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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Newsletter 81 - Lunfardo Slang, Cilantro Pesto Recipe, and more!

Welcome to Vol. 81 of the Spanish Online Newsletter! Part of the Spanish Learning Blog - your weekly lessons with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more. Thanks to all of you for your patience during the last 5 months or so, when I have not done a newsletter or podcast (my longest break since beginning these newsletters in 2002). While many of you know that I was planning my wedding last Spring - I also found out that we are expecting our first child! (en español, se dice "estoy embarazada"). While many pregnant women remain very productive throughout their pregnancies, I must say that with me this was certainly NOT the case :) Yo, en cambio, he estado cansadísima todo el tiempo! As I'm now nearing the 5 months mark I am feeling much better, and hope to make the newsletters and podcasts a much more regular thing.

I'm happy to announce that we have a completely renovated forum and integrated chat section on the website. We are up to 1822 forum members now, as well as over 10,000 newsletter members - so keep in mind that the forum is a great place to exchange ideas and experiences with one another.

As we've had several recent posts about Lunfardo in our forum - I thought this would be a great topic for a newsletter. I lived in Buenos Aires for 6 months back in the late 90s, and found a knowledge of some of these slang terms was essential to understanding the daily speech there.

New also this week is a recipe for Pumpkin Seed and Cilantro Pesto - and for the first time, I'm proud to say that the recipe is mine! I'm embarking on a new journey to learn how to blend my favorite flavors - mainly Italian, Mexican, and other misc Mediterranean - into some new recipes to spice up my kitchen. Please give the recipe a try, and let me know what you think. I'd also love to have some new recipes on the site - so please think about submitting your own recipe here.

Lunfardo: Spanish Slang from Buenos Aires

Lunfardo has its origen in the poor immigrants that came to the region at the end of the 19th century, and was popularized in part through tango lyrics, where many of the words first gained widespread exposure. While a majority of these immigrants were Italian, there were also a variety of other cultures such as French, Portuguese, and even Polish, African, and others that helped influence the vocabulary. While some purists think of lunfardo as strictly these early words, the popular conception of lunfardo has expanded to include the living language that makes up the slang of Buenos Aires, and can be heard to some extent throughout the Rio de la Plata region.

One important note about slang such as lunfardo, is that just because these words are used a lot in conversation, doesn't mean you should actually jump in and begin using them before you determine what situations these words are actually appropriate in, as well as with which company (it almost pains me to say that, because my overall language learning philosphy is to begin using words as soon as possible, even if you aren't using them perfectly!) For example, some words that you might hear younger people use, might not be appropriate to use with strangers or more formal company. I had an interesting experience while teaching English in Buenos Aires. I had often heard the term "tipo" used to refer to a man or a guy - and was under the impression that it was widely used as a synonym for "hombre". When I used this word with my class, afterwards a woman who was a lawyer took me aside to tell me that I might want to be careful about using this term, and that in fact it had a slightly derogatory and perhaps even vulgar connotation. As the majority of the people I spent time with were in their twenties, I had never gotten this impression at all. While I felt a bit embarassed, I was grateful to this woman for helping me see that it can take a long time to truly understand when and where to use slang, even after you know the basic translation.

Below you'll find some popular lunfardo words - keep in mind this is by no means a comprehensive list.

voice your view on our forumclick here to discuss lunfardo online in our forum

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