https://www.duolingo.com/LarsIvarIg

Latin American Spanish vs Spanish Spanish

I've been on and off Spanish from English for several years (got to 50% in the pre-crown setup). This summer I've been quite active again, and kinda starting over with the big changes in topic organization. But! It seems like the words in the new topics lean a lot more towards Latin American than Spanish Spanish. Now I get carro instead of coche and sandwich instead of emparedado. I've even gotten wrong translation when I wrote "coche" for "car". Although it is useful to know the differences, I wish I could lock my learning to the European Spanish, as that is typically where i travel being an European myself. And I certainly shouldn't be punished in my lessons for writing this form of Spanish (I should note that coche and automovil has worked in other excercises).

6 months ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Duolingo always has taught Mexican Spanish with minor exceptions ("coche" was one exception). In the new tree there are new words from Spain (namely "coger"). It seems like nobody says "emparedado" in 21th century. I've never heard or read a native speaker saying it, only dubbed movies and cartoons.

Words from Spain should be accepted. Report when they are marked wrong.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dutchesse722
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About "coger," it was recently introduced to me in one of the skills in the Spanish tree (I forget which) and I was a little perplexed about it. I just read this about coger: "There are also words that can have unexpected meanings in some areas; a notorious example is coger, a verb that is used routinely to refer to grabbing or taking in some areas but that in other areas has a strongly sexualized meaning." ??? Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/regional-differences-in-spanish-3079201.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeP777442
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My understanding is that "coger" is very common in Spain, "ellos cogen el tren," but in much of Latin America, it is best to not use it due to its strong sexual meaning.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsIvarIg

I do try to report as I can.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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There are a lot of informal Mexican words that I don't see on Duolingo, camión instead of autobús, muchacho/muchacha or chamaco/chamaca instead of niño/niña, and so on.

http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=cami%C3%B3n

http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=muchacho

Many of us have been warned about using coger in Latin America. However, I spoke to a VERY conservative woman from El Salvador and she thought coger (and recoger) were fine. She more or less said that yes it does have that other meaning but it's okay if you know what people mean from the context, it's fine. It's that true where you are too or is it only used in a vulgar sense in some places?

Nevertheless, I've decided I'll probably use agarrar instead most of the time especially when young guys in their 20s.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Duolingo teaches common expression, not very colloquial and not very formal. And it doesn't teach some common words in Mexico ("camión", "alberca", "jitomate"), preferring more widespread words.

In my country (Chile) nobody says it in any sense, it is out of our list of available words. But the sexual meaning, used in Rioplatense, is more understood than the other meaning. And no problem with "recoger" or "escoger", they are entirely normal.

Said that, in all countries people read books at school, watch TV and listen to music from different countries. We have a medium or high passive knowledge of all big dialects: Mexican, Central-Northern Spain and Rioplatense and, at lesser extent, also from some types of Andean (Lima, Bogota) and Caribbean (Cuba and Venezuela). So, "cojamos el autobús" or "cogí un resfriado" are usually understood.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Excellent insights! Thank you.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsIvarIg

Generally I teach myself in a bubble, but my brother is married to a Spanish woman (from Vigo), and so I've experienced quite a bit of Spanish Spanish (somewhat coloured by Galician or something else as they've lived in several corners of Spain). I also once did some duolingo lessons with her within earshot, and I she protested on several of the words back then. I think one of them was the exact meaning and sex of 'radio'.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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The main difference between Central and Northern Spain (+ Equatorial Guinea) and the rest of Spain and Latin America is the difference between s and z/c. So, "¿haces ejercicio en su terraza?" with standad Spanish pronunciation can sound too bad for a person from Spain, where prestige dialect is based on dialects from Central Spain.

