05/26/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/26/2023 12:56
Argentina is a big place. It's the eighth largest country in the world, and the second largest in South America after Brazil, so it has plenty of room for all kinds of people who speak all kinds of languages. Argentina is a true linguistic melting pot, and even the Spanish that so many Argentinians speak is influenced by a variety of other tongues.
Out of all the languages you can hear in Argentina, Spanish is the most prevalent. Rosetta Stone can help you speak Spanish faster and easier than you would if you tried to learn on your own. Check out our website to learn more, or keep reading to discover more about the languages spoken in Argentina, including Spanish, Guaraní, and Yiddish!
There are at least 40 languages spoken in Argentina. Argentinians speak a diverse range of languages due to periods of high immigration from other continents-especially from Europe-and the many different indigenous cultures that live there.
Here are languages that are spoken by a significant number of Argentinians:
Number of speakers: 42 million
While Argentina doesn't have an official language, Spanish is the de facto national language. Over 95 percent of the population speaks Spanish! It is the primary language of government administration, and it is a mandatory subject in public schools.
Argentinian Spanish speakers use the Latin American Spanish dialect, which is different from the Spanish spoken in Europe. For instance, in Spain, people use the pronouns vosotros and vosotras as the informal plural form of the second person ("you"). In Latin American Spanish, people use the pronoun ustedes instead.
Also, Argentinian Spanish has some regional differences from the Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries. Most significantly, it uses voseo - Argentinians will use the pronoun vos instead of the more standard tú.
The most common Spanish dialect in Argentina is Rioplatense. Its speakers are primarily in the Río de la Plata Basin, where the country's capital Buenos Aires is located, but it has spread to other parts of Argentina as well. A distinguishing feature of Rioplatense is that speakers pronounce "ll" and "y" with a "sh" sound instead of the typical Spanish "y" sound. It also has a musical quality to its intonation, similar to Italian.
Argentinian Spanish additionally contains elements of lunfardo, jargon used in Buenos Aires' underworld. Lunfardo is a mix of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, and African languages, and some words from its vocabulary are now common slang in Argentina due to its popularization through tango music lyrics. An example is the word trucho ("counterfeit"), which may come from the Italian word trucco ("trick" or "sham").
Number of speakers: 2.8 million
Out of all South and Central American countries, Argentina has the highest level of English comprehension, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. There aren't many native English speakers in the country, but there is an emphasis placed on learning the English language. Most students in Argentina study at least some English, so there are a number of Argentinians who speak English as a second language.
Number of speakers: 1.5 million
After Spanish, Italian is the second most-spoken native language in Argentina. Many Italian immigrants moved to Argentina in the 19th and 20th centuries, to the point that some scholars have theorized that Italian heavily influenced Argentina's primary Spanish dialect. Italian's enduring use may be due to the fact that Italian is one of the easiest languages for Spanish speakers to learn, and vice versa.
Number of speakers: 1 million
Like Italian, Arabic was brought to Argentina by a large number of Arab immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. These immigrants hailed mostly from Lebanon and Syria.
Number of speakers: 400,000
This is another European language brought by 19th and 20th century immigrants. German in Argentina is associated with descendents of the Volga Germans, who came from the Volga River region of Russia. Two and a half million Argentinians are thought to be of Volga German descent, and German speakers can be found around the country.
Number of speakers: 200,000
Argentina has the highest Jewish population in Latin America thanks to-you guessed it-immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, and many of those Jewish immigrants spoke Yiddish. Buenos Aires in particular became an international center for Yiddish culture in the 1900s, producing both Yiddish plays and books.
Number of speakers: 200,000
Guaraní is a native South American language widely spoken in Argentina's neighboring country Paraguay, where it's an official language. About 70% of Paraguayans speak both Spanish and Guaraní, and it also gets a fair bit of use in Argentina, mostly in the northeastern provinces. In the province of Corrientes in particular, the Guaraní language shares co-official status with Spanish. It's used by the provincial government, and it is a required subject in Corrientes' schools.
Number of speakers: 65,000+
Quechua is a language family native to South America, primarily spoken by people living in the Andes mountains in Peru. Quechua was the main language family of the Inca Empire, which spread it to other indigenous groups in South America.
There are two main Quechuan languages spoken in Argentina: Santiagueño Quechua and Southern Quechua. Santiagueño Quechua can be found in the northwest provinces of Argentina, especially Santiago del Estero, spoken by about 65,000 Argentinians.
Dialects of Southern Quechua are also spoken in the northwest, including the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, and Tucumán. It has between 2.3 and 2.8 million speakers, but most are located in the neighboring country of Bolivia, so it's unknown exactly how many of those speakers live in Argentina.
While some languages are more established or widespread, many indigenous and international languages are spoken in small pockets throughout the country.
In total, Argentina's native languages have about 1.2 million speakers. For some of these languages, speakers are spread across multiple South American countries, so figures for the exact number of speakers in Argentina are unavailable.
There is so much diversity of language in Argentina, but if you want to speak to Argentinians, Rosetta Stone's Latin American Spanish program will help you succeed. Rosetta Stone uses a unique immersion approach to language learning, and breaks lessons down into bite-sized pieces that fit into even the busiest of schedules.