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Which form of Latin American Spanish does Duolingo teach?

I'm not learning Spanish, I am just curious as others are asking me. All I know is that it's definitely Latin American Spanish.

October 10, 2013



Hi Zach1337, good question!

One of our objectives is to be as inclusive as possible and, as you know, this isn't an easy task. We try to not follow any one country-specific version to teach a standardized form of Spanish, but our Spanish course is definitely based mainly on Latin American Spanish. Latin American Spanish meaning we teach more words used specifically in Latin America, such as "ustedes" vs "vosotros." However, we do accept "vosotros" when the exercises ask you to translate into Spanish; our Spanish database tries to accept country-specific vocabulary where applicable and so long as they abide by the Spanish language regulator, Real Academia Española (www.rae.es). Rest assured that we value your comments, and are constantly working on improving the lessons with the feedback you provide :)


Thanks a lot for the reply and the info within it!:)


The more I practice the vocabulary, the more I come across words that are used in Spain but unknown to Duo. This bothers me, because I understand you cannot teach all types of Spanish, but you should at least accept the words. I have been learning Spanish from Spain and I am afraid I will end up mixing Castillan and LA Spanish.


Thank you for the information! I think Zach asked this question because of a question I asked on reddit. I was a bit confused because the only Latin American Spanish I've been in real contact with has been rioplatense, and I missed the voseo, yeismo and the suppresion of syllable-final 's'-es. So the Spanish is here is a kind of 'generic' Latin American Spanish, gotcha! I'm going to do a language class in Buenos Aires in the not too far future; I wonder what they'll teach me there...


Ya, I asked cuz of you and a few others. I was pretty curious myself though tbh.


@pamec Muy buena respuesta, contale tambien que las diferencias verdaderas son de acentos y que un Español y un americano (latinoamericano) no importando el pais, se comprenden a la perfeccion a la hora de comunicarse, de la misma forma que lo hace un gringo y un ingles. :)


Awesome response Pamec. Thank you


I tried answering "jitomate" for tomato and was marked incorrect. That's the word that is used in Mexico, rather than "tomate." Also the word "bolsa" is used for purse in Mexico.


Jitomate is interesting since it it more closely related to the Nauhatl word for tomato, Xitomatl, yet for some reason the “ji” was dropped in parts of northern Mexico and many other spanish speaking countries (obviously this is a large generalization).


I lived in Spain for nearly six years, and find quite a few differences between what's on DuoLingo and the usual way of saying things I encountered there. It'd be good (at least, from my point of view) if DuoLingo could split Spanish into American and European streams.

I like DuoLingo as a tool for revising some Spanish, but have little personal interest in Latin American Spanish (whereas I still spend a lot of time in Spain, and communicating with Spaniards).


It would be nice to have some kind of disclaimer, I agree !


I find it to be very general, the kind of spanish that would get you around anywhere throughout latin america. Source: I'm colombian.


The only major difference besides some vocabulary between Spain Spanish and Latin American Spanish to my ear is the pronunciation difference between the ci/ce and the z sound. I don't think there is much to be concerned about.


Also, the "IR A + INFINITIVE" future tense is very much used in Latin American Spanish, but only used in Spain in the sense of "on the way to do something"

And there are quite a few vocabulary differences, particularly in what is the preferred word to use in a certain situation (even when two alternative words may both be understood).

However, as rspreng pointed out even Spain has some quite significant differences in usage across the country. For example in the north the simple past (fui, estuvo, comió) is preferred where as in the south and centre they're increasingly opted for past perfect (he sido, ha estado, ha comido).

The ceceo vs seseo doesn't seem to be a big issue, as when I speak with ceceo (lisped 'th' sound for words like 'zeta', 'cero', 'alcancé') most of the time DuoLingo's microphone listener marks me as correct :) and much of Spain (Andalucia, Canarias) speaks with siseo anyway.

Do the Latin Americans swear all the time like the Spanish do?


> Also, the "IR A + INFINITIVE" future tense is very much used in Latin American Spanish, but only used in Spain in the sense of "on the way to do something"

Can you provide a source on this? I've been listening to a lot of Spanish from Spain lately and I really don't think this is correct.


Thanks for questioning this. It was mentioned on a couple of language courses I have, but I've researched the current situation after your comment and it appears that things may be changing somewhat, perhaps under the influence from Latin American Spanish (which, after all, they read a lot of in Spain through literature and hear a lot through Latin American telenovelas).

For example, if I do a google search within the site elmundo.es "va a poner" gives 5,400 results. "pondrá" gives 30,400 results.

"van a ser" gives 15,000 results "serán" gives 33,200 results

"va a pagar" gives 2,320 results "pagará" gives 19,200 results

So, it appears that the IR A + INFINITIVE form is quite a bit more prevalent than I thought it was - the 'normal' future tense form is clearly dominant in Spain, but the "ir a" is used a fair bit too.

As others have pointed out, whichever form of Spanish you learn, you're likely to be understood throughout the Spanish speaking world. (When I went to Texas, I found it easier to get people to understand me in my second language Spanish than in my native language British English).


Even though we are studying LA Spanish here I don't find it too problematic understanding European Spanish when I read/listen to sources from Europe.


Yes, I've noticed the difference in pronunciation of 'c''s compared to when I was in Spain. Also , is there a difference with 'v''s? I noticed in Spain they tended to pronounce V's and B's, so when I was in Valencia, it was pronounced Balencia, etc...


It's a bit weird to answer after 2 years you posted this question, but anyway, I'll try it. I've realized that Duolingo teaches Spanish doing a difference between B and V, but actually no dialect of Spanish (and I really mean it) makes such difference, V and B will always be pronounced the same (as B), only some people in Chile are taught when kind to pronounce the V differently from the B, but if you pay attention to them when naturally speaking (i.e. not feeling 'forced' to do it), they still pronounce them the same. Source: I am a native Spanish speaker! )


What country do they use 'sino' to mean but? I tried using 'pero' (which is what I have always learned) in my translation and it was counted wrong.


This link explains sino and pero difference


I think it's different entirely if they are separate words eg "si no hay..."



"Si no" is actually used to express "In the case of that not or yes happening..." It is not a custom of some country, it is an idiomatic device, it's like the English "Given otherwise", or things like that :).


I never realized 'sino' was 'yes-no' or 'if-not'. That at least makes it easy to remember.


I wouldn't really know what examples to give you... I'm a native speaker, and not even i know how to use "Si no" and "Sino" properly (I think there exists both variants: Together and apart) So, don't worry if you're still learning :)!


Not Argentine! Por ejempl pileta en vez de piscina.


Alberca en México.


Hello every one. I came to this question because I am English-speaking Indian learning Spanish here.

When primary exercises ask me to write in Spanish, I tried to change language on my android device and came across the choice between Spanish (Latin America) and Spanish (US). Now after reading comment and replies I think I should select Latin American version.

Thank you everyone for their valuable input and suggestions. Corrections are welcome.

Warm greetings from India. :)


Vocabulary varies between Latin American countries.

Pat in Mexico


I'm just starting to learn Spanish via duolingo and I'm loving it. I paid for a well know online course and like this one much better. Just a suggestion, but maybe one of the other courses would work better for you? If I rellocate to Colombia I plan on taking in-person classes. Keep up the great work Duolingo!

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