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Encyclopedia > Rioplatense Spanish
Main urban centers of Rioplatense Spanish.
Main urban centers of Rioplatense Spanish.

Rioplatense Spanish or River Plate Spanish (in Spanish, castellano rioplatense) is a dialect of the Spanish language which is mainly spoken in the areas in and around the Río de la Plata basin, in Argentina and Uruguay. Image File history File links Rioplatense_Spanish_area_main_cities. ... Image File history File links Rioplatense_Spanish_area_main_cities. ... This article is about the international language known as Spanish. ... Río de la Plata in relation to Uruguay and Argentina A satellite view of the estuary The Río de la Plata (Spanish: Silver River) — which is often referred to in English-speaking countries as the River Plate (as in the Battle of the River Plate), or sometimes as... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...



Rioplatense is mainly based in the cities of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Rosario, the three most populated cities in the area, along with their respective suburbs and the areas in between. This regional form of Spanish is also found in other areas, not geographically close but culturally influenced by those population centers. Rioplatense is the standard in audiovisual media in Argentina and Uruguay. To the northeast exists the hybrid Riverense Portuñol. For other uses, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation). ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... Rosario is the largest city of the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, and the third most populous in the country, after Buenos Aires and Córdoba. ... The Riverense Portuñol or Riverense Portunhol, also known as Fronterizo or Fronteiriço is a portuñol language (linguasphere language code 51-AAA-am [1]), spoken on the border between Uruguay and Brazil, and more specifically in the region of the twin cities of Rivera (Uruguay) and SantAna...

Influences on the language

The Spaniards brought their language to the area during the Spanish colonization in the region. Originally part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, the Río de la Plata basin had its status lifted to Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. The Spanish colonization of the Americas began with the arrival in the Western Hemisphere of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) in 1492. ... Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru (in Spanish, Virreinato del Perú) contained most of Spanish-ruled South America until the creation of the separate viceroyalties of New Granada (now Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, the last-named previously in the Viceroyalty of New Spain) in 1717 and Río... Created in 1776, the Viceroyalty of La Plata (in Spanish, Virreinato del Río de la Plata) was the last and most shortlived viceroyalty created by Spain. ... Year 1776 (MDCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ...

Until other peoples's massive immigration to the region, the language of the Río de la Plata had virtually no influence of other languages and varied mainly by the means of localisms. Argentina and Uruguay, much like the United States and Canada, are mostly composed of European immigrant populations, the largest being of Italian and Spanish descent. Non-native population in Argentina, 1869–1991 The original inhabitants of Argentina were descendants of Asian peoples that crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America and then, over thousands of years, reached the southern end of South America. ...

European immigration

Several languages influenced the criollo Spanish of the time, because of the diversity of settlers and immigrants to Argentina and Uruguay: In the Spanish colonial caste system (castas), a criollo was a person of unmixed Spanish ancestry born in the colonies. ...

  • 1870–1890: mainly Spanish, Basque, Galician and Northern Italian speakers and some from France, Germany, and other European countries.
  • 1910–1945: Again from Spain, Southern Italy and in smaller numbers from across Europe; Jewish immigration, mainly from Russia and Poland from the 1910s until after World War II was also large.
  • English speakers, from Britain and Ireland, were not as great in numbers as the Italian one but were influential in the upper classes (in the case of the English immigrants, while Irish were mostly poorer), industry, business, education and agriculture.

