Why You Shouldn’t Learn Spanish in Argentina
I studied Spanish, formally, for 9 years. Around my 6th year of study, I did an intensive immersion program in Mendoza, Argentina and a year after I graduated, I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where I lived for nearly two years. After all that, you’d think I’d be the first person to tell you that Argentina is the place to go to learn Spanish. Unfortunately, Argentina does not get my vote.
Sure, studying and living in Argentina was highly beneficial to my Spanish speaking skills. Spending a prolonged period of time in any Spanish speaking country is bound to do some good. However, I had the advantage of having a strong academic background in Spanish before I went to Argentina.
During my time in there, I watched countless friends try to learn Spanish from scratch and I noticed so many things that did not quite match up with my formal education.
Why You Shouldn’t Learn Spanish in Argentina
1. The accent is not what you’d expect.
Chances are, you’ve heard native Spanish speakers in movies and music, or perhaps even interacted with a native speaker in person. You might think you are prepared for what you consider a “Spanish-speaking accent.”
The problem is, there is no single Spanish-speaking accent because there are way too many countries that speak Spanish. The types of accents English speakers are generally exposed to are often limited to Mexican, Spanish (from Spain), Puerto Rican, and Cuban.
The Argentine accent is an entirely different beast. Argentina has a heavy Italian influence, so many Argentines speak with the sing-song rhythm that Italians use. They also pronounce their “ll” as “sh” instead of the “y” sound you are taught in school.
2. Argentines aren’t as quick to compliment your Spanish or encourage you as other Latinos are.
If you go to Mexico and know how to order a beer in Spanish, the waiters will praise you. In many Latin countries, they are so flattered that you have even attempted to learn their language that they will applaud any effort you make. They will also be extra patient with you as you stumble your way through asking for directions. You won’t be so lucky with Argentines.
If you’re in a larger city in Argentina, they might get impatient with you. If they speak English, they will immediately switch to English because they do not want to waste their time with your sub-par Spanish. They also take great pride in their accent and pronunciation rules, so if you use the rules you learned in school, they’ll either correct you or insist they cannot understand you. It can be very confusing and discouraging for beginners.
3. You’ve never heard the slang before.
Argentines have so much slang. While slang is bound to happen in any Spanish speaking country, Argentina really has a pretty incredible amount of it. Of course, the quantity is not really the issue so much as the unfamiliarity. Again, you may have been exposed to slang from places like Mexico or Puerto Rico through movies and music, but not a lot of Argentine slang makes it all the way to the North America or Europe.
I moved to Argentina as a fluent Spanish speaker, but even I found myself lost when in large groups of 20-somethings all spouting off slang terms and idioms I’d never heard before.
4. They use the “vos” form, which you have probably never heard of.
Instead of using the “tú” form you learned in school, Argentines favor the “vos” form, which doesn’t exist in most textbooks. The “tú” form is still understood, but you won’t hear many Argentines using it. You’ll have to learn this extra verb form of you’ll be completely lost in most casual situations.
I love Argentina and I would recommend the country to anyone. It’s a great place to visit and even live, but it still does not top my list of best places to learn Spanish. My Spanish is so heavily Argentine that when I do interpretation work or even just speak with my Puerto Rican boyfriend I have to “turn off” my accent and focus on using more neutral vocabulary. So if you’re choosing a country based on it’s educational benefits — I’d cross Argentina off your list.
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Written by: Rease Kirchner is a freelance writer, Spanish translator, preschool tutor and whatever else she feels like doing. After spending nearly 2 years living in Argentina, she moved back to the US to explore her own continent. You can keep up with her funny adventures, travel tips, and food recommendations from around the world on her blog Indecisive Traveler, her Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter.
Hello from Argentina. I would like to totally second almost everything in your article.
Would not recommend Chile as the ideal Spanish learning destination either. I think Chilean Spanish might be even more exceptional. But I noticed that most educated Chileans are very indulgent and will adjust their speech so that a dumb-ass foreigner could understand. Am completely in love with both countries and their people nonetheless.
By the way, I grew up speaking “English,” Caribbean style, and I spent 17 years living in the United States with people constantly asking me, from beginning to end, what my first language mignt be. It’s quite a bit easier to deal with that down here.
Anda a la concha de tu hermana
If you chose to learn Spanish in Argentina, BsAs in particular, you’d be hard pressed to concentrate on learning due to other distractions. The place is a basket case. They are the rudest, and poorest (poverty of mind) people on the planet, and the food is horrendous. The pollution, both noise and filth is unbearable day or night. My strong recommendation would be for you to go elsewhere to study the beautiful language; to a place where you can enjoy your interactions with locals. These informal interactions are rare in Argentina, and not freely exhibited. if you encounter more than two … two (2) different people on the street with a smile, I’ll give you us$100! The place Sucks! Visit only after you’ve learned the language elsewhere – period!
However, the Argentine accent of Spanish is the easiest to understand. People from Spain usually say “speak with Argentine accent” when they mean “speak clear”. A couple months ago I went to New York and asked for Spanish assistance everywhere I went. Much to my surprise, I found “latino’s” accents too hard to understand, and ended up requesting English assistance. Regarding the “sh” sound, it is also used in some parts of Spain. The pronoun “vos” is used in many Spanish speaking countries. I’ve seen it in advertisements in Central America, and I’ve heard it in popular music from Venezuela and Colombia. If what you understand as “correct” Spanish is Mexican Spanish, then go and study in Mexico.
Spot on. I speak Argentinian and everyone understands, but it is not always the other way around. I can understand, Spainards, Venezuelans, Peruvians and Mexicans. But Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans and certain Colombians are really tough.
Esto es falso. “People from Spain” do not tell people to speak with an Argentine accent to understand better. Totalmente al contrario. We actually have TV commercials, which I admit are offensive, making fun of how difficult it is to understand Argentines. Argentine Spanish is not an impossible code to break, but the accent is unusual and hard to understand. And, that isn’t an absolute rule. There are many speakers with a high register that speak clear and lovely. As a native speaker having lived in Buenos Aires, the gist of this article is spot on. The weird offense people take here is bizarre. There is is nothing sacred about language.
I had the pleasure of living in Argentina as a student fifty years ago. It was a time when very few Argentines spoke English (except for a handful of upper class twits who went to private British schools) so I learned the language fairly quickly. I would describe myself today as fluent at the level of an educated native speaker. Of course I ended up having a porteno accent, vos and all, but in subsequent years I worked all over Latin America and the only place where people were offended by my accent (which I have moderated over the years to resemble standard radio announcer Spanish) was…Mexico. (Argentines are particularly hated there for what Mexicans consider their racist arrogance towards mixed race peoples). Oh, I forgot: a problem in Spain. In Andalucía or Murcia I had no problems at all, but in Madrid people were aggressive and insulting about Argentina (and the United States too). I think Spaniards, or at least Madrilenos, hate everybody including each other so I have never let it bother me.
“Argentines are particularly hated there for what Mexicans consider their racist arrogance towards mixed race peoples” mmmm I don’t know. If we hear mexicans speaking, we find it amusing since they sound like a lot of TV shows we love. Maybe they think we are racist towards them, but it’s more a myth than something rooted in reality. Maybe we are arrogant, but the common way to express that arrogance is the lack of interest we usually show for other peoples. But hey, don’t take it personally, we’re like that against each other too.
La verdad estoy bastante de acuerdo con tu articulo ….. es mas siendo chileno si alguien me pregunta le diria que jamas se venga a Chile (por ejemplo en chile usamos voseo a nivel informal y tuteo a nivel formal es una locura) a a aprender español Chile -Arg -Uruguay son paises que usan extremadamente los modismos en sus lenguajes al nivel que una conversacion informal es casi inentendible por muchos hispanohablantes, muchas veces cuando viajamos tentemos que ajustar nuestro español a uno mas neutro para que se entienda.. no asi en paises como Peru mexico, ecuador, que hablan y respetan bastante las reglas ortograficas formales
Racism in Argentina is not a myth. I lived in Buenos Aires and saw the disdain people of color are treated with. A black American girl I met there followed home by the police and told to “go back to Brazil.” Bolivians talked of negatively and called “bolitas.” People with mixed indigenous ancestry called “negros,” and not in the “affectionate” way, before you say it is. Oh, another one “cabeza” from “cabecita negra.” I heard all of this living there. By no means is everyone a hater; there are wonderful people in BsAs. But it is not an exaggeration to say racism exists there and that it is noticeable.
Interesting article, I am learning Spanish and mostly get help in my area from Mexican friends and you are right they only seem to compliment my attempt to speak Spanish. My sister speaks Spanish and went to school in Spain to learn the language, most Mexicans think she is from S. America when she speaks but it’s a guess. I don’t see my sister often but she began correcting my Spanish when last we met and I asked her why Mexicans don’t correct me, she told me it would not be polite to them. I do wish Mexicans would correct me more often so I don’t learn to say things the wrong way and make it a habit. The other day I was listening to a woman speak Spanish and knew instantly she was not from Mexico, actually I found the way she pronounced words to be very nice so asked in Spanish where she was from, she replied “Argentina”. She did correct a few words I spoke but complimented me a few times on my pronunciation, I asked her if it was easy to understand people from other countries in Latin America and she said that Mexicans and Cubans were difficult for her to understand.
It is Castilian (Castellano) Spanish rather than your more common “Mexican” Spanish.
