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Riche comme un argentin

Recently, as I am trying to improve my French, I came across a phrase that was particularly interesting for me. The phrase was "riche comme un argentin" ("rich as an argentine").

I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and you would imagine that it was surprising for me to learn that people in France actually use this idiom to refer to anyone that is extremedly wealthy and ostentacious.

I researched about this in the Internet to find the origin of this phrase. This took me back to the beginnings of the nineteenth century, when the Argentina has one of the biggest GDP worldwide and was known as the "world's barn" ("Granero del mundo") because of its great agricultural exportation. However, this wealth was very concentrated between the big landowners, that formed an extremedly rich aristocracy. Such was the wealth of this people, and their admiration for european culture, that they travelled very often to Europe, despite the journey complications, which consisted in steam boats at the time. They spent great money in those trips, and sorrounded themself with a lot of luxury. They were very fond of French architecture; they even bring entire builidings, brick by brick, back home. It is until today that Buenos Aires is full with gorgeous French buildings from the beginning of the last century (some people even call it "la París de Sudamérica").

Many years have past since that time, many goverments, some were good, some were bad and some were worst. The phrase riche comme un argentin may seem quite unrealistic now in a country with the world’s 52th GDP per capita.

I am a native Spanish speaker, I've learned English when I was a little boy and I started French in February. I never thought that learning another language would teach me so much about my own country, its history and about myself. Merçi Duolingo and all the Duocomunity for everything!

"Cada idioma es un forma distinta de concebir el universo" "Every language is a different way to conceive the universe." -Jorge Luis Borges

4 years ago