Basque (native name: euskara) is the language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain and the adjoining region of South-Western France. ... Galician (Galician: galego, IPA: ) is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community with the constitutional status of historic nationality, located in northwestern Spain and small bordering zones in neighbouring autonomous communities of Asturias and Castilla y León. ... Gallo-Italic is a language_family within the Gallo-Romance languages. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Influence of indigenous populations in Argentina

Native American languages have largely been influenced or even wiped out by Spanish in the area, as native populations were decimated during the conquest of the Region. The influence has been reciprocal, though, with words from Guarani, Quechua and other languages being incorporated into the Spanish of the region, and some have even reached English. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Quechua (Runa Simi in Quechua; Runa, human + Simi, speech, literally mouth; i. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Some words of American origin commonly used in Rioplatense Spanish are:

  • From Quechua: gaucho (orig. wakcha "poor person"); pochoclo ("popcorn")
  • From Guarani: pororó (also "popcorn")
See Influences on the Spanish language for a more comprehensive review of borrowings into all dialects of Spanish.

Gauchos taming horses in Corrientes Province, Argentina. ... The Spanish language has a long history of borrowing words, expressions and subtler features of other languages it has come in contact with. ...

Linguistic features


Differences between dialects of Spanish are numerous; about 9,000 Rioplatense words[citation needed] are not used or, in many cases, even understood elsewhere. These include many terms from the basic vocabulary, such as words for fruits, garments, foodstuffs, car parts, etc., as well as local slang.

The vocabularies of both varieties are further diverging as Rioplatense Spanish tends to borrow (or calque) technical words from American English, while Castilian Spanish tends to borrow or calque them from British English or French. // In linguistics, a calque (pronounced ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: verbum pro verbo) or root-for-root translation. ...

Selected vocabulary differences
Rioplatense Castilian English (US/ UK)
durazno melocotón peach
damasco albaricoque apricot
frutilla fresa strawberry
papa patata potato
poroto judía bean
pulóver jersey sweater / pullover
moño pajarita necktie
celular móvil cell phone / mobile
computadora ordenador computer
baúl maletero (car) trunk / boot
valija maleta luggage or suitcase
pollera falda skirt
ricota requesón ricotta cheese


Rioplatense Spanish distinguishes itself from other dialects of Spanish by the pronunciation of certain consonants.

  • Like many other dialects, Rioplatense features yeísmo: the sounds represented by ll (the palatal lateral /ʎ/) and y (historically the palatal approximant /j/) have fused into one. This merged phoneme is generally pronounced as a postalveolar fricative, either voiceless [ʃ] (this phenomenon is called sheísmo) or voiced [ʒ] (called zheísmo). These are the sounds in English mission and measure, or the French ch and j, respectively. That is, in Rioplatense, se cayó "he fell down" is homophonous with se calló "he became silent".
  • The fricatives /s/ and sometimes /f/ and /x/ have a tendency to become an indistinct aspiration (a voiceless glottal fricative, /h/), or to disappear altogether, at the end of syllables. This change may be realized only at the word level or it may also cross word boundaries. That is, las mesas son blancas "the tables are white" is pronounced [lah'mesah sɔn 'blankah], but in las águilas azules "the blue eagles", syllable-final /s/ in las and águilas might experience liaison with the initial vowels of the following words and remain [s] (/la'saɰila sa'sulɛh/), or become [h] (the exact pronunciation is largely an individual choice).
  • In some areas, speakers tend to drop the final r sound in verb infinitives. This elision is considered a feature of uneducated speakers in some places, but it is widespread in others, at least in rapid speech.

Aspiration or elision of fricatives, together with loss of final r and some common instances of diphthong simplification, tend to produce a noticeable simplification of the syllable structure, giving Rioplatense a distinct fluid consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel rhythm: Yeísmo is a distinctive feature of many dialects of the Spanish language, which consists of the merger of the palatal lateral approximant phoneme (written ll) with another phoneme, usually realized as a palatal fricative or affricate. ... The voiceless palato-alveolar fricative or domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless glottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...

Si querés irte, andate. Yo no te voy a parar.
"If you want to go then go. I'm not gonna stop you."
/sikeˌɾɛˈhite anˈdate - ʃo noteβjapaˈɾa/

Image File history File links Siqueresirte_v1. ...


