The following article was written by guest author Gabriela Madera.
Hi! My name is Gabriela Madera and I am writing from Buenos Aires, Argentina
to make a few comments about the Spanish we speak here, which is quite
different from the Spanish students might be studying somewhere else in the
Today you are going to learn about the first and second person singular
subject pronouns (yo and tú in most Spanish-speaking
The first person singular is yo. The word is the same in all
Spanish-speaking countries; however, the Y may be pronounced differently.
Whereas in most places it sounds like the y* in young, here in Argentina the
Y can be pronounced in two different ways. Most Argentinians pronounce it
sh* as in "short." There is also a less common pronunciation, usually
associated with the upper class. In this case, the Y is pronounced zh* like
the g in "mirage."
*IPA symbols for these sounds:
As for the second person subject pronoun, learners of Spanish may find
themselves at a loss when they speak to an Argentinian, who will use the
word vos instead of tú when speaking in an informal, friendly
In an informal dialog between two young people trying to find out each other's
name, this is what you will probably hear:
- ¿Vos cómo te llamás? (Notice the stress on the last syllable of llamás)
- Florencia, ¿y vos?
Vos has its own set of verb conjugations. Let us see some examples.
Tú tienes would be Vos tenés. Tú eres would be Vos sos. Tú te llamas would be Vos te llamás.
So if you ever talk to an Argentinian in an informal situation, be ready to
vos when they talk to you.
As in other Spanish-speaking countries, when the situation is formal the
speakers will use usted (Ud.) instead of vos. As explained in the
lesson on subject pronouns, the word usted shows detachment and
respect. It would be inappropriate to use
vos in a formal situation just as it would be to use usted in an
This article is published here with the kind permission of the author:
Profesora Instituto J. V. Gonzalez
Buenos Aires, Argentina