Castilian Spanish vs Latin American Spanish: What’s The Difference?
You and I, we’ve all heard of ‘Castilian’ Spanish – this is the Spanish most typically spoken in Spain. But did you know that there are two types of Spanish?
Latin American Spanish varies from this ‘typical’ Spanish, in a few key ways, which are important to know for when you’re heading to one of the many Spanish-speaking places in Latin America (post-lockdown!).
Of course, as with any language there are differences between regions and speaking countries as the language adapts to different speakers and different social and cultural influences. Even the English spoken in Australia and the US is different to that spoken in the UK.
Most of the time, Castilian and Latin American Spanish are mutually communicable and there often isn’t too much difference between the two languages. However, in some situations it can be key to know the changes in structure, phrasing and vocabulary to make sure you’re understood by native speakers.
So, we’ve put together a list of the two main differences between these two variations of Spanish. And, if this inspires you to get to know this colourful language a little better, why not check out our Spanish courses, which are all currently online!
Vosotros vs Ustedes
Within the Spanish language, there are multiple ways to address people! There is the plural of ‘you’, for addressing more than one person, and the formal and informal variations, which differ slightly depending on whether you’re speaking to someone in Spain or the Americas.
Normally, using tú for the English equivalent of ‘you’ will suffice. However, in formal situations usted should be used in Spain, and vos is used in some Latin American countries for informal situations.
This means that ustedes is the plural in Spain, and vostoros is the plural variation in Latin American Spanish. It’s important to know these small differences.
Also, more importantly only ustedes is used for the plural address in Latin American Spanish. So when you’re speaking Castilian Spanish, or to someone in Spain, you have the choice between ustedes and vostoros when addressing multiple people – in Latin America you don’t!
As with anywhere, there are differences in how different words are pronounced in the varying countries and regions that speak Spanish.
While, luckily, many letters and letter groupings are pronounced similarly whether you’re speaking Castilian Spanish or Latin American Spanish, there are a few key differences.
In much of Spain, speakers tend to say the ‘c’ that comes before ‘i’ and ‘e’ as a ‘th’. The letter ‘z’ too is also pronounced as ‘th’.
For example, the best way to describe this would be to use the word ‘gracias’ as an example.
In Latin American, as well as some parts of Southern Spain the word is pronounced ‘gra-CEE-as’. However in most of Spain this is pronounced ‘gra-THY-as’, which follows the rule that in most parts of Spain ‘c’ is said as ‘th’.
So, has this given you a taste for learning Spanish? If so, why not see our online Spanish classes? We have courses that suit beginners, intermediate speakers and advanced conversationalists, and all our Spanish lessons are currently being taught virtually!