Expat Argentina

The Wonders of River Plate Spanish I


A week after arriving in Buenos Aires in 2004, I had a hankering for some peanuts. Having been educated in Spanish for 6 years, and trusting every word my teachers said in addition to my extensive experience in Mexico, I assumed I knew basically all of the vocabulary that a foreigner should know.

So when I walked into a supermarket and asked to find the “cacahuates” (Mexican and Central American for “peanut”) I got some really strange expressions. “Que carajo es un cacahuate?” I got at the second kiosk I went to. Finally I arrived at a bigger supermarket and the owner was smart enough to ask one of his employees, an immigrant from Bolivia, what I was talking about. “Ooohhh, vos queres mani!” (Please note that the keyboard I am typing on has no accent function and there should be an accent over the “i” in mani, making the pronunciation mah-NEE). Joy, I had my peanuts finally although no peanut butter.

Other vocabulary changes: palta = aguacate = avocado; remera = camiseta = T-shrit; camiseta = uniforme = jersey/uniform; colectivo = autobus = bus; manteca = mantequilla = butter.