Uruguayan Spanish has changed very little since the arrival of the early Spanish settlers. The Guaraní language spoken by the indigenous peoples is no longer used, but many Guaraní words remain in the language and are used as place names. In the towns near the Brazilian border, some people may speak Portuguese or Portuñol, a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish. Many Uruguayans also understand Italian. Italians first settled in Uruguay in the 19th century and more immigrated in the 20th century after the First and Second World Wars.
Uruguayans address people who are not close friends or family very formally. Señor, Señora or Señorita, that is Mr., Mrs. or Miss, are the usual forms of address. People may also be addressed according to their professions: lawyers may be addressed as Doctor, accountants as Contador, engineers as Ingeniero.

 Uruguayans frequently drop in on their friends. Telephoning first is not necessary. Hospitality is always extended to visitors. A gourd of yerba mate is often the first thing offered. It is traditional to shake hands with visitors when they arrive and when they depart. When men greet each other, they may hug each other, or pat each other on the back. Women usually kiss each others' cheeks. In conversation, Uruguayans stand close together when they talk, closer than is common for North Americans.

  Did you know?
Personal visiting cards are common in Uruguay. New acquaintances or business people will exchange cards when they first meet. Among young people this custom is not common, but it is still expected among professional working people.
  English   Spanish
  Good morning    Buenos días
  Good night   Buenas noches
  How are you?   ¿Cómo esta usted?
  Very good   Muy bien
  What is your name?   ¿Cómo se llama usted?
  My name is...   Me llamo... 
  Please   Por favor
  Thank you very much   Muchas gracias
  Don't mention it.../It is nothing...   De nada.../No hay de qué...
  I want   Quiero