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Microsoft and "Twenty Shades of Spanish."

Has anyone noticed that Microsoft offers 20 Spanish options in their Language preferences? This surprises me. I know that Latin American Spanish is about as different from Castillano as American English is from British English, but I thought the variations in Latin America were mainly involved with localisms (modismos). Could someone who knows more than I do comment on this?

August 19, 2013



Really the differences are not so big because the structure is always the same (verb conjugation, pronoms, etc). A Chilean speaker can perfectly understand a Argentinean, Mexican, Spanish, etc speakers, even whit localisms. I always thought that more than one Castilian option is unnecesary.


Well consider this, I took my wife to see the movie "Chariots of Fire" (If you are not familiar with the film it was done in England with British and Scottish accents). My wife is from Venezuela and I asked her if she understood the dialog, she said, "no" and then asked if I did. I had to say, "maybe half." The story takes place at Cambridge one of the oldest Universities in the world, but a lot of filming was done around Liverpool and the Wirral peninsula were Scouse (a lower class English accent influenced by trade with Ireland is popular, although location may have no effect as the actors were speaking in their assigned roles). But the bottom line is that I thought I had a good grip on English until I watched that movie. Still English is seems to get one or two variations. Spanish gets twenty? In Spain they speak Castillano, Vasco, Gallego, Catalan, and Ladino as unique to the country of Spain. I suspect Castillano had the heaviest influence in South America and most educated Spanish speakers in South America can intercommunicate, but the regionalisms are very strong because South and Central America when explored by the Spanish became a continent of disonnected settlement without a connecting road system. Impenetrable jungle, high mountains, long distances and non existant road systems forced emerging European settlements into relative isolation. Also local tribal lingustic influences of native populations influenced the speech patterns of these isolated populations. Because of this they all speak a core of Spanish but the modismos (localisms) are more prevalent than than you will find in most other European languages. Still having said all this, I am surprised that MicroSoft needed to offer twenty or so variations.


No, I don't know the fillm, I will consider to see it (:

And I will take a fragment of another answer:

"When the Kingdom of Castilian in the fifteenth century (Current Spain whit other regions) invaded America imported with them their language, Castilian, which is why in most South American countries and is spoken Castilian. In the country Spain coexist those lenguages with differences in grammar and phonetic quite notable betwen them: Catalan, Castilian, Basque, Galician and other variations. For political reasons, Spain have in their constitution that they official lenguage is Castilian."

Is also contemplated in the constitution of most Latin American countries that their language is Spanish/Castilian (Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama, etc.) so that by birth (and whether more or less educated are not has strictly to do with it) speak Castilian/Spanish. Every one has, of course, their own indigenous languages ​​like in Spain(Before the Castilian invasion) that have absolutely nothing to do with the language Castilian/Spanish, not the remotest influence, which are not necessarily all known South American, of fact is a very small percentage who speak them.

The differences betwen America and Europe Spanis/Castillian you'll notice, as you say, shall be the ​​by localism, but will no change the grammar and the phonetic (maybe differents accents, but not the phonetic) .For example this: Some friends went to Spain last year and ask to a waitress for a straw: "Danos un pitillo por favor".

The word exists in boht places, used in different way, BUT both knows what the other is talking about. In Venezuela pajita means: Litte pice of dry grass or a short handmade. In Spain pitillo means a marihuana cigarete (Luckily we have the "Diccionario de la Real Academia Española" (The Royal Spanish Academy) that help us regulate us, even when fall some localism. http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=pitillo) the spanish waiter laughed, corrected them to not make fun of them out there more, and gave them their straw. Sure, if he was not used to that would have looked ugly, I guess.


Hola Pana, mi esposa es de Venezuela. Perdoname, pero mi Castillano es como El senor Tarzan. Mi esposa es una Caraquena. La madre de ella es desde Colombia y el padre es desde Cabure en estado Falcon. Vivimos en estado Arizona muy acerca la frontera entre Los Estados Unidos y Mexico. Pequeno mundo, si.


"British and Scottish accents". Scotland IS part of Britain. Also, referring to Scouse as "lower class" is extremely offensive! And thirdly, the film was not all done in England, some of it was set in Scotland!


No offense meant, but I can understand how it could be interpreted that way. You have to excuse us colonials. My last name is Hawkins, so I do know Scotland is part of Britain but not part of England. In fact, I had never heard of Scouse until last night. Lets put this way, the definition I read implied that most people who speak Scouse do not spend their days playing polo and drinking out of gold cups. Would that be a fair description that would not offend a "wee bonnie lassie?" As a former combat cameraman, I know a little about film and know that film on location for a number of reasons (historic, economic, political, etc.) In fact I don't even no if there was any Scouse used in "Chariots of Fire." My point was that English is often refered to as a Universal language and I, who sometimes write in English for a living could not understand a large part of the dialog. I actually wondered if Scouse referred to Scottish as the words start with the same letters, but Scouse seemed to be centered to the west of England near the Welsh border and was said to be influenced by Irish Gaelic and coastal trade. A'm gey sorry if ah offended ye.


I have noticed that pictures filmed in Scotland are shown in America with subtitles.


Even most reality shows filmed in US are shown in US with subtitles.


A comment on Jibrah's observation. Many or perhaps all shows have subtitles in the US if you turn on the hearing impaired option on your TV or if you usen teh change language option. Without those options turned on I dont think I have seen subtitles on reality shows. I don't watch them but, you do see bits and pieces as you change the channels.


Ah'll let yi aff this time pal ;)


My mom is from Panama and she can understand Castellano just fine. The Spanish they speak is similar to the Spanish spoken in Spain except for some words; like in Spain they say zumo (pronounced thumo) for juice and in Panama they say jugo. I don't mean to offend anyone but she cannot understand Mexican immigrants to the US. I have been studying Spanish since I was 11 and neither can I. There is a difference in accents and a difference in words used. It really is impossible to completely learn Spanish.

I noticed Scouse was mentioned. I'd have to say majority of Liverpudlians (Scousers) are working class. Demographics are changing a little though.

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