Argentina’s official and most spoken language is Spanish, which is spoken by nearly 42 million people as their first language. An additional million people speak it as second language. Some distinctions between Argentine Spanish and Spanish spoken in Mexico or Spain do exist, and these include variations in grammar, pronunciation and slang.

Despite the inherent predominance of Spanish in Argentina, the country is home to a number of immigrant languages. This comes as no surprise, given that Argentina is considered to be a nation of immigrants, owing to the fact that over 4 million people came to Argentina from overseas between 1881 and 1914, most of them from Europe.

Italian is the most spoken immigrant language and the second most spoken language after Spanish. About 1.5 million people in Argentina speak Italian as their first language, with at least 25 million Argentines said to have some Italian ancestry. This is a result of the immigration wave which occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and which saw most of the Italian immigrants coming to Argentina and making it their home.

Next is Levantine Arabic, a broad dialect of Arabic spoken along the eastern Mediterranean coast (in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel). Levantine Arabic, at approximately 1 million native speakers, is the second most spoken immigrant language in Argentina. This is largely a result of the fact that a significant number of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon came to Argentina in the 19th century, most of them fleeing the region after the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war.

Other immigrant languages heard in Argentina include German at around 400,000 speakers, Yiddish at around 200,000 speakers, and Catalan at around 174,000 speakers.

Aside from Spanish and the immigrant languages, there are fifteen indigenous languages spoken throughout Argentina. Together, they account for about 1.2 million speakers, although most of them only have a couple thousand speakers or even less, which is why they’re considered endangered. The most spoken indigenous languages in Argentina are Quechua (specifically Southern Bolivian Quechua), which has about 800,000 native speakers, Guaraní, spoken by approximately 200,000 people who mostly reside in the northern provinces of Argentina, and Mapudungun, spoken by approximately 100,000 Mapuchi people, a group that lives in the southwestern part of Argentina and parts of Chile.


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