I’m not in a position to agree or disagree with the author, given that I’ve never traveled further from the US than Sinaloa. However, I did learn Spanish partly by watching Argentinian telenovelas on SIN in the seventies (“Hola Pelusa”, “Coraje de Querer”). I fell in love with the accent, and was really disappointed when Pope Francis didn’t include the word “che” in his speeches. I guess the Argentinian accent would be too sexy for a Pope.
As for Mexico, the accents to me seem to vary a lot, even between states like Sonora and Sinaloa. To me, the accent in Sinaloa sounded very clear, like news anchor Spanish.
Lol this is such an anglo american perspective. ¡Bellísima Christy vení, te enseño como hablamos el español en el resto de la America Latina! Being based out of San Diego almost your entire exposure to Latin American culture is no doubt Mexican. It’s no wonder you found our Spanish to be strange. Being Argentinian-American the only places I felt alienated were Texas and California, when I visited the former and grew up in the latter. My Mexican classmates made fun of my accent and my use of “vos” but traveling across the entire Latin American continent I can tell you that el voseo is more common than you think.
Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica all use el voseo universally both in formal and informal settings. Going down into South America it gets a bit more complicated but it is used informally in certain parts of Colombia, informally in North Central Ecuador in the areas surrounding Quito but not usually in Quito. Chileans use it very informally and it is considered almost insulting to use in formal, professional settings. Peru does not use it in general although certain places on the coast use it informally and sometimes formally as well. In Eastern Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay it is universal and is the only form used, “tu” is essentially nonexistent. In fact, the only countries where voseo is used very rarely or not at all are Panama, Venezuela, Mexico, and Spain. Even then, I’ve heard that Panama and Venezuela both have regions where it is used.
Also the type of “sh” sound used in place of the “ll” is unique to Argentinians and Uruguayans. This is called Español Rioplatense. There are regions in Argentina that do not speak like this. If you go to Salta they speak with the traditional “y” sound for the double ls. You are correct in the singsongy tone we use in Argentina and this, as you mentioned, is due to our heavily Italian background.
Lol this is real deep. Also weird by using “anglo” como si eso tuviera algo que ver con el tema. She’s clearly an American, hence her take on things. She’s also not being mean, but just describing her experience. No need to get condescending and take offense. Estoy de acuerdo con ella desde el punto de vista de un sevillano. BsAs is amazing, Córdoba is a delight and people everywhere are interesting. Human beings and cultures being great doesn’t change language truth. El acento porteño es bastante difícil para muchos hispanoparlantes.
I appreciate this article as it’s my favorite destination in Latin America. I do think that learning voceo can be a good thing because it’s used in El Salvador. What’s more, learning voceo gives you an edge when learning the continental Spanish vosotros forms. Habés becomes habeís. Hacé to haced, etc. So it does actually give you an edge. As far as being able to practice, I had no problem with people letting me speak broken Spanish except among people I knew personally. One thing they did tell me was that even though they could tell I was a foreigner, my accent was neutral to them and I sounded like a European (I am American). In a way I thought all the reasons you said one should not learn Argentine Spanish are the very reasons why one should do so.
yep, at first it could be a great challenge if you are not used to face with slang… you could be in trouble everytime someone uses “lunfardo” and “verse” (our primary slang) in a conversation…In fact you will need them to translate what they say to regular spanish (neutro) . And actually now with the age of internet .me and some friends that worked with me in a hostel (“catre chico”) tend to use our m.p.p.i.i.s (multi purpose polite internet influenced spanish :P) when we are alone or we are facing other foreing spanish speekers . and then just switch back to the local form.
you can pretty much sum up the gist of this article by saying: Argentines are stuck up.
“If you’re in a larger city in Argentina, they might get impatient with you. If they speak English, they will immediately switch to English because they do not want to waste their time with your sub-par Spanish.”
Sometimes it´s very hard to to comunicate to somebody who has learned spanish from Spain, or Mexican “neutral” spanish. You try your best to make the other person understand you, talking slower and without using slang, but there is no case. That’s when you switch to speaking english (or making gestures, or whatever).
It´s not for being impolite, most times people are trying to help. Of course there are jerks, as anywhere else.
As an Argentinean I can say that this is totally wrong! It depends on who you meet and where you go! Especially in Bs.As. you’re gonna see alot of people like that, but in Mendoza and Cordoba they are very sweet and kind! Y yo soy Mendozina y Cordobeza (aunque mi mama es Mejicana.) And we have a lot of slang cause we’re lazy af.
I completely disagree with you. I don’t think your points are merely academic, but just some personal experiences organized as numbered items. Learning a language is difficult, no matter which one you are learning. The differences between accents are not something exclusive of Spanish; it is something you’ll come across with at any language. You said one of the reasons why people shouldn’t choose Argentina for learning Spanish is that “you’ve never heard of our accent”.It is true that there aren’t as many argentinian TV series and movies on the US or any other English speaking country, but that won’t make you more or less prepared for learning Spanish here. If you’re curious enough, I think you’ll look through the Internet for different aspects of our culture, language, “vos”, and accent included, before coming to the country or while living here. Yes, we speak different from one city to another, but that’s not a point against the easiness/in favor of the difficulty of learning a language.
People usually say something nice about your efforts for learning Spanish. We are warm and kind to foreigners and travellers, and also pretty curious about other cultures, but there’s also some black sheep who think there’s no need for that. As a Spanish teacher here, I know of the power positive words have on students. If you had the bad luck of not beign surrounded by people complimenting your efforts it’s your experience, but that doesn’t mean we’re all like that. Take for example Buenos Aires, the city you said you lived in for several years. They’re famous in our country for being “ortivas”, cold people, when you approach to a stranger on the street. I’ve also been to Buenos Aires and that may be true sometimes, but there’s also people helping travellers all the time, telling them how to read a map or where to get a great meal and a comfortable room.
So, all in all, I don’t really see any objective point, just your personal opinion of why not choosing Argentina for learning Spanish.
If you are considering to learn Spanish think that: 1) to learn many accents and manners is not an option if you don’t want to get limited to a very narrow group of speakers, however when you gain expertise you can understand every of them, just as a native speaker; 2) accents are not divided by citizenship, in a same country are many. For example, in Argentina: Córdoba, Buenos Aires and Salta have different accents. In Spain: Asturias, Madrid, Cataluña, Andalucía are also very different; 3) Your personal experiences doesn’t depend on stereotypes like “the smiling Latino” or the “rised chin Argentinian”, you will have to get around with different kinds of people, as in your own country.
I know what you mean about slang, I’m Puerto rican and my boyfriend is from Argentina and I’ve been long enough with him to completely understand him now. Haha!
Sorry for resurrecting this.
You are right, and there is more, we really despise latino accents and their speaking. It is just unberable for many of us. And the cartoons… they are contaminating our kids with latino words and expressions, is a serious problem. For that reason movies for kids must be translated in Argentina.
I’m from Argentina and i can tell you, we are very rude and impatient people. Even with neighbor countries like Chile, we tend to degrade their way of speaking. Even more in large cities like CABA, where everybody talks many languages due to the large amount of tourism and it is expected from tourists to talk our spanish perfectly.
I would not recomend it for learning purposes either.
Soy Argentino y estoy y de acuerdo, estoy estudiando para ser profesor de inglés y a nosotros nos enseñan el ingles británico porque es el ingles verdadero.
Por el mismo motivo pienso que la gente que quiere aprender español debería aprender el español de España que es el verdadero español, usan tuteo y no voceo, las conjugaciones son diferentes, nosotros no usamos el segundo pronombre del prural, etc…muchas diferencias.
These people are so racist it’s sick my poor brother just getting a divorce from this control freak not to mention a slut and ugly the slut had an affair with her chiropractic doctor now that whore want it all
Your reasons for not learning Spanish in Argentina seem to be based on your personal experience. There is nothing in your description that points out exactly to why learning in Spanish say in Colombia or in Spain is much more beneficial than learning in Argentina. The reason for your advice, it seems, is that forms, slang, voseo, cultural mores, etc.are essentially unfamiliar to you, the learner, so you therefore conclude that learning Spanish in such context must be automatically unhelpful and undesirable to any serious Spanish language student. You know well that every Spanish speaking country has its own accent, idioms , slang, sentence structure forms, grammatical idiosyncrasies and so on, (and your article implies thst Argentina, quite inexplicably to be honest, has more of these than other countries in the Spanish-speaking world, except for Puerto Rico?, really?) so it is very hard to judge and make a sweeping pronouncement on this, i.e, a particular country’s language being a lesser quality learning experience overall vis a vis another one. I’m certain you would have had similar setbacks if you went to say, Mexico City, Northern Chile, anywhere in Spanish-speaking Spain or even to another Province besides Buenos Aires within Argentina.
Did you try to learn at a good Spanish School in Buenos Aires? There are many language school and most of them are great. Next time you visit take my advice and go to Vamos Spanish Academy in Palermo
I lived in San José, Costa Rica for 7 months. They also use the “vos” when I was just learning Spanish, and the “sh” sound as in “calle”. I have been going to México, at least every year for about 17 years and finally had a house constructed in Jalisco, 2 and a half years ago. I love México and will live there someday, when I retire. I felt assured that I was “fluent” in Spainish now, but when I came back to the States a new guy was working with me and he is a recent Cuban refugee. My self esteem went way down. This guy spoke like a machine gun and he “thinks” I speak Spanish, because I can, but not with him. I understand about 5% of what he says. I would like to visit Argentina one day, but I hope it is not as bad as Cuban Spanish to understand?
