Argentina and Chile
Joanna Rapley, Lucy Rossiter, Alice Howell,
Elvira Comas, Hannah Gamon, Christina
Hewitt, Paul Eddison
Latin American Spanish
• Los hablantes de español en
América conforman el 95% de
los hablantes de español en el
mundo, frente al 5% que se
encuentra en España, incluidas
las islas Canarias.
• El español es la única lengua
oficial de todos los países de
América Latina; las lenguas
indígenas son reconocidas y
constituciones como parte del
patrimonio cultural de cada
Español de América
Diversas teorías y opiniones acerca de su consideración lingüística y sociolingüística, y
en relación a la lengua hablada en la península. Podemos decir que sólo hay dos rasgos
hispanoamericanos propios principales: seseo y el uso del pronombre “ustedes”.
Terminología amplia: en inglés se denomina Latin American Spanish; en español
hablamos de “Español de América”, “Español en América”, “Español Latinoamericano”,
“Español hispanoamericano”, “Español Atlántico” (América, Andalucía y Canarias).
El Español de América es un dialecto del español, con diferentes criterios para agrupar
las variedades:
1: Diferencia dialectal entre las tierras altas y de interior y las tierras bajas o
costeras. Esta diferencia es histórica: los castellanos se asentaron en las tierras de
interior y los andaluces y canarios en las costas y tierras bajas. En el interior hay rasgos
castellanizantes (consonantismo tenso) y en la costa más cercanos al andaluz,
(consonantismo débil e importancia vocálica)
2: Diferencias sociales según los estratos.
3. División por países, descripciones más estudiadas en la actualidad. Esta
metodología tiene algunos inconvenientes, pues en muchas ocasiones las fronteras
dialectales y las geográficas no coinciden, y aparecen las denominadas áreas
Las principales áreas dialectales en América, según Henríquez Ureña, son cinco:
1: Español de México: México, Nuevo México y los países de Centro América
Lengua indígena : náhuatl
2. Español Andino: sur de Colombia, sierra ecuatoriana y peruana, parte de
Bolivia, norte de Chile y noroeste de Argentina . Lengua indígena: quechua
3. Español Chileno: centro y sur de Chile. Lengua indígena: mapuche o
4. Español Caribeño: Antillas y costa atlántica de México, Centroamérica,
Venezuela y Colombia. Lengua indígena: taíno
5. Español del Río de la Plata: Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay. Lengua
indígena: guaraní
Teorías de los orígenes del español de América: la teoría indigenista de Lenz, la teoría poligenética
de Henríquez Ureña y Amado Alonso y la teoría andalucista de Wagner y Boyd Bowman.
La Teoría Andalucista es la que goza de mayor prestigio: en América hay una fuerte presencia de
andaluces que llegan desde el inicio de la conquista, e influyen en la configuración lingüística. Esta
teoría la apoyan, entre otros, Menéndez Pidal.
Zonas dialectales del español en América y división
de las lenguas indígenas
An Historical Overview of Argentina
• In terms of surface area- Argentina is the largest
Spanish-speaking country
• It is estimated that that 37 million people currently
live in Argentina
• ‘porteño’ – (prototype for Argentine Spanish in the
rest of the Spanish speaking world) overshadows the
many regional and social dialects
• Main differences between regional dialects are
phonological rather than lexical
The settlement of Argentina
• The settlement of Argentina was carried out from three different points –
each of which entailed different patterns of language contact and
consequently, linguistic development.
• Buenos Aires was founded in 1536 by Pedro de Mendoza
• The huge estuary formed by the convergence of the Paraná and Uruguay
rivers was named ‘Rio de la Plata’
• When hostile Indians from the Pampas forced evacuation of Buenos Aires
a few years later, the residents were resettled in Asunción
• Buenos Aires was re-established in 1580 by colonists from Spain and
neighbouring colonies.
• The cities of Tucumán, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Salta, Corrientes, and Jujuy
were also established in a similar way.
• Northern Argentina - settled by Spanish small farmers and tradesmen,
which meant that there was a decidedly rustic Spanish dialect from the
Importance of Buenos Aires
 1617- became the capital of the colonial province of Río de la Plata
 Formation of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata in 1776- compromising
present day Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia
 Buenos Aires was the point of departure for the settlers who founded
Montevideo in 1726- explains the similarity in the speech in the two cities
 Few indigenous populations around Buenos Aires and the Pampas eventually faded away- leaving the Pampas to be settled by European
 Large number of African slaves were also brought through the port of
Buenos Aires
 In the north east, the Guaraní presence was always strong, and as in
Paraguay the Spanish language developed in close contact with Guarani.
