https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

Spain Spanish vs South American Spanish

Hey again! Now, when I started the Spanish course Duolingo notified me that it was the Spanish as spoken in South America. What are the main differences between the two dialects, particularly that I would need to know?

10/21/2014, 9:48:13 PM

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Adina_atl

In American Spanish (which includes Central America and Mexico in North America) ustedes (you all) is used for both formal and informal plural you, and is conjugated the same as ellos (they). In Spain ustedes is used for the formal plural you, conjugated the same as ellos (they), while vosotros is used for the informal plural you, with different conjugations.

Some Latin American countries use a third singular informal you, vos, which should not be confused with the plural informal vosotros from Spain. Duolingo does not teach either vos or vosotros, but will usually accept either as a translation for "you" provided you conjugate it correctly. If it doesn't (and you're sure of your conjugation) you can click the Report button and check "My answer should be accepted."

Some words are also different in Spain and Latin America (or different in different countries of Latin America). For instance, computer is la computadora in most Latin American countries, el computador in Colombia, and el ordenador in Spain. Pineapple is piña in American Spanish and ananá in Spain.

10/21/2014, 10:51:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
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Good answer (First time someone note that we don't say "la computadora" in Colombia), but just a little mistake: Pineapple is Ananá in Argentina (perhaps in Uruguay and Paraguay) and Piña in the rest of countries.

10/22/2014, 2:09:18 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Adina_atl

I think I learned that Colombia says "el computador" from you. But I had to cheat and use a web search to remember which country it was. I didn't know that ananá was used in Argentina; thanks for telling me. I find it interesting how countries within the Americas differ from each other. Would someone in Colombia know what an ananá is? Or would it depend on their education?

10/22/2014, 2:54:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
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haha really? good to know :D I think Spanish changes between LatAm countries because of the different Indigenous populations (e.g Maya in Guatemala or Aimara in Bolivia, etc) and the differrent inmigrations (besides Spanish, you could find Italian in Argentina, Lebanese in Colombia and Venezuela, Japanese in Peru, etc)

I know that word because my mom watches some cooking tv shows. the same for palta (aguacate, avocado) and frutilla (fresa, strawberry). I think most of people wouldn't know what's ananá.

10/23/2014, 12:47:31 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/trevorhaggett

I learned spanish in venezuela, work as a loan officer here in the US and still just say, la pinche maquinita for computer...

10/23/2014, 8:59:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/FilioK

Since when is ananá pineapple in Spain? I'm Spanish and it is piña, or so I use and I have never heard anyone say ananá. Computadora-Ordenador.

10/23/2014, 3:29:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Adina_atl

I've never been to Spain, so I don't know from personal experience. But I was told that ananá was the term in Spain.

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/ananas
Anana, nombre dado en Europa a la piña de América.

10/23/2014, 4:53:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
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You should call it Latin American Spanish, not South American. North America (which includes Greenland and everything from Canada to Panama plus most of the Caribbean) has more native Spanish speakers than South America.

cGlua29kb3Vn

10/22/2014, 4:23:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/KristinChile

Not quite. North America includes Mexico and much of the Caribbean Islands. Central America is comprised of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama.

10/23/2014, 5:00:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
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No (and yes!). Central America is a region that is geographically (and geologically) a part of the North American continent. While those countries are all indeed part of Central American region, they're also a part of North America. It doesn't really matter how we choose to draw the lines, though. Even without the Central American countries, North America still has more native Spanish speakers than South America. In any event, the larger point remains unchanged: it's not accurate to call it "South American" Spanish.

EDIT: I just noticed a mistake in my math (I inadvertently left Peru out of the count). Without the Central American countries, South America has more native speakers. That doesn't change the fact, however, that the majority of Spanish speakers in the Americas are not South American.

10/23/2014, 5:25:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
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Just a thing, in the Spanish-speaking world we don't consider to Central America as a part of North America... América is divided in Norteamérica, Centroamérica (y el Caribe) and Suramérica.

10/24/2014, 1:50:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
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That is more of an arbitrary cultural distinction favored in Latin American countries, however**. This view ignores the fact that Central America and the Antilles are geologically a part of North America, and favors instead viewing the three (or four) areas as regions of one Latin America. Once again, though, quibbling over where we draw the lines misses the larger point.

** This is an understandably popular view given that it draws a greater separation of many of these countries from the USA, which has a long and ugly track record of meddling (to put it far too politely) in Latin American affairs.

10/24/2014, 2:51:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
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Yeah, it's cultural. For example, geologically, Central America and most of Antilles have their own tectonic plate: the Caribbean Plate, different from the North American one (I'm studying Geology). It supports my point of view, but you've got arguments supporting yours (equally a cultural point of view).

