Speaking Spanish Around the World
- May 2, 2018
- Posted by: Student Advisor
- Category: Uncategorized
Did YOU know?
Not only are there differences between the Spanish language of Europe and that of Latino America but within the Latino countries too changes occur (yes, just to make your travels more difficult). Differences in accent of course, but as well in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Here at Elebaires we focus on the language and specific linguistic characteristics used in Argentina – perhaps including the passionate hand gestures inherited from our Italian ancestors. So if you thought your Spanish education was complete – think again! The beauty of South America comes from the individuality of each country and its people. Often these people are reserved and reluctant to share their unique modo de vida or time-honoured customs with foreigners.
Language helps to break down these barriers – if you cannot communicate then you won’t be able to relate. That is what we believe here at Elebaires and by enrolling in a Spanish course it will be your first stop in preparing for travelling South America. You will be rewarded immensely by being able to better connect with the local people. After all, is it not for these precious moments of true connection and understanding with human beings from opposite worlds that we seek to escape our solitude and defy ignorance when we set for the skies in our travels?
Some Key Differences in Grammar and
- Ustedes/Vosotros – when referring to a group of people in Spain use vosotros at informal occasions and ustedes when needing to condone respect to more than one individual. In all Latino countries however, only use ustedes for both circumstances. This makes conjugating verbs in Latino America that bit simpler!
- Voseo – in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, instead of tu eres use vos sos. Originally stemming from the Spanish vosotros in the days of Spanish colonies this edited version is prevalent today in these three countries.
- The aspirated S – one of the nicest things about learning Spanish is that pronunciation is relatively easy because every letter of the word is spoken (unlike French for example). However in some Latino countries things loosen up a little and the ‘S’ can be forgotten. In Chile and Central American countries with the Caribbean influence the ‘s’ becomes more of a muffled ‘h’. For example cómo estás? might become something like cómo eh-tah?.
- Pronunciation of c/z – in Spain the ‘c/z’ becomes a ‘th’ lisp sound whereas in all of Latino America it remains a hard ‘s’ sound.
- Pronunciation of ll/y/j – In Argentina and Uruguay these letters become a ‘sh’ sound rather than the ‘ya’ sound of Spain and most Latino countries. In Colombia they become a harder ‘ja’ sound. For example the word calle could be ‘ca-shay’ in Argentina or ‘ca-jay’ in Colombia.
Some Common Vocabulary Changes
- Auto (Argentina) – coche (Spain) – carro (Chile, Peru, Colombia)
- Metro – subte (Argentina)
- Autobus – Colectivo (Argentina)
- Conducir (Spain, Peru, Colombia) – manejar (Argentina)
- Movil (Spain) – Celular (Argentina)
- Ordenador (Spain) – Computador (Latino America)
- Tinto – coffee (Colombia) – red wine (Argentina, Chile)
- Palta (Argentina, Peru, Chile) – aguacate (Spain, Colombia, Central America)
- Fresa (Peru, Colombia) – frutilla (Argentina, Chile)
- Choclo (Argentina, Peru, Chile) – maiz (Colombia) – mazorca (Spain)
- Jugo (Latino America) – zumo (Spain)
- And finally – never use coger in Latino America! It may mean ‘to take’ (…a bus) in Spain but over here you will certainly receive some funny looks!
Good luck, happy travels and never be afraid to practice your Spanish. Now get out there and talk to some locals!