Argentina Language

By | January 1, 2022

The Spanish that is spoken and written in Argentina has numerous small characteristics that distinguish it from Castilian, although it cannot be spoken at all, as some have wrongly done, of two different languages.

This Argentine variety of European Castilian was determined by the multiple historical and social influences exercised for four centuries on the common linguistic background brought by the Spaniards. The language introduced in America by the colonizers at the beginning of the century. XVI had not yet reached the flexibility and lexical richness that it reached later, in the classical period of Spanish literature; and, used by soldiers and people of low social standing, it presented numerous idioticisms.

In America the increasingly frequent relations between the conquistadors and the aborigines did not take long to promote a marked linguistic penetration. This linguistic penetration was mutual: the language of the conquerors contaminated the indigenous languages ​​(or even supplanted them); these, in turn, changed the language of the occupiers in some aspects of phonetics, morphology, syntax and, above all, of the vocabulary. The expansive strength of Castilian in South America is mainly noticeable when considering this language in comparison with the most important of the indigenous languages ​​of the New World, Quechúa and Guarani, the former rejected in some provinces of the north, west and of the center, the second in the province of Corrientes and in the governorate of Misiones (v.: Indigenous languages).

The indigenous languages ​​could not put up much resistance, and due to their large number and dialectal diversity, and to the new order of things created by the Spaniards: in a similar way Vulgar Latin had spread under Roman administration in the vast European territory still occupied today by neo-Latin idioms.

Under these conditions, the influence of the pre-Columbian languages ​​on the Spanish could not be decisive. In phonetics, thanks mainly to the firmness and clarity of the Castilian vowel system, this influence was very little. Equally scarce is the influence of indigenous languages ​​on morphology: at most we can point out some hybrid words: picanavidalavidalita, etc. The syntax also has no sensitive traces. Instead, the influence of indigenous speech has made itself felt considerably in the vocabulary. Of the main indigenous languages ​​still spoken in the Argentine Republic, Quechúa gave voices such as canchacóndorpampachacracocachamicochasquichoclopunachúcaromatehuanacopapa ; the Guarani gave the voices ñandúcatingacaburéyacaré ; auracano lauchaminga, etc. This adventitious vocabulary did not replace the primitive vocabulary of colonial Castilian; he merely increased it, coloring it, so to speak, with Indianism. For Argentina religion and languages, please check

But this is not enough to explain the differences that exist today between Argentine and Peninsular Spanish. The Spaniard of America assimilated only a small part of the changes which had occurred in the meantime in Spain. The golden age coincided, in general terms, with the moment of the greatest colonial expansion of Spain, but the very roughness of the conquest and the difficulty of communications meant that the reflections of the general refinement of the language did not reach as far as the Spanish lands overseas. During this period (second half of the sixteenth century and before the seventeenth), for well explained reasons, the intellectual activity of the colonies was almost nil, and these circumstances explain why America was not able to take full advantage of literary and therefore linguistic innovations. of the great century.

The cultural manifestations of some importance began in Argentina just towards the end of the century. XVIII: in the movement of ideas that preceded the revolution, the more favorable social environment and less difficult and more frequent communications lead to greater intellectual exchanges with Spain.

At the beginning of the century XIX there were the struggles for independence; and little by little, due to the growing rancor that these struggles had aroused towards the mother country, a strong desire for linguistic independence was established in the Argentines, which was to last until the dawn of this century. Once the country was organized and its economic prosperity ensured in the second half of the last century, the era of great immigration flows began in that same period. From then on, the language of Italian emigrants exerted its influence on certain aspects of popular language, although without radically transforming it. Several idioms and some phonetic peculiarities of the Lunfardo or vulgar jargon from Bonaerense can be attributed to the direct action of some Italian dialects, mainly Genoese. In the educated classes and among writers, on the other hand, there is an accentuated influence of the French language, which took place (with an alarming intensity until a few years ago) indirectly, through the French book and bad Spanish translations. In conclusion, it can be said that, despite so many different influences, the Argentine educated class now adheres to the purpose of speaking and writing Castilian with non-pedantic purity, indeed, in homage to local needs, with a certain tendency to neologism. The fact that patriotic grudges have subsided, that the Spanish book enters Argentina more widely than ever, facilitates this.

Argentina Language