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Learn Argentinian Spanish
20 minutes | Oct 5, 2016
In this podcast episode we talk about the Patagonian town and popular ski-resort of Bariloche… San Carlos de Barlioche – gateway to Patagonia Bariloche is about half-way down Argentina, close to the western border with Chile, in the foothills of the Andes. Getting there from Buenos Aires is either just over a 2 hr flight or ~17 hours by road – either driving yourself, or on one of the surprisingly-comfortable long-distance buses. Either way, you should get to enjoy quite a view of the famous pampas of Argentina. Egresados – Barlioche is a popular destination for Egresados – school-leavers (presumably from the same root as the word ‘egress’). The town can fill up with teenagers looking for a good time and celebrating the end of exams, so you may / may not want to go at the same time. Lago Nahuel Huapí – The first thing you see is a glacial lake, Lago Nahuel Huapí (an aboriginal name from the Mapuche – which could be literally translated as Jaguar/Puma Island). It is also near the national park bosque de arrayanes – myrtle tree forest – and some of the trees are over 600 years old. Nahuelito – Legend has it that there is a monster that lives in the lake – Nahuelito – the Loch Ness monster of Patagonia. It has been variously described as a serpentine creature, a “sea cow with teeth” and a prehistoric creature, or dinosaur. Nahuelito… or myrtle-tree branches? La Abuela Goye – As the town is so close to the mountains, you may need some extra calories to keep you warm. One of Silvina’s favourite cafes is La Abuela Goye, and you can see why!… You can hear the full episode (entirely in Argentinian Spanish) below – don’t forget you can subscribe via iTunes. You may also notice that we are both recovering from colds when we recorded this episode, but hopefully the sound quality is OK… You can also get our (free) list of resources sent to your mailbox by filling in the form here. http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/025-Bariloche.mp3 Have you been to Bariloche? If so, let us know your tips in the comments below!… Tweet The post Bariloche appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
22 minutes | Apr 25, 2016
Silvina’s Language Learning Tips
Language Learning Tips – Los Consejos de Silvi In this podcast episode we talk about the process of learning a language, and Silvina gives us some of her top tips… Recognise it’s a Process Like most things worthwhile, learning a language takes time. It will require more than a little patience, and for that reason it’s best to try and enjoy the process of learning the language, and the stage at which you find yourself. In most cases there is no feeling that it’s complete and you have learnt all you need to know. It may seem like you aren’t making any progress at all, which is why we’ve found it useful and motivating to make recordings of each other as we have progressed. Listening back to some of our first recordings a quite embarrassing, but it can really prove that you are making progress, maybe not day-by-day, but certainly month-by-month. Peope will treat you like an idiot One thing both of us have experienced, is being treated like we are stupid, simply because we do not understand a language, or cannot express ourselves properly. An example of this is when people will repeat the simple part of what was said i.e. they will say “four wobars” – and when you ask them to repeat what they mean, and they will say: “four! FOUR!” and hold up four fingers, when what you really meant was – “what the hell are wobars*?!” There have also been numerous examples where because we have not been able to follow a conversation, people will somehow forget that anything visual, which doesn’t require any language skills, you are perfectly capable of understanding. It can be difficult to remember that other people who cannot speak your language, are still capable of understanding complex ideas and concepts, it’s just that that cannot necessarily explain them to you in a foreign language. Learning a language (and finding ourselves on the other side of not being understood), has given us a greater appreciation and tolerance for tourists and foreigners in general. Try, try again Don’t give up if you find yourself unable to say what you want to. Try and express yourself using the words that you do know (even if you are losing a lot of the meaning), even using gestures will help as the person you are talking to may say the word you are looking for and you will recognise it as correct, even if you didn’t know it outright. In hindsight, some of the most frustrating conversations are when I look back and think “that was when I was really learning”. Don’t get too hung up on writing… To me, there are different levels of fluency, and being truly literate is a whole different level. There are plenty of people who are not fully literate in their own language, and getting to that level in a foreign language is very difficult to achieve – it may well be not worth the extra effort for marginal gains! Remember that before you can produce output (speaking), you will need to have heard the language many times. The same with writing, if you really want to get good at writing a language, then you will probably have to read 1000s and 1000s of examples of good, written Spanish – by reading books! Crear un nuevo ‘yo’… Make a “new you” – this is Silvina’s way to describe not translating things literally. It will take a while before you can ‘think’ in Spanish, and at first you may find that you translate things word-for-word. But whenever possible, try and use phrases that the locals use – this is great as it not only helps you to sound more natural, but can also give you a different way of thinking. Remember that who you are, and your values won’t change, also, you don’t need to change the way you sound (yes, you need to ‘do the accent’ to be understood, but you don’t need to change your voice completely). Some people I know sound very different in different languages! Some more ‘tips’ Use a Vocab Book – Both of us have used a notebook to record new vocabulary while we are out and about. Now we are probably more likely to use our phones than paper, but either way is great for learning words which you know are useful – words that you have actually come across in your daily activities, rather than writing down long lists of strange words like apio (celery – if you listen to the podcast!). I also found that including ‘el’ or ‘la’ and putting the different genders in different colours helped me to memorise their genders better. Including an example of the word in a sentence (particularly the sentence or occasion when you first discovered it) will also give you a better chance of getting it to stick in the memory. Talking to yourself – Not literally, but talking ‘aloud in your head’ in the target language can be a good way to practice. For example by playing eye-spy with yourself, but trying to remember the Spanish word for what you are looking at. It may help to reinforce