It really varies from person to person irrespective of nationality, I think. The language spoken in Buenos Aires ‘villas’ (slums) is not similar to the Spanish spoken by political personages or in academia in the very same city, only few miles (read kilometers!) apart.
lol cubans are very hard to understand even for native spanish speakers haha!! My argentine homestay mom has friends from cuba that came to visit and she had to ask them to slow down because she couldnt understand them LOL!! Dont feel too bad!
What an awesome thread, glad I stumbled onto it!
Please excuse my California-speak; I was domesticated in the Bay Area.
BsAs Spanish is precious, and so are the porteno milongueros who speak it – I love it all! The main reason to learn the adorable city accent and slang is to demonstrate the secret handshake when you interact with the ever growing Tango community worldwide.
Thank you, Buenos Aires, for the unique and beautiful art you have given the world!
Agree with the use of ‘vos’ it can be quite difficult to get used to that, about point 2 I really don’t know about that (as I don’t expect praise, never received it any for the languages I speak…hmmm maybe I’m not that good? lol) BUT slang and accent are issues you will find in every country, and inside the same country too, it changes a lot from region to region, and it is not even just a Spanish problem. My English teacher was British and when I went to NY I had some comprehension problems and some others speaking to an Australian friend….so I would say that if you really want to boost your skills is not really important which country you choose because the moment you change it you will come across some things you never heard before.
Yes, it all is a problem steming from mobility and migration after all…but I don’t think it’s not a moot discussion, however!
Dear Rease Kirchner,
Despite the many differences between you & I… We do share some commonality. We are both writers & we both agree that Argentina is a wonderful place in the world to visit. Now, as a fellow writer, I’m completely aware of the “opinion” being a powerful force behind emotion-based writing, which I respect. At the same token, I also understand, that an opinion is individual perspective, nothing more. So in my opinion, and where you & I differ, is that you, are an idiot, where I am not. Let me explain…. I am Argentine Native, so I find your article misleading & narrow-minded. Now, I will not speak upon how beautiful I think Argentine Spanish is, as that would be far too biased. I will simply point out why “in my opinion,” I think you are a moron. To begin, you initially stated in your article that you had an extensive academic background in Spanish. This, as you put it, gave you the “advantage” of knowing “formal” Spanish, prior to your 2-year stay in Argentina. Then, in closing statements of your article, you stated that your Spanish is so heavily Argentine influenced,” that it creates a disadvantage for you. Regardless of the fact that you said you had only spent 2/9 years in Argentina, being exposed to the slang/dialect spoke by the natives, and additionally, that most your troubles in speaking with an Argentine dialect occurs when you’re speaking to your Puerto Rican boyfriend… Let me repeat Puerto Rican. Now Rease, when doing the math, a mere 15% of your academic pursuit was spent exposed to castellano Spanish…. So, if you claim to be so “skilled” & fluent in Spanish, yet speak mostly using Argentine Spanish dialect, despite the years and years prior spend learning formal Spanish… Then, calling you an idiot is not just my opinion of you, but a fact. Moving forward, it may be beneficial for you to write in the form of informative comparison, rather than entirely from your own personal opinion. La puta que te pario, Boluda. (You should have no problem knowing what that “slang” means Rease) #vivaArgentina
I’m gonna agree with most people here, but especially with Rease.
It is true that most languages will have their variants and differences, but there is a big difference with English in America and Britain compared to Spanish in Most Latin America and Argentina.
A learners first concern should lie with the basics. For example, the Pronouns. English Pronouns are quite similar in the US and UK. However, Pronouns in Argentina differ from the rest of Latin America. This isn’t about whether the people of Argentina are good or bad, or which country is better in general (that is more an issue of pride) But the real question should be about WHERE you can BETTER learn Spanish.
CLARIFICATION: Not about WHOSE Spanish is BETTER. That is an individual choice and a never ending debate (better left for those who have pride issues and insecurities)
By far, Mexico, Peru and Colombia, and others mentioned are great choices because they are very similar in their language. No one wants to learn English in America Samoa. Why? Their English is not COMMON. However, American and British English ARE COMMON. Either one is a good choice.
Not the same with Argentina. Theirs is not COMMON. Sure, to some it might sound fancy, sophisticated, pretty, and if that’s your motivation to learn the language, then you have the wrong idea. Learning it should be to help you communicate with Spanish speakers. And since Argentina Spanish is not common in Latin America, you may, MAY, as in maybe, probably will have issues communicating with others.
I don’t hear America Samoa or Guyana crying and telling others about learning English in their country. So why should Argentina?
Once you bring up “better” as part of the equation…then, oh my…good luck to you my friend
Slang is everywhere, not in Argentina only. Did you try Colombia for example? it s impossible to follow..
It doesn’t have to be that tough for beginners! Never took a single class of Spanish nd showed up in Argentina after a month in Colombia trying to get by and then came back three months ago. I managed just fine in the first days and progressed throughout my time there. Still haven’t taken any class, and I now understand everything. I have terrible grammar but I can have complex conversations and Argentinians regularly compliment me and talk to me!
Yes I’m French so it’s easier for me, but I think it’s just a bit pf generalization. Learning a language is a personal experience and for some people it might be easier to learn here, rather than Spain or Chile!
I totally understand your point!I was living in Argentina for 3 month during a student exchange,I looooved the country,the people,the food,the country and definitely the dialect.however I’ve to admit that it’s hard to understand porteño in the beginning,since they are speaking so fast and really different.But right now after learning this Spanish it’s hard for me to switch back to the normal grammar or pronunciation.
yo aprendi algo de ingles britanico en mi pais Argentina luego vine a Iowa. In Iowa I learned,,,,well…whatever English they speak and now i can’t be understood in New York. so……what should I post in a blog?lol. I cannot be understood within the same country :D….
but i agree…. our spanish is way too different….I had to learn to speak Mexican myself to be able to do interpretations where i work.
one more thing….
“vos” no es un verbo.
Wow..This is painful. Generalizations are dangerous. I couldnt agree with you. This is not what we teachers teach our students in Argentina It seems you are a too far from understanding what Language variation means.
1. THE ACCENT IS NOT WHAT YOU’D EXPECT, : WILL YOU TELL ME OR SHOW ME WHAT-WHICH THE
CORRECT ACCENT IS?
AREN’T AS QUICK TO COMPLIMENT YOUR SPANISH OR ENCOURAGE
YOU AS OTHER LATINOS ARE….; DID YOU SURVEY-INTERVIEW THE 44 MILLION
3. YOU’VE NEVER
HEARD THE SLANG BEFORE…. OF COURSE NOT MISS, YOU WOULDNT BELIEVE THAT
SPANISH ONLY COMES TO MEXICO, WOULD YA? THERE ARE 21 OFFICIAL LINGUISTIC
SPEAKING SPANISH COMUNITIES.
4. THEY USE THE
“VOS” FORM, WHICH YOU HAVE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF…DO YOU CALL VOS, A
VERB FORM?…. DId YOU EVER HEAR OF THE WORD PERSONAL PRONOUN OR SUBJECTIVE
(I didnt mean the capital letters, ok?)
Well you know, without generalizations you can hardly say anything at all.
If you have to mention “there are exceptions” all the time, then what you say will become very uninteresting for people, and they will get the impression you are concidering them fools.
Thanks for the article! This was a blast from the past for me. I studied Spanish in Argentina while doing a year long study abroad. I got the accent, picked up the slang, used vos, and then just recently (7 years after Buenos Aires) traveled Central America. I went to Guatemala to brush up on my Spanish in Guatemala for a couple weeks and my Spanish teacher had no idea what I was talking about haha.
A lot of these things are easy to “fix” once in other Latin American countries. The vos for tu is an example. Spanish is a very regional language and changes when you cross into different provinces and borders. I think learning in Argentina helps illustrate this.
I agree with you on your article and was happy to have a read! Thanks again.
Love from Manila,
For sure ! Just listening to Argentine Spanish….it sounds like Spanish with a clear and melodic Italian accent. None of this spitting like Castilian from Spain or pushing your tongue to the roof of your mouth or cutting the ends of the words off like in Caribbean Spanish or chatter like chickens in a coop ! That may sound harsh, but in my opinion, Argentine Spanish is by far the most beautifully pronounced of all Spanish speaking countries.
As a european born latin language speaker, who understands about 8 languages, romanian, russian, french, german, english, and self-taught in italian, spanish and portuguese, I find argentinian to be very clear, easy to understand. The vos seems like a more polite form, similar to portuguese voce, and french vous, than tu. It’s more like usted. The italian canto style is very romantic, and does not prevent another spanish speaker from understanding it.
This was a pretty funny article, while I understand where the majority of it is coming from, being able to adapt to all different cultures/accents and slang is necessary if you are going to be any type of “Spanish” expert. I’m so proud to have parents from Argentina. You should look research Castellano, what they speak, and where it comes, then your roots all trace back to Spain and Europe. To speak formally is just a sign of education, some are just not educated enough to know the difference. But never say never and assume that everyone feels the same way about their “Spanish” and their country. You can now say you know how to say things 3 different ways, know how to differentiate backgrounds. Don’t knock it before you try and now they don’t think they are the best in the world, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, no one has left that country ever thinking, wow those were terrible people. Peace
Totally! I definitely want to speak with a colloquial and interesting accent – because that’s how I speak English. Why shouldn’t it be the same in Spanish?
1 – The accent is the same if you are from UK. NZ, Au, or USA. (totally different)
2- Argentinos, we are not good doing compĺiments, and we don’t have too. By the way, in certain cities at US they will try to avoid you.
