ASK A QUESTION What is "vos"??
What is VOS?
ÂżDe dĂłnde SOS?, ÂżCuĂĄntos aĂ±os TENĂS?, ÂżY VOS?.
These questions quickly confront anyone who comes to Buenos Aires or any other city in the vicinity of Rio del Plata. Even if you are an experienced Spanish speaker you may be surprised when you first hear these pronouns and verb forms. So what in the world is VOS?
âVOSâ is the second-person singular pronoun â it replaces the more common pronoun âTĂâ that is used in most other Spanish-speaking countries. It is the equivalent of the English âYOUâ when used to address a single individual. VOS has its own set of verb forms that are distinct from those used with other pronouns.
Vos sos una buena persona. (Here âsosâ replaces âeresâ that is normally used with âTĂâ)
You are a good person.
Note that âVOSâ is the informal form of address. For formal means of addressing a single individual use âUSTEDâ the same way it is used in Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries. The use of âVOSâ is referred to as âvoseoâ. In Argentina it replaces âTĂâ completely. You will never hear anyone use âTĂâ in Buenos Aires (but people will understand you perfectly if you use it). VOS and Standard Spanish
Sometimes students looking for a Spanish course get concerned that Argentinian Spanish is non-standard. âWill I be able to speak Spanish elsewhere if I learn all this VOS stuff?â â they wonder. In practice this is never a problem. First, all you have to know about VOS is described in this article. Secondly, if you learn Spanish in Argentina you will have no difficulty in understanding or using âTĂâ. All Spanish teachers in Argentina make it a point to teach both forms. Conversely, if you already learned Spanish elsewhere Argentinians will understand you perfectly. Conjugations of VOS.
When using vos, verbs are conjugated differently in just two cases: Indicativo Presente and Imperativo Affirmativo. All other conjugations are the same as âTĂâ. VOS in Indicativo Presente.
The Indicativo Presente form of VOS is actually easier to remember than that of any other pronoun. It always follows on simple rule:
1-Replace the last âRâ with âSâ
2-Add an accent over the last vowel.
Accordingly the VOS form of a verb is pronounced differently than âTĂâ because stress is always on the last syllable. Here are the conjugations for VOS in Indicativo Presente.
......................HABLAR COMER VIVIR
TĂ ........... hablas ..... comes ..... vives
VOS .............hablĂĄs ......comĂ©s ...... vivĂs
There is only one exception: Indicativo Presente of the verb SER for VOS is SOS.
TĂș eres medico.
Vos sos medico.
You are a doctor.
VOS in Imperativo Affirmativo.
The formation of Imperativo Affirmativo for VOS is also very easy. The rule is as follows:
Drop the last âRâ
Add an accent over the last vowel.
Accordingly the VOS form is pronounced with the stress always in the last syllable. Here are the conjugations of regular verbs in Imperativo Affirmativo:
............ HABLAR ....COMER .....VIVIR
TĂ .......... habla .... come .......vive
VOS ........ hablĂĄ ...... comĂ© ..........vivĂ
There is only one exception: the Imperativo Affirmativo conjugation of IR is ANDĂ. Here are conjugations in Imperativo Affirmativo for some common irregular verbs.
......SER ... IR ....SABER
TĂ ........ sĂ© ...... ve ........ sabe
VOS........ sĂ© ... andĂĄ ..... sabĂ©
Note: In Imperativo Negativo VOS is conjugated the same way as âTĂâ.
The History of VOS
VOS comes from the second person plural pronoun YOU in Latin (also VOS). Around V century the plural form VOS started to be used to address the Roman Emperor as a sign of respect because the Emperor represents the people. Later his use of plural YOU has spread to other social groups as a general form of polite address. Many languages still retain this influence. For example in French the plural VOUS is used to address a single person in a formal way.
In Spain and itâs colonies the use of VOS evolved to replace TĂ even in informal contexs such as among friends and family. Thus VOS lost its original purpose as a means of polite address of people in authority.
The Spanish aristocracy then came up with a new mode of polite address VUESTRA MERCED which later with time became abbreviated into the now common USTED.
With the rise of USTED as a formal way of address TĂ made a comeback in Spain and regained its original use as a familiar form of YOU. The use of VOS correspondingly declined. However, the countries such as Argentina that were less connected to the Spanish Empire and thus were less influenced by its fashions have retained the use of VOS for the familiar form of address that was common when the country was originally settled.
More info here
En azul oscuro y azul claro los paĂses con predominancia del voseo. En verde, los paĂses donde la prĂĄctica se restringe a algunas zonas y en celeste, aquellos paĂses donde su presencia es proporcionalmente pequeĂ±a. En rojo, la RepĂșblica Dominicana, EspaĂ±a, Guinea Ecuatorial y Puerto Rico, donde el voseo no se usa nunca.
Countries that feature voseo.