words you have learnt – another advantage of this method is that no one hears your mistakes! When starting out – mix with other people who are learning so you can share your frustrations and realise you’re not the only one. But, don’t stay within your comfort zone too long… Once you can hold a simple conversation – mix with locals so you can hear how the language is really used (by volunteering, social occasions etc.). Don’t feel bad asking for a little extra patience. Most people are happy to help you on your way. Those are some of Silvina’s tips which we discuss (in Argentinian Spanish) in the full episode of the podcast below – don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes for more episodes. Los Consejos de Silvi… http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/023-Consejos-de-Silvi.mp3 You can also get our (free) list of resources sent to your mailbox by filling in the form here. Thanks for listening, and sorry it’s been so long since the last episode! Let us know your tips in the comments below – we’re both still learning, and we’d like to use them ourselves! Also, if you haven’t already seen it, you can read another 15 tips here… ( * I have made the word ‘wobars’ up, as far as I know it doesn’t mean anything in any language! ) Tweet The post Silvina’s Language Learning Tips appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
23 minutes | Mar 7, 2016
Mafalda Mafalda is a popular cartoon character, created by Quino, who has become a cultural icon in Argentina for the way in which she managed to make some profound observations about the society through the eyes of a young girl. In the podcast we talk (in Spanish) about Mafalda, her creator and some of the other characters that appear in her stories. You can also read some examples of Mafalda, in English and Spanish, here (more links and full article to follow later)… Podcast Episode You can hear the full episode of the podcast (entirely in Spanish) below – and subscribe on iTunes for more: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/022-Mafalda.mp3 More Resources on our Newsletter: If you haven’t already joined our newsletter, you can get your free list of resources to help you learn Spanish and emails about developments with the podcast by signing up here: Have you read any Mafalda comics? What do you think? Leave a comment below, or send us an email to let us know what you think – contact details can be found on our ‘about’ page. Tweet The post Mafalda appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
24 minutes | Feb 8, 2016
San Martín de Los Andes
José de San Martín is an Argentine hero who liberated not just Argentina, but other Latin American countries. In this episode we talk a bit about his life, accomplishments, and his legacy. Full article to follow shortly… You can hear the full episode of the podcast (entirely in Spanish) below – and subscribe on iTunes for more episodes and leave us a review so we know what we’re doing right (and wrong!). http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/021-General-San-Martin.mp3 More Resources on our Newsletter: If you haven’t already joined our newsletter, you can get your free list of resources to help you learn Spanish and emails about developments with the podcast by signing up here. What have you found out about San Martín? Is he a hero, or do the stories perpetuate the myth rather than the reality? Leave a comment below, or send us an email to let us know what you think – contact details can be found on our ‘about’ page. Tweet The post San Martín de Los Andes appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
23 minutes | Jan 18, 2016
Holidays in Argentina
It’s January and that means it’s summer time!… in the southern hemisphere at least. The summer holidays in Argentina generally last from the end of December until the end of February. We have also been taking some time off, but thought we would put together a podcast talking about the kinds of places Argentinians like to go on their holidays. Beach holidays – Mar del Plata There are no (proper) beaches within the city of Buenos Aires itself – the nearest beach is about three hours from Capital Federal by car, and many families visit partido de la costa to relax over the summer. When they go to the beach, they might take mate and facturas and stay for the whole day. One of the most popular resorts is Mar del Plata. It is one of the biggest / most popular beaches in the province of Buenos Aires. It is the biggest seaside venue close to the capital, but two hours further than the nearest. There seems to be perception that the further from the capital the beach, the more fashionable it is. Mar del Plata has a casino, cinema, theatres and plenty to do in the evenings. Often there are also ferias artesanales and shops will stay open late – and that’s late by Argentinian standards, so 1-2am. Some of the bars and clubs will be open long after that too. Las Sierras For those that don’t like the beach, there are country holidays in the centre of the country, particularly around Cordoba. Where people can admire the scenery, go mountain biking, horse-riding and take part in actividades gauchescas (like gauchos). You can find out more about these kinds of holidays, or at least get more of an idea what they might be like at Sierras Argentinas. Bariloche Bariloche is a popular ski resort, but is also a nice place to get away from the heat of Buenos Aires in the off-season (as many ski resorts are). Obviously given its distance from Buenos Aires, skiing and winter sports are generally for the better-off. The long-distance micros are much more comfortable than long-haul flights. Patagonia Although the government does what it can to encourage tourism within the country, Patagonia is not as popular a destination as it might be. Patagonia doesn’t seem to have the same mystique and tourist draw that it does for people from outside the country. Also, it can be expensive to travel to Patagonia and for the same money, many Argentinians would prefer to go to Brazil. Foreign holidays Argentinians that travel outside of the country might choose Uruguay, which is close by but a little bit more expensive, or Brazil – famous for its beaches, and resorts such as Florianópolis or Praia Brava, and also Iguazu waterfall which is on the Argentine/Brazilian border. Other popular destinations within Latin America include Peru and Chile. Within the United States, Florida and Miami seem to be among the most popular destinations. Of course there are Argentinians who travel all over the world as well: Mexico, Europe… even New Zealand! Of course, there is nothing wrong with a pelopincho in the back garden to cool off during the hot summers! Listen to the Spanish-language podcast below – don’t forget you can subscribe on iTunes for more episodes, and if you haven’t already joined our mailing list sign up here to get our free resources guide and email newsletter where we send through additional materials. http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/020-Vacaciones.mp3 Which is your favourite part of Argentina? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email to say hi – see the ‘about’ page for details. Tweet The post Holidays in Argentina appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
