I had heard that the friends of my kids say that my kids speak Spanish “monotonously”. Hmm, that comes as no surprise if you know what Argentine  Spanish sounds like.

A guy on the expat forum described it, and he couldn’t have done any better so I copy his text here  (thanks ‘Napoleon’!):

“(1) I walked passed a girl yesterday or the day before and her arm NOT CONNECTED to the hand holding her cell phone was moving about twice as fast as her lips were. And she was talking quickly.


(2) Stretch the ever-living-crap out of the second-to-the-last vowel sound in every 3rd or 4th word.

No, no, no pasa naaaaaaaada. Para-para-para, era muy tranquiiiiiiiiiiiilo. Estabamos tomando cerveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezas y comiendo picaaaaaaaaaaaaadas.”

(3) And, for no reason what-so-ever, just a little less frequently send your voice up about 3 octaves until your voice cracks. Do this over and over and over even though there is absolutely no reason what-so-ever to emphasize these words/syllables. And if it ends up that that part of the word is absolutely unintelligible? No p^sa naaaaaaaaaaada, porque ^toy todo tranquiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilo.

(4) Oh, and drop your “S”s all the time. The more street you want to sound, the better. And then claim that you ARE pronouncing your “S”s, but that it’s simply a soft S.

(5) Consider buying this book.…/dp/9872173125

(6) Before you say something, make kind of a <tsk> sound by sucking air into your mouth as you separate your tongue from the top of your mouth right behind your upper front teeth.

(7) Start most of your statements with a negative sound. “Nooooo, no, no…” or “Naaaahh, naaa…” or “Para, para, para…” Start with something negative even if you are going to give an affirmative answer.

(8) Kiss every living thing within 10 feet of you on the right cheek before you even say a single negative thing.

(9) Shrug the hell out of your shoulders and tilt your head to the side often as you talk, because this will affect your speech in a way that I can’t explain.

(10) Touch people with your hands as you are talking to them. Touch their arm, their shoulders, and if you’re sitting, you can even put your hand on their thigh. The lack of awareness of personal space will be detectable in your speech pattern.

(11) Throw in some “Y, y, y…. nada.”s and a few “Viste?”s when they least expect it. Use “dale” for “ok?” or “let’s go” and really try to use a “che” soon after it so they don’t think that you’re just some poser.

(12) Take about 30 seconds to get off the cell phone. Never mind that cell phone rates are astronomical, (especially for those of us without a plan) it is always best to end a cell phone conversation like this-

“Dale, dale, dale… listo, listo, dale, listo, dale… bueno, listo, bueno, dale-dale, listo-dale, chau, dale? Bueno, bueno, listo, dale, dale, ch-listo, noooo, nooooo, nada… dale, listo, bueno, bueno-bueno, listo-bueno, dale, dale, listo, y… y… y… y… nada, bueno, bueno, listo, bueno, listo, dale, dale, bueno, listo, dale, chau, chau, chau-chau, listo-bueno-dale, chau, chau, un beso/abrazo, chau, chau, chau.”

I cut it a little short, but you get the point. DO NOT HANG UP QUICKLY OR YOU WILL BE DEEMED AS HAVING MALAAAAA UNDAAAAAAAAAAA!!! And you’ll probably never be invited to another asado again if you’re deemed to be in proud ownership of mala unda.

(13) If you’re a 13-15 year old girl, shuffle your beaten up Chuck Taylor All-Stars (or imitation) canvas high-tops, as you play with (one of) your (pieces of facial metal) [CHOOSE ONE: lip pierce; tongue pierce; push-pin-jabbed into your face a centimeter above or below your actual lip] while saying “boluda” like you just learned the word 9 days ago and it’s your new favorite word FOREVER!!!… “PFPS”… Palabra Favorita Para Siempre.

Once you’ve mastered all of this, come back and I’ll give you some more tips on how to sound autentico.


4 responses to “Monótono”

  1. Hi! I laughed a lot with your post. You are certainly right we talk and behave like that. Nonetheless, I would say there are a few words/expressions missing in it:
    – chabon
    – che
    y boludo!
    Congrats on your brief and clear explanation of how we talk!

  2. Hello, Katti — this is SaraSara, formerly from the BAExpat forum. Love your description of how we talk – got it just right.

    “Mala onda” is the worst thing anyone can foist on you, and we are all terrified of it. People with mala onda are toxic people, spreading gloom and ill will whenever they go. Saying that someone “Tiene mala onda” is enough to turn him/her into a sort of social leper.

    Keep the blog going — I enjoy it, and also enjoy your pictures.


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