8 Interesting Facts About Latin American Spanish

Interesting Facts About Latin American Spanish

Ever wondered why Hispanophones have two words for a single item? For example, a potato is called papa as well as patata. Similarly, a computer is computadora as well as ordenador. Why? Well, the difference lies in the speaker’s nationality. Latin American Spanish differs from European Spanish in many small ways. But this is not the only exciting part about this language! To help you out, here are the facts about Latin American Spanish you need to know!

Facts About Latin American Spanish

Fact #1: Historical Journey Of Latin America

The history of Latin American Spanish lies in the Spanish conquest of the Latin American lands in the 16th century. After almost 300 years of Spanish rule, the colonialists returned to their country, leaving behind the Classical Spanish language of the 16th-17th century. This later developed into the Modern Latin American Spanish language borrowed from many Native American indigenous languages, which hailed from Central America to South America.

Fact #2: Castellano Vs Español

In Spain, the Spanish language is known as Castilian or Castellano (pronounced cas-te-ya-no). The name is derived from Castilia, the name of the region it is believed to have originated from. On the other hand, in Latin America, the Spanish language is known as Español (pronounced as es-pa-nyo-l). There are some marked differences between Castellano and Español, ranging from vocabulary and pronunciation to changes in some grammatical usage.

Latin American Spanish – Use of the second-person plural

Fact #3: Use Of Vosotros And Ustedes

The most prominent grammatical difference between the Spanish language of Latin America and Spain is the use of the second-person plural (you all). In Spain, people use vosotros in informal settings and ustedes in formal ones, whereas, in Latin American countries, ustedes is used all across, without the marked difference in formal or informal usage. For example, a Spanish speaker from Latin America would ask you out using ¿Ustedes tienen ganas de salir? (Do you want to go out?) Meanwhile, to say the same, a Spaniard could say ¿Vosotros tenéis ganas de salir?

Fact #4: Pronunciation Of C, S, And Z

One of the most interesting facts about Latin American Spanish is the sound that is made when c, s, or z is followed by an ‘e’ or ‘i’ in a word. In Latin America, Spanish speakers produce an s sound that is quite the same as the th sound that the Spaniards make while pronouncing the same letters. So, whenever you hear someone say Barthelona instead of Barcelona, understand that they hail from Spain.

Fact #5: Use Of The Past Tense

Hoy no he desayunado and hoy no desayuné convey they same thing: “I did not eat the breakfast today.” However, they differ in their grammatical structure owing to the difference in the past tense used. Spanish speakers from Latin America prefer to use Simple Past (Hoy no desayuné, meaning I didn’t eat breakfast today) to describe recent actions. In contrast, speakers hailing from Spain use Past Perfect (Hoy no he desayunado, meaning I haven’t eaten breakfast today) to convey the same.

Fact #6: Different Vocabulary

Vocabulary changes with regions and dialects, which is true for many languages. It is the same for Spanish spoken in Latin America and Europe. For instance, a bus is called autobús in Peninsular Spanish and bus (with an oo sound) in Latin American Spanish. Below is a list of some words that are known differently in both these languages.

EnglishSpanishSound (Spain)Latin American SpanishSound (Latin American)
MobileMóvilTeléfono celular
CarCocheCarro/ Auto
PenBoligrafo/ BoliPluma/ Lapicera
(Certain regions)
Santa ClausPapá NoelSanta
Vocabulary: Spanish Vs Latin American Spanish

Fact #7: Different Pronunciations

Latin America has nine countries with Spanish as their official language: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. However, even within these countries, the Spanish pronunciation varies a lot. One major difference is the pronunciation of the syllable Ll and Y. In Spanish-speaking Spain, these syllables are produced with the English Y sound, whereas, in some parts of Argentina and Uruguay, they are spoken with an Sh sound.

For example, Está lloviendo en la playa means, “It is raining on the beach.” Now, Argentinian Spanish speakers would speak it as está [sh]oviendo en la pla[sh]a whereas in the rest of the South American countries, this sentence would be expressed as está [y]oviendo en la pla[y]a.

Fact #8: The Number Game

About 60% of Latin America speaks the Spanish language. There are approximately 350 million Spanish or Español speakers in the region, out of which 121 million live in Mexico. Thus, it makes Mexico the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Spain comes only at number three (the USA is in the second spot), where 46 million speak Spanish.

In total, there are 543 million people worldwide who speak Spanish, which makes Spanish (in all its forms) the fourth most-spoken language globally, behind English, Chinese Mandarin, and Hindi.

Other Interesting Facts About Latin American Spanish

There is some more interesting trivia when it comes to the form of Spanish being spoken in Latin America.

  • The type of Spanish spoken in Colombia has more than ten dialects.
  • Equatoguinean Spanish is the only Spanish dialect in the sub-Saharan Africa region to have an official language status.
  • Equatorial Guinea has 90% of its population as Spanish speakers.
  • It is a well-known pop culture fact that Chileans speak Spanish with such speed that it leaves every other Spanish-speaking Latino confounded!
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Now, after getting to know so many interesting facts about Spanish, why not give it a try? Imagine how many travel experiences you could gather while voyaging through the beautiful Spanish cities or gorgeous Latin American countryside as you partake of the local cuisine, culture, tradition, and language. So without further ado, get on the Ling app and start learning Spanish the right way! Download it now for free from the Play Store or App Store to get started!

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