Are you thinking about learning Spanish? If you’re new to Spanish, you might not know that there are different types of Spanish. The Spanish you decide to learn depends on where and how you want to use it.
Are you planning a trip to Spain or Latin America? Maybe you just want to talk to Spanish-speaking friends. No matter which Spanish you choose, you’ll begin studying a very special language. Spanish is everywhere. It’s spoken across the globe, and it’s the official language in 21 countries.
So, your first step is to understand the differences between Spanish spoken in Europe and Latin America. Spanish spoken in Spain is often called Castilian Spanish.
Once you are familiar with different Spanish styles, you will have a better idea of which one you should study. Then you can begin your journey into learning one of the most beautiful languages in the world.
What Are The Spanish Speaking Countries?
Spanish is the first language of over 500 million people. It’s the first language of Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and most of South America. It’s also spoken in parts of Africa, such as the Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, and Equatorial Guinea.
Did you know that these countries are not the only places where people speak Spanish? A 2015 study by Insituto Cervantes, says that the United States has the most Spanish speakers in the world other than Mexico. About 53 million people in the United States speak Spanish as either their native language or bilingual.
In fact, the U.S, Census Bureau estimates that by 2060, the U.S. will have over 128 million Spanish speakers, which means one in three residents will be Hispanic.
What Are The Differences Between European Spanish And Latin American Spanish?
Each Spanish dialect has varied pronunciations, grammar, and vocabulary. Even though you’d be understood speaking either Spanish dialect in Spanish-speaking countries, your best bet is to learn the one most useful for you.
Here are a few distinctions between Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish. Recognizing these differences can help you communicate with any Spanish-speaking person.
- Pronunciation – The biggest difference in pronunciation between Spain and Latin America are the letters z and c when they’re before i or e. In Mexico, the z sounds like an s, while in Spain, it sounds like th.
- Grammar – A couple of grammar differences are the formal and informal use of the singular and plural forms of you. In Spain, people use both the formal and informal second-person singular and plural. In Latin America, they don’t use a second person informal.
- Vocabulary – A few differences between Spain and Latin American Spanish are words and phrases. For instance, in Spain, the word car is coche, while in Latin America it’s carro, coche, or auto. Another example is potato. In Spain, you would say, patata and if you were in Mexico, you’d say, papa.
The differences between Spanish spoken in Spain and Latin America can be confusing. A Spanish tutor can help explain all these differences, so you can understand Spanish wherever you travel.
Can All The Variations Of Spanish Speakers Understand Each Other?
Think of your own experiences when speaking and listening to your native language. For instance, if you speak English, you might have trouble understanding someone speaking English from Australia, Wales, or Scotland. Even though you have to listen closely, you can still understand what’s being said. In fact, after a while, you might adjust to the different words, pronunciations, and grammar without a problem.
It works the same way with Spanish. If you learn Latin American Spanish and travel to Barcelona, people will still understand what you’re saying. It might sound awkward and hard to follow the conversation, but you and the people you’re speaking with adjust to the differences.
Benefits Of Studying Spanish
Studying Spanish helps you communicate with millions of people and create bonds you couldn’t before. Here are a few other benefits of studying Spanish:
- Increase your career opportunities
- Builds relationships
- Communicate with Spanish speakers when traveling
- Opens a new world of art, literature, and music
- Study abroad
- Appreciate diversity
- Understand other cultures
Whether you want to learn Spanish for travel, personal enrichment, or career needs, the benefits are endless.
Continue Your Path To Spanish Fluency ¡Vámamos! (Let’s Go!)
Choose which Spanish dialect is best for your needs and plans. If you want to travel to Spain for business or education, Castilian Spanish is the best choice.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in Mexico or South America, then Latin American Spanish would work for you. Remember, whichever you choose, you’ll be able to converse in any Spanish-speaking country.
Whether you choose Castilian Spanish or Latin American Spanish, it’s sure to be an adventure into one of the most popular romance languages.