Western Argentina
 Extreme Western Argentina was settled from Chile - provinces of
Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis originally forming the Chilean province of
 The principal cities of the region were founded in late 16th century remained under the administration of Chile until the creation of the
Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata- this zone then fell under the administrative
jurisdiction of Tucumán, hence it absorbed some linguistic traits.
 Today- the speech still bears close resemblance to the dialects of central
Chile, although Buenos Aires prestige standard is strong
 The indigenous population-once significant, representing several ethnic
groups. However- racial mixing with the Spaniards - although the ethnic
identity has pretty much disappeared, local lexical items and place names
do reflect their former presence.
North western Argentina
 Settled by expeditions based in Peru, travelling through
 The region once contained a significant Quetchua-speaking
population- and some remnants still exist today
 Quetchua strongly influenced the development of regional
dialects, and provided some words to general Argentine
 Santiago- which originally enjoyed long but direct trade routes
with Lima- was later overshadowed by Cordoba and Tucumánfell into an isolation which may account for its status as a
linguistic enclave with unique dialectal features.
Extra- Hispanic linguistic Influences
• The Indians who continually attacked the Spanish coastal
residents were referred to as Pampas- but the groups living
near Buenos Aires were Querandí
• Left few linguistic traits except for a few place nameshowever- the word ‘gaucho’ could belong to the Pampas
• Southern Argentina – several nomadic groups known as
Patagonians- remnants of these groups still survive , living in a
marginal existence outside of the cultural and linguistic
sphere of Spanish speaking Argentina
• North Eastern Argentina- was the home of Guaraní speaking
groups, as well as other smaller populations
• Guarani is still spoken here and has contributed numerous
lexical items- as well as phonetic and grammatical features
• Extreme north western Argentina had fallen under Inca domination, and
Quechua was spreading as a lingua franca- displacing local languages – the
Indians of this zone were more submitted to Spanish forced labour,
resulting in an enduring linguistic contact which has profoundly shaped
the local Spanish dialect.
• The original languages left only place names, but the increasing use of
Quechua in the Argentine north west has permanently affected regional
• African slaves were brought to Argentina from the earliest colonial times
to work in agriculture
• But racial mixing took place and so no permanent African linguistic or
cultural influences remained.
• In Buenos Aires- Africans lived and worked together and formed cabildos
and cofradías based on individual ethnic groups- therefore there are few
linguistic words which are believed to have come from African decent, eg
‘mucama’- femal domestic servant
From mid-19th century until WW2- Argentina received several million European
immigrants -There were many Spaniards, particularly from the Canary Islands, and
many English, French, Russian, Syrian and Lebanese
During the period 1860-1910- it is estimated that over 3 million European
immigrants came to Argentina
In Patagonia, Welsh immigration resulted in self-contained communities where
welsh is spoken even today
However, Italian immigration, which begun in late 1800’s had the most linguistic
impact on Argentine Spanish
contact language known as ‘cocoliche’ which disappeared as the children of
immigrants acquired Spanish as a first language.
For much of the early 20th century- more than half the population of many Buenos
Aires neighbourhoods were of Italian origin
Evidently there are many Itlalian linguistic influences– included a majority of the
lunfardo lexicon, the characteristic slang of Buenos Aires.
•Word Final /n/ is alveolar
•Intervocalic /d/ does not fall as readily as in other
•Affricate /č/ hardly ever loses its occlusive
•Syllable final /s/ is weakened or elided
•Reduction of /s/:Male speakers
•Loss of /s/:Middle class
•Syllable-final liquids rarely undergo neutralization
or other modification
El negro shicoba
Yo soy un neglito, niñas,
que ando siemple pol acá,
vendo plumelos, schicobas,
y naide quiele complá.
Selá polque soy tan neglo
que pasa de rigulá
y tolas las niñas juyen
que palecen asustás.
César Hipólito Bacle
Che, ¿como andas? Yo
me llamo María Lorena y vivo
en Marbella. Me gusta ir a la
playa y comer paella y tomar
unos mates con yerba. ¿ Y vos?
¿ Que haces?”
Buenos Aires/Southern Littoral
• Multiple /rr/ pronounced as alveolar
• The phenome /λ/ does not exist
• /y/ receives a groove fricative =
žeismo or rehilamiento
Northeast/Guaraní-influenced zones
• Phenome /λ/ still kept by most speakers in
Misiones and Corrientes
• /y/ is frequently an affricate
• Final /r/ frequently drops in Misiones and
• Multiple /rr/ sometimes receives a groove
fricative pronunciation
• Glottal stops between words and as hiatus
breakers are found
• Assibilation of phrase final /r/
• Santiago del Estero = /y/ pronounced as [y]
and /λ/ is [ž]
• Stressed-timed rhythm of many centralnorthern dialects
• /y/ rarely receives a groove fricative
• Voseo - use of vos instead of tú.
