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Key Concepts

Traditional tango

Le Grand Tango

Reception of the tango nuevo

Territorial vs. territorialized: Conclusions

Works Cited

Argentina has struggled to find a national identity ever since its colonial days. Under the Spanish Empire, the native populations was “subdued, exploited and absorbed” (Scobie 1971, 29), to best reap the profits of the New World for Spain. Therefore, areas with large populations such as Peru, home of the conquered Incan Empire and Mexico City, of the conquered Aztec nation, were given particular importance. In contrast, the Rio de la Plata region, less populated, was neglected, which had economic as well as cultural effects.

The most notable of these is the Argentinean voseo form used for the second person singular (instead of the “usual” ). To other areas of the Spanish-speaking world, this form is archaic. The voseo plus the yeísmo are the most characteristics aspects of the Argentinean’s speech. Yeísmo is the particular pronounciation of the “l” and the “y” that is used in most of the regions of Argentina. The phenomenom consists in pronouncing the /L/ sound (denominated lateral sonoro) with a /jj/ sound (fricativa palatal sonora), which results in a phoneme with “noisy” characteristics (Licona 2004, 69).

The lunfardo vocabulary in addition to these two particularly Argentinean phenomena make the speech of Argentina particularly distinctive. As such it has become one of the definining characteristics of the Argentinean national identity. Because all three of these elements occur in tango lyrics, tango is also a large part of this identity, including many other reasons which make it “Argentinean” that we will discover in the following pages.