La gente anda diciendo

I discovered a really cool page on Facebook yesterday called La gente anda diciendo. The concept is very simple: people in Buenos Aires, Argentina send in snippets of conversations they hear strangers say in public either to someone with them or on a cell phone, and most frequently on buses and on the street. Here’s La gente anda diciendo’s brief description of what they do:

Fragmentos de conversaciones que escuchamos por la calle. Frases sueltas, a veces inconclusas, casi siempre fuera de contexto. Twitter @gentediciendo

I love the snatches of ordinary, private life, and I love how colorfully people talk. Sure, I enjoyed it from a language-learning perspective as well, but, even more than that, it’s just a fantastic way to see language as a living, dynamic entity.

Here are a few of my favorites and my loose translations below.


(If Felix Baumgartner could get a signal all the way out in the stratosphere, there’s no way you really expect me to buy the story that you couldn’t get a signal in that crummy bar.)


(I don’t know, girl, at that price I’ll stick with my black tooth and just paint it with White-out.)


(Psychology is what ruined everything around here. My old man would beat my back with broomsticks, and just look how well I turned out.)


(Hey, you love yourself a little too; it’s not enough just for me to love you.)


(She puts little reminders in his cell phone: “our one-month anniversary,” “our two-month anniversary” . . . and he still doesn’t call her.)


(You’re not the person I fell in love with because obviously I never would have fallen in love with such a dumbass.)


(I’m not saying you have to go out with the intellectual heir of Archimedes, but at least with someone who’s not a total idiot.)

Piotrek told me in the comments of the last post that I’m very affectionate; well, let me just proclaim my immense affection for this project. If I were still living in Colombia, I would totally be creating my own version. I confess that last night I went to bed kind of sad that I’m not living in a big South American city. Cities have lots of downsides, sure, but I love the constant intimate glimpses you get into the lives of strangers. Although when you live in such close quarters with millions of others (and have no car or mansion to enclose yourself in), you find that fewer people are strangers.

Do you like this idea? Like and follow La gente anda diciendo on Facebook here. And let me know if you know of any similar projects elsewhere.

(Oh, hopefully you’re at least decent with voseo! If you’re not, now’s as good a time as any to learn.)


11 responses to “La gente anda diciendo

  1. Interesting, though potentially risky. Imagine a devout fan of this project starting to actually FOLLOW people to catch the juiciest snipets of conversations to score brownie points and then getting punched for being nosy I rarely pay closer attention to what strangers around me say, so I guess I would be a lousy contributor :D Never heard of a similar project, either.
    Very useful when you want to learn everyday language, though :) Oh, and “gorda” used as a term of endearment was so much fun to read :D


    • Nah, I think that anyone who actively followed people and tried to seek these kinds of juicy tidbits would walk away empty-handed. It doesn’t work like that. It’s usually when you least want to know about some stranger’s life that they obnoxiously “share” it with you.

      Yes, incredibly useful for language learners. Vocabulary, yes, but especially to see grammatical structures. And, yes! Gorda is so common. I used to live with a family and the husband and wife always affectionately called each other gorda and gordo. My former female high school students do the same thing. Very endearing.


  2. Jaja, está buenísimo lo que hiciste. Las traducciones son muy, muy buenas. Entendiste perfecto lo que decía.

    Yo en Facebook leo algunas páginas donde varios alumnos universitarios de Gran Bretaña hacen confesiones. Hay de todo. :P

    Sí, “gordo/a” se usa, aunque casi nunca para alguien que es gordo. Puede caerle mal. =P

    Te veo bien con el argentino, eh. :)


    • Muchas gracias. Traducir me encanta, y sí, sé que soy buena para hacerlo :)

      Aunque claro que había algunas frases que no entendí muy bien. Por ejemplo, “La culpa de que me hinches las bolas la tiene la bruja que te dijo que te cago”. O, “Hoy a la noche sale juntada de póker de encargados, preparate”.

      Es que en Colombia (y bueno, seguro que en Latinoamérica en general) casi no hay gente gorda. Acá para utilizar esa palabra, ¡ah! Imaginate… uno no podría sino caerle mal a casi todo el mundo.

      No entiendo tu última frase– explicamela porfa. Gracias.
      (¿Está bien explicamela así o lleva tilde? Bueno, hasta ahora me doy cuenta de que tengo una que otra dudita con respecto a los mandatos y el voseo. Por ejemplo, explicá, explicame, ¿explicamela o explicámela? ¿Cometelo o comételo? Hmm…)


  3. Las frases son muy interesantes. Lo que pasa es que son muy informales. A ver, vamos con la primera:

    —>“La culpa de que me hinches las bolas la tiene la bruja que te dijo que te cago”.

    Hinchar(le)/romper(le) las bolas/pelotas [a alguien]: molestar [a alguien] continuamente. Como te podrás imaginar, es vulgar y ofensivo. No se me ocurre una traducción en inglés. Capaz “pester”, pero no es vulgar ni nada.

    “Bruja” puede usarse como “yegua”. Es un poco más suave que decir “bitch” en inglés.

    Cagar a alguien: meterle los cuernos a alguien, engañar a alguien con otra persona. Vulgar.

    —>“Hoy a la noche sale juntada de póker de encargados, preparate”.

    “Salir” es dificilísimo de explicar. Creo que da la idea de que algo surgió espontáneamente. Te encontrás con unos amigos por la calle y organizan algo para la noche.

    El “encargado” es el portero que trabaja en un edificio. Limpia los pasillos, el ascensor, las escaleras. Se ocupa del mantenimiento del edificio. Capaz que lo sabías, pero me parece que es un argentinismo. Por las dudas te lo expliqué.

    Entonces sería algo así. “We’re meeting up to play poker tonight. Get ready.”

    No estoy seguro de “get ready”. En este caso, “preparate” se usa para decirle a alguien que esté física y mentalmente preparado, valga la redundancia. Hmm…”be prepared”? Jaja, qué se yo. Ya me duele la cabeza de pensar tanto. :P

    —>”Te veo bien con el argentino, eh. :)”

    Quise decir “Te llevás bien con el argentino”.

    “Explicámela” sería la acentuación. En “cometelo” no hace falta acento, aunque se le da énfasis a “te”. En “explicámela” sí va acento porque, si no, sonaría “explicaméla”. No sé si me explico. Preguntame, cualquier cosa. No te quedes con la duda. :)


  4. Now that made me smile :)


  5. Thanks a lot for sharing it.
    It feels like a wind that comes to my window here in Saint-Petersburg right away form Buenos Aires )))…
    Don’t undersand all of them but keep trying… :)


    • Thanks for your kind words! Yes, it felt the exact same way for me– a breath of the Buenos Aires air. If you let me know which parts you didn’t understand, I can try to explain them, either in a comment or in a future post. There were some that I didn’t understand either, don’t worry.


  6. Pingback: Another blog birthday | Vocabat

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