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https://www.duolingo.com/TracyS221

Spanish Spanish vs Latin American Spanish

TracyS221
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My son (age 12) & I have been learning Spanish on Duo for about 6 months. It has done wonders for his confidence in class at school (just before we started his teacher said he had very little confidence & never put his hand up in class - to - he just got full marks in a reading assessment before Christmas!) So thankyou for that Duo! :-)

However, we live in the UK and in class he learns traditional Spanish and I am beginning to think that carrying on with Duo (as it seems to teach Latin American Spanish) is going to cause more problems than it solves!

Can you good folks advise on this? Has anyone else in the UK successfully used duo to work towards GCSE's? Do you get marked down for using the "wrong" verb endings & how much confusion does this produce in class. (Noting, neither of us are natural language learners, so remembering 2 sets of endings is not on the cards!)

What's the chances of getting a "Traditional" Spanish course on Duo? Would there be much support for it folks? Duo want to introduce this to schools & I think that would be great, but in the UK I would think most schools would want traditional Spanish.

3 years ago

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Libertad54
Libertad54
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I am Spanish and I cannot see such big differences. In vocabulary, they admit all the versions -The course admits "ordenador", instead of "computadora" and "coche" instead of "carro", for example. But it is true that sometimes they do not admit European grammar rules. For example, the use of present perfect in Europe, both in English and Spanish in some cases that American (both English and Spanish speakers) choose the simple past in English and the indefinido o pretérito perfecto simple in Spanish. For example "did you ever do" instead of "have you ever done" -and the translations"hiciste alguna vez" "has hecho alguna vez". Also they do not let me use "haven't got" instead of "don't have". So, I think that the problem is solved if they admit all the possible correct answers.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Libertad54
Libertad54
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And besides, the Spanish that we speak in different parts of Spain is not exactly de same either. In many parts of Andalucía we pronounce the "c" as in America -or sometimes just the opposite: in some Andalucian villages everybody "lisps" But the differences are not greater that those between different varieties of English. But of course it is not a problem for Spanish speakers to understand perfectly what the others say. We know that we must "agarrar" in America or change your nickname if your name is Concepción, since it is not nice to be called "shell" in America.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

I agree with the others that I don't think it will cause your son any problems.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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I use Spain Spanish on Duo without many problems. Whenever they don't have European specific vocabulary, you just report it and they'll add it quickly enough. You won't be taught vosotros here, but you shouldn't normally be penalized for using it, and as long as he knows it from school, I don't think that using Duo would cause any problems.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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Taking an online Spanish test I noticed I could usually get a lot of the Spain specific Spanish stuff right (vosotros verb conjugation) simply because I knew all the other non-Spain specific stuff I knew did not apply.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaSmith0

As a person of Spanish decent, who has spoken Spanish in both Latin America and Spain, I'd say that you shouldn't worry so much about the type of Spanish your son learns. In fact, if he's learning Traditional Spanish and Latin American Spanish at the same time, I think that is quite beneficial because then he'll be able to really immerse himself into the Spanish language and he'll get to know the whole spectrum of Spanish vocabulary. I say this from personal experience; being able to understand both "versions" of Spanish has definitely helped me understand all there is to know about the Spanish language and the cultures associated with it. As far as the accent goes, I understand that Traditional Spanish and Latin American Spanish have different accents, but regardless of which accent he sticks to, ANYONE who speaks Spanish will understand him for sure. If I were him, I'd stick to learning both Traditional & Latin American Spanish. I think in the long run, it will be very benefitting :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

The difference about like you moving to Winnipeg and worrying about whether you'll understand the English spoken there. ;) Emphasize the 99% the languages (Peninsular versus Duolingo Spanish) have in common rather than the differences.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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The founder of Duolingo is from South America, so I'm not sure how soon a "traditional" Spanish course will be added. There are some members here requested an advance course. Please note, as I recently learned during while taking an online Spanish course in Spain, there are some parts of España that do not use the vosotros form. That is one of the key differences between Spanish and Spanish (Latin America). Of course there are many phrases that are used in México or Perú that are not used in Spain. Just like we don't bum a fag in the States or use a plaster to heal wounds.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

Clarification: Luis Ahn, the founder of duolingo, is from Guatemala which is in Central America.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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Guess how much I scored in geography? It's time to purchase a globe.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TracyS221
TracyS221
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Thanks very much for that everyone. Duo has given him such a lot of help it would be a shame to have to drop it! I hated languages at school, but I find that I can learn with Duo & I think he learns in a similar way to me!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mbalavi
mbalavi
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Hi Tracy, just adding with what everyone has said above, I would continue to use Duo. He doesn't have to relearn a new set of endings, he just needs to learn a couple forms that are used in Spain and are omitted in Latin America (Imagine if in English one country still used the forms "thou" and "you" whereas most other countries only use "you"). He just needs to pick up the "thou" form, but the other form he learned already ("you") will be unchanged. Other than that most differences will be very minor.

If you are really concerned, I would get a book (like 501 Spanish verbs) and go over the regular verb conjugations and all the most important irregulars. When I took Spanish in school, mastering verb conjugations seemed to be the punchline of about 80% of what shows up on quizzes and tests...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lafe55
lafe55
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I have found it enormously easier to learn Spanish verb conjugations on Duo than I did from studying Spanish in high school and college (but that was during the 1970's, so . . . ). I found that learning it by studying verb conjugations just seemed like it would never come naturally or that I could sort out all of those tables in my mind while trying to speak spontaneously. However, now with Duo's method, I am really feeling more and more confident of what I am hearing in which tense and from whose perspective without giving it much thought.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TracyS221
TracyS221
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I feel very much the same way. I remember having a French test one day where we'd been asked to learn 2 verbs - 1 of which was To learn. I was so frustrated, I tried to put I do not learn & even got that wrong! It's totally different now with Duo!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danaibalt

Hello, as someone who lives in the UK (and did gcse spanish ;) ) while using duolingo, its perfectly switchable. The differences are very small pronounciation wise and you can learn the vocab on duolingo if you just hover over the words dont worry

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wynrich
wynrichPlus
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I haven't had experience with learning Spanish for the UK GCSE's. I do agree with the commenters who say it shouldn't be a problem in practical situations, though I realize that's not what you asked. :)

So, commenting on practical Spanish ... Pretty much all my Spanish study has been Latin American (Pimsleur, Duolingo, books, etc.). I've spent a total of about 20 weeks traveling in Spain and the Latin American Spanish served me well there. If I moved to Spain, it probably wouldn't be difficult to (1) switch to the lisp pronunciation (I found myself saying "grathias" after just a short time in Spain), (2) master vosotros, and (3) learn the not-too-extensive difference in vocabulary.

Maybe for the test, your son could brush up on just those things? Maybe there is a book or course?

Understanding native speakers when they speak at a normal speed is still a great challenge for me. But I find many Spain people easier to understand than some Latin Americans.

And there's so much variation in vocabulary and pronunciation even between Latin America countries. As far as vocabulary goes, it's probably no harder to learn the differences in Spain than in any particular Latin American country. And I think they understand us no matter what word we use. (Just as we Americans understand that when the English say "biscuits" they really mean "cookies" and not at all what we mean by "biscuits". :)

There is a Madrid-based website, notesinspanish.com, that might give your son practice with Spain Spanish. It's great for listening practice and vocabulary.

3 years ago