26 minutes | Dec 23, 2015
Christmas in Argentina
Feliz Navidad a todos! In this podcast we talk about Christmas in Argentina – how some things are the same and some things quite different. http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/019-Feliz-Navidad.mp3 Listen to the Spanish-language podcast above – subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/learn-argentinian-spanish/id967532811?mt=2 Mailing List: If you haven’t already joined, you can sign-up for our mailing list at the link below. We are working on some more things to send out in the new year, once we have delivered our Christmas cards! http://eepurl.com/bqpvPX We look forward to any Christmas cards you might like to email through, or leave in the comments below… P.S. As we are in the southern hemisphere we are also heading into our summer holidays. The next podcast will be about holidays. Don’t forget to email in any requests for future episodes so we can add them to the list to record in future. Tweet The post Christmas in Argentina appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
16 minutes | Dec 7, 2015
The podcast this week we talk (in Spanish) about Rock Nacional, or rock from Argentina… We have posted a selection of Rock Nacional hits on our YouTube playlist, for the full playlist, click here We may add to this list in future, but for now the individual songs are… Los Gatos – La Balsa (1967) Soda Stereo – De Música Ligera (1990) Bersuit Vergarabat – El Tiempo No Para (1992) Andres Calamaro – Flaca (1994) Los Auténticos Decadentes – La Prima Lejana (2002) Los Piojos – Bicho de Ciudad (2007) Listen to the Spanish-language podcast below – subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/018-Rock-Nacional.mp3 List of Resources for Learning Argentinian Spanish: To get our free list of resources to help you learn (Argentinian) Spanish you can join our mailing list here where we’ll send you other stuff every now and again. Which songs have we forgotten to include?Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email. Tweet The post Rock Nacional appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
21 minutes | Nov 22, 2015
The podcast this week includes three examples of different types of cumbia. One is a traditional style from Columbia that is also well-known in Argentina, one is from ~1970s Argentina and the thirs is an example of cumbia villera, a more modern style which includes lyrics about life in the villas. To hear us talk about them in more detail you can listen to the Spanish-language podcast episode below, and subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/017-La-Cumbia.mp3 Here is a video of some guys dancing to cumbia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs4THBEXPi0 We hope the levels in the podcast are OK and you can hear the (brief) examples. Please leave a review on iTunes to let us know what you think and we may try to include more music in future episodes. List of Resources for Learning Argentinian Spanish: Our free list of resources to help you learn Spanish is available here: Have you heard cumbia before? Do you like it? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email as we love to hear from you. Tweet The post La Cumbia appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
24 minutes | Nov 2, 2015
Life in Buenos Aires – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
In our Spanish podcast this week, we talk about some of the positives and negatives of life in Buenos Aires: CON ‘tramites’ (chores or errands) and the bureaucracy, made even more difficult by the Banks only being open to customers between 10-3pm. PRO all that experience with waiting means (like the British) they know how to queue. CON the amount of dogs of the streets, and the ‘regalitos’ (little presents) they leave behind. PRO strangers in the street are very open and willing to help out tourists. We have learnt a few things about the city from passers-by! PRO the cultural life of the city, with many events throughout the year. PRO many of the museums etc. are free… CON but the president puts her name on all of the leaflets and takes the credit for it! CON broken pavements; difficult for wheelchairs or pushchairs. CON pot-holes in the roads! Often these will be fixed in key electoral districts in the run-up to an election. PRO the level of engagement of local people in politics CON graffiti on historic buildings, and many of the tourist districts. PRO the (low) price of public transport! Those were some of the positives and negatives we found during our most recent trip to Buenos Aires. To hear us talk about them in more detail you can listen to the Spanish-language podcast episode below, and subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/016-Pro-y-Contra-de-BsAs1.mp3 If you have the time we would really appreciate an honest review in iTunes – it let’s us know how we can make better episodes in future! List of Resources for Learning Argentinian Spanish: To get a list of resources to help you learn Spanish, and for more information about Argentina and its way of life sign-up here. Have you been to Buenos Aires? What did (and didn’t) you like about the city? Could you live there long-term? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email as we love to hear from you. Tweet The post Life in Buenos Aires – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
22 minutes | Oct 13, 2015
Asado El asado is an Argentine institution, and a very important tradition in the country. It involves plenty of meat, usually beef, cooked on an open grill over wood or coal. One of the most typical types of meat to cook are ribs of beef, and you will smell wood smoke and meat as you walk around Buenos Aires, especially on a Sunday. Full article to follow later… For now, some vocab to help you with the podcast: Parrilla – grill Leña – firewood Carbón – coal Asador – the chef! Listen to the Spanish-language podcast episode below, and subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/015-El-Asado.mp3 To get more information Sign up to the mailing list to get a list of resources to help you learn Spanish, and for more information about Argentina and its way of life. You can also follow us on Twitter @learnargentina where we tweet about Argentina in both English and Spanish. Have you eaten asado? How is it different from a ‘normal’ barbeque? What food from your own country do you miss when you travel away from home? Send us an email, or let us know in the comments below. Tweet The post Asado appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
22 minutes | Sep 27, 2015
