In my experience, in any language, fluency – or at least the illusion of it – leans on knowing how to wield some basic low-significance words. And sounding like a local means knowing the local slang. Argentines have a litany of their own. Overhearing others’ phone conversations, I’ve gleaned that I can fill awkward phone moments and the stereotypical gringo serial “si”-speak by adding in:

  • Bárbaro
  • Buenisimo
  • Dale
  • Perfecto
  • Claro
  • Che

Personally, I’ve become fond of using buenissimo – it fills more time and I can drag it out to emphasize my imitation of the Argentine accent. But nothing tickles me like bárbaro. I haven’t looked it up yet, but it sounds so different from anything else I might expect to hear that I can’t help but smirk to myself when I hear it.