• Verb endings for vos generally – ás, ís, és.
• Imperative endings – cantá, comé, subí.
• Subjunctive – cantés, comás, subás (younger
generation using tú form more).
• Lo as third person singular direct object pronoun.
• Imperfect Subjunctive – llevara over llevese.
• Future tense – ir a + infinitive over simple future.
•Vosotros and os replaced by ustedes and se.
• Doubling of definite personal direct object pronoun – Lo
conozco a Juan.
• Preterite tense sometimes used instead of imperfect
even when expressing continuity.
• In some regions, yo replaces a mí – yo me parece bien.
• Use of se even when third person isn’t involved – ¿se
vamos? (Less educated speakers)
• Subject pronoun sometimes followed by infinitive or
gerund – yo llegando. (Rural areas)
• Brazilian Portuguese influence – diminutive –iño on end
of nouns and tener as auxiliary verb. (Misiones region)
3 main categories:
• Spanish influences – Che and Pibe/Piba as terms of address.
Derive from Spanish spoken in Canary Islands.
• Italian influences – Colloquial terms such as chao to mean
goodbye. Words to do with food, family and daily life such as
esbornia (drunk), morfar (to eat) and fiaca (lazyness).
• Lunfardo – The vernacular speech of the working classes of
Buenos Aires. Possibly from Italian influences, but signs of
Spanish, Portuguese, French slang, English. Words leaked into the
main vernacular through tango lyrics. Mina (woman/girlfriend),
cana (prison/police), menega (money).
• Other influences – sailors (atracar = to move/bring closer) el
Andalúz (empeñoso – hard-working), Indigenous people from
Latin American (mate – the drink that many people from
Argentina drink).
Chilean Spanish
•Despite their geographical proximity, Chilean Spanish is not the
same as that of Argentina.
•Typified by that spoken in Santiago-Valparaiso
•Varies very little throughout the region.
•Often regarded as having a
‘special status’.
•Variation found more at the
vernacular level than among
educated professionals.
Historical Background
•1540 - began to be conquered by Pedro de Valdivia
•1541 - Santiago was founded
•Shortly after 1550, Hurtado de Mendoza began the conquest of Southern Chile
but natural disasters and Indian attacks hindered the progress of the Spaniards.
•Northern Chile was part of the Inca Empire,
but weak Inca presence.
•Native resistance against Valdivia from
the Araucanians, particularly from the
Mapuches who managed to resist
Spanish domination by adopting
European military tactics.
•Sporadic fighting continued until way into the 19th century, even after
independence from Spain had been formally been proclaimed in 1818.
•19th century - silver deposits were discovered, and this, along with copper
and nitrate mining, which was controlled by foreign interests (predominantly
Birtish), came to dominate the nation’s export based economy.
•As a result, in the extreme north a number of Anglicisms penetrated the local
•19th century – also time of territorial expansion, following War of the Pacific
(1879 – 1883) Chile acquired its northern provinces from Peru and Bolivia.
•1970 Salvador Allende gained presidency of Chile but was deposed in 1973
•Pinochet – devastating 16 year military
dictatorship (1973-1990) but little or no effect
on the language
•Democracy – now Chile is one of South
America's most stable and prosperous
The influence of indigenous
languages on Chilean Spanish
•Lenz - ‘el español de Chile (i.e. la pronunciación
vulgar) es principalmente español con sonidos
araucanos,’ although this was later revised.
•Lenz also assured that he had found close to 10
phonetic traits of Mapuche in the Spanish spoken
in Chile.
•Lenz’s theory rejected by Oroz, who attributed
these phonetic traits not simply to the Spanish
spoken in Chile, but as common to Latin
American Spanish.
Examples of loanwords of Quechua and
Mapuche origin found in Chilean Spanish
Oroz believed it is in the vocabulary of Chilean Spanish that the influence of the
indigenous language of Mapuche and Quechua is most evident, in what is known
as ‘lexicographical loanwords’.
rústico, campesino de Chile (rustic,
country/rural Chilean people)
grama (lawn)
chacra: granja (farm)
garúa: llovizna (drizzle)
palta: aguacate (avocado)
panza, barriga
(witch doctor)
In conclusion…
• Although the extent to which the Aracuano/Mapuche indigenous
language has influenced the Spanish of Chile has not yet been
determined, that they have contributed to the Chilean lexicon is
indisputable, especially at the level of the rural vernacular.
• Furthermore, although the influence of indigenous languages on Chilean
Spanish is steadily decreasing, there are still communities in Southern
Chile which speak the Mapuche language, and in the extreme northeast,
there is also a small but stable Aymara speaking community.
Linguistic Differences
Ureña = Chile is one separate dialect zone.