3- Every English spoken country (and city) has it’s own slang.
4- The vos form is one of the most ancient forms for you that exists in spanish language.
Interesting. I’m from South Florida where the Argentinian population seems to be booming. In my opinion, Argentinian Spanish is one of the most accented and unattractive Spanish in my biased opinion. But usually, people lean one of two ways, either they love the accent or hate it. Its very rhythmic, they fluctuate the tone of their voice and its very vulgar to someone used to more neutral proper spanish. I work with many of Argentinians and a commonality they have is their refusal to speak English. They are very proud of their Spanish and will quickly complain about yours if its not up to their standards. In contrast, Colombians and Brazilians (portuguese speakers) are much more likely to speak English or patiently bear you’re accented spanish, sprinkling tips here and there. There is almost an undeserving sense of entitlement by the part of Argentinians. Keep in mind tho, I work with a small, skewed group of Argentinians that are not indicative of the country as a whole. Additionally, in South Florida, people assume Spanish is primarily spoken everywhere which might explain their persistent to speak Spanish or castellano as they call it. Nevertheless, I would gear towards a more neutral Spanish, e.g Mexico, Nicaragua, or Columbia.
For the people who say Colombia has a simple or neutral accent that’s not true. Colombia like many countries has different accents all over the country. In Bogota, yes they speak clear neutral Spanish. But in Medellin, the Spanish is strongly accented (it’s beautiful) and they use “vos” there as well. If you are a beginner and show up there to learn Spanish you will find it very difficult because you will not understand people on the street. It’s the same in Argentina.
Good luck understanding anything they are saying around here (in Argentina)! Not only does the “sh” in everything throw you off but they are also seem to be dropping other sounds like “s” and talking with an Italian accent. It’s also completely unintelligible. Even in TV commercials, where presumably they would have tried to get people who speak clearly, it all just comes out as some kind of mumbling. You can see for yourself by renting an Argentine movie and comparing it to a Spanish movie or an American movie dubbed with “standard” (or Mexican) Latin American Spanish. The only plausible reason I suppose to learn Spanish here might be that it’s cheaper than some places but Latin America is huge and you have a lot of options (I heard that Guatemala is really cheap).
Personally Argentina is not a country I would want to spend much time in, not only because there’s dog poop everywhere here in Buenos Aires, but it’s just depressing. It feels like you are witnessing a slow explosion, a country in perpetual decline. The filth, the inflation, the crime (ranging from the countless street scams to murder robberies in broad daylight), the worthless graffiti marring every surface, having to change your money in shady “caves” on Calle Florida, the government propaganda on TV extolling the president, the tolerance for corruption at all levels (even soccer!). This is a country that has already seen its best days. And that, nearly a century ago.
I have recently looked into Argentina, to improve my intermediate Spanish. I have to admit price was part of the equation since the Canadian dollar is at a good level vs Argentina. However, I could not find a school that does not demand $US, which has become very strong recently. The bottom like is that during a period of falling peso values the schools are playing currency games to dramatically increase their income vs their countrymen. This is a huge turnoff and I am heading elsewhere.
If price is part of the equation you also need to factor in the much greater price of traveling to Argentina vs some place closer to North America. For Americans there’s also the reciprocity fee that needs to be added to that.
you spent 9 years learning spanish? what the hell, it should take a year, max 2
I don’t really agree. We do have the form “vos” instead of tu, but that’s a minor thing which most of countries can understand. The “sh” sound , we are tought at school the LL sound sounds like “LH” but we never speak it like that, in fast relax pronuntiation. Which Spanish know is pronounced like that but can’t even say it.
Idioms of course there are very different idioms, but that differs from province to province and country to country. Spain have really weird idioms, as Peru, as Colombia etc etc. Also about the accent is very well understood if we speak slow , we do tend to speak very fast, which of course you would have trouble to understand when you are not a native speakr. It happens to me when Chileans speak fast, or Puerto rican, or cuban. I don’t understan half of what they are saying. To me central american speaks as they have a potato in their mouth. I can onlly understand bolivian, uruguayan, peruvian, colombian and spanish if they speak fast. But it’s understandable when I was in Irealand, and England most of the time I couldn’t understand their idioms, and a word if they spoke fast. And they didn’t mind to slow down either.
And I do reply in English if someone is speaking to me in a poor spanish just because I think she/he is having a hard time expressing themselves, not because I have no patience.
And you are back in the US, which is a country not a continent.
Is because we, the argentinians, speak “Castillian”. We use a lot of italian words mixing with the slang.
You make some good points, especially about not wanting to end up with a particular accent. I learnt Spanish in Argentina and have obviously ended up with the accent from there, but that doesn’t bother me. One of the best compliments I had about my Spanish was being asked (in Madrid airport) if I was from Argentina. I don’t see having an accent as any different to meeting many foreigners who speak English with an American (or, less commonly, Australian) accents. Though it’s still a bit strange hearing Asians speaking like Brummies!
The two main reasons that I chose to learn Spanish in Buenos Aires I stand by – that it’s cheaper than learning in Spain (living costs are much lower than Europe – this may not be the case if you are planning on learning in Mexico though), also the accent (and el voseo) make the accent easier for westerners. There fewer ‘special’ sounds (ones that don’t exist in English), none of the thththth sounds which can be difficult for example. You’ll still need to learn to roll your Rs though!
Hello there, an Argentine person here.
I know this is an old article and this will probably not be read by many people or anyone, but I had to give my opinion.
Firstly, I think you’re being too blunt and inconsiderate. You’ve lived in Mendoza and Buenos Aires. They are both beautiful cities/provinces I’m sure you agree, but they have the least friendly people in the whole country and they are the most visited by foreigners. Taking this into consideration, I believe you were absolutely unfair by stereotyping an entire country based on your experience in only two provinces. I’ve met people from New Jersey and cities alike that, in my opinion, are cocky. I’d say that’s a stereotype I created based on those people but it would be unfair of me to say that the whole country is like that, I’ve met several Texans as well and they seemed exactly the opposite. So…, most of your article felt like unnecessary and unfair bad publicity.
Secondly, some people from Argentina might not be quick to compliment your Spanish, but it usually is because they’re not used to it. Listening to a foreigner speaking Spanish is a bit new. Even more in the year you wrote the article!!! It’s not just something that comes out naturally, complimenting someone’s language is not an activity that all Argentinians know they have to do when they meet a foreigner. I know that for some people this will sound like we’re not polite or educated but it’s got nothing to do with that, it’s just habits that will be more frequently practised in countries with a bigger number of foreigners.
Thirdly, it’s also true that some people might switch to English when they get impatient, but I need to clarify this because it’s important and because I’m one of those people. Usually when I meet a foreigner who wants to learn Spanish, I speak Spanish all the time. The thing is, I’m not a Spanish teacher, and I don’t speak to foreigners with the sole objective of helping them speak Spanish. I might want to make friends, and it’s really hard to make friends with someone when they take too long to speak. You said you are a fluent Spanish speaker so you shouldn’t have had this problem. Besides, the provinces you’ve been to have a higher level of English than the rest of the country. If you happened to go to Córdoba and avoided places like the “School of Languages” or language academies you would be forced to speak Spanish ’cause almost no one knows how to speak English, so again, very unfair.
Finally, I just want to say that there’s lots of things in your article that are true, like it’s probably not the best country to learn Spanish. But you forgot to mention lots of positive characteristics, and it seems like you influenced lots of English speakers to not come here. It’s a shame. Most of us are very friendly, we even greet with a kiss on the cheek, we’re not as influenced by technological devices as American people which means we listen more and we don’t get so distracted, since we’re not as present as other countries like the ones you mentioned above that makes us kinda more interesting, I don’t know why you made it look like a bad thing to have different slang or to use “vos” instead of “tú”, something different to learn…, etc. I’ve heard more than one foreigner speaking Spanish with a Mexican accent say: “I know I can be understood here, but I like the Argentine accent better, I wanna learn how to sound Argentinian”.
If you knew just how excited we get when we come across a foreigner you wouldn’t have been so negative in your article. We just need to know more foreigners to get used to it so we know how to react.
And by the way, people from Buenos Aires are the most arrogant in the whole country, not to say in the world. I know, I lived there for 14 years.
And by the way 2*, your article is a plain negative review with no other purpose than to point out the worst of Argentina. I know for a fact that you met nice humble people who weren’t the way you describe them all to be. But of course, you didn’t add that to your opinion, you technically deleted those people from your experience, and that is just so sad…
Just a quick comparison.
“Other Spanish speaking countries” vs. Argentina
Americans (US) vs. British people (UK)
Just like British English, Argentine Spanish is not the most common variety in the world, yet a different one preferred by a big number of people.
Think about that for a second and ask yourself: “Are the countries from the UK the worst places to learn English just because their slang, accent and culture differ from the well-known American ones?”. No.
I have never been outside of the United States, but I find some of the things she said in this article to be very hard to swallow. Perhaps she doesn’t realize that people from other Hispanic countries make heavy use of slang. I have studied Mexican Spanish in particular for years, and I am still confused by the slang they use. Just listen to the song “Chilanga Banda.” Also, as far as Argentinos not speaking Spanish to you, I have met many Argentinos at my work who were more than willing to speak Spanish to me. She also says that you shouldn’t go to Argentina because it is different from the Spanish you learned in school. What? That is insane. In my personal experience, the only kind of Spanish I learned in school was Mexican Spanish. Does that mean that I shouldn’t go anywhere besides Mexico? Besides, the use of voseo and other features of castellano rioplatense are found in many areas of the Hispanic world. Any one who studies Spanish needs to be able to understand any accent, whether the speaker uses vos, vos (chileno), vosotros, sumercé, or anything else. Don’t shut yourselves off to the diversity out of fear. If you end up actually using your Spanish frequently in the United States, you will need to understand people from all over the world.
