Language

Intro

Argentina's official language is Spanish, although some native languages are spoken in some areas as additional languages.

 

But the amount of natives isn't enough to consider any of these languages of relevant importance.

You say tomato...and I say red apple

Spanish from Spain is rather different to South American Spanish, and Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay modify the South American Spanish even a bit more.

 

The Argentinian speech is the most different Spanish you can find from then rest of the Spanish speaking countries in the world.


Such is the difference, that Argentinian Spanish can be clasiffied as "criollo" wich means "native, national, only from that country"


As this might cause some trouble to the Spanish student, here are some words and phrases you might hear in Argentina, and also the basic structure of Argentinian speech.

South American Spanish

The personal pronouns in "Spanish" Spanish are:

Yo

I

You

El

He

Ella

She

Nosotros

We

Vosotros

You (you all)

Ellos

They (masc)

Ellas

They (fem)

 

"Vosotros" is marked, because this word and its conjugation are not used in any other Spanish speaking country other than Spain.

Instead, the pronoun "ustedes" replaces it, and the conjugation of the verb is the same as for the pronounce "ellos/ellas"

 

Here's an example with the verb "to speak":

"to speak" : "hablar"

Yo

hablo

I

Tu

hablas

You

El

habla

He

Ella

habla

She

Nosotros

hablamos

We

Ustedes

hablan

You    (you all)

Ellos

hablan

They  (masc)

Ellas

hablan

They  (fem)

 

Spanish in Argentina

Despite Argentinian Spanish being so different, we can perfectly understand standard Spanish, and many people will even change their speech when speaking to a foreigner, even when they're from other South American Spanish speaking countries.

Argentinian Spanish

In Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, in addition to the South American Spanish "ustedes",  "tu" is also replaced. 

(Except for the north of Argentina, where "tu" is still used in every day life)


"Tu" is replaced by the word "vos" 

I

Yo

You

Vos

He

El

She

Ella

We

Nosotros

You   (you all)

Ustedes

They  (masc)

Ellos

They  (fem)

Ellas

 

This word's origin is quite uncertain.

Some say it derives from the portuguese "you": "voçé" due to the close contact with them.

 

But it's important to remember that this grammar (Argentina-Uruguay-Paraguay) was in fact the one used in the old (medieval) Spanish.

The conjugation for "vos" is very similar to the conjugation of the Spanish "vosotros", which generally finishes is "-ais".

 

Here are some examples.

"to speak"  :  "hablar"

Vosotros

hablais

Vos

hablás

 "to eat"  :  "comer"

Vosotros

comeis

Vos

comés

Standard Argentinian/Uruguayan Accent

Argentinian/Uruguayan pronounciation is given by 2 rules.

Letters

Pronounciation

English Example

LL

  

   SH

 

       Shoe

Y

S

  

    S

 

         Sit

Z

This, does indeed, come from Portuguese influence, and that's why this pronounciation is not used in the areas close to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay nor Chile.

Same things, different names

Here's a list of words that in Argentina and Uruguay are called differently to the rest of the Spanish speaking countries where they generally stick to the Spanish words.

Spanish/ South American Word

Argentinian/Uruguayan Word

English Meaning

Refrigerador

Heladera

fridge

Tu

Vos

you

Computador

Computadora

computer

Bus

Micro/ colectivo

bus

Oye

Che

Oi! / Hey!

Metro

Subte

subway/tube

Important!

The following words ARE NOT used in any country of South America. 

 

♦ Vale         (ok)

Chaval     (boy)

♦ Coger    (to take)

 

This last one is in fact slang for "intercourse", so beware with using it, or being used at you.

But, remember!

Despite all the changes in the basic language, this does NOT mean you won't be understood if you speak standard Spanish.