La Boca, Barrio de Buenos Aires Literally ‘the mouth’, La Boca is a distinctive barrio (district) to the south of central Buenos Aires. It is close to the mouth of the river Riachuelo, and was an important port during the city’s boom period. Today, it is no longer an active port – the majority of freight now passes through either Retiro to the north or Dock Sud to the south. Instead, it is a popular tourist area, with restaurants, arts and crafts stalls, tango shows and folklore/traditional dancing. The main tourist area is quite small (just a few blocks) and is focussed around Caminito, a pedestrianised street lined with brightly painted houses. The area retains, or has restored, many of its original features including houses made of chapas (sheets of metal, or corrugated iron) and streets lined with adoquínes (setts or cobbles), and parts of the tram/train lines from the docks. Conventillos Conventillos (lit. little convents) are houses with a communal kitchen and washing areas. Today, one of the best preserved/restored is filled with tourist shops. Partly due to the poor construction of the original buildings, with corrugated iron and wooden houses, there have been a number of fires in the area; La Boca was also the location of the first volunteer fire service in the city. Houses were painted with whatever was left over from the boats that docked in the port. Which may explain why the houses were different colours, with just enough paint for one wall or a roof at a time. The painted houses themselves are now part of the attraction and character of the area and more recently (post-2000?) the kerb-stones themselves have been painted by local school-children. Xeneize The port brought many Spanish and Italian immigrants who settled and worked in the area. Many of them arrived from Genoa in Italy, and football was a popular sport for immigrants. Even today, one of the names for the hinchada (fans) of the local football club is Xeneizes, which means people from Genoa and comes directly from the Italian Genovese dialect (rather than genoveses as it would be in Spanish). Benito Quinquela Martín (1890 – 1977) One of La Boca’s most famous residents was the artist Quinquela Martín, and there is a statue of him near the entrance to caminito. He dedicated much of his life to the area and painted many pictures of the port area and encouraged locals to paint their houses in bright colours to liven up the area. He also founded a children’s dentist and local school, which is also a museum of his work. For more information about his story, check out Welcome Argentina’s page. Puente Transbordador (Transporter Bridge) A frequent subject of Quinquela Martín’s paintings was the Puente transbordador, a bridge linking Buenos Aires to La Isla Maciel. Since the port is no longer active, the bridge was due to be demolished. Due to its cult status and historical significance, the locals have (so far) successfully campaigned to save it. Actual traffic now runs along the Puente Nicolás Avellaneda, which links to the barrio of the same name. Podcast episode Listen to the Spanish-language podcast episode below, and subscribe on iTunes for more episodes: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/014-La-Boca.mp3 More information via email If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to subscribe – we will send you a list of resources to help you learn about Argentina as well as more information about Argentine life and culture. If you are enjoying the podcast, please click one of the share buttons, or tell a friend who might be interested in learning about Argentina where they can find us. You can also follow us on Twitter at @learnargentina Have you been to La Boca? What did you notice while you were there? Let us know in the comments below. Tweet The post La Boca appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
13 minutes | Sep 14, 2015
Return to Buenos Aires
We have just returned from holidays in Buenos Aires, and in our first episode back we thought we’d talk about some of the changes we noticed. Some are genuine changes in how the city has developed, others more from looking at it from a different perspective having been away for so long. In the (very poor) photo taken from the plane, you can see the blocks with power-cuts we mention in the podcast… (as always, entirely in Spanish). http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/013-Volviendo-a-Buenos-Aires.mp3 Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list and/or subscribe to the podcast to make sure you get the latest episode and blog updates. We’d also appreciate a review on iTunes to help us motivate and improve our show! Tweet The post Return to Buenos Aires appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
20 minutes | Aug 21, 2015
Argentine Chat-up Lines (Piropos)
We are away on holiday (in Argentina!) at the moment – more on that later. We are coming up with lots of ideas for new episodes so don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes/Android. Below is the latest podcast episode (as always, in Spanish). We discuss piropos – compliments or comments used to start a conversation, or let someone know they are attractive. http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/012-Piropos.mp3 We will be updating the articles in future, so if you sign-up to the mailing list we will let you know when they are ready. Have you heard any piropos? If so, let us know your best lines in the comments below… Tweet The post Argentine Chat-up Lines (Piropos) appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
22 minutes | Aug 4, 2015
This week we talk about facturas – a wide variety of small baked or fried pastries. Full article to follow (we have both been ill this week but wanted to get the podcast episode out on time). http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/011-Facturas.mp3 Tweet The post Facturas appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
23 minutes | Jul 20, 2015
Argentine Public Holidays (Feriados)
Latest Argentine Spanish podcast episode is available for download here: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/010-Argentine-Public-Holidays-Feriados.mp3 Full article to follow… in the meantime check out some of the other articles or sign up for the mailing list. Tweet The post Argentine Public Holidays (Feriados) appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
21 minutes | Jul 6, 2015
La Semana de la Dulzura
