Argentinean Spanish - Why It's So Different

Argentinean Spanish - Why It's So Different

Map of ArgentinaWhen you start to use your Spanish with native Spanish speakers, you’ll find that each country has its own slang and vocabulary.

Argentinean Spanish, however, is the one dialect of Spanish that really differs from the others. Each country has its own special vocabulary, but Argentineans speak a form of Spanish that can really confuse you. Here’s why.

Spanish is of course Spain’s official language but is also the mother tongue of the majority of the countries that once formed the old Spanish Empire. Upon Columbus's arrival to the Americas, Spanish was imposed on the local indigenous population. Spanish began to be mixed up with the approximately 120 different Indian language families. That resulted in different dialects of Spanish being spoken in different areas.

Argentinean Spanish is a perfect example of the blending of languages. What Argentineans speak today is a combination of the Spanish language, mixed not only with the older native languages but also with other European languages that arrived with the waves of immigrants. Of course they do speak Spanish but there is a strong influence from Italian and French, among other languages, that give their mother tongue a twist from the original. They even have some Arabic and African influence that have become so commonplace most people don’t even know where the words came from.

The size of Argentina, the variety of the existing indigenous languages, and the contributions from the European immigrants who came between the XIXth and beginning of the XXth century have given rise to several different forms of Spanish.

For instance, Lunfardo is spoken in the major cities. Lunfardo is a kind of parallel slang, that originated in the lower classes and then was influenced by the immigrants.

The northwest and the northeast of the country have been influenced by Quechua and Guaraní, which are Indian languages. If you go to Cordoba, especially the capital city, you’ll hear a profound intonation curve right away.

In some bordering zones with Brazil, the use of Portuñol (Spanish mixed with Brazilian Portuguese) is also common.

Actually, “Rioplatense Spanish” (spoken at River Plate Region, where some of the major cities are located) is the form of Spanish commonly recognized abroad as Argentine Spanish, but depending on the region you are in, you can find many more variations of the Argentinean Spanish. Many words from Rioplatense Spanish are neither used nor even understood outside Argentina´s borders.

Argentina’s form of Spanish has another peculiarity that distinguishes them from the majority of the Spanish speakers in the world: They use “Vos” instead of “Tu.” Using Vos is called “voseo.”

Argentineans also have phonological differences from other Spanish speakers.

All in all, Argentinean Spanish is nothing like the Spanish you might be studying. It has received the influence from Argentinean culture, their grandparents´ European culture, and their native origins. Today, as a consequence of globalization, Argentinean Spanish is continuing to be modified and has become very open to Anglicisms as well.

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