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Official Name: República Oriental del Uruguay
Population: 3.4 million (2009)
Capital: Montevideo
Area: 176, 215 km² (68, 037 sq miles)
Currency: Peso (UYU)
National Holiday: 25 August
Calling Code: +598
Time Zone: UTC -3
GDP: Total – US$40.577 billion (2010)
GPD: Per Capita – US$12, 088

The Spanish Language in Uruguay

The Spanish spoken in Uruguay is very similar to that spoken in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although there are a few differences in comparison to Argentine Spanish, the intonations and use of ‘voseo’ and ‘yeismo’ are generally similar. One main difference is that the use of ‘tuteo’ can be more common in certain regions of Uruguay than in Argentina. Learn Spanish in Uruguay with COINED!

Special words and expressions

  • Many expressions and words are the same as in Argentina
  • ta – OK, fine (pero ta = never mind)
  • ¿puedes barajarla más despacio? – can you explain slower/more clearly
  • ¿mirá? – oh yeah, really?
  • eso es de la planta – that is very good/excellent
  • guri – child, kid

Articles about Uruguay

More VeinteMundos’ articles hier.

Other languages spoken

  • Portuguese – spoken by around 28, 000 speakers not including those who speak the Portuguese dialect of Portuñol riverense (mix of Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Italian and Standard German – over 20, 000 speakers, due to immigration in the 20th century
  • Because English is the language of commerce and because of Uruguay’s important economic advances it is spoken by much of the population as a second language

Spanish dialects and variations

  • Because of its smaller size there are fewer variations in accents acrros the country, but you can find Portuñol (or brasiliero), a mix of Spanish and Portuguese, in towns and cities along the border with Brazil. (Most linguists classify this dialect as a variety of Portuguese)
  • Lunfardo – is an argot that developed in the suburb of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. One characteristic is the reversal of syllable order (tango – gotan). Some Tangos and Milongas today are still sung in Lunfardo.
  • There are slight variations in Uruguayan Spanish spoken in Montevideo and in the rest of the country.

Destinations in Uruguay


  • Beaches and coast (Punta del Este, Cabo Polonio, Isla de Lobos)
  • Montevideo (Old City, architecture, the Rambla)
  • Colonia del Sacramento (its historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Casapueblo
  • River cities (Salto, Fray Bentos, Paysandu)
  • Nature and countryside (Laguna del Sauce, Rio Negro)
  • Wine orchards and estancias (ranches – Posta del Chuy)

History & Politics

Uruguay was first claimed by the Portuguese and in the 18th century taken by the Spanish resulting in an almost total annihilation of the indigenous population. It gained its independence with the fall of the Spanish monarchy in 1808 but spent the following 20 years fighting against Brazil and Argentina. In the early 20th century liberal president Jose Batlle installed important social and economic reforms. The military dictatorship of 1973 gave Uruguay the nickname of the “torture chamber of Latin America”. Today Uruguay is one of the more stable and least corrupt countries in Latin America.

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