https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

American Spanish to European Spanish, like American English to British English?

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I'm trying to get a better understanding of the differences between the "variations" of Spanish, so I'm attempting to equate it to something more familiar.

American English and British English are indeed different, but they are still mutually understandable. By that I mean a person from one country could travel to the other, and nearly all reasonable educated people will be able to understand him/her. The accent would certainly stand out, but only a few words would be confused (and most people can learn these quickly), and fewer still would be out of place. Here are just a couple of examples:

Different terms (easy to spot and learn) - apartment vs. flat, hood vs. bonnet, trunk vs. boot, elevator vs. lift

Some words might mean little in one country, but be offensive in the other (eg. bloody, shag, and tosser mean nothing outstanding in America, but you would certainly not use in mixed company in Britain).

How similar is this scenario to European Spanish vs. Latin American Spanish? (I know that there are different versions of Spanish within Latin America, just like there are different version of English in America.) Similarly, there are different accents and terms between the European and American versions; some will be confusing, others offensive. For example, in Spain "hay que coger el tren" (one must take a train), would be entirely offensive in many parts of Latin America (use "llevar" instead).

Ultimately, I want to know if this is similar to the English variations - Will a reasonably educated speaker (or student) from Spain be understood by reasonably educated listeners in Latin America (or vice versa)?

3 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
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They would be able to understand each other, but I think the difference between the Latin American dialects and the Castilian ones are further apart than with U.S and English from England. More like the difference between U.S. English and Scottish English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/m.tastic
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Plus, there are entirely different pronouns. Spain uses "vosotros" for informal and "ustedes" for formal, but in Latin America "ustedes" is used for both.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Petersbro

I would disagree with both these positions. Latin American Spanish is about as different from Spain Spanish as US English is to England English. Vosotros is not an entirely different pronoun. Educated Latin Americans know full well that vosotros is technically the informal pronoun, however, they still use the culturally normative ustedes. This functions much in the same way Ya'll functions in English; educated Brits would know that it's a regional pronoun in America.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi
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That was part of question I was asking. In the English example, a Brit will call it a "flat", but would understand if an American used the word "apartment". They may never personally use the same words, but would certainly understand if they heard them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Yes, I believe that a reasonably educated speakers will be able to understand each other. They are mutually understood. Although many Latin American Spanish speakers make fun of the lisp, the "th" sound, they understand what is being said.

Please note, I don't know anyone from Spain but I watch many films. I listen and enjoy content in both Spanish (Latin American) y español de españa. There are some videos online with some speakers discussing the differences or mocking them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/curtdiesel

Your analogy is very good. Someone from Spain will have no problem talking with someone from Latin America and vice versa. This happens every day all the time with tourists and migrants in both directions. Will it be obvious that you are from another country, Yes. Will you need to be mindful that you may offend someone and be ready to appologize, yes again. Any reasonable person will understand the language difference and work with you to make sure you understand each other.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LuisCarlos17f
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I have got facebook friends from Iberoamerica, and you can some different words, even Hispanoamerican countries, for example a Mexican doesn't speak like an Argentian or a Cuban at all.

In Spain different different regions have got different accents, and the ones from Andalucia, south region, is very funn. Sometimes people use accents from Andalucia to tell jokes or funny stories.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi
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Very true. I think that is like most large countries. If you are from US or Canada, it is easy to tell if someone is from Chicago, or Alabama, or Boston, because they are very different accents. Same for Brits; they can easily distinguish someone from London, or Manchester, or Newcastle. Regional dialects are fascinating that way!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/virgilio931

just one thing, about the train In latin america we use "tomar" no "llevar" take means: llevar y tomar but these words doesnt means the same. in your example you must use "tomar" because coger=tomar, coger as you know it, only it is used in spain as take, in latin america we use tomar.

3 years ago
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