Another example is Australia vs Oceanía, or America (country) vs América (continente), we all have to respect those cultural changes (I'm not contradicting your answer to KristinChile, you're right). Bear it in mind when you write in Spanish (you're writing in English, so you're totally right). Greetings!

10/24/2014, 3:32:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

Ok, cool, so not much of a dramatic difference then. :)

10/21/2014, 10:09:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

That is a good attitude. Some people have left Duo rather than "waste time learning the wrong language," which is about like me thinking I need to re-learn my English before I leave Minnesota for Canada.

10/21/2014, 10:48:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
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In Latin American Spanish you pronounce c like s before i or e. In Spain you pronounce them like th.

Edit same thing with z it sounds like s in Latin America and th in Spain.

10/21/2014, 10:08:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

I was wondering that; I thought I was remembering it wrong from when I used to do Spain-Spanish at school!

10/21/2014, 10:10:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Aparato

I think you will find the same is true in Andalucia (that is same as Latin America). he reason I was told is that that was where the conquistadores came from and they took their pronunciation to america.

10/23/2014, 2:01:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/danainai

thats an interesting fact. thank you

10/23/2014, 4:53:17 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/eliyazdi
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Mostly accent differences, although the Spanish also use the "vosotros" verb form for plural you, "ustedes" being used only formally.

10/21/2014, 10:02:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/supainanoko
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So true. I had a Spanish teacher a couple of years ago who was from Spain--he kept on voseándonos (using vosotros; I just had to use that word because it is fun to say), which we didn't like because we were not used to it and felt he was being too friendly ("buddy-buddy," my sister calls it) when we didn't know him very well. And then last year there was a student teacher who had studied in Spain for a few years, and most of the class had a hard time understanding him.

10/22/2014, 5:29:58 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/casmeeeth

Apart from the accent and the use of vosotros, I think the only other major differences would be vocabulary. I know in Spain they use "conducir" instead of "manejar" and "coche" instead of "carro" (at least this is what my host mom told me when I was there). Also, sometimes in Spain they use -se ending instead of -ra for preterite subjunctive. (Hablara/hablase, pudiera/pudiese, etc), but this is more common in older literature, I think.

10/21/2014, 11:24:59 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/gonzalo0984

the big difference is the accent and slang, not only between Spain and America, but between southern South America and northern South America.

10/22/2014, 1:50:16 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
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don;t forget cagar lol, - also i like how for the title the thought of writing 'spanish spanish' must have gone through your head lol

10/22/2014, 2:55:41 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/kenbosnick

My Spanish girlfriend thinks I'm crazy if I call a potato a 'papa'!

10/23/2014, 3:16:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

what does she say you should call it? patata?

10/23/2014, 4:44:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/kenbosnick

Yes. Patata.

10/23/2014, 4:51:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

Ah ok. I'm guessing she's peninsular then.

Edit: Ah yes, you did say "Spanish girlfriend" and not "Spanish speaking girlfriend"... so yeah, peninsular should've been obvious to ol' Huck.

10/23/2014, 5:04:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/StephenMal2

I have spent time in Barcelona, Spain and now loads of time in Quito, Ecuador and Chile. In these two LatAm countries the Spanish is very different and both are different from Spanish Spanish. I asked for jugo de durazno in Seville and the guy didn't know what I meant. I then worked out that its zumo de melocoton. Zumo in Quito would only be used for lemon concentrate. Also in some Latin American countries the language is peppered with local dialects (guagua for baby etc). Also in Ecuador they don't use vos, vosotros etc but I know they do in Nicaragua. Pronunciation is different - the lispy pronunciation didn't really make it over to LatAm! I see Usted/Su being used in the formal and Tu in the informal. Basically it seems to me that there really isn't a Latin American spanish per se as each Country has its own 'flavour'.

10/23/2014, 7:37:15 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/nicoqk
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Not only there are many differences between Spain Spanish and South America Spanish. There are also many differences between the differentes Latin American countries. The biggest differences are in pronunciation, vocabulary and regionalisms.

ps: excuse my english. I am learning

10/23/2014, 12:01:39 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/kenbosnick

Jugo in LA = Zumo in Spain

10/23/2014, 3:16:56 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/oscarivvan
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it is like american english and british english. the differences are in the way that we talk and some commun expressions in each country. you should listen some songs or movies in spanish and notice you about the differences. you will see that there are not lots of differences. Spanish is a beatiful lenguage but not an easy lenguage. just try to speak it without any accent and left the term "spain spanish" or "american spanish" behind. Even in China Spanish is Spanish ;)

10/26/2014, 2:26:07 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Floris.Tijdink

Duolingo taught me a lot, but when i visited Spain this summer, people gave me a strange look when I used certain words. For example:

-The word for sandwich Duolingo uses: "Emparedado", is not used in Spain. The common word for sandwich there is "Bocadillo".

