish will be an essential step for you. In fact, the tie between Spanish and tango is so strong that it is impossible to learn only learn the dance without Spanish, and speaking Spanish would make tango learning immediately easier.

 

One may argue that in tango many people get by without knowing Spanish. But what if one day you dance with a porteño/a (people from Buenos Aires)? Or if you decide to take a further step to join a competition which is very often judged by an Argentine master? How could you convince them you know the songs, and you are interpreting them through your dance ?

 

In fact, learning Spanish will immediately take your dance to the next level, and the followings are 4 reasons why:

 

1.Helps remembering essential tango keywords

 

During tango class one would often come across names of techniques which are all Spanish words. Many of my non-Spanish speaking classmates have a hard time memorizing keywords like “ocho cortado”, “giro” and “sacada”, and I have seen people dancing for years stumble on pronouncing words such as “cabeceo” and “enrosque”. For someone who speaks Spanish, remembering the words would be straightforward: “ocho cortado” means “cut eight” and “giro” is “turn”.

 

The same goes for remembering the names of orchestra and songs. For someone who doesn’t speak Spanish, it would be hard to talk about tango music, say, telling people that they like “Esta noche de luna” or “Verdemar” by orchestra Di Sarli.

 

2. Better understanding of Argentine culture

 

Tango and Argentine culture go hand-in-hand. Learning Spanish would allow one to understand the unique Argentine culture. A good Spanish teacher from Argentina would be able to point out the cultural influence, for example, the use of Lunfardos (an Argentine slangs) in tango lyrics and explain to you the meaning behind.

 

Check out our blog post  7 essential lunfardos for tango.

 

3. Better connection to the music and lyrics

 

For those who dance to tango music and doesn’t under the lyrics, they would be blind to the context. For one who knows some Spanish, even though they might not understand the whole lyrics, they would be able to pick up keywords such as triste (sadness), te quiero (I love you), mentiras (lies) etc., and this would immediately give them a feeling of the song and make them more connected to the music.

 

4. Avoid awkward mismatching moves

 

“You know, I have seen many people dance to sad songs with happy moves, and this looks really funny.”

 

An Argentine master once told me over a dinner.

 

Indeed, one of the trickiest things in tango music is that we cannot always accurately judge the mood of the song without knowing the lyrics. Sometimes the rhythm and melody of a song may appear to be light hearted, but the lyrics might tell a completely different story.

 

An example would be “La bruja” (The witch) (by orchestra D’Arienzo) which is a popular song in milonga. This is a song which sounds bright and lively, but it tells a story of breaking up and revealing of true color:

 

Ahogando este grito

que sube del pecho,

y llega a los labios carga’o de rencor,

yo vuelvo a tu lado, atadas las manos,

pero pa’ decirte que todo acabó…

 

(Drowning this scream

that rises up from my chest,

and arrives on my lips charged with malice,

I return to your side, with my hands tied,

but only to tell you that everything’s over…)

So how could we begin learning Spanish for tango?

 

What would be better than learning with an Argentine Spanish teacher who is a tanguera herself?

 

Check out the profile of our Argentine teacher Marcela, who is specialized in teaching Spanish for tango, and has been helping many tangueros – including champions in tango contests – learn  the language!

Spanish Slangs

Spanish Street Slangs

10 Super Spanish Street Slangs you must learn before roaming over Spanish streets!

 

What should you prepare before hitting Spain? Apart from your travel guide, sunglasses and google map, learning some Spanish street slangs will make you fit in quicker and appear less like a guiri (the Spanish slang referring to foreign tourists)!

 

Learn the following 10 cool Spanish street slangs and be savvy over street talk!

 

1. Mola

Molar” means “back tooth”, but at the same time its verb form is frequently used in Spanish to say you like something/someone; or to be cool/in fashion.

 

Me mola esa chica.

(I like this girl).

 

El coche mola.

(This car is cool).

 

Esta camiseta ya no mola.

(The T-shirt is no longer in).

 

2. Molón/molona

You can use molón/molona in Spain to refer to something “cool”, “pretty” or “neat”.

 

Esta fiesta es molona.
(This party is cool).

 

3. Es una pasada

In Spain you can use “es una pasada” to refer to something that is “cool” or “neat”.

Note: We use “pasada” for both masculine and feminine nouns.

 

Este coche es una pasada.
(This car is cool).

 

Esta película es una pasada.

(This movie is cool).

 

4. Genial

This might be the most well-known expression for saying something is “cool” or “great”, and it is shared throughout Spanish-speaking countries.

 

El libro es genial.
(The book is cool.)

 

5. Guay

Guay is a common expression used by teens in Spain to say something is cool.

 

¡Qué guay!
(How cool!)

