How to Speak Argentine Spanish in 4 Easy Steps

Over the last two decades, the relationship between Australia and Argentina has grown significantly. Thanks to Australia’s template climate and easy-to-get working holiday visas, thousands of Argentines have made the journey ‘down under’ to learn, explore and experience the unique culture that Australia has to offer. As a result, many Australians become curious about their Argentine neighbours, and in particular, Argentine Spanish.

And, the more they listen to them, the more they wonder: What is it that makes Argentine Spanish sound so different to other Spanish varieties? Is it the grammar, the vocabulary, or the pronunciation? It turns out that what sets Argentine Spanish apart from European Spanish is a combination of all three!

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So, if you want to sound like you were born in Buenos Aires, keep reading. Here are four easy steps to help you start speaking Argentine Spanish:

Step 1: Master the Argentine Accent – Drop your Z’s

In Castilian Spanish, the letter ‘Z’ has a sound that is identical to the ‘th’ in thought. For instance, words like “zorro” (fox) or “zapato” (shoe) are pronounced with this distinct sound: /thorro/; /thapato/.

This is also the case with letter ‘C’. When followed by ‘E’ or ‘I’, it also produces this ‘th’ sound, as seen in words like “cielo” (sky) or “celo” (jealousy): /thielo/; /thelo/.

However, in Argentina, things are different and, lucky for our readers, much easier. Argentinian Spanish speakers pronounce the letter ‘Z’ and the letter ‘C’ as /s/. That’s right. ‘S’, ‘Z’, and ‘C’ are all pronounced the same:

salón: /salon/

zorro: /sorro/

cielo: /sielo/

By simply dropping your ‘Z’s and ‘C’s, you are well on your way to mastering the Argentine accent!

Step 2: Argentine Spanish Grammar – Use ‘vos’ instead of ‘tú’

Another key difference in Argentine Spanish lies in the use of pronouns. Instead of using the pronoun ‘tú’ for the second person singular, Argentines prefer ‘vos.’

This may not seem like a big change for those who studied European Spanish, but beware: This change in pronoun usage also affects verb forms. For instance, while you would say “tú haces” (you do) in European Spanish, in Argentine Spanish, it becomes “vos hacés,” with the stress on the last syllable.

Let’s see a few more examples where the use of ‘vos’ instead of ‘tú’ affects verb stress:

Llegar (arrive): tú llegas / vos llegás

Comer (eat): tú comes / vos comés

Limpiar (clean): tú limpias / vos limpiás

Estudiar (study): tú estudias / vos estudiás

Caminar (walk): tú caminas / vos caminás

Easy, right?

Ustedes vs. Vosotros

Additionally, in Argentina, there is only one pronoun for the plural ‘you’: ustedes.

While Spanish people have to choose between ‘ustedes’ and ‘vosotros’ depending on the level of formality expected in every interaction, Argentines use only ‘ustedes’, which is not perceived as necessarily formal.

This is a good thing for Argentine Spanish learners. While the pronoun ‘vosotros’ has a distinct set of verb conjugations, the use of ‘ustedes’ allows them to stick to the forms they know from the third-person plural pronoun: ellos (they).

Take a look:


Ellos beben

Vosotros bebéis


Ellos beben

Ustedes beben

See how Argentinean Spanish grammar can make your life easier?

Step 3: Argentine Spanish Vocabulary: Use the Right Words

From ‘mate’ (a kind of tea meant to be shared) to ‘chinchulín’ (a dish made of intestines), Argentines have lots of words for things you can only find in their country. 

However, they also have their own way of naming everyday objects that are common to all Spanish speakers!

Here are a few Argentine Spanish (AS) vs European Spanish (ES) vocabulary differences you should be aware of:


Placard (AS)
Armario (ES)


Campera (AS)
Chaqueta (ES)


Pochoclo (AS)
Palomitas (ES)


Colectivo (AS)
Autobús (ES)


Quilombo (informal) (AS)
Lío (ES)


Tipo (AS)
Tío (ES)

City block

Cuadra (AS)
Manzana (ES)


Frutilla (AS)
Fresa (ES)


Durazno (AS)
Melocotón (ES)

Face mask

Barbijo (AS)
Mascarilla (ES)

Step 4: Argentine Spanish Slang – Add a Few Idiomatic Expressions

If you thought Australian slang phrases were crazy, wait until you hear Argentine Spanish slang! It is full of expressions and localisms that can be hard to understand even for those who speak other varieties of Spanish.

Yet, to truly immerse yourself in Argentine Spanish, it’s essential to grasp some of these local idiomatic words. 

Here are some of our favourite Argentine Spanish slang expressions:


This is a versatile interjection used to get someone’s attention or address a person in Argentina. It’s similar to “Hey!”, or it would be if English speakers said “Hey” before almost every single sentence!


Although it can be considered a derogatory term in some contexts, “boludo” is often used playfully among friends to mean “dude” or “mate”.


This informal term refers to a young person or a kid.

No da

This phrase is used to convey that something is not worth it, unacceptable, or in bad taste.

Tener mala leche

Literally, this phrase translates to “have bad milk”, and it has two possible meanings. If someone has ‘mala leche’, depending on the context it may mean they have bad luck or bad intentions.

Estar al pedo

It means to have nothing to do or be idle.

Estar en pedo

Not to be confused with the previous phrase, this expression is used to describe someone who is intoxicated or drunk.


This term is used to describe something or someone as cool or awesome.

Tomarse las cosas con soda

Literally meaning “take it with soda”, it refers to a mindset in which you take things lightly or not get too worked up about them.

Tener una vena

In Spanish, ‘vena’ means ‘vein’. This expression refers to being extremely angry. So angry that the vein on your forehead is popping out…

Learn Argentine Spanish Now

As Australians and Argentines continue to forge stronger connections, embracing Argentine Spanish can further strengthen the bond between these two vibrant cultures.

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By following these four steps, you’ll be well on your way to speaking this awesome language with confidence and understanding the distinct nuances that set it apart.

If you want to go beyond the basics and make sure you are really ready to communicate with Argentines in their language, there’s only one way forward – learn Argentine Spanish with one of our native teachers!

At Language Trainers, we work with native instructors who also happen to be qualified educators with a passion for teaching. All you have to do is send us an inquiry through our website and we’ll pair you up with one of them for a free trial Spanish lesson!