"The Language" Buenos Aires Local Custom Tip by MDC6

Buenos Aires Local Customs: 279 reviews and 296 photos

This isn't really a "custom" per se, but here are a few notes on the Spanish spoken in Argentina in general, and, more specifically, in Buenos Aires.

A few times I've heard people comment that Argentine Spanish is called "castellano" to distinguish it from other regional variations of the language. That's not entirely true... the term "castellano" does not refer specifically to the Spanish spoken in Argentina, it's just what Argentines, along with people in many other Latin American countries, call the language. This is because when all the regions of Spain were united, castellano (from Castilla) was the language that eventually came to prominence.

There are a couple of characteristics that distinguish the Spanish spoken in the Rio de la Plata region. First, "ll" and "y" are pronounced like the English "sh" or "zh." Also, "vos" is used for the second person singular instead of "tú." Although vos is used in many other places (Central America, Colombia, Uruguay, etc.) Argentina is pretty much the only country where vos completely replaces tú. You won't hear people using "tú," but of course they undersand it. To form the verbs in the present tense just put the accent on the second syllable (vos hablás, comés, salís, tenés, etc). Do the same thing for commands, just cut off the "s": hablá, comé, etc. Other than that all the other conjugations are the same as for tú, although sometimes in the preterite tense you'll hear some people say "hablastes" instead of "hablaste." I don't think this is all that common, though. In any case, these are the most noticeable characteristics.

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2005
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