An Expat Guide to Argentina’s Language Idiosyncrasies

General News

By The Wall Street Journal

Foreigners stepping onto Argentine soil are usually puzzled by locals’ language idiosyncrasies. A nation of immigrants, Argentina is also a country of blatant—albeit kindhearted, for the most part—broad categorizations of its people.

For example, Argentines call anyone from the Middle East a Turco (“Turk” in English). You can be a fourth-generation Lebanese, but you will still be considered a Turco. This stems from the fact that Middle Easterners who emigrated to the South American nation in the early 20th century had Ottoman passports regardless of their ethnic origin. (They all came from the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, which was dissolved in 1922.)

Similarly, whether Indonesian, Vietnamese or Japanese, Argentines call all Asians Chinos (“Chinese” in English). You can be a third-generation Korean owning a Korean restaurant and serving Korean food, and an Argentine will... (Read More)


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