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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 as in Rioplatense.
Green: Voseo as regionalism.
Light blue: Countries where the presence of voseo is proportionally small.
Red: Voseo practically inexistent.

In Spanish, voseo is the use of the second person singular pronoun vos instead of . It can also be used in the context of using verb conjugation of vos with as the subject pronoun[1], as in the case of Chilean Spanish.

Vos is used extensively as the primary form of the second person singular in Rioplatense Spanish (Argentina and Uruguay), in Paraguay, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica (in the latter side by side with usted).

The pronoun is also widely used in Bolivia and Central American countries of Honduras and El Salvador. Although in these countries the media use more.

Vos is generally not used in formal writing, except in Argentina and Uruguay.
This phenomenon is also gradually taking place in Central America, where the most prestigious media are beginning to use the pronoun vos instead of ; Nicaragua, and Honduras, where the dialect is known as Central American Spanish, is a perfect example of this. In El Salvador, newspaper comics employ voseo, but it is hardly ever found in narrative articles outside of quotations. Increasingly, billboards and other advertising media are using voseo. In the dialect of Argentina and Uruguay (known as Rioplatense Spanish) vos is also the standard form for use in television media.

Vos is present in other countries as a regionalism, for instance in the Maracucho Spanish of Zulia State, Venezuela (see Venezuelan Spanish), in Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico, in various departments in Colombia, and in parts of Ecuador (Sierra down to Esmeraldas). In Peru, voseo is present in some Andean regions and Cajamarca but the younger generations have ceased to use it. It is also present in the Ladino dialect of Spanish, spoken by Sephardic Jews throughout Israel, Turkey, the Balkans, Morocco, Latin America and the United States.


[edit] History

Vos was traditionally used as a more polite second-person singular pronoun to be used among one's familiar friends, as was normally used in addressing servants or slaves.[2] The correct formal way to address a person you were not on familiar terms with was to address such a person as vuestra merced ("your grace" originally abbreviated as v.m.) in the singular and vuestras mercedes in the plural. These forms logically used a third person verb form. Other formal forms of address included vuestra excelencia (abbreviated as ussencia) and vuestra señoria (abbreviated as ussia) . Today, both vos and are considered to be informal pronouns, with vos being somewhat synonymous with in regions where both are used. This was the situation when Castilian was brought to the Río de la Plata area (around Buenos Aires and Montevideo) and to Chile. In time, vos lost currency in Spain but survived in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay,Guatemala, Nicaragua, and many other countries and regions in Latin America, while Vuestra merced evolved into usted (vuestra merced > usarced > usted, in fact, "usted" is still abbreviated as either Vd or Ud). Note that the term vosotros is a combined form of vos otros (meaning literally "you others"), while the term nosotros comes from nos otros ("we others"); otros was added to avoid confusion (in a manner similar to the formation of y'all in the English of the southern United States). This corresponds with youse in Scottish English, Hiberno-English and Australian English.

[edit] Usage

[edit] Vos as a replacement for other forms of

The independent disjunctive pronoun ti is also replaced by vos. That is, vos is both nominative and the form to use after prepositions. Therefore para ti "for you" becomes para vos, etc.
The preposition-pronoun compound contigo "with you" becomes con vos.
The direct and indirect object form te remains the same, unlike in the case of vosotros, where it becomes os.

Nominative Objective Reflexive
subject direct object indirect object prepositional object con + form plain
vos te te vos con vos te
te te ti contigo te
vosotros os os vosotros con vosotros os

The possessive pronouns of vos also coincide with <tu(s), tuyo(s), tuya(s)> rather than with vosotros <vuestro(s), vuestra(s)>.

[edit] Conjugation with vos

"¿No querís más guerra?" (meaning "[You] do not want any more trouble?") Voseo used in Chilean media. In this country, the conjugation varies from the ones in Argentina and Central America. Voseo in Chile is informal, hence it is used to attract young people

Below is a comparison table of the conjugation of several verbs for and for vos, and next to them the one for vosotros, the informal second person plural currently used only in Spain. The accented forms (vos and vosotros) and the infinitives are stressed in the last syllable; the forms are stressed on the penultimate one. Note the alternations (caused by stress shift) in the roots of poder and venir.

