This article sponsored by Bueno, entonces…
Graffiti. In most languages, you can say the word, and despite the language differences, most people will still understand you. Now how cool is that? The word graffiti originated from the Italian word graffiato, which means ‘scratched‘. Supposedly the original ‘graffiti‘ was etched into buildings and property, dating all the way back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Obviously it has changed a bit since then. Graffiti is now defined as any art (drawing, painting, etching, etc…) or marking made in or on property.
In some cities, graffiti has taken over the streets and buildings– it is everywhere you look, and most of the time it makes the city or neighborhood look dangerous, cluttered, and tacky. Buenos Aires is full of graffiti, and in some barrios (neighborhoods) the graffiti is seen and appreciated as art rather than vandalization. Honestly, some of it is pretty incredible, and it undoubtedly adds character to what would be a boring cement building or tired street corner.
A lot of the graffiti we see here on a regular basis in Buenos Aires is in the form of stencils– outlines of a given design or mark that are spray-painted, making it so that all the images appear identical time after time that the stencil is used. There are stencils regarding la política Argentina (Argentine politics), la política mundial (world politics), el arte (art), random crap, and basically any other topic you could imagine– it’s all there, clinging to the walls of the city.
In honor of the street art of Buenos Aires (and hundreds of other major cities worldwide), we present you with a little bit of street vocabulary!
Vereda/Acera/Andén = Sidewalk
Calle = Street
Semáforo = Traffic Light
Esquina = Corner
Manzana = A Block (whole square)/ Apple
Cuadra = A Block (length of one side)
Lámpara de la Calle = Streetlight
Edificio = Building
Feel free to post some photos or URLs of cool graffiti that you’ve seen around– share the love!
Also, check out the Bueno, entonces…learn Spanish website and see why our unique (and sometimes bizarre) teaching method works! You can also go to our Youtube page to see more clips from our Spanish classes. Become a fan on Facebook and you’ll learn useful Spanish phrases and save $50 on the program!