Im Argie and I agree, don’t learn spanish in Argentina.
True story, when I first got to the US I would speak to central americans in Spanish and half of them would look at me like I was speaking chinese, the other half would respond with “Im sorry I don’t speak english” – not exaggerating..
HOWEVER, for guys, specially if you are into latin women, if you pick up our spanish..you will learn that pronouncing “y”‘s and “ll”‘s with the “shh” sound is an instant girl magnet – use this power wisely lol
That’s funny. I’ve gotten that a few times too, but I attribute it to my gringa accent. 🙂
Miss President Kirchner, I agree. Personally, I advice begginer spanish-students to learn or language in countries like Mexico and Peru. I´ve lived in South Korea (where I´ve learned korean), and many koreans who lived in Mexico and Peru speak spanish very well. Why? Because that people is very talkative, they speak a lot all day long. The more you speak, the more you learn. That´s much better than only studying.
The whole “vos vs. “tu” thing is mainly due to the fact that the Argentine culture is less formal in certain respects, and more personable.
Im Argentine, and I agree Argentina is not the best place to learn spanish. Argie-Spanish/ Castellano is full of slang, the accent is waaayyy different that in other Latin American Countries, except for Uruguay..and Argies speak real fast too.
///this is not for the ladies////
But I’ll say this thou – Argie Spanish Accent, in Mexico or any other country, is a panty dropper..lol
I’m nearly two months in to a nine month stay in Cordoba and came across this blog when I was doing a web search to check something somebody had said to me today. I am probably not the ideal audience for this article since I am in my 50’s, did my first degree in Spanish in the 80’s and have lived in Sevilla and Lima.
However I think there are a number of category errors in the argument.
1) no accent is how you would expect it to be. I my first weeks in Sevilla people obviously understood my castizo castellano but I didn’t understand a word they said back to me. I gradually “tuned in’ and this has been my experience everywhere I have travelled. I had friends in Sevilla who started from a very low level and I had to explain to them that they needed to be aware of the peculiarities of sevillano and their pronunciation of the area “Los Remedios” as “Lo Remedio” had a different meaning anywhere else!
2) In my experience so far the Argentinians are a very polite people and I have been complemented on my Spanish on a daily basis and only had two people speak English to me: my landlord who did a PhD in Cambridge in the 60’s and a nice lady in the farmacia who apologised that she spoke “American” English but she had so few opportunities to practice.
3) That goes for anywhere – “tio” in Spain = “pata” in Lima = “tipo” in other places
4) If you are only just starting to learn Spanish you just take that in your stride. I was taught to address everybody as “Usted” and I was taken aside by any employee of the electricity company where I was working and told “Solo trata de Vd a los padres de tu nova y el Papa”.
As we say in England different strokes for different folks.
And in reply to Holly – while all the signs are in Catala (won’t let me do accents) I only heard it spoken by two people – and that as a gesture
You could also point out that the Spanish change the s sound to a lisping ‘th’ which is doesnt exist in South America…I am English and learnt Spanish in Argentina. I adore the beautiful expressive Italian accent and although I change a few words if I am in Spain I have never had any problems with my accent being understood. Argentina is a wonderful country and their language reflects their humour and their history of literature and tango. Yes it is distinctive but equally anyone learning English in Scotland would also stand out!
There are so many regional expressions in Spanish.
Perhaps it’s best learning in Spain, after all or not?
The writer and the people that agree are crazy. Spanish speaking people have always been super complimentary and fascinated by my Argentinian accent. Of course I am biased, but I consider Argentinian Spanish to be best out there. I have been around Spanish speaking people from Puerto Ricans in NY, Cubans in Miami and Mexicans from Mexico as well other people from South and Central American countries and their form of speaking doesn’t compare. Spanish from Spain is also very nice except for the stupid lisping
Thank you for the article. I am experiencing some of the difficulties that you mentioned and I am not even in Argentina. I have resumed studying Spanish after a long absence from it. It was quite clear from the first class that my teacher had a different rhythm to the way she as speaking as well as an accent that I was unfamiliar with. I found out that she studied in Argentina and her husband is from there as well. I am slowly getting used to it but in the beginning the little things like, Ellos, sounded so unfamiliar that I thought she was teaching us a new word. I think in the long run, it is really going to help, having teachers from various location and hearing the way Spanish is spoken differently but for an intro review course it is a little rough. Later this year I will begin Quechua and Aymara classes on top of my Spanish courses. I may be biting off a little too much. Anyway thanks for the article and I look forward to reading some of your other writings.
I totally agree. I’m an Argentinian. Personally, I do have patience to speak with someone who’s trying to speak Spanish. But it’s totally true that we try to switch to English if we can.. Personally, that’s because I love English and I like to practice (I do English vlogs in YT). But that’s also because you don’t realize that the person is trying to learn the language, you just see that he (or she) is just having a bad time trying to make himself understandable. So you feel that, if you can help him and make a conversation in his language, you’re just helping the conversation.
Thanks for being respectful and again I totally agree with all you wrote.
Muy bueno tu post, pero creo que te estás limitando solo en cuanto a la variedad lingüistica que existe con el resto de los países hispanófonos. Las pronunciamos difieren de región en región, de país en país y hasta de ciudad en ciudad. My point of view pasa por la cuestion de que el llamado castellano neutro es más tirado a una especie de derivado mexicano y Uds por su cercanía y por la inmigración constante es el que aprenden.
Haz escuchado alguna vez el castellano boliviano? ellos pronuncian la ll como elie y no y o como zh, como dirian Uds.
Me puede pasar lo mismo con su lengua, prefiero más el Ingles Británico que el Americano, el primero lo entiendo y es el que aprendimos en la escuela y en el colegio, es más lento más suave y puedo captarlo, but the American english es muy rápido, los sonidos difieren si van al aldo de tal o cual palabra, Por ejemplo: nunca me acostumbro al sonido de su “T” en “to” o en la terminacvion de los adverbios “ty” como en responsabilty, donde Uds la pronuncian como una R, nuestra en ropero. Your English is so rapido.
En cuanto a los slangs, Qué parte de Argentina conoces, si te limitás solo a las grandes ciudades, no conoces Argentina, Hay 23 capitales y demás ciudades importantes donde el castellano que vos consideras dificil para aprender se habla de otra manera. I´m telling you ’cause I am from Salta!!! y nuestro castellano es más lento tiene más afinidad con el peruano-boliviano que con el del Sur!!!!
Thanks, ésta es mi humilde opinión!!
i’m from Argentina and i find this very insulting. the form ‘vos’ is a lot easier to use then ‘tu’. just because one country has different slang doesn’t mean you have to not travel there( if you go by that you have to stop traveling)…. and every spanish speaking country has different words… like strawberry is different in Mexico then it is Argentina. Meanings of words and slang is going to change everywhere you go… you shouldn’t get upset just because you don’t understand something
It’s still Spanish…just a different variant of the language, and a more esoteric one. The “Vos” you refer to is the plural version of voce (in Portuguese.) In Spanish it is “vosotros”, but more commonly replaced by “ustedes” , as the plural of “Tu” ,like “Voi” in Italian. In English we only have one word for “You”…You ! That’s singular, plural, polite, familiar, etc. In Romance languages there can be up to 7 different ways, including: tu, ti, te, usted, ustedes, vosotros, and vos; (in Spanish.) All have their own distinct usage in diction. This can be very confusing to an English-only speaking person. Still in all, Argentinians speak beautiful and proper Spanish, and the accent, in my opinion, is the most beautiful. It does have an “Italianate” sound and no one can argue that Italian is not a beautiful and soothing language to hear ! The problem with using Argentinian Spanish as a paradigm is that outside of Argentina, it is not recognized as being the quintessential Spanish language model. However, if you are studying the language there, for whatever reason, you will surely be well understood in the Spanish speaking world and have no communication problems whatsoever !
Clearly you have never learnt any Argentinian Spanish! Vos is the second person singular used instead of tu. In the plural Argentinians use ustedes instead of vosotros.
Sorry, then I don’t think you were being clear…you seemed to suggest vos was a plural form, which would just confuse the issue further…but reading it again it seems you were just referring to portugese
I am not a Spanish speaker and can only muster up a limited conversation, albeit it not very good. Thanks for you input though. I know it can be quite confusing to an English speaking person to get all the forms for a simple “you” down pat. We do not even have a plural form for the word “you”, i.e. “yous” …which is incorrect grammar. I did not even know “vos” existed in Spanish. Thanks for the education ! I speak Italian, and we have “voi” (plural), tu, te. ti- (to you), lei- (polite form.) Do you hear the Neopolitan influence in the Argentine Spanish accent; due to the influx of Southern Italian immigrants there in the last century, (if you know ?) Thanks !
You said <
Vos is not a plural form dude…
I really don`t agree with you. I`ve had a wonderfull experience learning spanish in Argentina. I think that since they got away from the financial crisis they have learn the value of foreing students in the country. In Córdoba i really felt like home. I studied in an academy where they really that serious the slang dificulties and the diference between regions. check it out flystudyabroad.com
I don’t think we are out of the financial crisis…
I think a lot of the experiences she was sharing took place in Buenos Aires and I personally would never recommend that anyone learn Spanish there. Most of the people that were willing to talk to me weren’t Argentine, they tended to be Peruvians or Bolivians.
