Languages of Uruguay
It is common for different countries in South America to speak Spanish in different tones and dialects. In Uruguay, Spanish is the official language, but the Spanish spoken here is different from what you would hear in Mexico. Uruguayan Spanish has a great deal of Italian influence. Many Italian words are actually incorporated into the language. This type of Spanish is similar to the Spanish you will hear in Buenos Aires, Argentina – tending to have Italian flare.
There are other differences in Uruguayan Spanish besides its Italian influences. For example, some of the subjects in language change. Uruguayans use the “vos” subject rather than “tu,” just as Argentines do.
Not many locals in Uruguay can speak English fluently, but most of the staff at hotels, restaurants, and tourist locations will have a good understanding of English. All of our tour guides are English speaking, and other languages are available upon request.
Due to the fact that not many Uruguayans speak English fluently, it would be helpful for you to pick up a few basic Spanish phrases, including greetings, please and thank you, and questions such as how to ask for directions. Knowing just a couple of these phrases will make your travels in Uruguay much easier and enjoyable. You might even be able to impress some of the locals!
For an interactive experience, we recommend that you take a “Spanish for Travelers” class at your local community center. Or, if you don’t have a lot of extra time, consider purchasing a software program such as Rosetta Stone, or popular language apps such as Duolingo. Many travel guidebooks include brief language sections – study up before you go to familiarize yourself with basic Spanish.
Phrases to know:
- “Hola” = “Hello”
- “Adiós” = “Goodbye”
- “Por favor” = “Please”
- “Perdón” = “Excuse me”
- “Gracias” = “Thank you”
- “De nada” = “You’re welcome”