Preliminary research has shown that Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of Italian dialects, and differ markedly from the patterns of other Argentine forms of Spanish. [1] This correlates well with immigration patterns. Argentina, and particularly Buenos Aires, received a large number of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...

According to a study conducted by National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina, and published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (ISSN 1366-7289) [2] Buenos Aires residents speak with an intonation most closely resembling Neapolitan. The researchers note that this is relatively recent phenomenon, starting in the beginning of the 20th century with the main wave of Italian immigration. Before that, the porteño accent was more similar to that of Spain, especially Andalusia. [3] The National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Spanish: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, CONICET) is an Argentine government agency which directs and co-ordinates most of the scientific and technical research done in public universities and institutes. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Neapolitan (autonym: napulitano; Italian: ) is a Romance language spoken in the city and region of Naples, Campania (Neapolitan: Nàpule, Italian: Napoli); close dialects are spoken throughout most of southern Italy, including the Gaeta and Sora districts of southern Lazio, parts of Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, northern Calabria, and northern and... Porteño is the Spanish demonym for those born in the Argentine city of Buenos Aires. ... Motto: Andalucía por sí, para España y la humanidad (Andalusia by herself, for Spain, and for humankind) Capital Seville Official language(s) Spanish Area  â€“ Total  â€“ % of Spain Ranked 2nd  87,268 km²  17. ...

Pronouns and verb conjugation

One of the features of the Argentine and Uruguayan speaking style is the voseo: the usage of the pronoun vos for the second person singular, instead of . Voseo is found also in other places around the Spanish-speaking community. Vos is used with forms of the verb that resemble those of the second person plural in traditional (Spain's) Castilian Spanish. A movie poster in Buenos Aires shows usage of vos. ...

The second person plural pronoun, which is vosotros in Spain, is replaced with ustedes. While usted is the formal second person singular pronoun, its plural ustedes has a neutral connotation and can be used to address friends and acquaintances as well as in more formal occasions (see T-V distinction). Ustedes takes a grammatically third person plural verb. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

As an example, see the conjugation table for the verb amar in the present tense, indicative mode:

Inflection of amar
Person/Number Castilian Rioplatense
1st sing. yo amo yo amo
2nd sing. tú amas vos amás¹
3rd sing. él ama él ama
1st plural nosotros amamos nosotros amamos
2nd plural vosotros amáis ustedes aman²
3rd plural ellos aman ellos aman
(¹) Tú amás is only used in Uruguay, where it coexists with Vos amás. However, it should be noted that and vos are not interchangeably used, but rather vos denotes a more intimate relationship between the parties in conversation. In formal speech, usted ama.
(²) Ustedes is used throughout all of Latin America. It is also used in formal speech for the second person plural in Spain.

Although apparently there is just a stress shift (from amas to amás), the origin of such a stress is the loss of the diphthong of the ancient vos inflection from vos amáis to vos amás. This can be better seen with the verb "to be": from vos sois to vos sos. In vowel-alternating verbs like perder and morir, the stress shift also triggers a change of the vowel in the root: Spanish verbs are a complex area of Spanish grammar, with many combinations of tenses, aspects and moods (up to fifty conjugated forms per verb). ... The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. ...

Inflection of perder
Castilian Rioplatense
yo pierdo yo pierdo
tú pierdes vos perdés or tú perdés
él pierde él pierde
nosotros perdemos nosotros perdemos
vosotros perdéis ustedes pierden
ellos pierden ellos pierden

For the -ir verbs, the Castilian vosotros forms end in -ís, so there is no diphthong to simplify, and Rioplatense vos employs the same form: instead of tú vives, vos vivís; instead of tú vienes, vos venís (note the alternation).

Usage of the imperative in a Buenos Aires public-service announcement.
Usage of the imperative in a Buenos Aires public-service announcement.

The imperative forms for vos are identical to the plural imperative forms in Castilian minus the final -d (stress remains the same): Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 946 KB)I took this while living in Buenos Aires. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 946 KB)I took this while living in Buenos Aires. ...

