Expats in Buenos Aires - Speak Spanish?


Jul 15, 2007
Why don't expats in Buenos Aires speak spanish or atleastmake more of an effort to learn it?
Ofcourse I'm speaking generally and this is not to cause offense to anyone.. but rather for discussion.
Of course I speak Spanish! I'm not so eloquent as I hope to become, but how could I be a guest in another's country without learning the language?
I'd guess that almost everyone intending to stay more than a few weeks in Argentina, anywhere in Argentina, makes serious efforts to learn "buen castellaño", ¿no?
Most expats DO seem to make an effort to learn Spanish. Why do you think otherwise?
When I arrived in Argentina, I only spoke English and Italian. Fortunately for me, my Italian was able to get me through in a basic sense. Eventually I took an intensive month long immersion course in Spanish. While it may not be grammatically correct, at least I make the effort and can get everything done I need to (including arguing with Cablevision, instructions for the housekeeper, etc). I do not expect people to speak English to me because this is not my country but when they do, I consider it a courtesy and I do appreciate it but I NEVER address people in English first. My neighbor who is also American, speaks very good Spanish. There are a number of Argentines who speak English very well. A much higher percentage than even in Italy, Spain or France.That being said, however, there is also some people here who have said "Why don't you speak Spanish?" when I am talking with another Foreigner. Why in the world would I speak Spanish with another American? Stupid mentality. Like most places, alot of people are patient when you make the effort, some are complete jerks who are rude. The biggest problem for me is when I have a problem with Fibertel and I call the assistance number. They try to give me technical instructions in Spanish and if that wasn't bad enough, I am using an American computer so the keyboard is different! I usually ask if they have someone that speaks English there and the usual reply is "This is Argentina and we speak Spanish". I usually reply that I am aware of that, however, if you are in the U.S. and call any number for assistance, they ask you to press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish. It is what it is but I would say half of the Americans here do not speak a word of Spanish and it is kind of embarassing but ulitmately it is their problem because not only are they isolating themselves, they are also the first available targets for rip-offs.
I took an intensive Spanish course @ the Universidad Del Salvador. It really helped me a lot, and I almost never have to resort to English to get things done..