The Languages spoken in Uruguay


Uruguay’s official language is Spanish and almost all of the population can speak and understand it. In the capital city Montevideo and other cities like Las Piedras and Punta del Este including their suburbs and areas in between they speak a distinct dialect called Español Rioplatense also locally known as Castellano Rioplatense or Riopaltense Spanish in English. This dialect has considerable difference with the others with as much as 9,000 unique words in its vocabulary including basic and slang words. While the Peninsular dialect prefers to borrow technical words from British English or French, Rioplatense prefers to borrow from American English further diversifying these dialects. As a result of the considerable influx of Italian immigrants, the Spanish of Uruguay is spoken with some Italian influences including the intonation. Furthermore like its neighbor Argentina, the Uruguayans also use both voseo and yeismo.

In the northern part in particular near its border with Brazil, the population there speaks Portuguese and Portuñol which is basically a combination of Portuguese and Spanish. This dialect is mostly spoken in the cities of Rivera and Santana do Livramento where the border line separating the two countries is only a street. Though this dialect is a mixture of the two languages, most linguists classify Portuñol as variety of Portuguese rather than Spanish.

The language of commerce is English and there has been quite an interest especially among the younger generations in learning to speak it. But this language including French and Italian are only used by a minority of the population.