Hmmm. I think I remember that sentence. It was not "Mexican", it was "uncommon". The word "radio" is feminine for the device, the radio station and the technology and masculine for radium and radius. Exceptionally, there are people who say "el radio" for a radio device.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulmexicodf

To be honest I never really understand this issue. For A1 - B2 it really doesn´t matter what "spanish" you learn, area specific vocab. is really the least of your worries. For C1 and above, you should have exposed yourself to more than just one región of spanish, for example I know my "cuban" is really bad, so i know I really should start focusing on understanding it better, also being in mexico i have recently starting studying voseo. So for me once it is an "issue" you will already be widening your spanish understanding anyway

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Me neither. I'm learning English in Duolingo that it is mostly General American English, but at this level it is basically English. I'm pretty sure I would be understood the same in Sydney and London and problems would be derived from my poor performance in pronunciation or grammar, not from variety taught here.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexmane

Wait, in Spain they don't say sándwich but emparedado!? Duolingo please... By the way I agree, I mainly want to learn words of peninsular Spanish, but how do I know if the word Duolingo is showing me is latin american or Spanish-Spanish? :(

Great point, lingot

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Latin American Spanish does not exist. Even "Spanish Spanish" doesn't exist :) The prestige dialect of Spain has "bocadillo" instead "sándwich". But Duolingo teaches Mexican Spanish with some words from other countries, https://www.duolingo.com/course/es/en/Learn-Spanish-Online

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsIvarIg

True about bocadillo! This I've actually heard in Spain :) But emparedado was the word I knew from earlier (may have been Babbel rather than Duolingo).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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As far as I know, they say "torta" or "sándwich" in Mexico. I don't know where they say emparedado.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EseEmeErre
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Yeah, in my experience, they use torta specifically for that style of sandwich and all others are sándwiches. There can be so many regional differences within mx, though, that I can't say whether that's true throughout the country.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ausir
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Bocadillo is not accepted by Duolingo, I've reported it quite a few times.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Wikipedia defines bocadillo as "a sandwich made with Spanish bread, usually a baguette or similar type of bread, cut lengthwise." Similar to what we in the US would call a hero or a hoagie, I guess. This rhymes with what I learned year or two ago while I was doing a lesson with a native speaker from somewhere the Americas. The word sandwich came up, I used bocadillo. The teacher explained to me that, essentially, a bocadillo is a really big sandwich (my vocabulary was quite limited at the time).

I don't know whether this might be the rub with Duolingo's reluctance to accept this word for sandwich, but maybe?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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It is because the new tree. They don't accept common words. We have to report them.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ausir
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Thing is, the sandwich they show in the pictures is definitely a bocadillo by Spanish standards. Anyway, Duolingo should accept all of the variants.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexmane

So I guess the only way to find out is when I'll go to Spain and ask for something in a bar, while they look at me laughing :D

Yeah I know there's many dialects and variations, but I didn't know Duolingo was using words more commonly used in Mexico (or South America) rather than Spain.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Don't worry. The course is basic. It teaches around 2000 words and probably 95% are used in all countries and 99% both in Spain and Mexico.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexmane

Thanks a lot

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Not to worry. There are lots of people from Latin America in Spain and, as far as I can tell, they seem to blend in quite well. So, if people laugh or look at you funny in Spanish bars, it might be for another reason.

[Short war story from another language.] I learned to speak German while stationed in Berlin in the mid 70s and early 80s. After serving a tour in the U.S., I was posted back to Germany in the late 80s. My family and I lived in a small village (~900 people) in the southwest. My neighbors and other German folks I met were very amused by my accent: Er klingt wie ein Berliner! (He sounds like a Berliner!)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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I had no trouble in Spain. They won't laugh at you, but it's a good idea to get a list of food words used in Spain to avoid any confusion. Most words will be the same, but here are a few differences off the top of my head that I have learned along the way but wish I had known sooner:

juice = zumo (Spain), jugo (other places)

tortilla = potato egg dish similar to a fritatta (Spain) but translates to omelette in the reverse course, flat round bread for tacos in Mexico and burritos in the USA.

tostada = toasted bread (Spain), crispy flat round bread (tortilla) with lots of stuff piled on it (Mexico and USA).

