Although Argentina's official language is
Spanish, Argentinian Spanish is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain.
In some ways it sounds more like Italian than Spanish. There are also many
other languages spoken in Argentina, including Italian, German, English
and French. Indigenous languages that are spoken today include Mapuche,
Guarani and Quechua.
You can distinguish Argentinians from other Latin
Americans by their use of "che". It comes from the language used by the Mapuche
and means "man." It is used as people in Canada might say, "hey" or "you
know" or "eh." For example, an Argentinian might say, "Che, vení"
("Hey you, come here") to get someone's attention.
Another important difference between the Argentinean way of speaking Spanish and the Spanish spoken in
Spain is the use of "vos" instead of "tu" ( you ) and a very strong pronunciation of "y" and "ll" as "sh".
A special slang, called lunfardo, originated in the slum
neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. Today most Argentinians
are familiar with at least a few words of lunfardo. Lunfardo contains elements
of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and other languages, but with a distinctive
twist. One of the most common ways to change a word is to reverse the syllables.
For example, in lunfardo, "tango" becomes "gotan."
Argentinians love to discuss two topics, sports
(especially fútbol) and politics. Most people have strong opinions
on these subjects and will discuss them with a passion. It is not unusual
to find several conversations going on at once at a social gathering.