I am Argentinian and yes, is true what you say. In my university comes people from all Latino America and none of they use the “vos” neither in Spain. And the “vos” change also all the verbs that you will use with it, so it’s hard to get accustomed.
But what I don’t agree is what you say about that every people is inpatient I personally will be patient with someone that is trying to learn my language and I even would fell the need to help they with that. 🙂
Seguramente vivió en Capital, y allá la gente corre de un lado para otro, es muy asquerosa e impaciente (yo soy porteño). Si se iba a La Plata, se encontraba con gente muy educada y amable. No está bueno ser extranjero en una gran ciudad donde estás aprendiendo el idioma. Yo aprendí así coreano en Seúl.
I’m Argentine and I agree, you shouldn’t learn Spanish in Argentina because of how different to the other types of Spanish it is, and because of all the slang we use.
But the accent shouldn’t be a problem (and no, we don’t talk with Italian rhythm). Also the Argentines have a faster paced way of life than the other Hispanics (Hispanic is the correct term and not Latino because the latter includes French and Portuguese speakers) so we can sometimes be rude when someone stops us from what we are doing. But everywhere in the world you will find jerks.
In Argentina we don’t speak Spanish, we speak Castellano. The problem is in America you use Mexican Spanish, but in every Spanish speaking country they have different dialects.
Mexican Spanish is the most influential. Deal with it.
I strue, mainly for the soap operas and of course their classic films
It has NOTHING to do with soap operas. Mexico is a neighboring country of the US and there is Mexican history around the Southwest (when California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, etc used to be part of Mexico) going 150 years back, so Mexican culture has been present for ages and always been influential in the US even way for soap operas. Also, soap operas does not represent Mexican culture any way. Here is this article you will see Mexico is still alive in US society:
I was talking about the high influence of Mexican Spanish in the Americas ( u know the Americas is not only USA), and of course I know about the LARGE amount of land that used to be part of Mexico, now in the northern side of the border.
In English, “America” refers to the US (which is what Silvia Bischoff is referring to). To refer to both Continents, you need to say “Americas” (with the “S” at the end). Regardless, the influence of Mexican Spanish (even across Latin America) still has nothing to do with soap operas.
We’re both according
to this link, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/America
But I’llgive u the edge because English is my 3rd language, I was more
focused in the reply of Ares, but Silvia made a mistake in Argentina (and
Uruguay ) we don’t speak Castilian, we speak LUNFARDO, which include at least 10,000 words use every day than u can’t find in a dictionary of the RAE, forthat reasons words like mina, bancar or cana are far away from the standard Castilian.Something really interesting about the Hispanosphere is its linguistic introspectiveness,people usually listen mostly music in Spanish and their local musicians, films are dubbed and the most popular sitcoms or tv programs are produced locally or in neighbouring countries.
About Mexico, the propagation of Standard Mexican began with the B&W films, Pedro Infante, Jorge Moreno and specially Cantinflas (who invented many words) propagated mostly the Mariachi’s culture to other countries, are my granddad love their films and there is a tv channel mostly dedicated to show them, in the 70’s that phenomenon continued with Vicente Fernandez, Jorge Aguilar; besides in that decade became to being aired the most popular Spanish speaking sit-com “ El
chavo del ocho” which s still among the most popular tv shows and “El chapulin Colorado” too , both produced by Roberto Gómez Bolaños.
A decade later in the 80’s began the soap operas trend, Lucia Mendez , Daniela Romo and Veronica Castro were the main characters, and Castro was skilful using CHILANGO , which is composed mostly of slangs in DF, words like padre, chido or clarines were propagated, something that Thalia, another celebre singer-actress did in
Maria Mercedes or Maria La del Barrio. For that reason despite of never been in Mexico I’ve been exposed to its variety of Spanish, something that Colombia began to do in the late 90’s with Bety La Fea and Pedro el Escamoso, not surprisingly , CNN aired to Latin America, have mainly Colombians and Mexicans like Anchors.
Finally ,another country doing something similar is Peru with their sitcoms like Al fondo hay Sitio , exporting it to Paraguay,Bolivia and Ecuador , probably the reverse trend could be observed in Venezuela, but my Argentina apart from Floiricienta we could just export, Boca vs River.
I think it is far easier as a beginner learner seeing as the Spanish spoken in Argentina becomes the norm. I arrived here in Argentina nearly 9 years ago and I am proud to say that I picked up the language rather quickly. That being said, understanding Argentines does not present a problem for me but I so sometimes have trouble understanding other Spanish speakers. When I speak with non-Argentines it would be clear to them from my word choice, inflection, etc. that I learned Spanish in Argentina; however, they normally have no problem understanding me.
Good advice. I know they have a strong Italian influence. I like your “sing-song” analogy, I never heard that before, but it makes sense. The “vos” form probably comes from nearby Brazilian influence of “você”. And also probably “vosotros”.
It still would be nice to visit Argentina. My advice: Skip the Spanish lessons, and take tango lessons instead!
Read more about the usage of VOS and then write about it. I know that you said PROBABLY, but that kind of comments confuses everyone.
I will tell you something about it, VOS was used in Spain with a polite meaning, then It became an informal pronoun, Spanish people came to Latin America, in Latin America it was used until Spain changed it by TÚ, however some countries (which was not linked economically with Spain at this time) continued using VOS as it was used in Spain.That’s why the VOS conjugation in Latin America is the same in Guatemala and Argentina, because it became informal before we started using it.
Read about it : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voseo
If you like italian, I recomend you to visit Argentina, we have an italian culture, and our pasta and pizza are obviously better than the one you can eat in the States, lol!
Your message is old, but I would say this for the newcomers.
“Vos” is not and invent of Argentina neither Brazil. Was used in Spain to express a very respectful and formal way to call someone. And we aren’t the only Latin American country who use it. This article have many prejudices and lack of information. If you like Argentina, come here, everybody love our accent and there are a lot of envy about it. My grandfather was born in Castilla, Spain and always talked about how they like the argentinian accent. Do what you like, like she actually did.
I didn’t see the La Verità’s comment, but hey, nobody deny what we say.
For me, Barcelona is the best place to learn Spanish. Thanks for your advice.
They speak Catalan in Barcelona. Nice place to visit but terrible place to learn Spanish.
Great advice! I’ve never been to Argentina so I wasn’t aware of this but it’s good to know. I’ve been told that Guatemala is a great place to learn Spanish because for many of them, Spanish is their second language as many outside of the major cities still speak their traditional Mayan languages so they speak pretty slowly. When I was there, I noticed that was true for most adults but anyone under 20 spoke more quickly and with a lot more slang because Spanish was their first language.
I’ve read the same about Guatemala. Colombia is also great because they speak very neutral,clear spanish.
Costa Rica nad Ecuador have the most neutral accents.
NB.- Argies speak LUNFARDO.
I agree that Costa Rica and Ecuador are both very neutral accents.
Hi Rease, I agree with you to some extent, however I`d say that in
those countries people naturally speak slowlier, maybe that´s
why it is easier for beginners!
When people ask me for advice about this, I tell them the same thing. I think Mexico, Ecuador, and Bolivia are the best places.
I also think Colombia is an excellent place to learn, but your list has some great one too!
Costa Rica and Ecuador got the most neutral accents .
NB.- Argies speak LUNFARDO.
Good to know. I had no idea that it would be so much different than other places in Central/S. America. I studied Spanish for 3 weeks in Mexico but would like to do more.
Mexico is a great place to learn Spanish because the people are SO encouraging and their accent is fairly easy to understand, provided you don’t go to very small towns. I would also suggest Colombia. Bolivia is also good just because so few people speak English so they are very encouraging.
Peru’s high on the list too. They speak clearly and are easier to understand. If you study in Mexico, you’ll probably have a Mexican accent once you’re fluent, and it’s much more noticeable than a Colombian or Peruvian accent.
The formal Mexican accent is actually highly neutral (like the type foreigners might be exposed to on Mexican produced telenovelas). It’s usually in the more rural areas where you’ll find a more pronounced accent.
There’s a similar complaint with the French in Quebec… especially with the swearing lol. But as long as you’re trying to learn a language, you’re doing it right, regardless of where!
Of course, living abroad anywhere is a great way to learn the local languages, but there are easier places than others!
I enjoyed reading your post. I am currently living working and studying in Buenos Aires and I have been traveling in most South American countries before and I do not completely agree with your point. In my first months I took Spanish classes at a Spanish School. I think in general you are overestimating the value of the Spanish you have learned before watching Spanish shows on television. Whenever you would come to Argentina to study Spanish as a beginner, the Spanish you are going to learn in classes will be “your correct Spanish”. The Argentine Spanish does not have sounds which are unpronounceable for Europeans, and it’s just a matter of learning a different pronunciation from the beginning. Because let’s be honest, from a non-Spanish point of view the pronunciation of a “double l” as a “y” sound is as strange as pronouncing it as a “sh” sound.
My experiences on your second point are completely the opposite, Argentines do not enjoy talking English and whenever you are putting the effort they will appreciate it. Regarding the slang you are completely right. It’s hard to understand as words have a lot of different meanings but I think it ads something to the language. But that I guess is just a matter of taste. I have seen an hilarious video a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IpOfFlX8gc. I think you’ll appreciate it.
I’m not sure I understand this point: “I think in general you are overestimating the value of the Spanish you have learned before watching Spanish shows on television.”
