Language Know How: Argentina

Our first edition of Language Know How explores Argentina where the official language is Spanish. Here are some interesting facts about the language, culture and history of Argentinian dialects.  

  • Argentinian Spanish is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. In some ways, it sounds more like Italian rather than Spanish A large number of Italians migrated to Argentina between 1870 and 1914, and their speech patterns as well as terminology have influenced the local language. For example “Dale” is similar to the use of “vale” in Spanish for “okay.” “Viste” is also a very common phrase in Argentina, and is used as a filler phrase, rather like “you know” in English.  
  • Other languages spoken in Argentina include German, English, and French.
  • Indigenous languages that are still spoken today include Tehuelche, Guarani, and Quechua.
  • The number of individual languages listed for Argentina is 28. Of these, 23 are living, and 5 are extinct.
  • Argentines are an open, blunt, and direct people, yet remain tactful and diplomatic.
  • Argentines are close communicators physically, so they will often touch each other when speaking and have little physical distance between speakers.
  • You can distinguish Argentines from other Latin Americans by their use of "che" which is derivedfrom the language spoken by the Mapuche, and means "man."
  • Another significant difference between the  Spanish spoken in Argentina and the Spanish spoken in Spain is the use of "vos" instead of "tu" meaning “you.”
  • “Lunfardo” is the Italian influenced slang/jargon spoken within Buenos Aires and is closely tied to the tango culture.

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