  • Hablá más alto, por favor. "Speak louder, please." (hablad in Castilian)
  • Comé un poco de torta. "Eat some cake." (comed in Castilian)
  • Vení para acá. "Come over here." (venid in Castilian)

The plural imperative uses the ustedes form (i. e. the third person plural subjunctive, as corresponding to ellos).

As for the subjunctive forms of vos verbs, while they tend to be unchanged, some speakers do perform a similar change as seen in the indicative, employing the vosotros form minus the i in the final diphthong. In the third conjugation (-ir verbs), the stress does not shift, so the result is identical for the Rioplatense speaker. Many consider only the unchanged subjunctive forms to be correct.

  • Espero que veas or Espero que veás "I hope you can see" (Castilian veáis)
  • Lo que quieras or (less used) Lo que querás "Whatever you want" (Castilian queráis)
  • Si salieras "If you went out" (Castilian salierais)

In the preterite tense, an s is often added, for instance (vos) perdistes. This corresponds to the Spanish form vosotros perdisteis. However, it is often deemed incorrect. The preterite (also praeterite, in American English also preterit, or past historic) is the grammatical tense expressing actions which took place in the past. ...

Other verb forms do not change (the vos forms employ the same conjugation as ).


In the old times, vos was used as a respectful term. In Rioplatense, as in most other dialects which employ voseo, this pronoun has become informal, shoving out the use of (compare you in English, which used to be formal singular but has replaced and obliterated the former informal singular pronoun thou). It is used especially for addressing friends and family members (regardless of age), but may also include most acquaintances, such as coworkers, friends of one's friends, etc. Your redirects here. ...

Usage of tenses

Although literary works use the full spectrum of verb inflections, in Rioplatense (as well as many other Spanish dialects), the future tense has been replaced by a verbal phrase (periphrasis) in the spoken language. Periphrasis, like its Latin counterpart circumlocution, is a figure of speech where the meaning of a word or phrase is indirectly expressed through several or many words. ...

This verb phrase is formed by the verb ir ("go") followed by the preposition a and the main verb in the infinitive. This is akin to the English phrase going to + infinitive verb. For example:

  • Creo que descansaré un pocoCreo que voy a descansar un poco
  • Mañana me visitará mi madreMañana me va a visitar mi madre
  • Iré a visitarla mañanaVoy a ir a visitarla mañana

The Rioplatense speaker rarely uses the perfect past tense (choosing simple past over it), so past tense phrases rarely are of the form Una vez he ido a comer a ese restaurante. The form Una vez fui a comer a ese restaurante would be chosen.

See also

Lunfardo was a colorful, slangy argot of the Spanish language which developed at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century in the lower classes in and around Buenos Aires. ... Argot (French for slang) is primarily slang used by various groups, including but not limited to thieves and other criminals, to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Non-native population in Argentina, 1869–1991 There is a theory that the original inhabitants of Argentina were descendants of Asian peoples that crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America and then, over thousands of years, reached the southern end of South America. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Rioplatense Spanish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1580 words)
Rioplatense Spanish (castellano rioplatense, also occasionally termed River Plate Spanish) is a dialect of the Spanish language which is mainly spoken in the areas in and around the Río de la Plata basin, in Argentina and Uruguay.
Rioplatense is mainly centered around the cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario and Montevideo, the three most populated cities in the area, along with their respective suburbs and the areas in between.
The adoption of the Spanish language in the area was caused by the Spanish colonization in the region.
spanish language - Article and Reference from OnPedia.com (2227 words)
Spanish is a member of the Romance branch of Indo-European, descended largely from Latin and having much in common with its geographical neighbors.
Spanish is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union.
Spanish has a phonemic stress system — the place where stress will fall cannot be predicted by other features of the word, and two words can differ by just a change in stress.
  More results at FactBites »



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