You think that studying before going to Argentina and also watching Spanish shows will NOT help you in Argentina? I would have to disagree. Any studying done before going to the country as well as exposure to the language (in any accent) will help you with comprehension and communication as well as confidence.
As for the schooling, yes, in a proper school setting you will learn what I would call “textbook” or “neutral” Spanish (I feel that’s better than “correct spanish” since that is definitely an opinion!) but when trying to put your Spanish to use in social situations, you will run into the struggles I mentioned in the article.
I have seen that video before, it’s excellent!
I agree that previous exposure (in any way) does contribute to your Spanish level and the speed in which you will pick up the Spanish language. What I mean is that the relative small amount of exposure you had before (by watching tv for example) does not make it more difficult to learn a certain dialect of a language. What I mean is that for a beginner with a limited knowledge of the Spanish language it actually does not matter whether he is learning the language in Argentina or Spain for example. The accent you are exposed to at first will be the accent which will be “normal” in your opinion.
The school i went to was amazing in learning me both local and “nuetral” Spanish but due to my exposure to the local language in day to day life I am completely used to the “vos” and “plata” instead of “tú” and “dinero”
I’m very glad I’ve started in Colombia and am working my way down. It doesn’t sound like I’d have had much luck with my limited Spanish understanding the Argentines!
Yes, Colombia is on my list of recommended countries for beginner’s to learn Spanish. The culture is Americanized enough that it’s helpful, but not so Americanized that everyone will speak English to you. Their accent is also very easy to understand.
I agree with you. Those who want to learn Spanish (or improve their skills) should do some reseach and take into consideration some of the factors you are mentioning. I don’t think Argentina is very famous for its Spanish schools (probably, because of the reasons you are mentioning). I see how it can be difficult (from a Spanish speaker perspective). Now, people who are fluent in Spanish may consider going to Argentina to get a glimpse of how they talk. It can be fascinating to learn some of their slang and heard their accent. As a Spanish speaker, I enjoy learning how others talk in Spanish speaking countries different than mine.
I agree! If you are an intermediate or advanced Spanish speaker, Argentina would be a nice challenge (as it was for me) but as a beginner, it would be a little rough. And I am sure as Puerto Rican you can agree that Puerto Rico is not the best place to learn either! I don’t think there is any reason to take offense to that, it’s just that some accents are easier to comprehend for beginners than others.
Clearly written by an American. Language is a complicated material. It can be molded in many different forms. An an American you feel as though English is a standardized language that everyone with proper education speaks with equal proficiency. The reality is far from that.
Europeans can all hazard a guess as to where another person in Europe is from, and I don’t mean from Spain or France, I mean Paris or Niece, or Barcelona or Madrid. American English exists on such a widely mutually understood platform for no reason other than Hollywood. Even the croaking of a frog outside the Hollywood area is widely accepted as the normal noise a frog makes because of Hollywood movies and TV, but frogs sing drastically different songs all around the world, and to think they don’t is ludicrous. To think that Hollywood English defines international English standards is ridiculous.
Within the English language there is huge variance. People in England can readily identify which village or county people are from. Australians know the difference between someone from Melbourne or Sydney, same for Kiwis and Canuks, I wont even bother mentioning India because while it is a wonderful country their accent is quite comical. So for you to argue one country is individually a poor place to learn a specific language is a huge insult to your education, since you studied a language for 6 years and still don’t even understand its role in the world. Even within Argentina there will be huge variances in linguistic pronunciation. Another poster wrote about how from Peru to Argentina the language was difficult to assimilate. You don’t think that goes both ways.
Americans live in a very comfortable linguistic position as the worlds 3rd most populace country where other than; The Deep South, Boston and New York City we all speak with the same accent. Whereas the Chinese and Indians speak hundreds of documented dialects and a number of languages, we all speak one. Don’t disregard a country’s peoples ability to speak their own national language and assume that as an individual who studied their language for 6 years you know better. Because you most certainly don’t.
-From the perspective of an Iowan born American who speak mandarin and has lived in a Cantonese speaking province of China for 5 years. Yes its frustrating as hell, but doesn’t make your definition of their language right.
I don’t know how you got the idea that I believe English is easy to learn or standardized in any way. I speak Spanish fluently and I have studied Japanese and Sign Language and I would still say English is one of the most difficult languages to learn.
You are absolutely correct that there are tons of variations in the English language. I could easily write several articles on great places to study and learn English as a foreign language as well as articles on where NOT to study and learn it. However, this article is about Spanish.
I also never said that the Spanish confusion between countries does not go both ways. In fact, I have written articles about that as well. My boyfriend is Puerto Rican and sometimes we do not understand each other, even though we are both technically speaking the same language. I also met several Chileans, Peruvians, Spaniards, Colombians and more in Argentina who struggled to assimilate. Again, I’m not arguing with your point, I just don’t understand what this has to do with this particular article.
I have NO idea where you got the idea that I think any version of any language is “right.” I even mentioned in my article that I speak with an Argentine accent but I often alter it to better accomodate the Mexicans and Puerto Ricans I deal with on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean my Spanish is wrong and theirs is right, or the other way around. I simply do it to make communication easier and make them more comfortable.
I think you read the title and just decided to be angry about it and leave a heated comment without fully considering what this article is actually about. You were so ready to attack me that you didn’t even consider that fact that I CHOSE to leave the US to live in Argentina and I stayed there for nearly two years. I respect that you are also from the US and have made a similar decision to live and study a language abroad, but I don’t see how that makes your arguments relevant.
I don’t understand your negativity – no where is she saying Argentine Spanish is inferior, just that it is not an ideal place for beginners who want a more “neutral” version of Spanish like they probably learned in their textbook or hear in movies to practice it in the field. Having studied Spanish in college and then traveled to Spain and many Latin American countries, I’d agree – I found myself frustrated there and in Chile much more than in Costa Rica or Colombia based on my expectations from formal education.
In the same vein, I wouldn’t recommend an English learner to immerse themselves in an area known for having a more marked accent – like Boston or rural Texas,for example – if they were trying to learn and practice a more general American that they hear on TV and were taught in school. Just depends on what the learner wants. If it’s more about the culture of a place that draws them there, then that can easily override any desire of a neutral dialect.
Your comparison of the US to China and India doesn’t really support your point about Argentina. China and India both have lots of different “dialects” in the way that their political way countries define them, but really they are different languages (since most are not mutually intelligible). Argentinian Spanish is a different dialect of Spanish in the same way that American English is a different dialect of English. And the US certainly has more than 4 distinct dialects (although not as much as England, you’re right. Same as how there is more variation within Spain than within Latin America as a whole – part of the legacy of colonialism in both cases).
– a North Carolinian with a degree in linguistics, minor in Italian, and 3/4 master’s degree in sociolinguistics (since we’re trading credentials)
THANK YOU 🙂
I was so shocked by all the negativity this post attracted. It seems that not many people could look past the title. I am now a professional interpreter and I proudly tell employers and clients that I have an Argentine accent. I LOVE Argentine Spanish, but it is not for everyone. When I do interpreting work, I have to neutralize my accent, which takes lots of practice to do.
Your example of Boston or rural Texas is perfect. I wouldn’t recommend a lot of cities in the US either. I met many students in Argentina who were practicing their English and they were specifically ask me if I recommended they go to England or the US and I would always say it depended on which accent they wanted/were more familiar with, but I also noted that if they chose the US I wouldn’t choose the deep South or Boston, and if they chose England, to stay away from the more marked accents that even English speakers struggle with.
And your credentials make your opinion that much stronger. Thank you for your comments!
Thanks for the kind words! 🙂
I agree, once I scrolled past that comment I was surprised to see several other negative ones – perhaps they really didn’t read past the title. I suppose I can understand people being a little bristly when their own dialect or culture seems to be “attacked” in some way. I tend to be defensive when people make (usually ignorant) disparaging remarks about the South or southern accents, but I don’t think you were doing anything like that!
I came across this post because I applied to for the Fulbright teaching assistantship to Argentina and was trying to find out more about the dialect. I’m hoping having a background in Italian may boost my chances at getting it since I know that is a huge part of the culture and dialect – really fascinating to me, and I loved the sound of it when I was there briefly in 2012. My goal is definitely to become fluent in Spanish (although I’m aware I’ll have a relatively unusual dialect of it if Argentina is where I’m immersed), since that will help out with so many opportunities here in the US.
Very cool that you are a professional interpreter! That is my dream job, I have quite a ways to go though. I look forward to checking out more of your blog 🙂
I hope to see you around my blog! But Please contact me about Argentina – I’m happy to help you in any way I can! My alma mater actually has an incredible Argentina TAship exchange program. Shoot me an email sometime and I’ll give you all the info and answer all your questions I can!
Will do! Thanks a ton!
peace and safe travels 🙂
Ms. Kirchner, I just read your article, and have no idea why that Gierke jackass came off like that. I’m sorry to have that moron outside the U.S. showing “how people are from the U.S.”. I have lived outside the U.S. for over 9 years. Let’s make fun of me first. I grew up in a small town outside of Ft. Worth Texas. Trust me, don’t come to Texas to learn English. If I was to recommend to somebody, I would go to Connecticut. They have almost no accent from there for some reason. Worked with people from the U.K., had a guy sit next to me and say something, and I know he was speaking English, and have no idea what he said. Don’t go there to learn English. I would not go to Mexico to learn Spanish. My wife is Mexican, and when we first started dating, she would get furious with me when I would tell her she doesn’t speak Spanish, she speaks Mexican. She finally gave up when we were in Isla Mujeres at a restaurant a Spaniard friend owned and I told her that a word she was using was not formal Spanish. Called over Jorge and asked how do you say ‘mine’ in Spanish………….
