Who here actually speaks Spanish?

ElQueso

Registered
I speak only Spanish at home with my wife and her family. I used Rosetta Stone online, which was better (for me) to augment my three years I took in high school some 28 years ago than any private instructor I tried to use here, and I didn't have time for UBA or other formal courses.

It definitely helps to speak Spanish when you can. Don't get too hung up on trying to master the exact dialect of Argentina if you have learned previously - that can come later. If you are worried about Argentinos thinking poorly of you because you don't speak exactly their dialect, it has been my experience that that is not a problem - they will know you are a foreigner anyway because it will take many years to duplicate the accent exactly anyway and that's something you can worrya bout later (if at all). In fact, I am often taken for a Colombiano when I speak, even though I originally learned Mexican Spanish in high school, reinforced with working with illegal Mexicans on contructions crews.

As far as listening to local news and such - obviously excellent idea, but hearing it does not necessarily help you pronounce it, which can be every bit as important as understanding what is being said. You have to try to speak it as well. Don't be embarrassed. You'd be surprised how many Argentinos understand some English and even speak well enough for simple tasks - they are often just too embarrassed to try. Don't be like that. (BTW - I'm not suggesting that Argentinos SHOULD be trying to speak English to foreigners in THEIR country - it's just an example).

As far as not hanging out with ex-pats - to each their own, but it is difficult, particularly for mid-life and older people, to break into society here. In fact, I find that many times I have met more locals through my ex-pat friends who have been here awhile than I have met personally in the more than three years I've lived here.

BTW - understanding the language and speaking nearly fluently has not helped me not want to complain about Argentinos and the ways they do things at times. In fact, it HAS helped me cope though, because I can now bitch and moan about these problems with my Argentine friends who have the same problems and the same gripes.

As an example, I have been waiting nearly four weeks for someone to come out and fix my DirecTV Plus. I need a new box - the existing one crapped out. In the States, I could have just gone down to the nearest local office and exchanged the box for one that works. Not here. They don't want anyone to be coming to their offices because that would actually cause them problems with the crowd that would show up, I'm sure.

It's not the wait in and of itself that is a problem, but the fact that they have rescheduled now three times without consulting, by sending me an email saying that someone called and talked with me about changing my date and they thanked me for being so understanding. Funny thing - no one ever called me on any of the three changes, each of which occurred the night before the day they were supposed to show up. No amount of understanding the language will deal with those type of frustrations, which are all too common here for those who are here longer than a few months or even a year, maybe, and have to do things beyond interacting with a plumber or a portero...

However, knowing the language allows me to understand what they are telling me, and for me to respond back and not feel helpless because I didn't understand what they were trying to tell me.
 

Davidglen77

Registered
I speak spanish all day as I live outside of the expat zone. I came here already speaking spanish as I grew up in the same household as my cuban born grandmother. However to come from New York City which where mainly carribean type spanish is spoken to Argentina where it's a mix of Castellano, Lunfardo, Spanglish and Italian, it took a while to understand certain phrases. I distinctly remember a few days after arriving here, asking a policeman in front of a store on Santa Fe with a large crowd outside. I asked "¿Qué pasó? and his response was "Una mina entró con un fierro y afanó guita" I was like what the hec is this guy saying. I repeated the phrase to my neighbor and she said it means "Una chica entró con un arma y robó dinero" at that point I realized I had better immerse myself in whatever you call the crazy mix of languages they speak here.......
 

marksoc

Registered
Me. I'm from here, but when I'm with a foreigner I tend to speak in English (unless he is Italian, Spanish, or Israeli :) )
 

elhombresinnombre

Registered
syngirl said:
....because I have an english keyboard so rarely bother with accents (only for año pretty much since it means anus otherwise and is giggle inducing for me, juvenile I know)
Just in case there's anyone out there who doesn't know this already, on most Windows systems you can get the accented vowel from an English keyboard by typing Ctrl+Alt+vowel. Using the numberpad (very important: it doesn't usually work if you use the numbers along the top) Alt+0241 gives you ñ, Alt+0161 = ¡ and Alt+0191 = ¿. Put those numbers on a Post-it note and Robert is your father's brother.
 

Lucas

Registered
Davidglen77 said:
I speak spanish all day as I live outside of the expat zone. I came here already speaking spanish as I grew up in the same household as my cuban born grandmother. However to come from New York City which where mainly carribean type spanish is spoken to Argentina where it's a mix of Castellano, Lunfardo, Spanglish and Italian, it took a while to understand certain phrases. I distinctly remember a few days after arriving here, asking a policeman in front of a store on Santa Fe with a large crowd outside. I asked "¿Qué pasó? and his response was "Una mina entró con un fierro y afanó guita" I was like what the hec is this guy saying. I repeated the phrase to my neighbor and she said it means "Una chica entró con un arma y robó dinero" at that point I realized I had better immerse myself in whatever you call the crazy mix of languages they speak here.......
Hahaha....actually that is a very good example of a typical phrase full of street slang which is impossible for someone learning a basic castillian to decipher (pure slang) ....there goes all the hard work trying to learn the language of Cervantes.
 

MClare

Registered
Anyone wanting to pick up some quick Spanish tips for Argentina come to Vamos Spanish tomorrow at Coronel Diaz 1736 from 1-4pm for a "crash course"! Only 120 pesos, with coffee, snacks and learning materials!
 
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