Concha, coger... again !! | SpanishDict Answers
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I have read elsewhere on here that, in Argentina, using "concha" is best avoided. So, what word do Argentinians use for "shell"? Secondly, if I hadn't known and used the word, would people be understanding, or would I get a slap regardless?

I was having dinner with a friend from San Sebastian in Spain where there is a lovely bay called La Concha. It was he told me originally about the word was taboo in Argentina. And then he said that it would be a bit embarrassing/amusing if one said to a South American, "Coge la segunda a la derecha y al fondo de la calle está la Concha."

4 Answers

0 Vote

They are words with double meanings. Another one to avoid in some places is huevos. There is also a colloquialism for "to give someone a lift" that is used in some places that is extremely rude in most places, so I won't repeat it here.

English does the same thing. What do the words fag, rubber and fanny mean? Depends on where you are and what you're talking about.

  • That's true; nuts and balls and all that. - Pibosan Jan 3, 2011 flag
4 Vote

I have read elsewhere on here that, in Argentina, using "concha" is best avoided. So, what word do Argentinians use for "shell"?

Bivalvo (bivalve), I believe.

Secondly, if I hadn't known and used the word, would people be understanding, or would I get a slap regardless?

First of all, concha is still being used in Argentina, but not in every context. However, being an outsider (or a foreigner), they'll understand perfectly if you use it, because they know the word is used normally in many other countries, where even women are called like that. There is a Chilean wine called "Concha y Toro" which is exported worldwide, and very popular in Argentina. Surely they must be used to seeing and hearing this word all the time. In Japanese "chin chin" is a very vulgar term "penis", but they are used to see foreigners toasting with this expression, so they are not going to get a katana out to kill you if they hear you saying it.

I was having dinner with a friend from San Sebastian in Spain where there is a lovely bay called La Concha. It was he told me originally about the word was taboo in Argentina. And then he said that it would be a bit embarrassing/amusing if one said to a South American, "Coge la segunda a la derecha y al fondo de la calle está la Concha."

Coger comes from Lain coligere, which means to grasp with both hands. In the middle ages, people used this term as a slang with the sense of grabbing a woman for... you know, while it was used with its normal meaning of "to take" by more educated people. With the immigration to America, the "vulgar" meaning became the standard one, even among educated speakers, in most Latin American countries (for example, "coger" is a normal verb in Cuba). In Spain, Cuba and another few places, "coger" (to take) is as normal as "recoger". However, even in Spain you still can see people in the countryside using "coger" with bulls and cows (and other farm animals) with the same sexual meaning.

2 Vote

Pibosan dice I have read elsewhere on here that, in Argentina, using "concha" is best avoided.

¿Verdad? Entonces, ¿dónde se compra la gasolina en Argentina?

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1 Vote

I don't know about Argentina but in Mexico the sentence that you mention would certainly be amusing. They'd understand what you mean, though. It's just that lots of folks love to play with double meanings of words.

I've heard people say "caracol" to mean shell. It also means snail but I've definitely heard it more often than concha even if there is no snail actually in the shell. Concha is understood as shell, as well, and probably wouldn't get you slapped in most situations though I really don't advise saying "Déjame ver la concha" to a lady on a South/Central American beach.

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