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The Uniqueness of Argentinian Spanish

Here at Friendly Spanish we are rather proud of the fact that we offer courses specifically for Spanish of Argentina, so thought it might be wise to give a little bit of background on this variant of Spanish, and how it differs from the language spoken in Spain.

Whether you have been inspired to learn Argentinian Spanish after a memorable visit to this seductive country, or if you are motivated by the challenge of expanding your horizons beyond the European Spanish you have studied already, you are sure to fall in love with the charming features of Argentine Spanish. If you have been studying the language for some time, you will already know that there are a number of characteristics that set different national variants of Spanish apart, especially between Spain and Latin America. On the whole, Latin American varieties tend to be spoken more slowly and clearly than those of Spain.

So back to Argentinian Spanish, and what sets it apart. One of the first features you’re likely to hear is the ‘sh’ sound of the letters ll or y, as opposed to the ‘y’ sound elsewhere. Also, delving further into the grammar, you may also notice the replacement of the second person singular tú pronoun (‘you’) with vos. This phenomenon, known as voseo, is standard practice in the Rioplatense variant of Spanish spoken across Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. As well as the pronoun, the conjugation is also different, for example:

Regular –ar/-er verbs keep the same spelling as the tú form, though acquire an accent on the last syllable, changing the pronunciation e.g. ‘you walk/speak’: tú caminas, hablas (Spain) / vos caminás, hablás (Argentina).

Regular –ir verbs finish with –ís, e.g. ‘you live’ tú vives (Spain) / vos vivís (Argentina), whilst a few other verbs keep irregular forms, like ser (to be): tú eres (Spain) / vos sos (Argentina).

With that grammar out of the way, it is fair to say Argentinian Spanish is a particularly fun sort of Spanish. A legacy of Italian immigration has bestowed a distinctively musical intonation upon the dialect, not to mention a tendency to talk emotionally with flamboyant gestures and use of diminutives. It is therefore particularly attractive to listen to. The diversity and humour of Argentinian Spanish is especially salient in its rich vocabulary of slang and swear words, and people generally have no qualms about using them.

These unique selling points should be enough to ignite some sort of passion, but if you still have reservations about focusing on a specific national variant, think again. It is worth seeing the differences as a means of broadening your vocabulary and cultural exposure rather than an obstacle. Remember that after all this is the same language with broadly identical structures and grammar, so learning one does not make you misunderstood in another. Native speakers are always interested to hear what sort of Spanish you have chosen to study, and if it differs from theirs you may well end up teaching them some new words in their own language! So are you ready? Cool! Or as they say in Argentina: !Qué bárbaro!

OUR TESTIMONIALS

I enjoy my lessons with ‘Friendly Spanish’, they are fun and relaxed as well as rewarding. The lessons are adaptable to meet my own requirements while the speed at which I personally learn dictates the pace and approach of the teacher in each session. Having started with the basics I look forward to extending my vocabulary, improving my confidence and possibly tailoring some lessons to my area of employment.
- Michael King
Media Professional
I am a fund manager in the city and have worked with the Friendly Spanish Team for some years. The classes are tailored to the needs of each student, and mine have changed over a lot the last couple of years. Whatever your reasons are for learning Spanish, and my only reason was to be able to communicate on my travels, each teacher adjusts the lessons to achieve your aims.
- Silvia Wendlinger
Fund Manager