Verb Meaning Vos (General) Vos (Venezuela) Vos/Tú (Chile) Vos (Ladino) Vosotros Ustedes
hablar "to speak" hablas hablás habláis hablái favlásh habláis hablan
comer "to eat" comes comés coméis comís komésh coméis comen
poder "to be able" puedes podés podéis podís podésh podéis pueden
vivir "to live" vives vivís vivís vivís bivísh vivís viven
ser "to be" eres sos sois soi/erís sosh sois son
haber "to have" has has/habés habéis habís/hai habéis han
venir "to come" vienes venís venís venís benísh venís vienen

General conjugation is the one that is most widely accepted and used in various countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, parts of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, as well as Central American countries up to Mexico's southern states.

Some Uruguayan speakers combine the pronoun with the vos conjugation (for example, tú sabés). Conversely, speakers in some other places where both and vos are used combine vos with the conjugation (for example, vos sabes).

The verb forms employed with vos are also different in Chilean Spanish:
Instead of deleting the -i- from the final diphthong -áis (and -ois), Chileans with voseo delete the final -s (vos/tú soi/erís; vos/tú estái).
In the case of the ending -ís (such as in comís, podís, vivís, erís, venís), the final -s is not totally dropped. Rather, in most cases, especially before a consonant, an aspiration similar to the h sound in English is still audible.

Venezuelan Maracucho Spanish, on the other hand, is notable in that it preserves the original plural verb forms, as still used with vosotros in Spain.

In Ladino, the -áis, -éis, -ís, & -ois endings are pronounced /aʃ/, /eʃ/, /iʃ/, & /oʃ/.

It should also be noted that in Chile, it is much more usual to use + vos verb conjugation ( sabís). The use of pronominal vos (vos sabís) is reserved for very informal situations and may even be considered vulgar in some cases.

[edit] Present Indicative

1. General conjugation: The final -R of the infinitive is replaced by an -S, and an acute accent is added to the final vowel, the one preceding the final -S, to keep the stress.

2. As for the Chilean voseo, the -AR ending of the infinitive is replaced by -ÁI, whereas both -ER and -IR are replaced by -ÍS, which sounds more like -ÍH.

Infinitive General voseo Chilean voseo
oir oís oís
venir venís venís
decir decís decís
dormir dormís dormís
sentir sentís sentís
salir salís salís
concluir concluís concluís
poder podés podís
querer querés querís
mover movés movís
pensar pensás pensái
contar contás contái
jugar jugás jugái
errar errás errái

Unlike , which has many irregular forms, the only verb that is conjugated irregularly in the voseo forms in the indicative present is ser (vos sos).
The Chilean forms are tú/vos soi/erís, tú/vos vai, and tú/vos hai....

[edit] Affirmative imperative

Vos also differs in its affirmative imperative conjugation from both and vosotros. Specifically, the vos imperative is formed by dropping the final -r from the infinitive, but keeping the stress on the last syllable. The only verb that is irregular in this regard is ir; its vos imperative is not used, with andá (the vos imperative of andar) being used instead.

Verb Meaning Vos Vosotros
ser "to be" sed
ir "to go" ve andá id
hablar "to speak" habla hablá hablad
callar "to become silent" calla callá callad
soltar "to release/let go" suelta soltá soltad
comer "to eat" come comé comed
mover "to move" mueve mové moved
venir "to come" ven vení venid
poner "to put" pon poné poned
salir "to leave" sal salí salid
tener "to have" ten tené tened
decir "to say" di decí decid
pedir "to ask/order" pide pedí pedid

Again, the conjugation has far more irregularities, whereas vos has only one irregular verb in the affirmative imperative.