-One doesn't use the word "Refrigerador" for refrigerator in Spain, only Latin-American Spanish uses this word. Frigorífico is the Spanish word.

If anyone has more examples?

10/26/2014, 6:54:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
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I've known 'Spain spanish' as castellano, however 9inside spain they also have their own variant of the languages galician, catalan and i think theres another which i think use spanish words however is an entirely different language (I think lol) also i have a spanish friend from the andalucian region and he's pronunciation/dialect of spanish is very different to this more 'normal' way we are learning here.

10/22/2014, 2:58:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Aparato

most if not all of spain is bi-lingual .. everyone (should) speak castellano but every region has its own language. Valenciano, Galician, Catalan and Aranese (plus several other sub-languages) not forgetting Basque which is unlike any other 'spanish' language. I've been told that many villages also have there own sub-language.

10/23/2014, 2:07:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/rbryson98

I am currently living in Spain for the year and I have noticed mainly the difference in accents, the use of the vosotros tense and other small word changes like the use of conducir instead of manejar.

10/22/2014, 9:41:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/danainai

In argentina spanish they pronounce 'll' as a think j, while in castillano, its like the sound in the begining of the word 'yes' Also, in argentina spanish, y are pronounced like j in english, while castillano is again as above a y from 'yes' sound

there are many other differences too but you can communicate in spanish effectively with either kind. the greatest result will be people going 'aww your accent is cute' as americans do when they hear british people and vice versa.

10/23/2014, 4:52:46 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

Thank-you everyone for your replies! I'm reading every one of them. :)

10/23/2014, 11:18:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Cyneburg
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A lot of people have given you some great information. I'd like to add that some Latin American Spanish speakers don't pronounce s sometimes. Especially if it's in the middle of a word. I'm a fan of Barcelona football club and I have to search for streams to watch their games and I've found some that are in spanish. One of the players names is Iniesta, but I've heard a commentator say Inieta or equina for corner. The s has been completely dropped. I'm not sure what region or country their from but it happens. Also, while growing up, I heard some pronounce r's like l's and my mom would cringe when she would hear that lol.

Also the cadences of how Spanish is spoken is different as well. I think in Spain it's very unique to how it sounds. Castellano is very easy to distinguish.

There's a YouTube video that explains how different Spanish can be from region to region, and country to country.

10/24/2014, 3:49:50 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
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It happens in southern Spain and basically in almost all LatAm coastal areas (American Spanish is principally influenced by Southern Spain Spanish). For example it happens in Seville, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Panama city, Lima, Havana, San Juan... and it does not happen in Bogota, Quito, Mexico city, La Paz, etc.

And r's like l's happen in Puerto Rico (perhaps in Cuba and DR).

10/25/2014, 12:36:01 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Scriptease
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This song sums it up nicely:

Oh, how hard it is to speak Spanish! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LjDe4sLER0

10/25/2014, 7:59:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/nicoqk
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Concha

In Spain = Shell In Argentina = ❤❤❤❤❤

10/25/2014, 1:51:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

Very useful! Thanks: can't get those two mixed up!

10/25/2014, 5:19:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/danainai

I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to intonation in a language and sentance candences. There isnt a huge difference between castillano and latino intonation, unless it comes to questions (which is why I always get confused and a bit frustrated when a question structure comes on in duo cause my accent is castillan). And because I have two friends who speak argentinan spanish, I can tell you it sounds as if it has an undertone of italian in its intonation.

Have fun

11/1/2014, 11:30:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Canadian_Pig

How do questions differ?

11/4/2014, 2:09:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/danainai

in castilliano questions have an uptalk at the end of them, while in latin american spanish, it fluctuates up and down. the questions you hear on duo are latin american

11/4/2014, 5:31:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneStomeo
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In south america 'you all' and 'they' have the same conjugation (ustedes), in spain 'you all' is vosotros and 'they' is ustedes and have differnt conjugations

10/21/2014, 10:06:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Adina_atl

"They" is ellos in both the Americas and Spain. Vosotros and ustedes are both "you all" (plural you), but vosotros is informal and only used in Spain, while ustedes is formal in Spain and serves both roles in the Americas.

10/21/2014, 10:54:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/...Jenna...

whats the difference between the two?

10/22/2014, 6:17:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Hucklebeary

This entire thread is a discussion on the difference between the two lol.

10/22/2014, 8:26:55 PM
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