tapa = late afternoon snack you get in a bar (Spain), the top to something like a food container (other places)

chorizo - both sausages but it's a hard sausage with smoked paprika in Spain, but an uncooked sausage in Mexico

churros = small and curly pastry dunked into very dark thick chocolate (Spain), Bigger and straight pastry covered with powdered sugar (Mexico and USA)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsIvarIg

Well, this I know from an early lesson with my sister-in-law; tapa the food is so named because it was traditionally served on top of the tapa on the drink (think of it like a lid on the beer).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ausir
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Chorizo is just a generic word for sausage in Spanish. So you might get different chorizos everywhere.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EseEmeErre
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For as long as a course description has existed (years now), it has said that the Spanish taught here is what you'll typically find used in the Americas, but it will be understood anywhere. As Chilotin has said, it's mostly Mexican with some other influences.

Once you've learned the basics here on Duo, you can fine tune your vocabulary and pronunciation for the region you prefer.

https://www.duolingo.com/course/es/en/Learn-Spanish-Online

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelHill6

I have never heard emaredado in spain. In spain, they normally say bocadillo referring to a sandwich on french bread, usually with jamon serrano/iberico, tortilla francesa, or chorizo. For a standard sandwich on regular loaf bread, they simply say "sandwich" with a spanish accent of course.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/meganniathomas

They do! A regular sandwich is often referred to as a "sandwich" (a accented but I don't have the right keyboard). A baguette is referred to as a bocadillo!

(Source: My boyfriend who is from Madrid, it may differ between regions)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nita_Bonita

I'm trying to learn latin american spanish. And when using emparedado, coche, gafas with latino friends I was laughed at a little bit haha. But then I noticed that duolino changed it to latin american words. So I don't know what kind of spanish I'm learning anymore. I think it's better if duolingo had an option for each latin american and spanish spanish!! But also as long as both latinos and spanish people can understand, we can learn and correct ourselves from personal interactions!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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There is no "Latin American Spanish" and there is no "Spanish from Spain" but around 6 major dialects in Latin America and 2 major dialects in Spain. Duolingo always has taught a species of Mexican Spanish, but there are words from Spain and other countries. In the new tree they deleted some words ("coche", "emparedado") and added others ("coger", "patata"). You are still learning Mexican pronunciation with general grammar and mostly Mexican vocabulary.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ausir
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Coche is still found in some lessons. And most lessons accept both coche and carro as answers (as well as emparedado for sandwiches, although they should accept bocadillo too, which they often don't). Still, most of the vocabulary is pretty universal.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ausir
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Some lessons use coche by default, others use carro. Both should be accepted, though (there is at least one exercise where "coche" is not accepted, one with the picture so the only report option is "something is wrong'"). Generally if any Spain vocab is not accepted, report it.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelHill6

Other thoughts on Spanish from Spain vs Latin America; when referring to past events with relation to the present, they tend to use the Present Perfect (Preterito Perfecto compuesto) in Spain whereas in Latin America they tend to favor the Simple Preterite. Usually any sentence with "Hoy, esta mañana, Este año, esta semana, etc," the present perfect is used in Spain. For example, "Esta mañana he quedado con mi madre y hemos ido al parque para dar un paseo. Nos ha gustado muchísimo. (Spain)" vs "Esta mañana me encontré con mi madre y fuimos al parque para pasear. Nos gustó muchismo. (Latin America)"

Also in Spain, they tend to favor "Le/Les" in place of "Lo/Los" when referring to male direct object pronouns. For example, "A tu hermano, le he visto esta mañana." (Spain) vs A tu hermano, lo vi esta mañana." (Latin America)

I suspect this is to remain consistent with the demonstrative pronouns, where the E ending refers to the masculine and the O ending referrs to the neuter, such as "este/ese/aqeul" when referring to masculine objects and "esto/eso/aquello" when referring to neuter/unspecified object.

According to the RAE, the use of Le as a Direct Object pronoun is only permitted when referring to singular male people, and not masculine objects. However I often hear "Les" used as well instead of "Los" when referring to multiple males or a group of peope. "A tus padres, les conocí ayer."

6 months ago
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