Want to learn how to communicate with the locals on your next trip to Argentina?
If you’ve read our previous posts about Argentine Spanish and Tango Spanish you’re definitely aware of the importance of knowing some differences between Spanish from Spain and Spanish spoken in Argentina and South America. If you haven’t, this post will surely encourage you to learn how to sound like a true Argentine and to communicate with them!
I’ve compiled some easy-to-use expressions you can use on a daily basis while you’re travelling through Argentina.
Take a look:
1) ¿Cómo va?
This means “how’s everything going?” and it can be used any time you meet someone you already know, or you pass by an acquaintance, for example, a classmate at your tango school, your Spanish teacher or a friend from your hostel. Other phrases you can use are: “¿Todo bien?” (All good?); ¿Cómo andás*? (How are you?)
2) ¿Tenés* idea ….?
This is a very common informal phrase to introduce a question. Let’s say you need to find the nearest subway station. You can ask: “¿Tenés idea dónde está la estación de la línea C?” (Do you have a clue where the C Subway Station is?). After the beginning “¿Tenés idea…” you just add your question. It will make you sound more like a local. Other ways to say this could be: “¿Sabés*….?” (Do you know…?), “¿No me decís*…?” (Would you tell me…?).
The word “disculpá” means “I’m sorry” and we usually use it in these situations: before asking a question to someone, especially when you’re asking for a favor to a stranger, or to apologize for something (for example if you accidentally crash into a stranger, or if you’re a tango dancer, when you accidentally crash into another couple or when you step on your partner!).
4) ¿No me das…?
We use this when we need to ask for something, for example at a store. It means “Would you give me…?” and although it starts with “no”, it isn’t negative, it’s just a common way of asking that may sound a bit more polite than saying “¿Me das…?” but both would work, so don’ t worry if you forget the “no” at the beginning. An example of this could be: “¿No me das un paquete de galletitas Oreo?” (Would you give me a packet of Oreo cookies?). If you change the verb “das” for another, you can use this same expression when asking for different things: “¿No me ayudás?” (Would you help me?), “¿No me servís una copa de vino?” (Would you serve a glass of wine to me?)
The word “dale” in Argentina is used to say “ok”. So if someone asks you something and you want to say yes, just say “dale”. Especially if you’re being offered something or being invited to do something. Other options could be: “Bueno”, “Sí”. Sometimes after saying “dale” you may add another word to emphasize you’re happy with accepting. For example: “Dale, genial”, “Dale, bárbaro”, “Dale, buenísimo” (Ok, great). It’s the equivalent of the Spanish expression “Vale”.
6) Ni idea
What if someone asks you something and you don’t know? You can just tell them “Ni idea” (No idea). You can also say: “No sé” (I don’t know), or “No tengo idea” (I have no idea), and you start by saying: “Disculpá, pero…” (Sorry, but…).
A – ¿Sabés dónde está Café Martínez? (Do you know where Café Martínez is?)
B – Disculpá pero ni idea… (I’m sorry but no idea)
* All words marked with * are in the “voseo” form. Don’t know what “voseo” is? Check our previous post on the subject.
Traveling to Buenos Aires soon? Book a class with our Argentine Spanish teachers who are tangueras to help you to learn more Spanish and get more insider tips for the Buenos Aires tango scene!
Also read our book “Tango Spanish and Buenos Aires tips”!