In our Spanish podcast this week, we talk about… La Semana de la Dulzura In Argentina, the first week of July is La Semana de la Dulzura. (the week of sweetness) or La Semana de la Golosina (the week of sweets/candies). From the 1st to the 7th of July, if you give someone a chocolate, they are meant to return the favour with a kiss. What first started as a marketing campaign by food company Arcor in 1989 has now grown in popularity and has become part of Argentine culture. Arcor takes its name from the first letters of the words of the town where it was first founded “Arroyito”, and the region it was founded in “Córdoba” and is now one of, if not the, largest companies in Argentina. It owns many different brands and sell everything from pasta, tinned tomatoes and fruit, but particularly confectionery. “A sweet for a kiss” The recent tradition of trading a chocolates for kisses is well known in Argentina but, as far as we know, has not caught on in other countries so let us know if you have heard of something similar elsewhere. You can buy chocolates at some of the many kioscos that are on nearly every street corner of Buenos Aires. We also talk about some of the other most popular sweets from Argentina: Bon o Bons These are the original sweet-for-a-kiss treat. The traditional ones are wafer balls with a peanut crème filling, covered in chocolate. They now come in different kinds – white chocolate etc. Apparently they are exported to more than 70 countries, but still 30% of them are eaten in Argentina. Rocklets These are basically slightly smaller M&Ms – also made by Arcor. Alfajores One of the most typically Argentinian sweets, they are basically small cakes, usually made from two round biscuits with dulce de leche or jam between, and coated with chocolate. The most traditional ones are made with chocolate and dulce de leche, but now there are all sorts of alfajor. Some even come with three layers, like a club sandwich for dessert! Silvina’s favourites are El Capitán del Espacio, which have a little spaceman logo on the wrapping. My favourites were the torta style ones – layers of cake rather than dulce de leche, and all covered in chocolate. Mantecol This is popular around Christmas time and is like a cross between nougat and peanut butter. A kind of sweet, semi-solid peanut paste (probably better than it sounds!). At Christmas, they also sell them in baldes (buckets)… Tofi Another popular marca (brand) of chocolates: Dos Corazones These are two chocolate hearts, which come with a little papelito with a cursi (which translates roughly as corny; cheesy; kitsch; cutesy or twee) sayings, like you might find in birthday cards (this was the definition we struggle to find in the podcast!). There are many other types, but these are the ones that come up in our podcast episode. Listen to the full version below (as ever, it is exclusively in Spanish)… http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/009-La-Semana-de-la-Dulzura.mp3 Tell a friend! If you enjoy the podcast, please click one of the share buttons, or simply tell someone who might be interested about our site and where they can find us. We have been working on a list of other resources to help you learn Argentina, and for information if you visit the country, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter to get your copy. You can also follow us on Twitter at @learnargentina and subscribe on iTunes. Have you heard of anything similar to La Semana de la Dulzura in other countries? Which is your favourite Argentinian treat? Let us know in the comments below. Tweet The post La Semana de la Dulzura appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
25 minutes | Jun 23, 2015
Los Horarios (Timetables)
Argentina has a comparatively nocturnal culture – most restaurant bookings are late into the evening. At 8pm, it’s not just takeaways that are open, but ‘proper’ restaurants too. In Buenos Aires, you can leave your house at 10pm to go and eat asado. Shops too are open longer. Owners might open around 8:30 in the morning, and stay open until 8pm. In general, more shops are run as independent businesses than in the UK. Late night shopping might be until 10pm and it’s not uncommon for the owners to work 12 or even 14 hours a day, with half an hour / 25 minutes for lunch. In Capital Federal shops are open on Sundays, but generally only until midday – ‘los shoppings‘ (malls) are typically open much later. Families have started to go out more often on Sundays and as a result, shops are open for longer. This makes me wonder: if shops are open for longer, are people going to spend more money, or will they just spend the same amount of money over a longer period of time? All this can take some adjusting to, depending on what you are used to, and we discuss this topic in our podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/learn-argentinian-spanish/id967532811?mt=2 Trámites (chores) Adjusting to the local rhythm will help you to avoid those frustrated moments when everything’s closing or has already shut. I remember being in Ireland and needing to open a bank account. I’d just started a new job and needed to have an account to get paid. The problem was that the banks were only open all of the times that I couldn’t go. They were closed at weekends, and closed for lunch – all the times I was able to go! In the end I had to take time off to open an account. It probably doesn’t matter what the local horario is, as long as you are in step with it. Just so that you’re not taken by surprise when you decide to go to a restaurant, bank, shops, whatever it happens to be. In Argentina, banks are often closed at weekends, and may only attend customers between 10am-3pm. While I considered this slightly vago (lazy), Silvina told me that the employees work very hard behind the scenes, doing all the administrative work etc. – they just don’t have to deal with customers face-to-face. No system is perfect; what’s good for the customers (longer opening hours), might not be so great for the workers who have to put in 12-hour shifts! This means everyone has to go to the bank at more or less the same time, and it can get really busy. If you’re planning on going to the bank, aim for 10am so you’ll be near the front of the queue and they won’t shut on you! People may take turnos or have a day off just to complete their trámites (chores). The bureaucracy in Argentina can be quite impressive and is still the only place I have ever had to fill out a form in quintuplet! Siestas and the Weather The siesta, famous is Spain, still has an influence in parts of the country, particularly in the hotter regions, although the tradition is dying out. Some shops outside Capital Federal (i.e. not central Buenos Aires) may still open from the morning until midday and then have an extended break, re-opening 2-3 hours later. Argentina is a big country which stretches from tropical rain forests in the north down to glaciers in the south. The north can get very hot so siestas, or at least a break during the heat of the day make a lot of sense. Even in those provinces however, economics might mean the shops may decide to stay open a little longer. Although in the provinces and smaller towns, they are still more likely to close around lunch time. I associate the siesta with the heat of Spain, Mexico and Italy (in the podcast I wasn’t sure if the Italians have a siesta, a quick Google search suggests that in the south they do/did). It makes sense to take a break in the middle of the day if the temperature gets too high but with the air conditioning in the ‘shoppings’ of Buenos Aires, there are no excuses! Daylight is also a big deciding factor for when people do certain things. By 6pm in a New Zealand winter, there is often no-one around at all! People will naturally adapt their behaviours depending on when the sun goes down, and if it’s dark and cold people are less likely to want to be out and about. For comparison, Buenos Aires is on a similar (but opposite) latitude to