Dark blue: countries that use vos as the primary spoken and written form.
Medium blue: countries where voseo is predominant, yet not as intensive.
Green: countries where the use of voseo is regional.
Light blue: countries where the presence of voseo is proportionally small.
Red: countries where voseo is practically non-existent.
You won't get many answers to this - you have answered everything yourself.
I don't want answers Ian
This is just information for you... learners of Spanish!!! It's good info and if I don't post it here, where should I post it? I think I'll link it to the Reference thread I opened some time ago...
Thanks anyway Ian
This is great, thanks! Benz do we also use the pronoun TE with voseo? PonĂ©telo? AndĂĄte?
I'm still contemplating Argentina for next year so this is good to know.
I still remember a week I spent in the southernmost point of Chile with my parents and a guide from Argentina. I and the guide got along well and we both attempted to show a level of informality but failed utterly. He kept using vos and I kept using tĂș. One of us eventually asked the other why they were being so "formal". We got a good laugh out of it.
I should add that the teenagers in Chile seemed to use an extremely informal manner of address that could be described as voseo but sounded a lot more like the vosotros form. e.g. ÂżCĂłmo estĂĄis? which in true chilean teen fashion was pronounced "ÂżCĂłmo 'tai'? The "e" and "s" inevitably got swallowed.
Funny I haven't come across 'vos' while taking spanish. I am only in my first year but my teacher is from Mexico and I guess she didn't think it necessary to mention that. Thank you for filling me in!
Where is "vos" commonly used? geographically
Ask all and everything you want to know about the use of "vos"... I'm here to answer your questions
Okay - 2 questions.....
1) If I come to Argentina and say ÂżHablas inglĂ©s / espaĂ±ol ...etc ? (using only tĂș form) .......... will you laugh at me? (Obviously I'm a foreigner) Please be honest
2) ... okay ... this has nothing to do with vos but ... I'm just curious ... Do you know how to use vosotros? I know it is not used in Argentina but - for example - can you conjugate ser, haber and poder using vosotros?
..... I've always wondered about this
Benz, it'd be great if you prepared a lagre reference article about the grammar differences between Peninsular and Argentinian Spanish. I know it would require some work, but I think many students would be really grateful (I would definitely be )
ÂżCuĂĄntos aĂ±os TENĂS?
Is that a typo or is tener conjugated without the stem change? If so, is that change only when conjugating vos ? Also does it apply to any other stem-changing verbs?
It's all very interesting and useful Benz, Thank you for your work here.
Do you drop r and and add i for the preterite. For example in song title I saw enojai instead of enojaste.
is voseo related to francĂ©s, portuguĂ©s, catalĂĄn o italiano
I have never been to Argentina, but "voseo" has been part of my Spanish-speaking since my growing up years (1950s and 1960s) in Bolivia. From recent personal travels I know that "vos" is still very commonly used among friends in Bolivia; it is also in common use in Guatemala.
The map that was submitted to indicate geographical areas of the use of "vos" was not that helpful to me because: 1) it was very small and I couldn't figure out what color each of the Central American countries are; and 2) I wasn't sure which color was medium blue and which was light blue!
Okay, here is my personal story about this verb form.
A long time ago and far away, I grew up in a small town in Ohio, USA. I went to a high school with the children of farmers. There were no Spanish-speaking people as far as the eye could see.
I took the only foreign language offered in my high school -- mostly because it was recommended if you wanted to get into college. That language was Spanish, and it was taught by the only Spanish-speaking native in the community, a woman from Mexico.
She taught us the vosotros verb form, but she said that it was only used in Spain and therefore, we would probably NEVER need it. I learned it for the exam and then promptly forgot it.
Life is long. I grew up. I moved away. I lived in places like Pittsburgh, Houston and New York City. The teacher was right. I never needed that verb form. I met a man who had grown up in the U.S., but had been born in Ecuador. His mother, who came from an upper class family from Colombia, never used the "tu" verb form, always preferring "Usted." One less verb to remember! I was happy.
A couple of decades passed. My husband took a job in Spain. I was thrown into social situations ALONE in which I had to speak Spanish. I remember the first time I was asked a question that used the vosotros verb form. The wife of one of my husband's clients' had been kind enough to pick me up in their van to take me to IKEA to buy things we needed for our apartment. It was a Monday. I get in the van and she asks:
"TenaĂas una buena fin de semana? Did you all have a good weekend?
It is an innocent enough question, but I felt like someone had just thrown a brick at my head. I remembered my teacher explaining that I would never need this verb form, UNLES*S I happened to be in Spain. Yet, that was exactly where I was and I needed it like a drowning man needs a life preserver.
"Si, tenemos una buena fin de semana," I replied. I was new, so always spoke in the present.
I went on to take Spanish classes every day. I remember one teacher who always addressed the class with questions in this verb form.
In conclusion, in Spain you need this. They use it.