Many English speakers might think that Spanish is spoken the same way all over the world. But this is not the case: there are considerable differences between the Spanish from Spain and the Spanish from Latin America.
There are also differences between Latin American countries. People do not speak the same in Puerto Rico as in Argentina, and not even in Colombia and Venezuela despite being so close.
But the Spanish from Spain is considerably different from the rest of the world.
Spanish from Spain vs. Latin American Spanish
In Latin America, for example, the s, z, and c –before the letters i, y, and e– sound exactly the same thanks to a phenomenon accepted as correct called “seseo”.
The “seseo” occurs in two territories of Spain: Andalusia and Canary Islands, but it does not occur in the rest of the country:
In Spain, z and c (before the letters i,y, and e) have the “th” sound.
But that’s just one example. In most of the Caribbean Sea, it turns the sound of the “r” into an “l”, although not officially but as a very common mistake.
And those differences go much further when it is noted that in parts of Argentina and Uruguay the “ll” is pronounced as “sh”.
Any native speaker of a language other than Spanish can be confused by the way of saying “you”.
Both in Spain and in most of Latin America, the second person singular is “tú” (informal) and “usted” (formal), except in some places, such as Argentina, where “vos” is used.
“¿Tú tienes hambre?”
¿Tú tienes hambre?
Argentina and other regions that use “vos”:
“¿Vos tenés hambre?”
But when it comes to the plural, in Latin America they say and write “ustedes”, and in Spain they use “vosotros”.
“¿Vosotros tenéis hambre?”
“¿Ustedes tienen hambre?”
Argentina and other regions:
“¿Ustedes tienen hambre?
The verbs also change when the Spanish “tú” is used, and more so when the imperative is applied, that is, when we order or ask someone for something.
“Idos a casa”.
“Váyanse a casa”.
“Canten esta canción”.
“Cantad esta canción”.
The above are just some of the most notorious differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain and in Latin America. But this should not be a cause for concern.
When learning, for example, the Spanish from Latin America, time and the media will, sooner or later, teach us in a very easy and natural way how to perfectly understand what is spoken in Spain.
Although the vocabulary is basically the same, it is good to know that, in Spanish, things are usually called differently in each country and even region: that includes everything from the names of fruits to technologies. Sometimes you can simply change the accent (“vídeo” in Spain – “video” in Latin America), but in other examples you change the whole word (“ordenador” in Spain – “computadora” or “computador” in Latin America)
We insist that these differences should not be cause for alarm. Also, at Lingua Language Center, we have a very effective method of teaching Spanish, which has been working for decades.
Get in touch with us so that you can take your first steps in acquiring the Spanish language, which represents a world of opportunities for your work and your brain.