Rona = Split into three zones: Northern Chile (+ NW
Argentina, S Bolivia), Central Chile, Southern Chile.
(Rona bases his dialect zones on yeismo/lleismo, žeismo
and voseo (and type). Northern and Southern Chile have
the same features, but are regarded as separate zones
due to geography)
Oroz = Split into four zones: North, Centre, South, Chiloé.
Word-final /n/ is alveolar. Velarization, i.e. English ‘ng’, in
extreme Northern Chile.
Neutralizing the syllable-final liquids /r/, /l/ = confined to
lower classes.
Dropping of word-final /r/ particularly in infinitives.
Phrase-final /r/ sometimes voiceless sibilant = esp.
Lower classes
Chilean /č/ (with fricative articulation)
/rr/ groove fricative in most of Chile, but stronger in
/tr/ quasi affricate alveolar pronunciation. Less common
in extreme south.
/x/ as /ç/ before front vowels, at times approaching /çj/ =
working class.
Unstressed word-final vowels are commonly devoiced
and faintly articulated.
10. Syllable and word-final /s/ reduced to aspiration /h/ or
lost, even in prevocalic position or before a stressed
vowel (eg. los otros).
(Lower classes = loss of /s/. Higher classes = aspiration /h/)
Interaction of phonological/morphological features:
• Ureña = Chile is one separate dialect zone.
• Rona = Split into three zones: Northern Chile (+ NW
Argentine, S Bolivia), Central Chile, Southern Chile.
(Rona bases his dialect zones on yeismo/lleismo, žeismo,
presence of voseo (and type), and region where it is
All dialect zones within Chile = Type B Voseo
Example: Compr-aís, com-ís, dormís
• Oroz 1966: ‘Vos’ was found in general use everywhere,
except in the extreme North and Chiloé.
• Chile is best described as a country in which ‘vos’ and
‘tú’ exists but where ‘tu’ predominates. Numerous hybrid
combinations exist due to its association with the lower
classes eg. tu tenís, vos tienes.
• Use of ‘vos’ and voseo verb forms is becoming more
common due to the younger upper-middle class
generations and is attributed to the gradual erosion of
class barriers in Chile.
• Use of ‘vos’ as 2nd person singular pronoun instead of
‘tu’, with accompanying changes in the morphology.
(According to Urena, this is a mainly class based
characteristic, so he didn’t he didn’t include it in his
classification. Rona has shown that it can be a
geographical feature as well)
According to Rona, there are four voseo types:
1st Conj
2nd Conj
3rd Conj
-es (tú forms)
Most unique features of lexicon derive from
indigenous roots.
Other features:
Sufijos –ton y –teca (eg. Bailetón, rockatón, diabetón,
basquetón/pinacoteca, filmoteca, cinemateca, boleroteca,
Sufijos –iz y –ar (eg. Argentinizar, militizar, regionalizar,
idiotizar, musicalizar, sindicalizar)
Aglutinación – pertenece a la lengua hablada (eg. Cara de
pelo > carepelo, Piérdete una > pierdetiuna, María Luz >
Mariluz, más o menos, no más >maomenoma)
Reducción – pertenece a la lengua coloquial (eg. Por fa[vor],
posmo[derismo], muni[cipalidad], ordi[nario])
Dialect Zone
1. Mexico, Antilles, Venezuela,
Caribbean coast of Colombia
2. Central America,inc. SE Mexico
and W Panama
3. Pacific coast of Colombia,
interior Venezuela
4. Colombian Andes
5. Coastal Ecuador
6. Highland Ecuador
7. Coastal Peru
8. Highland Peru
9. S Peru
10. N Chile, NW Argentina, S
11. Bolivia (remainder)
12.Paraguay, NE Argentina
13. Central Chile
14. S Chile
15. S Central Argentina, S
16. N Uruguay
Rona’s 16 dialect
Rona doesn’t account for
variation within each zone.
Chilean Spanish is
remarkably homogenous,
yet is split into three
zones. Mexico to the
Antilles is grouped
together in a single zone –
• “En la actualidad [en Latino America] la
tendencia a la unidad es mayor que a la
disgregación (debido al hecho de que haya una
norma lingüística)…Esto no quiere decir que no
existan hablas regionales en Hispanoamérica,
en las cuales se evidencie una fisonomía
idiomática propia”
Lipsky, John M., Latin American Spanish
Alvar, Manuel, Manual de dialectología hispánica
Lewis, Daniel K., The History of Argentina
Oroz, Rodolfo, La Lengua Castellana en Chile
Godoy, Leopoldo, El español de Chile-la creatividad
lingüística de los chilenos
Resnick, Melvyn C., Phonological variants and dialect
identification in Latin American Spanish