How To Learn Castilian Spanish

Castilian Spanish is the dialect spoken by residents of Spain. Although it’s the same language spoken in other parts of the world, it’s a unique dialect that features a distinct accent and slang. If learning Castilian Spanish is a goal you’d like to achieve this year, here are a few tips to help you learn.

  1. Master the vosotros form: One of the most noticeable differences between Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish is the use of the second person plural form vosotros. Vosotros is commonly used in Castillian Spanish, whereas in Latin American countries the ustedes form is more popular. These two tenses have a completely different conjugation, which may become confusing for those who are accustomed to a particular dialect. The singular usted form is used by all Spanish speakers, which only makes things more complicated. So, anyone looking to learn Castilian Spanish should master the vosotros form to avoid confusion.
  2. Research the vocabulary and slang: Like any other dialect, Castillian Spanish has its own unique slang terms and vocabulary. Several words have a slightly different pronunciation or a different word entirely in Spain. A common example is the word for potato. In Spain, the word is patata, whereas in Latin America it’s called a papa. There are also different colloquial terms that are used in Spain, which are slightly different than other parts of the world. For instance, in Spain, most people refer to a car as coche, whereas in Latin America they might call it a carro or automovil. So if you are planning on learning Castillian Spanish, it’s important to get a grasp on these differing terms.
  3. Work on your Ceceo (or lisp): One of the most noticeable differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish is what is known as the Ceceo or lisp. Castilians pronounce certain syllables differently than their Latin American counterparts. In Castilian Spanish, c’s and z’s are pronounced with a soft sound closer to a “th” as in teeth. This is what is known as the Spanish lisp of the ceceo. So, words like bicicleta (bicycle), once (eleven), or cerveza (beer) are pronounced with a soft “th” sound. When learning Castiilian Spanish, it’s important to look out for this unique quirk.
  4. Understand Leismo: Leismo refers to the use of the indirect object pronoun le to replace the masculine direct object lo. According to the official dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, this usage is technically grammatically incorrect. But it’s commonly used by speakers of Castillian Spanish. Le is supposed to be reserved for inanimate objects without a gender. However, in Spain, the term is often used to refer to animate masculine objects. For example, in standard Spanish, the term ‘I see him’ would translate into ‘lo veo’. But in Castilian Spanish, you may hear someone say ‘le veo’. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s important to understand if you want to master the dialect.
  5. Hire a Tutor: If some of these distinctions become confusing and you are struggling to master the Castilian dialect, the best thing to do is to hire a tutor. Having an experienced teacher who can help you master the Spanish language and understand the idiosyncrasies of Castilian Spanish can help you learn in a fraction of the time it would take you on your own. Visit if you want an experienced tutor who can have you speaking like a true Castilian in no time.

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