¿De dónde sos?
Planning a trip to South America? Brush up on your voseo. For Spanish learners and speakers, pronouns and the present tense are the most routinely used words (i.e. you are, they are, etc.). But what if—despite your advanced knowledge of Spanish—your use of pronouns is not utilized in the Spanish-speaking country you are visiting? Will your years of Spanish education be useless?
What is voseo?
Voseo is the use of vos for English pronoun you instead of tú. (Tuteo is the use of tú.) You might already be familiar with the two common Spanish words for you: tú (informal) and usted (formal). Despite having nailed the use of tú, tú and its conjugations are rare if you travel to some countries in Latin America. In some countries, tú is replaced with vos, and the verbs paired with it have different conjugations as well.
Which countries use voseo?
Voseo is used primarily in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. However, you can also hear vos and tú used interchangeably in other countries like Chile, parts of Colombia, and Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Here is a map showing the countries using voseo:
Image source: https://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/i.e.mackenzie/index.html
Although you will still be understood if you use tú instead of vos, using voseo can be a fun way to connect with the countries you visit. In order to build rapport with locals of countries using voseo, why not learn how to use it? You can learn how to use it in common phrases.
Ways of using voseo in casual language
For each present tense tuteo example below, see if you can use the voseo alternative listed below. Keep in mind that like other Spanish pronouns, the pronoun is usually dropped, and the conjugations associated with the pronoun are what distinguish whether tú or vos are used. English VerbSpanish VerbTuteoVoseoExample Example with Voseo To beSerTú eresVos sos Are you from California?¿Sos de California? To wantQuererTú quieresTú querésDo you want to go for a coffee?¿Querés ir por un café? To haveTenerTú tienesTú tenésDo you have change for a 100?¿Tenés cambio de 100?
With a basic understanding, you won’t be caught off guard when asked “¿De dónde sos?”
Watch a YouTube video with other examples.