El pronombre "vos" = Voseo: Using the pronoun "vos" in Latin America

In certain parts of Latin America it's common to use the pronoun vos as a 2nd person singular pronoun (equivalent to the subject pronoun ) with a sometimes unique conjugation. Voseo means using vos where Spanish would usually use  (and this is therefore called tuteo).

Location

Vos is used in and around the Río de la Plata area (i.e. Argentina and Uruguay). It can also be heard in areas of eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, southern parts of Chiapas in Mexico) and some parts of Colombia. 

Conjugation  

Vos and  share the same conjugation in most tenses except for El Presente and El Imperativo where spelling and word stress are different. Have a look and listen to the following contrasting examples:

tuteo:

¿Tú tienes frío?Are you cold?

voseo:

¿Vos tenés frío?Are you cold?

tuteo:

¡Ven acá! (tú)Come here!

voseo:

¡Vení acá! (vos)Come here!

tuteo:

Cuéntame qué pasó. (tú)Tell me what happened.

voseo:

Contame qué pasó. (vos)Tell me what happened.

Usage

How and when you use vos depends on where you are and who you are talking to, as in some regions it co-exists with . For example:

  • in Argentina, Uruguay and most of Paraguay, vos is the only informal pronoun. The use of  is unusual and sounds odd.
  • in places like Guatemala and El Salvador, the choice between  and vos is a matter of prestige and social class, with  being the prestigious and educated choice which is taught at school and vos being informal, considered even as a substandard form.
  • in some parts of Colombia the opposite might happen; vos is the middle-ground choice between informal  and formal usted.

Regardless of the regional variations, it is said that two thirds of the population of Latin America uses vos.

 

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