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Uruguayan Spanish

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Uruguayan Spanish
español uruguayo
Pronunciation[espaˈɲol uɾuˈɣwaʝo]
Native toUruguay
RegionRío de la Plata
Native speakers
3,347,800, all users in Uruguay (2014)[1]
L1 users: 3,270,000
L2 users: 77,800
Early forms
Latin (Spanish alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
 Uruguay (de facto)
Regulated byAcademia Nacional de Letras
Language codes
ISO 639-1es
ISO 639-2spa[2]
ISO 639-3
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Uruguayan Spanish (Spanish: Español uruguayo), a part of Rioplatense Spanish, is the variety of Spanish spoken in Uruguay and by the Uruguayan diaspora.[3]


  • There is strong influence of Italian and its dialects, particularly Genovese,[4] because of the presence of large Italian communities in the country (for example in Montevideo and Paysandú). The Uruguayan accent differs from the accents of Spain and other Spanish American countries, except for Argentina, due to Italian influence. There are many Italian words incorporated in the language (nona, cucha, fainá ("farinata, chickpea flour crêpe"), chapar, parlar, festichola ("house party"), etc.), as well as words of Italian derivation (for example: mina derived from femmina, or pibe ("child") from pivello).
  • In the southeastern department of Rocha, as well as along the northern border with Brazil,[5] there is some influence of Portuguese, in addition to the Portuguese spoken in northern Uruguay.

Tuteo and voseo[edit]

The variety of Spanish used in Montevideo and the whole southern region of the country exhibits use of the voseo form of address, with the pronoun vos instead of the form. In other areas of the country, is more commonly used than vos. In some places, is used, but with the conjugation corresponding to vos, as in: tú tenés, instead of tú tienes (tuteo) or vos tenés (voseo). Tuteo is much more commonly used in Rocha and in some parts of Maldonado.[6]

The formal pronoun usted is used in very formal contexts, such as when speaking to government authorities.


Below are vocabulary differences between Uruguay and other Spanish-speaking countries: Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, and Puerto Rico. It shows how Spanish is different in three continents where there are Spanish-speaking countries (Europe, North America, and South America) and in different regions of those continents (Central America, Caribbean, and Southern Cone). Italian and Brazilian Portuguese have also been influential in Uruguayan Spanish and are also included. While people in Uruguay and most of Argentina speak the dialect Rioplatense, there are some notable differences in vocabulary between the two countries, which are bolded.

Selected vocabulary
American English Uruguay Argentina Chile Paraguay Colombia Mexico Costa Rica Puerto Rico Spain Brazil Italy
apartment apartamento departamento departamento departamento apartamento departamento apartamento apartamento piso apartamento appartamento
apricot damasco damasco damasco damasco albaricoque chabacano albaricoque albaricoque albaricoque damasco albicocca
artichoke alcaucil alcaucil alcachofa alcachofa alcachofa alcachofa alcachofa alcachofa alcachofa alcachofra carciofo
avocado palta palta palta aguacate aguacate aguacate aguacate aguacate aguacate abacate avocado
banana banana banana plátano banana banano plátano banano guineo plátano banana banana
bean poroto poroto poroto poroto frijol frijol frijol habichuela judía/alubia feijão fagiolo
bell pepper morrón morrón pimiento locote pimentón pimiento chile dulce pimiento pimiento pimentão peperone
bra soutien corpiño sostén corpiño brasier brasier brasier brasier sujetador sutiã reggiseno
butter manteca manteca mantequilla manteca mantequilla mantequilla mantequilla mantequilla mantequilla manteiga burro
car auto auto auto auto carro carro carro carro coche carro macchina
clothespin palillo broche pinza pinza gancho pinza prensa pinche pinza prendedor molletta
computer computadora computadora computador computadora computador computadora computadora computadora ordenador computador computer
corn on
the cob
choclo choclo choclo choclo mazorca elote elote mazorca mazorca espiga de
dulce de
dulce de
dulce de
manjar dulce de
arequipe dulce de
dulce de
dulce de
dulce de
doce de
dolce di
earring caravana aro aro aro arete arete arete pantalla pendiente brinco orecchino
grapefruit pomelo pomelo pomelo pomelo toronja toronja toronja toronja pomelo toranja pompelmo
green bean chaucha chaucha poroto verde chaucha habichuela ejote vainica habichuela
judía verde vagem fagiolino
panties bombacha bombacha calzón bombacha calzón calzón calzón panty braga calcinha mutande
passion fruit maracuyá maracuyá maracuyá mburucuyá maracuyá maracuyá maracuyá parcha maracuyá maracujá maracuja
pea arveja arveja arveja arveja arveja chícharo guisante guisante guisante ervilha pisello
peach durazno durazno durazno durazno durazno durazno melocotón melocotón melocotón pêssego pesca
peanut maní maní maní maní maní cacahuate maní maní cacahuete amendoim arachide
pineapple ananá ananá piña piña piña piña piña piña piña abacaxi ananas
popcorn pop / pororó pochoclo cabritas pororó crispetas/
maíz pira
palomitas palomitas
de maíz
popcorn palomitas pipocas popcorn
soft drink refresco gaseosa bebida gaseosa gaseosa refresco gaseosa refresco refresco refrigerante bibita
soy soja soja soya soja soya soya soya soya soja soja soia
straw[II] pajita pajita bombilla pajita pitillo popote pajilla sorbeto pajita canudo cannuccia
strawberry frutilla frutilla frutilla frutilla fresa fresa fresa fresa fresa morango fragola
boniato batata camote batata batata camote camote batata boniato batata doce patata dolce
piscina pileta piscina pileta piscina alberca piscina piscina piscina piscina piscina
transit bus ómnibus colectivo micro colectivo autobús camión autobús guagua autobús ônibus autobus
t-shirt remera remera polera remera camiseta playera camiseta t-shirt camiseta camiseta maglietta
  1. ^ Refers to the dessert made from cow's milk.
  2. ^ Refers to the instrument used for drinking.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spanish → Uruguay at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "ISO 639-2 Language Code search". Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Rioplatense Spanish".
  4. ^ Meo Zilio, Giovanni (1963–64). "Genovesismos en el español rioplatense". Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica. T. 17, No. 3/4 (1963/1964) (3/4): 245–263. JSTOR 40297676.
  5. ^ D. Lincoln Canfield, Spanish Pronunciation in the Americas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 89.
  6. ^ Weyers, Joseph R. (3 September 2014). "The Tuteo of Rocha, Uruguay: A Study of Pride and Language Maintenance". Hispania. 97 (3): 382–395. doi:10.1353/hpn.2014.0087. ISSN 2153-6414. S2CID 144945948.