Los Angeles. You can find a list of cities by latitude, or check out this cool map. I found that people would have more varied sleep patterns over the weekend, and afternoon naps, particularly at weekends, are not uncommon. If you felt tired, you had a nap and that was it. That may help to explain the nocturnal nature a bit more too. A Typical Day at the Office The majority of office workers in Buenos Aires are likely to have a fairly long commute, from 40-60 minutes, to 90 and beyond. A typical office worker will arrive at the office around 8:30. The public transport system doesn’t always help, and at peak times, with so many people it can turn into a bit of a mission. If you have to be at the office around 8am, you may need to get up at 5:30-6am. Breakfast could consist of facturas and a coffee as you leave the house. Lunch is typically a half-hour break taken between 1-2pm, again not dissimilar to what I am used to, although maybe slightly later. This could be followed by merienda around 4-5pm, which is not too different from afternoon tea, and may involve more facturas! Most people will finish around 5-6pm, which means pretty ‘normal’ office hours. With the 90-minute commute for the return journey it makes sense that people eat around 8-9pm. So perhaps it is simply the size of Buenos Aires that affects how and when people eat, sleep etc. rather than any significant cultural differences. Finishing dinner after 9pm and needing to get up again for work the next day doesn’t leave anyone much spare time. Something has to give, which may explain why you see so many people sleeping on the bus on the way to/from work – that’s how you can have a nightlife during the week! On the surface, the late nights at the weekend gives the locals bragging rights on which nationality can party the longest. Although a friend of mine pointed out that weekends will typically involve one night out – lasting most of the weekend. He contrasted it with a British weekend, which may involve going out for after-work drinks on a Friday, another night out on Saturday and maybe a quieter evening on the Sunday. So three for the price of one! Sundays are different to the rest of the week and lunch is usually the main meal of that day, usually a big asado or pasta dish, with the leftovers for dinner. Again, parallels can be drawn with the traditional English Sunday lunch. Overall, my impression was that the Argentinian horario was not that different to what I was used to. They are likely to eat a little later and maybe stay out at weekends longer but it isn’t completely different. You just need to be aware of the small differences that can get quite frustrating when trying to do your trámites. How does the Buenos Aires commute compare with yours? Which shows more stamina over a weekend – one big night out, or three little ones?! Leave a comment and let us know what you think. You can listen to the full episode by clicking below: http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/008-Los-Horarios.mp3 The podcast, como siempre, esta todo en castellano)… [as always, is entirely in Spanish] – don’t forget you can also listen to the episodes via YouTube. If you are enjoying the podcasts, it would really help us out if you would take the time to leave us a review on iTunes. You can also click one of the share buttons to help others know where they can find us or follow us on Twitter at @learnargentina or just drop us an email and let us know a topic you’d like us to cover. If you have a greater interest in Argentina and the Argentine style of Spanish, you can also sign up for our newsletter so we can send you more articles about Argentina, and keep you up-to-date with any new developments on the blog. Tweet The post Los Horarios (Timetables) appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
22 minutes | Jun 8, 2015
Why Does Argentina Have Two Exchange Rates?
If you plan to travel to Argentina in the near future, you are likely to need some of the local currency. But you may also have heard that many places accept US dollars. So how much, if any, should you take in dollars? Although the official currency, the peso, is accepted everywhere you will probably find that most places will also gladly accept the dollar – although you might not get the best exchange rate if they are not used to dealing with foreign currency. The peso has devalued substantially over the last ten years and many Argentinians now use the US dollar to save for the long term. That, coupled with restrictions on buying foreign currency, make it widely sought-after in the country. After the economic crisis, the government put trabas (obstacles) to prevent people from buying USD freely. As it has became more and more difficult to buy them legally, opportunities opened up for a black market in currency trading (1:40). Times in brackets show roughly when we mention each topic in our Spanish-language podcast. To meet the many requirements (requisitos) for the purchase of dollars inside Argentina, you will usually need to provide evidence of a genuine reason for needing foreign currency (such as travel) as well as provide information about your income. There will also be limits (e.g. monthly/weekly) on how many dollars you can buy. Los Arbolitos ‘Los arbolitos‘ (literally “little trees”) is the term for people who sell dollars (illegally) on the streets. They will often be found in the same place, selling their ‘green leaves’ – the US dollar. One of the most popular spots for arbolitos to hang out was Florida, one of the main pedestrianised streets in the centre of Buenos Aires. As with any currency traders, the price at which they buy is lower than the price they sell. However, due to the difficulty and restrictions in place to buy and sell dollars this price difference grew and grew. The relative convenience of buying them in the street, without having to go through the trabas or trámites to buy them officially increased the price further. For Argentinians saving for the long term, the higher price of buying dollars is offset by inflation and the devaluation of the peso. It comes down to a choice between overpaying for dollars which hold their value, or pesos whose buying power will likely reduce over time (3:49). Due to the instability of the local currency, some larger purchases, like houses may be bought in dollars (5:55). More recently, it seems house prices are being advertised in pesos, although the actual purchase may well still be completed in dollars. Showing the price in pesos at least gives the impression that businesses are using the local currency. El Dólar Blue / El Dólar Paralelo Following the crisis, the government accepted that there was a ‘citicación parrallel‘, and came up with the term ‘el dólar blue‘. I’m still not exactly sure why this term was chosen, but it may simply be to distinguish it from the standard green dollar. I have read some comments that suggest the term ‘blue’ is used in English to refer to illegal markets, but I haven’t heard it used that way before. There is effectively an acknowledgement from the government