 

6. Ser majo/maja

Majo/maja is a colloquial expression for saying someone or something is nice or good looking.

 

Tiene una casa muy maja.

(He/she has a very beautiful house)

 

Tu jefe es majo.

(You boss is nice)

 

7. Coña

“Coña” in Spanish means “joke”. 2 colloquial expressions formed by the word are:

 

“Ni de coña

(No way!)

 

¿Estás de coña?

(Are you kidding?)

 

But be careful about these expressions and use them in familiar conversation only, as they can sound rather vulgar. Don’t say it in front of your Spanish boss or the mom of your friend!

 

 8. Tío / Tía

Apart from its formal meaning as uncle/aunt, tío/tía can also be used as “dude” for calling your friend.

 

¡Tío, qué guapo hoy!

(Dude, you look so handsome today!

 

9. Mala leche

Mala leche” literally means “bad milk”, but if your Spanish friend says to you “Me pone de mala leche”, is he meaning that he is given some spoiled milk for his breakfast cereal?
Not necessarily. “Mala leche” in Spanish slang means bad luck, or you can say that something puts you in a bad mood. So what your friend was saying to you might be “I am in a bad mood”.
Me pone de mala leche ir de compras. 

(I get annoyed when going shopping).

Tener mala leche” is also a way for saying someone is not a good person.
Marta tiene mala leche.

(Marta is not a good person).

 

10. Ser mono

When we say something “es mono” in Spain it means “it’s cute” or “it’s adorable”, and it is common to refer to a child as “mono” or “mona”.

 

But be careful that outside Spain, e.g. in Argentina, “mono” doesn’t carry the same meaning of “cute”, but…“monkey”!

 

“¡Qué mono!”

(How cute!)

 

“Tu hijo es muy mono.”

 (You son is so cute)

 

Check out our related blog post 6 Crazy Witty Spanish Animal Slangs!

 

Interested in learning more Spanish slangs? Book a Skype class with María and José, our teachers from Spain!

 

Adults learning

4 tips for learning Spanish for adults

“I am too old to learn Spanish” –that is a lament I would occasionally hear from my grown-up friends.

One thing that holds many adults back from trying to learn a new language is the belief that we can’t teach an old dog a new trick- As we grow old, we become forgetful and it seems more difficult to get things in our head. But would these really make learning Spanish a mission impossible?

The good news is that, as an adult we have many advantages over kids that makes us more efficient language learners:

1.The choice of learning is ours

Unlike kids who are bound by their school syllabus, or are being forced by their parents to go language classes, we learn Spanish because we want to.

2.We pick our style of learning

Compared to kids whose only option is going to class, as a grown-up we are free to choose whatever means that we see fit and enjoy most, be it movies, videos, apps… etc.

3.We decide our pace of learning

Unlike schools that have a rigid syllabus, we decide for ourselves how fast or slow we learn.

When we get overwhelmed, we are free to take a short break and get back on it later.

Here are our 4 tricks for adults learning Spanish:

 

1. Use Anki

Need help in memorizing Spanish words? Anki will be your great companion.

Anki is an app which you can use as a flash card on the go on your smartphone. It is designed based on the principle of spaced repetition: showing you the words that you need to remember over and over again, in increasing intervals, so that they will be committed to your memory.

You can create your own set of Spanish flash cards using Anki, or you can download for free Spanish flash card created by the others (For instance, search “1001 most useful Spanish words and Sentences” on the App!).

      

2. Mixing learning with fun

Feeling bored of studying with your textbook? Why don’t you learn by doing something that you enjoy?

If you like films, watch an Argentine movie and pick up some Argentine slangs!

Enjoy cooking? Try some new recipes from a Spanish cookbook!

Mixing your Spanish learning with something you have fun out of will keep you hooked and engaged.

 3. Give yourself a purpose

Setting a goal would give you something to aim for, and help you to keep motivated. Planning to travel to Spain and need to talk to the locals? Want to read a Spanish novel in its original text? Watch a Spanish movie without the need of subtitles? The gratification of achieving your goal will be the greatest reward for your effort.

       

4. Taking private Spanish classes online

For adults, taking traditional group classes for learning a new language might not be the best option-you are bound by a fixed schedule without much flexibility, and more importantly, you teacher might not have much time for your questions as he/she will be busy with taking care of the needs of the whole class.

On the other hand, taking private classes online will give you the freedom to choose when and where will you will be having your class, and your Spanish tutor will become your private language coach who would devote all his/her attention to your learning, and tailor your class so that it will match perfectly with your level and your pace of learning.

A great news is that online Spanish classes are now very affordable starting at  USD15 per class. Check out Master Spanish Now for details!