Argentine Spanish

The type of Spanish spoken in Argentina is a very different to that spoken in Spain and has various peculiarities. In particular, it is a more melodic version than that spoken in the mother country. Experts say that Argentinean Spanish has the most variations in the South American continent. There is also a noticeable Italian influence. The sound of Argentine Spanish (misnamed “rioplatense”, as this would require including Uruguayan Spanish in the same category) has many similarities with Italian, not only in terms of the sound but also the force with which some words are pronounced. This is due to the fact that there was heavy Italian immigration to the country at the start and the middle of the twentieth century. Of course the language varies according to the regions and provinces of the country and their influences. This means that sometimes idioms and certain pronunciations vary between regions that are just a few kilometers apart.

We will review, for example, some of the characteristics distinct to each region:

Phonetic characteristics

  • The letters “s”, “c”, and “z” are pronounced the same way.
  • The “ll” (or double “l”) is pronounced the same as “y”. Both “ayer” and “llama” have the same phoneme. In some cases, the “ll” is replaced by the sound of the letter “i”.
  • The aspiration of the “s” (commonly known as “eating the s”) when it is the final syllable, for example: “vamo a casa” (instead of “vamos a casa”).
  • Paroxytone words used instead of oxytone words, for example: “acuestesé” (instead of “acuéstese”).

Syntactic characteristics

  • The voseo: using the personal pronoun “tú” instead of “vos”. The latter is consistent with the plural person, but collapsed and without the diphthong (vos contás, vos tenés, and vos estudiás).
  • The use of “ustedes” instead of “vosotros” (ustedes seguirán, ustedes tienen), which is consistent with the third person plural.
  • The phrasal verb places the future, for example: voy a ir (instead of iré), voy a cantar (instead of cantaré)…
  • Use of the form “lo de” for “la casa de” (iré a lo del médico). And worse still (iré del médico).
  • The “dequeísmo”, a pet term that refers to adding the preposition “de” in certain constructions (“creo de que vas a venir”, instead of “creo que vas a venir”. This is a bad use of Spanish).

Lexical characteristics

Rioplatense Spanish (in this case we can also include Uruguayan Spanish) has been enriched by the influence of immigrants who settled in the area and as well as by native words. Among the immigrant groups, the influence of Italian (as we mentioned earlier) and French are noteworthy.

In Argentina, the slang is called lunfardo. Lunfardo originated as a prison language spoken by inmates so that guards would not understand them. Many of the expressions arrived with European immigrants (mainly Italians).

Today, many “lunfardo terms” have been incorporated into Argentine everyday language, while a great number of old lunfardo words have fallen into disuse.

Language exists to the extent that there are speakers. Speech is a human activity whose purpose is communication. Speech, which is eve present in some texts to avoid a certain formality in the written language, expresses the author’s psychophysical process. It is an actofwill and intelligence, individual and different from person to person. It is changing with the passage of time and modern life.