Argentina: “You say Cai-Shae, I say Cai-yay”

You know the old saying, “You say tomato, I say tomatho” (or however it goes), well that saying takes a WHOLE different meaning when you come to Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires, they speak what is known as Rioplatense Spanish and is different than the Spanish of Spain or the Spanish we learn in our classes. The difference is like the difference between the English spoken in America and the English spoken in Britain or Australia, catch my drift? One of the hardest things about living in Argentina is getting used to this new difference in language. When I first found out that in Buenos Aires they don’t use the tú form, but rather a form called “vos”, I basically said something along these lines, “Did I seriously spend the past 7 years conjugating complicated stem-changing verbs to be going to a country where they don’t even use tú?!” But it is indeed true, instead of tú eres, it is, vos sos y vos hablas, etc. In a way it is much easier to use the vos form because stem-changing verbs don’t change in this form, but at the same time, old habits die hard. For example, tú tienes is now vos tenes in Rioplatense Spanish. Another interesting difference is that ll and y’s are not pronounced the way we learned in class, instead they have a distinctive sh sound. For example, calle is not pronounced “cai-yay”, but rather “cai-shae”, ayer becomes “ai-sher”, and yo is pronounced “show”. It is very different at first, but after a few days you begin to get used to it and pick up the new pronunciation without even realizing it.

After I got over the initial difference I began to fall in love Buenos Aires and I’ve only been here for a week! Personally, I realized that I LOVE the pronunciation of the y’s and ll’s in Rioplatense Spanish and prefer to use them, who knows, I may never say “cai-yay” again! I’m in love with this language and the Argentinean accent complements it so well and makes it sound even more beautiful. Studying abroad is a great experience because every day I learn something new about the Spanish language and I don’t just learn in my classes; on the street is where I learn the most. I love to listen to conversations and speak in Spanish as much as possible. The city has much to offer and the majority of the people are really nice and willing to help you, just don’t forget your new vocabulary. Here you will make friends to last a lifetime and meet incredible people, eat great foods, and learn more about yourself. Below are a few pictures of what I’ve been up to so far, I hope you enjoy them!