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Religion and Language


In the Argentine Republic no religion has an official character. The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church , the most traditional and also with the largest organized body, has a juridical status different from the rest of churches in line with the National Constitution, that supports this religion (Section 2º). However, apart from Catholicism, in our country there are over 2500 officially recognized cults and religions , that co–exist harmoniously, such as Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Judaism and Islamism, among many other creeds. In Argentina there is freedom of cult and religion consecrated in the National Constitution. Religions diversity has had a long tradition that honours our country. The legions of immigrants of the most diverse origin that arrived in our country in the first half of the past century gave our land an unquestionable universalistic, humanistic and plural seal. In that sense, the National Secretariat of Cult acts as the link between the national government and each of faith organizations.

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Freedom of Cult

Our National Constitution , in its 14th. Article establishes that “All inhabitants in the Nation have same rights conforming to the laws that rule their practice, namely: to run any licit industry; to sail and trade; to petition; to come in, stay, travel and go out of the territory; to publish their ideas on the press with no prior censorship; to use and dispose of their real estate; to get associated for useful purposes; to freely practice their cult or religion ; to teach and to learn “.

The Spanish Language

Spanish is the official language in the Argentine Republic. It was brought by the Spanish conquerors; it underwent changes from its coexistence with the native aboriginal peoples that enriched it, especially in its lexical aspects. The successive immigration waves that took place in the course of the 19th. century and the beginning of the 20th. century also contributed to the Argentineans language. The dialectic differences in the territory, far from making communication difficult, enrich it, thus contributing to consider language as a “simplex” language, that is to say, such language which varieties are intelligible between each other. The Spanish language in Buenos Aires adopts lunfardo forms, a slang of Buenos Aires City.

Other Languages Spoken in Our Country

Guaraní Language

When speaking about guaraní o tupí–guaraní, it is referred to the Amerindian population that was settled in the area of eastern and north–eastern Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and part of Bolivia. Some historians locate them from the south of the Amazons river to the slopes of the Andes. Their languages were tupí and guaraní. Still today they are spoken in these regions, guaraní being the second official language in Paraguay. Since the 18th. century, a great portion of the native peoples have taken customs and traditions from the colonizers in the Jesuitical missions and after that religious order was expelled, they became integrated in various settlements. They traditionally called their language ñe’engatú (“precious language”), or abá ñe’é (“man language”). The guaraní language has given origin to many dialects as the carioca, the tupí, the cario and the caribe, among others. There are some symbols that cannot be reproduced by our Spanish alphabet.

Quechua Language

Quechua is part of the quechumara (quechua + aimara) family spoken from the south of Colombia to the centre of Chile, passing through Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia and Northeastern Argentina. It includes around twenty dialects (at least three in Argentina) that are mutually understandable for its clear and simple grammar. In the Province of Santiago del Estero, a dialect of strong personality and rather different from other varieties of Perú and Bolivia is spoken. For some linguists, it is a non pre–Hispanic language that came in with the yanaconas indians brought by the Spaniards from Perú, while other researchers assert the opposite. Apart from the Santiago del Estero case, others are reported in La Rioja and Catamarca, spoken in rural areas until the beginning of the 20th century. The variety of the Calchaquíes Valleys, Salta and Jujuy Valley, still kept in some places should be added to those two.