that a dual price exists for the dollar and the price now appears in the mainstream press. Rather like people generally know the price of milk, the price of el dólar blue became un tema codidiano (8:10) – most people will know roughly what the price of the blue is, and likely have an opinion on whether it is likely to rise or fall in the short term. What is the difference in the official vs. unofficial rates? The difference between the official and blue price is not insignificant. At the time of writing the difference between the official and the unofficial rate was around five pesos. To find out the official rate, you can check any page, such as XE.com as it will be (more or less) the same anywhere in the world (8:54). To find out the unofficial rates, some of the more popular sites are DolarBlueHoy, DolarBlue.net and Precio Dolar Blue – or you can just Google “’el dolar blue en argentina” (8:54). The fact that major newspapers in Argentina report the rate is a sign of how widely accepted the unofficial rate has become (9:30). In theory, there would be alternative markets for Euro, Pounds Sterling, Australian dollars etc. Indeed, it is possible to buy currencies at prices distinct from the official rate, but difference not as pronounced (10:06). One of the main newspapers in Argentina, La Nacion recently listed the prices that of the official rate at roughly nine pesos to the dollar, with the dólar blue at over twelve pesos. This difference which adds up if you are changing $1000s at a time or trying to save for retirement (10:35). Before you get ideas of taking large quantities of dollars over to sell at an inflated rate to subsidise your trip, it is unlikely to be a good idea. Obviously we do not advocate anything illegal, and apart from that it is potentially dangerous and generally not recommended (11:00). There are also strict limits on how much you currency you can take into, and out of, the country. Also, although there is a broadly accepted price of the blue, which is semi-fixed, as with anything it changes and can be negotiated. As a tourist you’re unlikely to negotiate the best rates, and would likely end up getting closer to the official rate (11:50). Be comforted by the fact that you’ll be able to spend dollars if you run out of pesos. We are not suggesting any money-making schemes, simply letting you know what goes on in the country as you might wonder what this ‘blue dollar’ is that everyone is talking about and how it came about (12:45). You might also wonder why there are so many opinions on where to exchange your money! So when are Argentinians allowed to buy dollars? By way of example, trying to take out money for a trip overseas, the ‘trámite’ (literally ‘procedure’ – maybe better translated as ‘chore’, ‘red-tape’ or ‘paperwork’) involved taking copies of ID, trips to the bank, making copies of payslips both as proof length of time in a job, and to ensure a certain level of income, waiting a week to get permission to buy dollars, providing evidence that the specific reason for requiring dollars (travelling outside the country) was genuine through flight tickets (13:23). Based on how much you earn, the officials will tell you how many dollars you can buy. After waiting a week the permission was granted, but only for a specific time period (one week before the date of departure), get your permission. A few months later, a request to buy dollars for overseas travel was denied (15:53). Which explains why there is a parallel dollar! Given the difficulties and long process involved in buying dollars, it is no surprise that people are prepared to pay over the odds for something. The dollar is also seen as more stable, more likely to hold its value over the long term, at least enough that it will be what it was when saved. El Corralito During the economic crisis ~1998-2001 to try to prevent a run on the banks, the government introduced a series of financial controls and banned withdrawals from dollar-accounts. At the same time, the peso devalued going from about 1 to 4 pesos to the dollar. The restrictions on accounts was called ‘el corralito‘ (the little [financial] corral). In many ways it seems like a more extreme version of what happened in the US and Europe during the global financial crisis. As with any economic crisis, the problems usually aren’t short-lived, countries can suffer for long periods of time afterwards and it usually requires a change in law (and governments!) for the changes to come into effect. A phrase used at the time, and one which has since passed into the national consciousness was, “los que ahorran en dolares, van a recibir dolares; los que ahorran en pesos, van a recibir pesos” [those that save dollars will get dollars; those that save pesos will get pesos]. We think it was the Argentine finance minister at the time but haven’t been able to find a source for that information yet. If anyone can help out, please let us know! In any case, ultimately it was a lie, the majority of the population received devalued pesos. When I was last in Argentina, I was surprised at how many people did not trust the banks and took their salaries out, in full, on payday (17:04). Maybe their lack of trust in banks is a bit more understandable now! Listen to the full episode below (the podcast, as ever, is exclusively in Spanish)… http://www.learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/007-Why-Does-Argentina-Have-Two-Exchange-Rates.mp3 Disclaimer: Obviously we are not advocating illegal money-changing, neither are we giving any financial advice! Our focus this week was on the two exchange rates used in Argentina – we strayed into discussing the economic crisis as necessary background to explain the reasons they came about. The economic crisis around 2001 is a huge topic, and one which we will no doubt return to in future. We are not economists, so apologies if any of the terminology has been misused or misunderstood. Be Sociable: Share! If you have read this far, please be sociable and click one of the share buttons to let others know about our site. They won’t find us otherwise! If you have a greater interest in Argentina and the Argentine style of Spanish, you can also sign up for our newsletter to keep up with any new developments on the blog. You can also follow us on Twitter at @learnargentina and subscribe on iTunes. How does the situation seem to you? Is it not all that different to the global financial crisis? Can you explain the crisis better than we can?! Let us know in the comments below. Tweet The post Why Does Argentina Have
26 minutes | May 25, 2015
