- Where is Rioplatense Spanish spoken?
Although it is hard to determine the exact limits of an area where a given language variety is spoken, we can say that Rioplatense Spanish is used mainly along the region surrounding the Río de la Plata or River Plate. This means that we can hear this type of Spanish both in Argentina and in Uruguay.
Here is a map which highlights the approximate area:
- Ok, so it covers all of Uruguay. But what about the rest of Argentina?
Well, even though some other languages can be found here and there along this vast country, Spanish is spoken all over. But precisely because Argentina is such a big country, we find different local varieties as we move away from the River Plate area. This is what we casually refer to as “accents”. No matter where you live or what language you speak, you will probably be familiar with expressions such as “the accent from the north” or “a southern accent”. Well, in Argentina we have plenty of those! Someone from Misiones will sound different from someone who lives in Salta. In turn, they will sound different from people living in Córdoba, Buenos Aires or Santa Cruz. These are all names of Argentine provinces.
The important thing here then is to realize that there is actually no such thing as “español/castellano argentino“. There are many varieties within one country and one of them, español rioplatense, is even shared by two different countries. Funny, right? But hey, it’s still all Spanish and we can definitely communicate with everybody here. The structure of the language is the same, but there may be some differences in terms of colloquial expressions, preferred use of verb tenses, pronunciation and intonation patterns, etc. Minor things, right? 😛 Anyway, we will not be discussing all those differences here, so there’s no need to panic. We will just focus on the Rioplatense variety.
- And what about the word “porteño“?
You may have come across this word before. “Porteño” means “from Buenos Aires” (the capital city of Argentina). So if you were born there, voila, you are a porteño.
Now, Buenos Aires is the biggest city in this River Plate area, so in Argentina it is common to associate this kind of Spanish with this city in particular. Therefore, it is not unfrequent to hear people talk about “un acento porteño” when they refer to Rioplatense Spanish. Of course, they mean “the typical accent from Buenos Aires”. But now you know that you do not actually need to be a porteño to speak this way, so I suggest calling things by their name… and I hope you agree! 😉