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Rioplatense Spanish

This blog post is based on the “Estereotipos en español rioplatense” project on LanguageARC which collects data on linguistic stereotypes that occur in this dialect of Spanish. To participate, click here.

What is Rioplatense Spanish?

Rioplatense Spanish is Spanish that originated around the area of the Río de la Plata Basin, nowadays spoken in most of Argentina, Uruguay, parts of Paraguay, and Patagonia. It is the standard accent for most media in both Argentina and Uruguay.

Grammatical Aspects

Rioplatense Spanish uses voseo, or the pronoun “vos” instead of the more commonly used “tu” second person singular pronoun. Conjugation also follows different rules, and examples can be seen below.


Standard Latin American Spanish: comes una manzana.

Rioplatense Spanish: Vos comés una manzana.

Pronunciation Aspects

In standard Latin American Spanish, the sounds “y” or “ll” are pronounced as /ʝ/ (y). In Rioplatense Spanish these sounds are often pronounced as [ʒ] (zh), and this concept is known as “rehilamiento” or "zheísmo".


Standard Latin American Spanish pronunciation:

Ayer (yesterday) is pronounced as (aˈʝeɾ)

Rioplatense Spanish pronunciation:

Ayer (yesterday) is pronounced as [aˈʒeɾ]

Over the past 40 years a new variant [ʃ] (sh) has come about, and this is called sheísmo.

Syntactic Aspects

Rioplatense Spanish often uses the preterite form of verbs where standard Latin American Spanish uses the perfect form.

For example, the phrase “Diana has not eaten (yet)” in Rioplatense Spanish could be translated as "Diana no comió", which utilizes the preterite form of "comer". Compare it to the translation in standard Latin American Spanish, “Diana no ha comido”, which utilizes the perfect form of the verb "comer".

Lexical Aspects

There are specific words that are unique to Rioplatense Spanish. Some examples include:

  • pollera ‘skirt’

  • decir macanas ‘to talk nonsense’

  • playa ‘car park’

  • ambo ‘(two-piece) suit’

  • Che ‘hey’, ‘what’s up’

Rioplatense Spanish has many unique syntactic, lexical, grammatical, and phonetic aspects. Head to LanguageARC to participate in the “Estereotipos en español rioplatense” project today!


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