Spanish Spoken in Argentina
Language Resources

Argentinian Spanish

The Spanish spoken in Argentina and the Spanish spoken in Spain have many differences, in all aspects of the language.

So why is the Spanish spoken in Argentina so different?

The language in Argentina has been influenced by indigenous languages, Spanish colonization, and massive European immigration to the country.

In pre-Columbian times, many different indigenous groups populated modern-day Argentina, each with its own culture and language. The Spaniards brought their language to the country when they arrived to Argentina in 1536, and Spanish became widely spoken in the centuries that followed. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, large waves of European immigration to Argentina had a strong impact on the local way of speaking. In the Argentinian Constitution of 1853, European immigration was encouraged and made easy; this brought in people from all over Europe, especially Spain, Italy, and France.

When the Italians first migrated to Argentina, they managed to speak in Spanish, but with an Italian flair. Word borrowing from the Italian language was inevitable, and the accent and intonation from certain Italian dialects were also incorporated into Argentinian Spanish. For one such example, Argentinians regularly use the word “chau” to say “bye”, deriving from the Italian “ciao”. 

Ways in which Argentinian Spanish differs from Peninsular Spanish

Pronunciation:

  • Seseo - “s”, “c”, and “z” are all pronounced the same.
  • The Spanish letters “ll” and “y” have the same pronunciation. This is pronounced as “sh” in some regions, and closer to “j” in others.
  • The aspiration of an “s” at the end of a word is common in Argentina.

Grammar:

  • Voseo - “vos” is used instead of “tú”. This implies a change in the informal second-person pronoun and the conjugation of the verb that follows. (The use of "vos" is common not only in Argentina but also across Uruguay, Paraguay, and Costa Rica, and in certain regions of many other Latin American countries.)
    tú eres - - - -> vos sos - - - -> you are
    tú bailas - - - -> vos bailás - - - -> you dance
    tú hablas - - - -> vos hablás - - - -> you talk
    tú sientes - - - -> vos sentís - - - -> you feel
  • “Ustedes” is used instead of “vosotros” for the informal second-person plural.
  • Argentinians say “lo de” in a sentence to replace the equivalent “la casa de”, e.g., “voy a lo del medico”.

Vocabulary:

As with every dialect, Argentina also has its own words and phrases. Let’s take a look at a few examples of things you may hear:

  • Dale – similar to the use of “vale” in Spain for “okay”
  • Pasa que – used for “the thing is…”
  • Tal cual – used to express agreement with something someone has just said
  • Viste – Very common in Argentina, this word is used as a filler phrase, with the equivalent of “you know” in English; e.g., “It’s too hot today, you know.”
  • Bueno – This is used in Spain as well, of course, but very commonly used in Argentina to express “alright”
  • Che – Used as a nickname for “friend”, as well as an exclamation of understanding, or even just an everyday “hey”

More words...

Argentinian Spanish Peninsular SpanishEnglish
Pibe/aChico/aGuy/Girl
LaburarTrabajarTo work
MozoCamareroWaiter
AgarrarCogerTo pick up
ApuradoDeprisaQuickly
Tengo un resfríoCogí un resfriadoI caught a cold
DepartamentoApartamentoApartment
AcáAquíHere
Allá/ahíAllí/ahíThere
PolleraFaldaSkirt
SweaterJerseySweater
Cartera BolsoHandbag/Purse
LindoBonito/guapoGood-looking/beautiful
EnojadoEnfadadoAngry
SubteMetroSubway/Tube
JugoZumoJuice
AnanáPiñaPineapple
BananaPlátanoBanana
PapaPatataPotato
ManejarConducirTo drive
HeladeraNeveraFridge
BombillaPajitaStraw
BilleteraCarteraWallet
ComputadorOrdenadorComputer
AutoCocheCar
RutaCarreteraRoad
CelularMóvilCell phone/Mobile phone
GuitaDineroMoney
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