The first language I studied was Italian in Torino. Portuguese in Brasil, and Argentine Spanish. Anyway, I learned to speak Spanish in Argentina, and let me tell you, the girls in Mexico LOVED the accent. Probably why I have the most beautiful, lovely, intelligent, kind Mexican woman in all the world, and why she puts up with me. She loves laughing at my ‘poor pronunciation’ of Spanish.
We both noticed that after 3 tequilas, my Spanish sounds alot more like Mexican. Her English is more better after 3 tequilas too..She speaks fluent English after 5 tequilas, I speak portugespanol.
Enjoyed your article, thanks for your time.
Texas is a fine place to learn english as long as you stay in the cities. I grew up in Houston and I have the most generic American accent ever, the only defining feature being my use of y’all.
It might have something to do with the fact that her last name is Kirchner. There are some Argentines that nearly have an aneurysm any time they just hear that name.
Tal vez el uso del Modal verb en tu titulo, te predispone a comenzar a leer algo como una critica negativa….
I have to agree with Rease. Argentinian Spanish is the equivalent of a Chinese person trying to learn English from a California Valley Girl 😛
“there is more variation within Spain than within Latin America as a whole”
Actually is the opposite .
Good point. De acuerdo.
I’m Australian, and there’s no difference of accent anywhere in the country, I think you’re just making half this stuff up.
Wow…let me guess…you like to hear yourself talk too?
Maybe you should actually read the article instead of spouting off a bunch of BS that does not pertain to the article in question.
You lecture her on her article but make rude judgmental comments on the accents of Indian English speakers. Nice . . .
Hola, Rease, soy argentina y vivo en Buenos Aires. Entiendo todo lo que expones en tu post y supongo que esa debe ser tu experiencia acá. También sé que eso debe suceder en todos los países que hablan una misma lengua. Nos pasa a nosotros cuando queremos aprender inglés. El acento, las particularidades de cada localidad son inevitables. La lengua es una entidad dinámica como los somos las personas y muta con el tiempo. Tengo que confesar que me sentí un poco triste cuando leí tus comentarios acerca de cómo somos los argentinos. ¡No todos somos así! En lo personal, puedo decirte que me pone feliz que visiten mi país, que quieran aprender mi idioma y que conozcan nuetra cultura. No se van a arrepentir.Un gran abrazo, Georgina.
claro que si, cada pais hispanohablante es diferente y hay otros paises con un español muy difícil para extranjeros – lo peor sería Puerto Rico, sin dudo! Mi novio es Puerto Riqueño y el esta de acuerdo. Come dije en mi articulo, yo aprendí mucho en Argentina y mi accento es muy argentino, pero sería mucho mas difícil por personas que no tiene experiencia con español. No quiero hacerte triste! Es verdad, no todos son así, yo tengo muchos amigos allá en Argentina que son super amables, de hecho, hay una que se llama Georgina 🙂 Y tambien, al fin del articulo, y dije que me encanta Argentina y que todos deben vistarla!
¡Claro que si!, Cada pais hispanohablante es diferente y hay paises con un español _que resulta_ difícil para _los_ extranjeros – _el_ peor sería Puerto Rico, sin _duda_! Mi novio es _puertoriqueño_ y esta de acuerdo. Como dije en mi articulo, aprendí mucho en Argentina y mi acento es muy argentino, pero sería mucho mas difícil _para_ personas que no _tienen_ experiencia _hablando castellano_ . No _te quiero poner triste!_ Es verdad, no todos son así, yo tengo muchos amigos allá en Argentina que son super amables, de hecho, hay una que se llama Georgina 🙂 Y tambien, al fin del articulo, y dije que me encanta Argentina y que todos deben vistarla!
Lo que no comprendo es lo que te hace definir algo como lo mejor o lo peor. Yo enseño Literatura poscolonialista en inglès, la variaciòn de Jamaica Kincaid, de Maya Angelou o de Benjamin Zephanaiah, no es mejor ni peor que otras…vos considerarias al RP English mejor que el inglès de de New Orleans? Te pido que entiendas mis preguntas, que son solo para aprender, sin intenciòn de establecer una discusiòn agresiva.
You lived in Argentina for two years and this is your Spanish level now? I’m a linguist and I happen to be Argentinean. I won’t even start to mention all the things that are wrong about your attitude and suggesting that a certain variety of Spanish is not good to learn. It’s very offensive for the people who speak it to begin with, not to mention the fact that a large number of native speakers of Spanish think Argentinean Spanish sounds very educated. You obviously have no linguistic background so I don’t see why you’re writing about language.
i dont think its offensive, i am from argentina and i think its all right to say that you need some nice knowdledge of spanish before coming here.
and for her spanish level, i dont know what are you talking about, her comment is almost perfect. and also, she may just be better at talking than writting on spanish.
You have to hear it to really know how well a person speaks / knows a language. Especially Castellano.
Based on what you have written, your understanding of linguistics is minimal. You want to talk linguistics: when learning an unwritten language, it is imperative that the learner investigate the new language group and ascertain where the boundaries of that language group are and try and locate in an area where there is unlikely to be strong influences in the accent or variations due to the closeness of a neighboring language group. No one is saying the Argentinian accent is inferior, but obviously you think it’s superior. The large number of Spanish speakers that think the Argentinian Spanish sounds educated, were probably Argentinian. I live in Mexico and have Argentinian friends, when they get talking, it sounds like garble to me. I don’t have that problem with Spanish speakers from other latin countries.
You don’t exactly sound too well informed yourself. Ignore the fact that where I grew up getting my religious education in a Spanish dialect (Santa Barbara area, California) all varieties of Spanish have quite low prestige. Rease is not only correct in her advice, she doesn’t mention prestige as an issue at all. Your complex is hard at work, I’m afraid.
By the way I do have degrees in Linguistics, from UCSB and UCLA.
She also doesn’t mention the fact that in much of the world (where have you been?) being perceived as an Argentine equals being perceived as a jerk, and most non-Jewish Argentines are pegged as likely Nazis with a strange dislike for liberty as they line up as fascists or communists.
This I know because my wife and I have a home in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil, a resort city that varies from being frequented by Argentines to being overrun by them. While many are quite nice, a conspicuous number are flagrant morons and active idiots. Complaints about everything flow from their faces, including major kvetching ’bout people responding in Portuguese as if that could be wrong.
I bear the cross of being a blue-eyed weather-beaten blond who indeed does speak Portuguese with a Spanish accent, though in a remarkable number of cases I’m pegged as an Argentine before I can open my mouth – not a lot of Californians down there and the sooner I can claim the correct identity the better off I am.
Folks from Argentina tend to the lame when it comes to getting other varieties of Spanish, and unlike most speakers of Spanish tend to correct features that don’t need fixing while using non-standard ones themselves, the very definition of hypocrisy. There are many good reasons to pick up one’s Spanish elsewhere.
Argentinian Spanish, educated? LOL…
Todos los Argentinos (en general) son igual. Se sienten mejor (o superior) que todos los otros paises de habla-hispanaes mas si uno es mas indo y/o menos si uno parece mas europeo. Como una crisis de identidan (Latino Americanos que sienten que son mas europeos cuando la mayoria en realidad no a viajado fuera de Argentina. La realidad es otra. Los pocos Argentinos que tiene el acceso de viajar o estudiar en otros paises, aprenden la cruda realidad que Argentina, es solo otro pais pobre en este planeta. “El tiempo pasa , nos vamos haciendo mas viejos”. La superacion empieza entendiendo que no somos mejor, somos igual, o en veces peor.
Primero en principal, argentina es el país de América latina con más turistas en otros países. Y te puedo decir, que cuando fui a estados unidos, una italiana me preguntó si yo era un italiano. Ademas, hay ciertas zonas de buenos aires creadas por los mismos franceses (por eso dicen que se parece). Y no, no somos presumidos, sólo que nuestra identidad es muy distinta
Gon aunque ustedes recibieron un alto volumen de inmigrantes europeos no fueron los unicos. Tengo sangre tana e irlandesa por parte de madre y ella nada que ver con argentina .
Y CUAL serìa tu aporte sobre la lengua?
De acuerdo con vos Georgina, yo me sentì de la misma manera, no creo que haya malicia en el articulo de Rease, solo que generalizò y eso es peligroso en todos los ámbitos de la vida.
I have to agree as well. It is much better to go to any other Latin American country where the Spanish is more easily understood around the world.
Right. I think Argentina is a pretty good place for an intermediate to advanced learner who wants to sharpen their skills and expand their understanding of different accents and vocabulary, but for a beginner, it can be rough.
I think the same from USA compared with England
I agree with you! I grew up speaking Spanish at home (with a Peruvian accent and subdued Argentine one), but then when I moved to Argentina as a kid I was in for a surprise. Everyone looked at me weird for using ‘tu’, and I couldn’t follow conversations because of all the slang. But now I can put on the accent like a pro 😉
Haha, yes, I worked with a Peruvian maid who would always joke with me about the crazy Spanish. I remember once I was told a dishtowel was called a “respasador” and I looked at the Peruvian woman and said “pero en tu pais es una toalla, no?” and she just laughed and said “si!” We really enjoyed pointing out the differences in the Spanish i learned in school, the Spanish she knew, and the Spanish we used in Argentina!