November 19, 2015

The Voting System

This has definitely been a year of elections in Argentina...and it's not over yet...Next Sunday, the country holds a RUNOFF.
But let's revise how the electoral system works before focusing on the next elections...

To win the presidency, a candidate needs to take 45% of the vote or at least 40% with a 10% lead over the runner-up (= the person who comes second in a race or competition)

Failing that, a second round (a runoff) is held between the two formulas with the largest number of votes. So now, the formula that obtains a majority of votes is the winner.

If one of the two formulas with the largest number of votes withdraws from the second round (in Spanish, "se baja"), the remaining formula will be proclaimed the winner

But. .there is more to this...before the presidential elections, Argentina holds primary elections.
These are held to select presidential CANDIDATES; and they also work as a "mock" election (= not real but pretending to be) for the party coalitions or "alliances" (a coalition is the joining together of different political parties)

Luckily, all this only takes place every four years, that's how long a presidential term is.

November 15, 2015

Tradition Day

November 10th is the birth date of José Hernández  (1834-1886), author of the well-known gauchesque epic poem Martin Fierro (1872)

November 10th is celebrated in Argentina as the Tradition Day.

The word tradition derives from the Latin tradere, meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.

So, tradition is the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, information, etc from generation to generation, especially BY WORD OF MOUTH or by practice.

The tradition of a people (note that we are using the word people to mean pueblo and not gente) is all that separates it from the others and identifies it.

And when we think of Tradition in Argentina, of course the image of the gaucho comes to mind. Gaucho, mate, the Pampa, and so on..

However, we can also think of other areas in the country rather than the Pampa, and Tradition is also present. Think about folk music, for example, and there is an instrument that for sure comes to mind..THE QUENA.

The QUENA, or KENA as it's usually written in English, is known as the flute of the Incas. It originated in the mountains of South América, and its use ranges from celebration to mourning...
It's made of clay, stone, bones and bamboo. And it is used in many ocassions. .and of course in some of the Argentine Tradition Day celebrations.

November 04, 2015

A new month, the same topic

NOVEMBER has just started! But we continue with the same story in Argentina: more ELECTIONS.. this time, PRESIDENTIAL elections...

After having the "primary elections" (the ones held to determine each party's candidate), we had the general election last October 25th.

However, there was no ABSOLUTE MAJORITY, that is to say that no political party won more than half of the total votes in the election.

So, a second round is coming. ..a RUNOFF...

April 18, 2015

Malbec World Day

Yesterday, April 17th, Malbec was wordly commemorated.

This grape variety (also called Cot in France) is synonymous with Argentina, where it has developed its best characteristics.

Not even Cahors, Malbec's mother land, in the South of France, produces so exciting wines as those made in Argentina, especially in Lujan de Cuyo and Tupungato, both in the Province of Mendoza.

Undoubtedly, Malbec is the flagship grape of Argentina. (Flagship means "best product". It's the best or most important product, idea, building, etc that an organization owns or produces)

And talking of wine and drinking, there are some useful words that you may want to learn...

Let's start with "Cheers!", the expression we use when we raise our glasses and are about to drink.. (= Salud!)

Another interesting word is "toast". This is the English for "brindis", and it can be used as a noun or a verb:
- We toasted the happy couple. (as a verb)
- The guests drank a toast to the happy couple. (as a noun)
- "I'd like to propose a toast to the happy couple". (This is a nice expression -"to propose a toast to.." - you may want to use in your next dinner or lunch with a group of tourists.. I hope you recommend them drink Malbec wine!)

June 13, 2014

Are you ready for the pools?

World Cup 2014 is finally here! And as a football-is-a-religion country, this is all that matters now in Argentina! Football is what we will watch, hear and talk about for the next few weeks; so, why don’t we learn some useful words in English?

To begin with, keep in mind that we use the word football in UK but not in US English! The word for American people is soccer. Having this clear, let’s see some technical words..

We all want to score a goal! Better said, we all want Messi to score goals!

So, here we have an interesting word: goal. It has two different meanings: gol, (of course!) and arco.

It goes without saying, that everybody wants to win but sometimes the result may be a draw, which is when both teams finish with the same number of goals. (=empate)

June 02, 2014

On fire

Today is the day of the Volunteer Firefighters of La Boca! They are celebrating their 130th anniversary!

We congratulate them and take the chance to see some words about fire…

To begin with, we may use the word firefighter or fireman.

A fire-station is the building where fire engines and other pieces of equipment used by firemen are kept.  By the way, a fire engine (or fire truck, for American people) is the vehicle that carries firefighters and their equipment.

The verbs we can use with fire are many, as an example we may say that a fire starts or breaks out. And what firemen do is to put out a fire.

Something useful, and in line with this commemorative day, is the phrase to catch fire, which means to begin to burn. We can say that in La Boca, the conventillos – the houses made of poor materials such as metal sheet (= chapa) and wood catch fire easily. That is to say, these houses are highly inflammable /ɪnˈflæm.ə.bl̩/.

May 25, 2014

A sense of patriotism

Given today is the National Holiday for 25th May, the May Revolution, there is definitely a sense of patriotism in the air. Let’s take this opportunity to see some patriotic words.

First of all, keep in mind that we use the words patriotism, patriotic and patriot. But when it comes to refer to patria, the words are different. The translation of patria into English is fatherland, homeland or motherland.

So now let’s begin with some patriotic symbols..