If you have every travelled to Argentina, or watched an Argentinian film, you will have heard the word vos being used quite a bit, or at least in its conjugated form. Voseo refers to the use of vos. Vos is a subject pronoun, which has a similar meaning to the more commonly taught form tú. It is used extensively in Argentina, but is also prevalent in many other Latin American countries.
The Conjugations of Vos:
Vos replaces the tú subject pronoun and is conjugated as follows for regular AR, ER and IR verbs:
AR: Vos caminás
ER: Vos comés
IR: Vos vivís
There are, of course, irregular verbs, such as:
Ser: Vos sos
Tener: Vos tenés
Aside from the regular and irregular conjugations, there are also specific conjugations for the imperative form:
Vos in Argentina
In Argentina, vos is always used and replaces tú entirely. Thus, the subject pronouns used in Argentina are as follows:
Yo, vos, él, ella, usted, nosotros, ustedes.
Vos is taught at schools to Argentinian natives, as well as in Spanish schools for foreigners and is used in all registers – at home, at school, in the pub, at work, in the news, in the media and in the government. However, tú is completely understood as it is taught at school and as a foreigner you will have no problem being understood using tú.
Vos in Colombia, Chile and other countries
In Colombia, vos is used mainly in the antioqueño region, in the pacific and Caribbean coast. Whereas the conjugations are the same as those used in Argentina, the accent is significantly different. In Chile, they have a fantastic way of mixing the use of vos and tú, using the subject pronoun “vos” with the conjugated verb in the “tu” form, and vice versa! Furthermore, due to the thick Chilean accent, the s’s are usually swallowed, so a sentence that would more conventionally be written “tu tienes un carro”, sounds like “vos tiene un carro” or even “tu tené un carro”? Vos is also used in other Latin American countries, such as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras, El Salvador and areas of Bolivia. Each country has different ways in which they use vos, whether it has a formal or informal association and whether it is used alongside tú and used or on its own.
Unfortunately, vos is commonly missed out completely from school curriculums but it an essential part of the Spanish language as it is very commonly used in many Latin American countries. Therefore, if you are planning on travelling to a country where they may use vos, don’t forget to speak to your Spanish tutor about it so you can understand, be understood and make the most out of your trip!