In Chile, the general vos conjugation is not used in the affirmative imperative.

[edit] Subjunctive

The areas where voseo is used in Central America, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay, have practically the same conjugation. A main exception is the subjunctive (subjuntivo) in the Río de la Plata region, where the -conjugation is more common. Although it should be noted that in this region, the vos-form in the subjunctive has not completely disappeared. It is still used to show emphasis or emotion.

Central America
Río de la Plata region Meaning
No quiero que mintás No quiero que mientas I do not want you to lie.
No temás No temas Do not fear
Que durmás bien Que duermas bien Sleep tight!
No te preocupés No te preocupes Do not worry!

In other voseo areas, it is normal to use the subjunctive form of vos

Chile Venezuela
No quiero que mintái No quiero que mintáis
No temái No temáis
Que durmái bien Que durmáis bien
No te preocupís No te preocupéis

[edit] Geographical distribution

[edit] Countries where voseo is predominant

Voseo used on a billboard in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The sign reads, "Do you want to change? Come to Claro."

In South America

  1. Argentina* (pronominal and verbal voseo, the pronoun is practically not used)
  2. Paraguay* (pronominal and verbal voseo, the pronoun is practically not used)
  3. Uruguay* (both pronoun+verb and pronoun "tú" + verb conjugated in the "vos" form.)

In Central America

  1. Guatemala
  2. Honduras*
  3. El Salvador
  4. Nicaragua*
  5. Costa Rica*

* In Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica, voseo is used in most of the written language. In the rest of the countries, tú is common in formal language (media, correspondence, when addressing foreigners, etc.)

[edit] Countries where both forms are used

In the following countries, voseo is used in certain areas:

  1. Bolivia in La Paz, Cochabamba, Tarija, Santa Cruz, Pando and Beni
  2. Chile verbal voseo is spreading north- and southwards from the center, whereas the pronominal voseo is reserved only for very intimate situations or to offend someone. In addition, voseo in Chile is only used in informal situations; in every other situation, the normal conjugation is used (or usted).
  3. Colombia, in the departments
    1. in the west (Pacific Coast)
      1. Chocó
      2. Valle del Cauca
      3. Cauca
      4. Nariño
    2. in the center, primarily Paisa Region.
    3. in the (North) East
      1. Norte de Santander Department
      2. Guajira
      3. Cesar
  4. Ecuador in the Sierra, the center, and Esmeraldas
  5. Mexico in the south (state of Chiapas)
  6. Panama in the west along the border to Costa Rica, and in the interior of Azuero Peninsula
  7. Venezuela in the Northwest (primarily in the Zulia state)

[edit] Countries where vos is out of use

In the following countries, the use of vos has disappeared completely in the daily speech. It is used only rhetorically or in old or liturgical writings.

  1. Spain
  2. Dominican Republic
  3. Puerto Rico
  4. Peru*
  5. Cuba*

* The use of vos is disappearing, in Cuba it is heard in some region in the east, in Peru, some elderly people still use vos, but it has gotten out of use among the younger population.

[edit] Attitudes

Voseo on El Salvador Billboard "Order your cold one here!"

The pronoun vos is usually informal, like in other varieties of Spanish, and contrasts with the formal usted, but appropriate usage varies by dialect. In Central America, vos can be used among those considered equals, while usted holds its formal employment. In Ladino, the pronoun usted is completely absent, so the use of vos for formal situations is the standard.

Voseo was long considered a reprehensible practice by prescriptivist grammarians (with the idea that only Castilian Spanish is good Spanish), but it is now regarded simply as a local variant.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Miranda, Stewart (1999). The Spanish Language Today. Routledge. p. 125. ISBN 041514258X. 
  2. ^ Raymundo Del Pueyo A New Spanish Grammar, or the Elements of the Spanish Language (London: F. Wingrave, 1792) 160-161; The book is online at Google Books at: http://books.google.com/books?id=NekRAAAAIAAJ&printsec=toc&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPP9,M1

[edit] Sources

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