Is The Spanish Spoken in Latin American different to Spanish Spoken in Spain?

Latin American Spanish and the Spanish spoken in Spain and other Spanish speaking parts of the world are extremely similar.
There are always regional differences with any language but the Spanish language has kept its basics alive in all countries so it is possible to understand a Spanish speaker in Spain, for example, and also a Spanish speaker in Mexico, provided you are able to take the time to understand the slight nuances.

One of the main differences is that in Spain words with s in them, like buenos días (which means good morning) are pronounced with an ‘s’ sound in them whereas in Mexico and South America it has a ‘th’ sound instead. Once you understand this, you are able to comprehend easily.

Michel Thomas provides probably the best method of learning Spanish, but there are certainly other methods available …

So, do you need to learn European Spanish or Latin American Spanish?

Obviously the answer to that depends on the reason you are learning the language in the first place.  If it is to go to a Spanish speaking country then you will need to learn the one that is relevant to that country.  If you are going to be dealing with Spanish speakers in business, then once again it depends on which country they are from. Remember though, that once you have actually been able to learn Spanish Latin American style you will still be able to use that language skill in the other parts of the Spanish speaking world.

So, how do you go about managing to learn Latin American Spanish?  Do you travel to Latin America and learn it there?  Do you read a Spanish dictionary through from start to finish?  Do you go to a language school? Do you learn Spanish on-line? Do you find all the Spanish words you can and try to incorporate them into your every day speech? Do you find a Spanish speaking person to make friends with and converse with them in Spanish? Do you read all the Spanish books you can lay your hands on? Do you listen to Spanish audio tapes? Do you play language games? The list is endless. What you need to do is work out how much time and money you can spend on learning Spanish and then find a suitable way to do it within those boundaries.

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3 Comments

  1. Just a comment- I am not sure what you were trying to say here:

    One of the main differences is that in Spain words with s in them, like buenos días (which means good morning) are pronounced with an ‘s’ sound in them whereas in Mexico and South America it has a ‘th’ sound instead. Once you understand this, you are able to comprehend easily

    Being born in america of a spaniard family, the above that was written is incorrect. If you are from Spain or Latin America..Buenos dias” is pronounced the same.

    I think what you were trying to say that in Castillian Spanish ( From Spain) the theta “th” sound is pronounced “th” for words that incorporate c” and z”. So in other words if you are from Northern Spain and you want to say Cinco centavos..you would pronounced it ” Thinko thentavos”..this is not found in Latin america at all. Also most of Southern Spain and the Canary Islands do not use the theta sounds for c’ and z but pronounce it as c and z with more of an s sound.

    In southern spain you will find the phenomina of the seseo . Also like for instance perhaps words like ” eso es:” would be pronounced…etho eh”

    hope this helps!

    José
  2. I’m mexican and the difrence is spaniards pronounce c and z like th in english: pozo-pawthaw, cebolla-thebawya. And all latin american speakers pronounce those words like s: pozo-pawsaw, cebolla-sebawya. Other difrence is they conjugate verbs with vosotros in a difrent way than in latin, even vosotros doesnt use in america so we use usedes, and we conjugate verbs with that person like the way with ellos: spain: vosotros sois mexicanos. Ellos son mexicanos, latin: ustedes son mexicanos, ellos son mexicanos

  3. In addition to what the poster above stated, there is also some slight variations of words. For example:

    English: jacket
    European Spanish: jersey
    Latin American Spanish: chaqueta/suéter

    English: glasses
    European Spanish: gafas
    Latin American Spanish: anteojos (though some LA countries use ‘gafas’)

    English: here/there
    European Spanish: aquí/ahí/allí
    Latin American Spanish (some parts): acá/alla

    As for the pronounciation, one must also understand that there is also the lleismo and yeismo variant which most non-native speakers find a bit confusing. For example llave (lleísmo: liya-ve, yeísmo: ya-ve), llama (lleísmo: liya-ma, yeísmo: ya-ma).

    Even within Spain, the Spanish word usage also varies depending on the region. Southern Spain particularly Andalusian Spanish has more of the same element as Latin American Spanish than the Castillian or Galician variant.

    Jackie

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