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Spanish Varieties

Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Latin America vary slightly as the languages have evolved since the colonization of the Americas. The most obvious influence is the use of indigenous words in Latin America and differing pronunciation.

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In Spain, the North Castilian dialect is generally considered to be the standard variety. In Latin America as diverse countries as Mexico, Colombia, Peru or Bolivia have their own regional dialects but share one standard variety also known as "High Land Spanish".

Castilian Spanish vs. Latin American standards

  • Pronunciation of ci and ce as th. In Madrid, gracias sounds like "gratheas" while most Latin Americans would pronounce it more like "gra-see-as"

  • In Latin America pronunciation stresses every letter and features strong r sounds

  • Vocabulary was influenced by the indigenous population

  • Compared to other regions of Latin America, Argentine and parts of Uruguay have been strongly influenced by Italian. In Buenos Aires vos is used to refer to second language singular instead of . (That is comparable to a - nonexistent - English region using thou insteat of you. The letter ll is pronounced as j rather than y.

Is this a problem for learning Spanish?

We are talking about standard varieties, not regional dialects. Dialects and slang can be strong and difficult to understand, no matter where you are going. However, standard varieties are hardly ever mutually incomprehensible and are all totally acceptable in official context and examinations!

In all recommended language schools you are taught standard Spanish. Acquiring some local slang and dialectal vocabulary is fun and adds excitement to your Spanish learning experience. However, your main activities will be centered around standard Spanish!

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