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Ever, the Argentina was something like the promised land for those escaping pressing situations in their countries of origin. On the ships came our grandparents, great-grandparents and great-grandparents, coming from the most diverse places. Here they made their home, formed their family, put work and love to a land that was not their own, but ended up adopting. In the process, they transformed it. What would be of our identity without the contribution of immigrants?
Among the many components that the culture of a village has, the language is undoubtedly one of the most important. And the most wonderful thing is that it is constantly moving: is not static , new terms are constantly emerging that have to do with loans from other languages, neologisms of the new generations or technicalities that become commonly used. Dialects , chronolects, technologies, then, are some of the ways in which language is constantly transformed.
In Argentina, more specifically in Buenos Aires, the Lunfardo has been part of our daily speech for several decades. According to the Porteña del Lunfardo Academy , there are approximately 6000 terms and around 70 are added each year. We all use them, without even realizing it, because they are part of our daily language. Words like pibe, macana, chamuyo, laburo, mine, twine, trout, chabón or gil are some examples of terms that are absolutely inserted in our speech.
As we said, the origin of the lunfardo is in the immigratory currents which arrived in Buenos Aires in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. And, as much as we want to see the poetic side of the matter, the truth is that it arose as a need for survival : in the conventillos there were crowded people from different backgrounds who needed to communicate. Of that mixture of different languages , the lunfardo was born.
It appears that the term Lunfardo has origin in the gentilician Lombard , which at some point was synonymous with thief, given that the native of Lombardy had been usurers and lenders centuries ago, but the lunfard was not only about marginal life: gradually its use spread to other sectors of society.
When their use is recurrent and persists over time, words coming from the lunfardo are, even, incorporated by the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy . Pibe, macana and banquina are some of the words that have already been recognized by the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language.
For you to see in concrete examples the magnitude of the preponderance of lunfardo in our lives, we bring you some terms defined by Oscar Conde in your Etymological dictionary of the lunfardo .
Source: Ministry of Culture Argentina
Publication Date: 19/03/2021
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