Voseo

I get a number of visitors on my virtual doorstep looking for answers. Not answers about tango, but answers about “vos” and “tenés”. They are wondering about the voseo.

For their benefit, here is a small explanation of the voseo (i.e. the use of “vos” in the second person). I have never focused on Latin American linguistics, so this is an incomplete picture. I have heard, for example, that “vos” is used in other places (with variations in how the conjugation is done). But here are the basics as I know them, at least for Argentine Spanish:

“Tú” is the most widely used informal, second-person, singular pronoun in Spanish. The conjugation for the second person in regular cases is created by taking the root of the verb and adding as/es to the end. Thus you get “tú hablas” to mean “you speak,” from the verb hablar. This conjugation, if applied to my blog title, would be “Tú también tienes tu historia” (an irregular verb conjugation of tener, “to have”).

“Vos” is an alternative to “tú”—another second-person pronoun, used in Argentina as well as other parts of South America. The conjugation adds ás/és/ís to the root of the verb, so that hablar is conjugated as “vos hablás.” The voseo has many fewer irregularities, so that tener is predictably conjugated as “vos tenés.” The voseo makes perfect sense to me when I hear it, although I would never think to use it myself.

I picked this title for my blog from a Canaro song of the same title. At the time I knew that I liked Canaro’s music, even though I didn’t know this song in particular. I came across it while browsing his music on TodoTango.com and liked the title. It means, “You also have your own story.” The song has its own message, but I like the idea that I have a story to tell—as does every person who visits my blog.

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In case you were wondering, I got the Trojan ordeal solved. My task bar and all icons had disappeared—thank goodness for knowing that you can run programs out of the task manager! I downloaded a much better anti-virus program that cleaned everything out, so my computer is just fine. Whew.

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3 thoughts on “Voseo

  1. Funny coincidence.I was reading your post when a young friend of my son’s logged on from Argentina. A gifted musician. So I’m reading him and reading you. As it happens, one of my favorite films is “Tango Bar” with Raul Julia. I can’t find a copy to buy anywhere! Anyway, keep blogging! I will read.

  2. I like the voseo a lot. I am fluent in French, so it reminds me of “vous” (which is “usted”). Therefore to me “vos” sounds a little nicer and more considerate, but at the same time as informal as “tu”. I find it very, very sexy.

  3. It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.

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