The second most common language spoken worldwide is Spanish.

With many Spanish speakers encompassing a diverse range of cultures and countries, it is no surprise there are vast differences in pronunciation and grammar. Particularly, there are notable differences between the Spanish spoke in Spain as opposed to Latin America. There are even subtle, unique terms and meanings among neighboring Latin American countries.

difference between Spanish in Spain and America

For example, the term “vosotros”, which in English terms means “you people” or “you guys”, tends to be used throughout the majority of Spain. Vosotros is a relatively informal use of addressing a group of people. In Latin America, on the other hand, the formal “ustedes” is used. In Spain, “Pensaba en vosotros,” or “I was thinking about you guys” would probably be said in conversation in most regions. Meanwhile, a Latin American speaker might use the same sentence as “Yo estaba pensando en ustedes,” substituting “vosotros” for “ustedes” in its place. However, if you use “ustedes” in Spain you will be understood and probably considered formal or polite. It is advised to use “ustedes” in Latin America, however.

Another significant difference between Spanish spoken in Spain and Latin America is the forms of address “tu, vos and usted”.

“Usted” is the most frequently utilized form of address in Latin America due to emphasis on politeness. Using informal forms such as “vos” and “tu” could be construed as overly familiar or impolite in Latin America. Keep in mind that in some parts of Latin America such as Argentina or Uruguay you may be asked to switch to the less formal “vos” though it’s only used within some countries. The informal “Tu” is reserved only for familiar people such as friends and family. In Spain, using “tu” casually is considered okay. For example, “qué te parece” (“What do you think?”) could be heard in Spain while “usted” or “vos” would be spoken in the place of “tu” elsewhere. It is best advised to use “usted” as the default form of address unless you’re invited to otherwise.

Anyone looking to learn Spanish would do well to know the difference between Spanish in Spain and America. The difference between Spanish in Spain and America can have a huge effect on your personal and professional dealings when traveling. In order to learn Spanish properly, it is advised to study the differences side by side in order to understand both perspectives.

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