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Culture —– Spain or Mexico?

by Brandi

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June 25th, 2010

Many people have the mistaken idea that the Spanish language that is used in Spain is completely different from that spoken in Mexico. They also believe that if you speak in Mexican Spanish, they won’t be able to understand you in Spain. I’m not sure where people get this idea from but it is simply not true. As I mentioned in the newsletter last week, some words may vary region to region (especially slang or swear words) but the core Spanish language spoken in each country is still the same.

In fact, there is a very close correlation between English from the United States, England, and Australia and Spanish spoken in Spain, Mexico and Latin America in general. For example, if someone from England or Australia talks, I, as an American, can understand them just fine and they can understand me. Sure we have different accents, some of their swear words are different, and I may not understand many of their slang words but we can understand each other. It is the same with Spanish in Spain, Mexico and Latin America. They have different accents and their regional uses of some words may vary but they can understand each other just fine.

Briefly, some differences in accent between Latin America and Spain are that in Spain, when they say their “S’s”, they make more of a hissing “s” sound. Also, in Spain, the “z” and “c” (followed by “e” or “i”) make a “th” sound instead of the Latin American “s” sound. And finally, in Latin America, the “ll” can sound like an English “j” or “y” depending on the region, however in Spain, it is generally pronounced like a “y”.

(Just a little side note: Mexico is considered part of Latin America; I have distinguished them since around 70% of Spanish speakers in the U.S. come from Mexico and the rest from Latin America in general. Source: census.gov)

All of these accent and vocabulary differences were considered as we created our Visual Link Spanishâ„¢ course. As part of our creation process, we had it reviewed by individuals from South America, as well as corporate executives, a lawyer, and a linguist from Mexico in addition to one from Spain. Although our course favors Latin American Spanish and is recorded by a Mexican woman’s voice, we have ensured that almost every word in the course can be understood in whatever country Spanish is spoken.

During the creation process, we took things a step further and were very picky about using the most contemporary words and phrases in the course. There are many phrases that are currently found in textbooks that are no longer commonly used in Latin America. The reviewers helped us use the most common phrases in use today for subjects like telling time, greetings and many others.

Now you know the scoop on the difference between Spanish from Spain and Latin America.

To learn more about speaking Spanish, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

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