There were ugly scenes in Argentinian soccer last week, after Boca Juniors fan Adrian Napolitano sprayed pepper spray into the faces of the opposing team during a crucial last-16 cup tie against arch-rivals River Plate. Boca Juniors were subsequently thrown out of the Copa Libertadores after scenes of chaos on the pitch and violence off it. As a result, this week we decided to focus on the other sports played in Argentina – everything except fútbol. (times in brackets show roughly when we talk about each of these topics in the podcast) Polo Apart from being a football-mad nation, Argentina is well-known for its relationship with horses – and polo in particular (1:56). While polo has a long-standing tradition in Argentina it is not the most common participant sport. Not least because only a select few have access to a large field, selection of horses and group of friends who know how to ride! While football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the country, the official national sport is el pato (3:14). On the surface it is similar to polo in many ways: both games are played on horseback, with a teams of four riders (jinetes) on each side. While polo is played using a mallet on a long stick to hit a ball through goals at either end of the field, juego del pato is more similar to basketball on horseback. El Pato – Deporte Nacional de Argentina El pato literally means ‘the duck’, as it was originally played using a live duck (3:47), with teams of four riders taking the duck from one ranch house to the other to score points. Now the pato is made of a kind of a ball with handles around the outside. Riders need to be very skillful as they need to hang from the side of their horse to pick up it up from the ground. It sounds incredibly dangerous! Neither of us have been to a game before (5:40), but if you are in Buenos Aires, you may be able to see one at Campo Argentino de Polo de Palermo (not La Rural as we suggest in the recording). “La Tigresa” Acuña Among the individual sports stars to come from the country are boxers, including female World champion 2008-2013 Marcela “La Tigresa” Acuña (9:36). Another true sports star from Argentina is hockey player Luciana Aymar – arguably the best ever. She retired in 2014 as the only person to receive eight player of the year awards (15:20). Basketball is another popular sport (16:52), although many of the best Argentinian players leave the country to play in the NBA where they can earn many times more than in their home country. Tennis Argentina also has had some top-ranking tennis players such as David Nalbandian, until injury forced his early retirement in 2013, and Del Potro – still one of the best and not from the 1990s as I thought! (20:19) The most successful female Argentine tennis player – Gabriela Sabatini – was at her peak in the early 1990s. Cricket – Not (yet) popular… It is hard to imagine cricket taking off in Argentina in the near future (18:57), but after some research, we were able to establish that Argentina does indeed have an official national team. Not made-up! A few weeks ago, during the cricket world cup, I tweeted a YouTube video about initiatives to encourage youngsters, generally from poorer backgrounds, to take up cricket in Argentina. Silvina talked about the struggle that teachers face trying to get children to play anything other than football (22:00). Athletics, artistic gymnastics, volleyball, handball and lately, softball often have to be rewarded with a 30-minute game of football, just to get the kids to try something else. ¡Viva the beautiful game! Help us grow… let a friend know We are trying to let people know about our podcast without sending out tonnes of spam, so if you are enjoying the podcasts please help us to grow by clicking one of the share buttons or, if you have a friend who is learning Spanish, simply send them an email and let them know where they can find us. Listen to the full episode below and leave a comment to let us know what you think (the podcast, as ever, is exclusively in Spanish)… http://learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/006-Deportes-Argentinos.mp3 You can also follow us on Twitter at @learnargentina and subscribe on iTunes. Tweet The post Deportes Argentinos appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
20 minutes | Apr 13, 2015
BAFICI (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) In this episode we talk about BAFICI, Buenos Aires’ international film festival which Argentina showcases some of the best independent cinema from around the world. 2015 will be its 17th (not 16th as we say in the podcast) year, and over that time it has grown from an audience of ~100,000 to over a million. Not bad for an event that only runs for 10 days. Around 13 venues are taking part this year, including some of Buenos Aires’ iconic buildings such as MALBA, and Teatro Colón so it would be a good way to get around and see some of the city’s famous buildings. But you’ll need to move quickly as it runs from 15-25 April. There are also some special 360° performances being shown at the planetarium, such as Tango 360° You can get more information about the festival from the official page. The site includes a downloadable PDF – over 400 pages long – with the full listings and some good information and articles about the films. Download the full programme here: BAFICI Programme 2015 If you are not able to make it to the festival, it might be difficult to get hold of some of the movies on show – last year 13 out of 16 Argentinian films made their worldwide premiere at the event. But if you are interested in Latin American cinema, it may be worth browsing some of the previous years’ listings and seeing if there are any films which grab your attention. When we went, back in 2008, I saw a Korean film called Day and Night (Bam Gua Nat) about a homesick Korean who visits Paris. It was the first (and last) time that I have seen a film with three different sets of subtitles! We also saw Lion’s Den (Leonera), which was pretty good – if a little depressing. This year there is just one entry from New Zealand: “What we do in the Shadows” (or Casa Vampiro in Spanish). See the trailer here (note the film is in English, it’s just part of the international independent cinema festival in Buenos Aires). It’s all a matter of taste, so check out the listings and see what you like the look of. If you are interested in Argentinian films in general, maybe Oscar-winner The Secret In Their Eyes, or 2014’s nominated Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) would be a good place to start. We are in the process of developing a list of useful resources, including books, websites and films which you can find on our resources page. In the podcast we also use the following (mainly film-related vocabulary), so listen out for the following: trailer – el avance premier – estreno to premiere – estrenar film/movie – película, sometimes abbreviated to ‘peli’ ‘chats’ – charlas (in the podcast we talk about how movie directors give talks as part of the festival) We are a few days behind with the podcast due to the Easter (Pascua) break. Listen to the full episode below (as always the podcast, is exclusively in Spanish)… http://learnargentinianspanish.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/005-BAFICI.mp3 Let us know which films you liked/didn’t from this, or previous years. Leave a comment, send an email. Follow us at @learnargentina on Twitter. Tweet The post BAFICI appeared first on Learn Argentinian Spanish.
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