My name is Joseph. I lived in Argentina for 13 years (2000-2012), and now visit Buenos Aires yearly. Paola (username: Serafina) did me the honor of sharing an article about my recently-published dictionary, Persico’s Lexical Companion to Argentine Spanish: diccionario bilingüe de regionalismos porteños, and, so, I wanted to introduce myself and mention a few things about my work just in case anyone is curious about it.
I finished the dictionary in the U.S. after a two-year hiatus during which I went back to school to earn a teaching degree (I teach Spanish here in California). In total, the dictionary took about 15 years to complete. It has 2,400 entries (66% of which are not in the Oxford Spanish-English Dictionary), and it includes thousands of idioms, collocations and example phrases. It is the most exhaustive bilingual dictionary to be published for a single dialect of Spanish.
Before moving to Argentina, I lived for three years in Mexico, and one year in Spain, which is when I first got the idea of doing a dictionary of regionalisms. After my time in Mexico City, I attempted to write a dictionary of Mexicanisms, but I fortunately realized how bad(!) it was before anybody ever saw it, and it was never published. It was at that point (2000) that I thought to myself: “when I go to Argentina, I’ll do a dictionary 'como la gente,’ ” to borrow an adverbial phrase from my book.
There could be some confusion about the title as it alludes to the fact that it is both a dictionary of ’regionalismos argentinos’ and ’regionalismos porteños’, but this is easily explained. Words that are used in only one region of Argentina are, in fact, still argentinismos (even though they may not be used all over the country). And, what’s more, I consider the words contained in the book a good representation of Argentine Spanish because the dialect spoken in the Capital is also probably that which is most familiar to most Argentines—as most mass media consumed in the country comes from Buenos Aires.
One other fast fact about the dictionary: the title was inspired by the ’Oxford Companion to the English Language’, a fun book to have if, like me, you consider yourself an amateur linguist.
Persico’s Lexical Companion can be found in Argentina at bookstores that carry Editorial Océano books. It can also be found at the Océano publisher's stand this year at the book fair in Buenos Aires (Pabellón verde, No. 1317), and can be downloaded on Amazon for smartphones.
Thank you for reading and, if possible, helping me spread the word about my book!